Gemstones are symbols of passion and love. For centuries, people around the world have used these bright, brilliant stones in jewelry. Gemstones can represent many things; ancient cultures believed that wearing select stones could provide you with anything from power to health and even good fortune. One of the most common representations of these dramatic stones is to signify a person’s birth month.
Typically known for being red in color, they can be found in a wide variety of colors such as plum (Rhodolite garnet), orange (Spessartite garnet), and green (Tsavorite garnet).
A member of the quartz family, amethyst comes in several stunning shaded of purple.
Latin for “sea water,” this gem is a member of the beryl species. Aquamarine is known for varying degrees of greenish-blue color.
A treasured symbol of devotion, honor, and strength, diamonds come in a large variety of colors.
A member of the beryl family, emeralds are best known for their lush green color.
A member of the chrysoberyl family, alexandite is best known for its chameleon-like, color-changing qualities. Depending on its surroundings, this gem can range from shades of green to brownish or even purplish-red.
Pearls are the alternative birthstone for June. Found in streams, rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans, pearls come in a large variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.
Rubies are the best-known red gemstone. The name “ruby” comes from the Latin word “ruber” which means “red.”
Lime-green in color, peridots also come in shades of brownish- to yellowish-green. Peridot comes from the French word “peritot,” meaning “gold.” It is also the stone given to celebrate the 16th year of marriage. Peridots have long been called “Evening Emeralds,” for under artificial light, the stone glows a brilliant green. They are similar to the emerald but softer in intensity.
Known for their vibrant shades of blue, sapphires also come in lovely shades of yellow, pink, and white. The sapphire is in the corundum family -the same family as the ruby. The only difference between a ruby and a sapphire is the color.
Opals are the world’s most popular phenomenal gem. The opal’s unique play-of-color characteristic means more than one color can be seen due to prismatic effects. Opals can be found in white, black, veined with blues and greens (Boulder opals) and even orange and red (Mexican fire opals).
Pink tourmaline is the alternative birthstone for October. Tourmalines come in a wide variety of brilliant colors, including pink, violet-blue, intense green, and even watermelon.
Derived from the word “citrus” or “citron,” citrines are yellow to orange-yellow in color. During the Art Deco period, large citrines were set in many prized pieces, including elaborate art deco-inspired jewelry pieces worn by big Hollywood stars such as Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford.
Turquoise is one of the many birthstones for December. Most blue stones are considered to be December’s birthstone (with the exception of sapphires). Turquoise can be translucent to opaque, with colors ranging from light to medium blue or greenish-blue.
Tanzanite is also a birthstone for December. It is a rich, deep, pure blue stone. It is also a relatively new colored stone, discovered in Tanzania in 1967 by a prospector who was mining for sapphire. Tanzanite changes color when viewed from different directions and can appear to be blue with a violet tinge. In some lighter colored stones, the color is described as lavender.
Another birthstone for December is blue topaz. Topaz comes in a wide array of colors including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and even colorless.