Birthstones are a beautiful way to connect with others. Many people use birthstones to create family rings or jewellery. Others find their birthstone to be a favourite gem, choosing to have several pieces featuring that particular stone.
For whatever reason you might be looking for a birthstone, we’ve compiled an easy list of each month’s stone. For several months, we’ve referenced more than one gemstone as well, as some of the more traditional selections have been replaced or linked to a more modern-day option.
The Birthstones for Each Month
Garnet: January Birthstone
Garnets are often thought of as red gemstones, but they actually come in a variety of colours from greens and blues to oranges and reds. The garnet family is a complex gem family, consisting of several species and varieties.
The word “garnet” comes from the word “seed,” as this gem resembles the colour and shape of a pomegranate seed. And, though it may be named after a seed, it’s a relatively hard gemstone.
The garnet ranges from 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale and is stable to light and chemicals. While they are not suitable for especially hard wear, garnets are durable for many jewellery styles as long as the proper care is taken to treat it.
Amethyst: February Birthstone
Amethyst is a variety of the quartz mineral species. This gem’s colour ranges from light lilac to intense royal yellow. It also contains something called colour zoning, which consists of angular zones of darker to lighter colours.
As a gemstone for jewellery, amethysts are a durable option for your favourite pieces. With a rating of 7 on the Mohs scale, amethysts are safe for day-to-day wear, as long as proper precautions are taken to prevent scratching.
Aquamarine: March Birthstone
Aquamarine is a blue to blue-green gemstone belonging to the beryl family. While the colour of aquamarine can range, this stone will always be light in colouring, containing no dark blues or greens.
Aquamarine comes from the Latin word for “seawater” and contains a historical connection to seafarers. Now, these gemstones adorn rings and bracelets, offering a gorgeous bit of colouring.
In terms of durability, aquamarines are fine for daily wear, assuming the right treatments have been taken to protect against surface scratches and large knocks. Rated 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale and can be cleaned with warm soapy water.
Diamond: April Birthstone
April’s birthstone is the diamond. Renowned for its durability as much as its beauty, diamonds are one of the most popular gemstones you can wear. As a symbol of strength and eternal love, they are a popular choice for wedding bands and engagement rings. However, they can be added to nearly any piece of jewellery for a touch of class and sparkle.
Diamonds are known for their strengths. Only another diamond can scratch a diamond. On the Mohs scale, diamonds rank at a solid 10.
It’s important to note that, while diamonds are incredibly durable and strong, they do have their weaknesses. Where the atoms of a diamond are most tightly bonded, the diamond is its strongest. Likewise, where the atoms are further apart, the diamond is weaker. When wearing a diamond ring – or any jewellery with a diamond in it – take care not to expose the diamond to a hard blow, as it can cause the stone to cleave.
As diamonds are so strong, the prongs on any piece of jewellery holding the diamond must be fitted just right. Should a prong setting be too loose, the diamond will slowly break down the metal, eventually wearing out the prong.
Emerald: May Birthstone
Emeralds are a green gemstone belonging to the beryl family. Considered one of the “Big Four” gems, along with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, emeralds are often a deep green colour, sometimes containing blue undertones.
These stones are often found with eye-visible inclusions – cloudy marks or bubbles of trapped materials within the gem. Since these inclusions are common, emeralds with fewer inclusions are considered to be of a higher value.
In addition to their beauty, emeralds are a fairly tough stone, coming in at 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. Emeralds are suited for day-to-day wear.
Pearl, Alexandrite & Pink Tourmaline: June Birthstones
June has two birthstones: pearl and alexandrite. Pearls are the month’s traditional stones, while alexandrite and pink tourmaline are two modern-day options.
The only gem found within living creatures – both freshwater and saltwater mollusks – pearls have a timeless appeal. Most modern-day pearls are cultivated or cultured and come in a variety of colours, including black, green, gold, silver, and various pastels.
Pearls are an extremely soft gem, measuring 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. While this means that pearls are easily scratched or abraded, pearls that are cared for properly can last a lifetime.
If you’ve ever seen a true alexandrite, you’ll know exactly why this stone is so treasured. Alexandrites change colours, shimmering green in sunlight and red in incandescent light. These gems are also strongly pleochroic, meaning they display different colours when viewed from different directions, making any jewellery it adorns unique and eye-catching.
In terms of hardness, alexandrite measures in at an 8.5 on the Mohs scale. With excellent toughness, these stones are ideal for daily wear.
Tourmalines come in several colours, but the pink variant is a vibrant, gorgeous stone worthy of any piece of jewellery. These pink stones come in a number of different shades.
Pink tourmaline is a fairly tough stone, ranking from 7 to 7.5 on Mohs hardness scale. They are not too delicate to wear daily, though we recommend taking a bit of extra care to avoid damaging this stone.
Ruby: July Birthstone
Rubies are a radiant gemstone, most often marked by their red colouring. Some rubies can be found with orange or pink undertones. As part of the corundum family, they are deeply connected to sapphires, another stone in that family.
At one time, rubies were favoured by warriors as a symbol of physicality and strength. Now, rubies decorate the most vibrant jewellery with their iconic red colour that makes them impossible to miss.
