What are birthstones?
Every month of the year has its own birthstone and each has its own unique history, mythology and meaning. The concept of birthstones is thought to date back thousands of years and every stone is believed to bring a different form of good luck and positive power to those who wear them.
The twelve birthstones cover nearly every colour of the rainbow and make extra thoughtful and personal birthday gifts.
Birthstone jewellery is a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, whether it’s your friend or loved one’s special day or your own. Find out more about the birthstones of each month and what each stone symbolises for the wearer.
What is my birthstone?
January’s birthstone is a special stone that dates back to the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. Its name comes from the Latin word for seed, thanks to its similarity to the seed of a pomegranate. While garnet is best known to appear in a rich and vibrant red, it can also be found in every other colour but blue.
Garnet was originally very popular in Victorian jewellery and nowadays symbolises happiness and friendship. It’s thought to offer protection to those who wear it, so it’s the perfect gift for your best friend or a family member born in January.
This famous purple stone is a member of the quartz family and comes in shades from pale lilac to deep violet. Amethyst used to be as highly valued as diamond and it’s rumoured to have been the favourite gemstone of Saint Valentine, which explains why it’s the special birthstone for February.
Amethyst is thought to enhance creativity and passion, while also bringing peace and stability to whoever wears it. Treat your loved one to a set of birthstone earrings or a birthstone necklace with a purple stone.
Aquamarine is March’s beautiful blue birthstone. The name Aquamarine comes from the Latin words for “water” and “sea” and the stone’s possible colours range from pale pastel shades to rich, deep blue hues, reflecting all the colours of the ocean. Greek and Roman sailors used to carry this stone with the hope it would keep them safe on voyages across stormy seas, it was also thought to represent youth, health and eternal life.
As well as symbolising the tranquillity of the ocean, aquamarine is also associated with courage, loyalty and friendship, making it a lovely gift for March babies.
From the Greek word “smaragdus”, meaning “green”, May’s birthstone is the captivating green emerald. Originally sourced in Egypt, emerald was famously Cleopatra’s favourite gemstone.
Emeralds have always symbolised youth, vitality and rebirth, but they’re also linked to wisdom and patience, qualities that make it a meaningful stone to gift the May babies in your life.
Lime green peridot is this month’s birthstone. The ancient stone was called “the gem of the sun” by Ancient Egyptians, who believed that it harnessed the power of nature. The nature theme is echoed in Hawaii too, where peridots are believed to be the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire.
While the origin of the name is debated, many believe it comes from the Greek word “peridona”, meaning “giving plenty” and that’s reflected in the stone’s symbolism of prosperity, power and good fortune.
Lucky September babies have the stunning sapphire as their birthstone. Its name comes from the Latin word “sapphirus”, meaning “blue stone”. While sapphires are typically thought to be blue, they actually come in every colour except red (a red sapphire is actually a ruby!).
The Ancient Greeks used sapphires for guidance, Buddhists used them for spiritual enlightenment and Hindus used them for worship. Nowadays, they symbolise loyalty and integrity, and are said to protect from stress and harm.
Along with tourmaline, opal is October’s birthstone. Opal is known as “Queen of the Gems”, with the Romans believing that the iridescent stone possessed the colours and powers of all the other gemstones combined.
Its name comes from the Greek word “opallios”, which means to see a change in colour. Opal’s shimmering, ethereal glow is thought to enhance creativity and imagination, as well as symbolising hope and purity.
Historically, topaz is associated with shades of yellow and is named after the Greek name for St John’s Island in the Red Sea, where lots of yellow stones were famously found, but blue topaz is becoming increasingly popular and you can find the stone in other colours too, including green, red, pink and purple.
Ancient Egyptians and Romans believed topaz to have the power to heal and protect. Today it is still believed to have calming and healing properties, with associations of faith and trust.
Turquoise has always been loved for its intense colour, which can be anything from bright sky blue to light green depending on the stone. Turquoise is believed to be one of the most ancient protection amulets, worn as a talisman by royalty and warriors who believed it would give them strength, peace and power.
The stone is most loved for its calming and tranquil appearance, making turquoise birthstone jewellery a special and unique gift.