Unearthing the History of Birthstones: An Overview and Guide

We don’t know about you, but we find it challenging not only to remember the birthdays of everybody in our lives, but also remember the birthstone that corresponds with each and every month.

So, if you are gearing up to buy some birthstone embellished gifts this year, allow us to help you sort through the list:

  • January — Garnet

Also considered the gem of choice for a couple’s second anniversary, January’s garnet is as vibrant and evocative of passion as one would expect. Named after the sacred pomegranate — or granatus in Latin — this stone is softer than rubies and therefore better suited for brooches or earrings.

  • February — Amethyst

Here’s a fun fact: Amethyst is another stone whose name was derived from another language. Specifically, amethystos is Greek for “a remedy against drunkenness,” which many believed the stone could provide. Both royal and mystical in origin and lore, amethyst has no shortage of fun historical stories.

  • March — Aquamarine

Believed to help keep sailors safe while out at sea, the meaning behind aquamarine’s name is no mystery. The various shades of blue and green are also thought to symbolize the spirit and soul, thereby enhancing the wellbeing of the stone’s wearer.

  • April —  Diamond

Diamonds have withstood not only immense earthly pressure, but the test of time itself. Long lauded for its strength and inarguable clarity, the diamond was always desired throughout history. That being said, modern demand for the stone has only increased as engagement rings became increasingly common.

  • May —  Emerald

Lush, sprawling fields and abundant wealth. Thus is the history of the emerald, as many sought it for a sense of rebirth and livelihood. Others, however, believed it was magical, bestowing one the power to see the future should they sleep with it beneath their pillow. In any case, the application doesn’t matter — you’re going to feel regal either way when you don this gem!

  • June —  Moonstone

When gazed upon under the right light, moonstone all but glows on its own. And this inherent trait, known as “aduralescence,” is precisely why so many throughout history believed the moonstone to be either a product of the Roman deities or the tangible result of compressed moonbeams. Moonstone also signifies love, passion, and successful fertility.

  • July —  Ruby

The ruby, whose signature color is derived from traces of chromium within its body, is strongly associated with the concept of life, given its resemblance to blood. In fact, warriors once believed it would keep them safe — if not entirely invincible — in the midst of battle, whereas others sought it out for love and wisdom. Today, some rubies are treated in order to remove any lingering tint of purple.

  • August —  Peridot

Similar to diamonds, peridot is known for being formed under extreme pressure; in fact, it has even been found in meteorites from space. With origins both holy and royal, peridot was used in chalices, priests’ jewelry, and more. Exuding a gentle shade of green-yellow, it was also believed to ward off evil spirits.

  • September —  Sapphire

From remedies to romance and royalty, the sapphire has been used for a variety of applications over the course of history. For example, it was believed to help cure plagues in Medieval times, while nobility emblazoned their clothes with the gem and Persians believed it to be what the sky was made of. Regardless, the sapphire is nothing less than calming and dreamy.

  • October —  Tourmaline

Appearing in all varieties of shades and colors, tourmaline’s name is Sinhalesein in origin, as toramalli means “stone with mixed colors.” Often mistaken for other gems, once tourmaline was identified as its own unique product, mystic believers held the gem as a source of artistic inspiration and expression. Otherwise, its perceived healing properties remained dependent upon its color.

Also appearing in a variety of colors — ranging from blue to orange and other shades in-between — topaz is regarded as a stone of intelligence and beauty. Conversely, the Greeks upheld the stone as a source of strength for the wearer. Topaz is also considered the stone to be gifted to one’s love on their fourth anniversary.

  • December —  Turquoise

Semi-translucent in nature, turquoise is unique in that its shades of green and blue are shot through with veins of other types of rocks, giving it additional depth. Used in Chinese carvings and later as amulets of good fortune and health, there’s no question that this stone is rich in both color and history.

At the end of the day, there’s no shortage of radiance offered by any of the aforementioned gems — regardless of whether you buy them for someone’s birthday or not!

And if you’re searching for the perfect glittering gift, be it consignment or custom, Hemming Jewelers can help. As Jacksonville’s #1 independent jeweler, we guarantee you’ll find both certainty and satisfaction after you browse through our collection.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about our services and history, contact our team today by calling 904-354-5959! When you work with us, every day will feel as special as your birthday.