Ruby measures in on the Mohs scale at a 9, meaning it’s relatively hard, tough, and durable. Like most durable gemstones, this makes it an ideal choice for any ring – or jewellery – that will be worn day-to-day.
Peridot: August Birthstone
Peridot is a gemstone with a narrow colour range. From a brown-green to a yellowish green to a pure green, peridots are marked by the mineral olivine. The gemstone can be found in several different locations, including in volcanic rocks called basalts, in lava flow, and sometimes in meteorites that fall to the earth’s surface.
As a gemstone, peridot is 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. For daily wear, peridots are fine, but care should be taken to avoid exposing it to hard blows that may fracture it or materials that may scratch it.
Sapphire: September Birthstone
Sapphires have held the attention of the world forever. Generally thought of as a pure blue stone, sapphires do come in every colour other than red. As sapphires are part of the corundum family, any red corundum is referred to as a ruby.
Like rubies, sapphires are a relatively hard stone, measuring at a 9 on the Mohs scale. This toughness and durability allow for sapphires to be worn daily, with little threat of scratching or other damage.
Opal & Tourmaline: October Birthstones
October has two birthstones: opal and tourmaline. Opal is the month’s traditional stone, while tourmaline is a more modern choice.
Opals are incredibly unique gemstones. Each opal is distinct, making them a unique asset to any piece of jewellery they decorate. Some opals, but not all, even display a phenomenon known as play-of-colour – flashes of colour that move as the stone turns.
As a stone, opals are one of the more delicate gems. It ranges from 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, meaning jewellery with opals requires more conscientious care to avoid scratching or breaking the stone.
Tourmalines are dazzling. This gem comes in an unprecedented number of colours, including multi-colours. From dark pink and red to neon blue, tourmalines are truly gorgeous in their sheer variety of colours, as well as their stunning appearance.
These rainbow-coloured gemstones are fairly tough, ranking from 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. Care should be taken when wearing them, but they are not too delicate for careful daily wear.
Citrine & Topaz: November Birthstones
November features two birthstones: citrine and topaz. While citrine is a more modern option, topaz remains the traditional choice for the month.
When associated with November, topaz is often thought of as gold or yellow. However, these gemstones come in a variety of colours, including brown, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple.
The word “topaz” has been connected to the Sanskrit word tapas, meaning “fire.” It’s also been connected to the Greek word Topazios, which is a name for a small island in the Red Sea.
On the Mohs scale of hardness, topaz is an 8 but it is considered to have a rather poor toughness. While it is still suitable for daily wear, great care is recommended to avoid chipping or cracking this pretty stone.
The modern birthstone for November is citrine. This transparent yellow to brownish orange gemstone is a variety of quartz, maintaining an ancient history in jewellery. While its colour is invariably yellow, it’s a brilliant stone that is both affordable and heavily desired.
Citrines are believed to derive from the French word for “lemon,” which is citron. Traditionally, it’s gifted for a thirteenth wedding anniversary, in addition to being one of November’s stones.
This gemstone has a decent toughness and hardness, measuring at 7 on the Mohs scale. It’s perfect for normal wear. Care should be taken when cleaning to avoid exposing it to steam, as that can cause the stone to crack.
Blue Topaz, Tanzanite & Turquoise: December Birthstones
Last, but not least, December is another month with two birthstones: blue topaz, tanzanite, and turquoise. Turquoise is the traditional choice for the month, leaving blue topaz and tanzanite as its two modern-day options.
Turquoise is a stunning gemstone, ranging in colour from blue to green. This gem is found in a semi-translucent to opaque form and often features veins of matrix, which are the remnants of the rocks in which it formed. The uniqueness of the gemstone provides many opportunities for it to be used in jewellery to increase the beauty of any piece.
On its own, turquoise is a softer gem with a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6. Turquoise can be treated to improve its durability. And, with its beautiful colour, care should be taken when wearing as overexposure to certain chemicals, cosmetics and even skin oils or perspiration can lead to discolouration.
Blue topazes are another option for a December stone. As with yellow or golden topazes for November, blue topazes are brilliant stones and perfect for a number of jewellery pieces.
When pulled from the earth, blue topaz is generally colourless or pale blue. These stones are turned into the vivid greenish-blue gems we love by a two-step heat and radiation laboratory treatment.
Blue topaz is an 8 on Mohs scale of hardness. Considered to have poor toughness, blue topaz is suited for daily wear but we recommend taking a little extra care to avoid chipping or cracking.
A modern birthstone for December, tanzanite was discovered in the 20th century, making it a newer gemstone to hit the market. It’s a relatively rare stone, coming from only one place on earth: the Merelani Hills of northern Tanzania. Named for the region it hails from, tanzanite comes in colours from pure rich blue to violet and is renowned for its deep and saturated colour.
Tanzanite measures 6 to 7 on Mohs scale of hardness. It abrades easily, and may crack if exposed to very high temperatures or sudden temperature changes. As it's a more delicate stone, we recommend setting tanzanite in earrings or pendants to avoid damaging the stone. If desired, a ring can be made from the stone, though we would recommend it is only worn for special occasions.
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