Buying a loved one a pendant, ring, necklace or pair of earrings is a great way to give not just a jewel but something with a deeper meaning.
Birthstones are associated with each month of the year and have been used for thousands of years to bestow good fortune and luck on the wearer. Ancient cultures have long celebrated the innate beauty of these stones. Myths and magic surround them, meaning you are buying something with a long history of deeper resonance.
If you are looking for the perfect, thoughtful gift that will be cherished for many years, or just want to treat yourself, here’s our handy guide to the appearance and inherent properties of each of the birthstones.
January – Garnet
The garnet is found in a wide range of colours, from greens to deep reds. Beloved by the ancient Egyptians and associated with the Angel Gabriel, garnets symbolise eternal friendship and trust. The name ‘garnet’ stems from the Latin word garanatus, or ‘seedlike’, due to the stone’s resemblance to pomegranate seeds.
February – Amethyst
From purple tones to red violets and delicate lilacs, the amethyst is a symbol of balance and protection. It is also associated with feelings of courage and stability, and was believed to relieve headaches, arthritis, insomnia and addictions. Amethyst is a crystalline quartz and is a great stone for people who need a clear head and enhanced critical thinking.
March – Aquamarine
Like the oceans it is named after, the aquamarine stone comes in all shades of blue, from deep to pale and everything in between. Said to bestow protection on sailors, aquamarine is also known as a symbol of youth, health and hope, which are perfect qualities for those born at the beginning of Spring.
March – Bloodstone
Characterised by its unique dark green colour speckled with red spots, bloodstone is also thought to heal the blood. Each stone is a completely individual combination of the mineral hematite and jasper, which gives it its unusual colouration. Bloodstone is associated with vitality, sacrifice and bringing comfort in times of grief or difficulty.
April – Diamond
Not just a girl’s best friend, the diamond is a symbol of eternal love, purity, faith and financial prosperity. Most well-known as a white stone, the diamond actually comes in other colours, from canary yellows to blues and pinks. Diamonds are stunning refractors of light, and were believed by the ancient Greeks to be splinters of stars sprinkled on the Earth. You can’t get much more romantic than that.
May – Emerald
Reflecting the verdant greens of Springtime, cultures across the world have celebrated and loved the emerald for centuries. A symbol of rebirth and love, emeralds are also thought to represent friendship, memory and faithfulness. Their rarity makes them even more desirable and special. They are also thought to heal problems with the eyes and fertility.
June – Pearl
Pearls are famous for their natural beauty and their translucent, ethereal delicacy. For hundreds of years people have given pearls as a sign of love and esteem, and they have adorned the bodies of countless numbers of women who adore their lustre and rarity. Formed inside oyster shells and molluscs, pearls were once thought to be dewdrops from Heaven, which perfectly captures their charm.
June – Alexandrite
A second birthstone for June, alexandrite is a rare stone that’s found in varying tones, from reds to greens. The colours change according to the light, giving them an individuality that makes them an ideal gift for someone special. Unusually, alexandrite was discovered fairly late – in the 19th century – so is more modern than other birthstones.
July – Ruby
The ‘King of Gems’, the ruby is one of the most valuable and difficult to find stones. For people born in July it represents protection, passion, wisdom, good fortune, health and love. So pretty much everything someone could wish for. This stone has a rich history and its popularity and significance endures today.
August – Peridot
With its limey, olive green tones the peridot conjures up Mediterranean summers, and is said to bring good fortune for the year and protect against nightmares. Traditionally, this stone was thought to bestow power and influence on the wearer, and was once considered more valuable than a diamond.
August – Spinel
This birthstone is found in various bright colours, which makes it perfect for a summer-born person as it reflects the abundance and vibrancy of Nature in the summer months. The commonest colour is a luscious red, which has led to it being mistaken for the ruby. It is a symbol of protection from harm and relief from sadness.
September – Sapphire
Much loved but extremely rare, the sapphire comes in rich blue hues as well as a wide range of other colours. It represents loyalty, power and trust, and is thought to protect the wearer against envy (though we can’t guarantee people won’t feel a smidge jealous of your beautiful Sakala birthstone jewellery).
October – Tourmaline
This stone is found in a rainbow of colours, and it is thought that no two stones are the same. So this is the perfect birthstone for an October-born person who is truly one of a kind. Tourmaline is also said to have mood-enhancing properties, to improve circulation and boost the immune system.
October – Opal
A symbol of purity, hope and preciousness the opal is associated with Nature and the realignment of bodily energies. From whites to reds, opals come in different shades, and within the main colour you will find endless and unique combinations of tones and hues that dance with the light.
November – Citrine
For a loved one born in this dark, damp month a citrine stone will bring a pop of honey-coloured warmth and vitality. Said to represent the Egyptian Sun God Ra, citrine captures the heat of the sun in its yellow and orange tones. It is also believed to bring good health, harmony and to balance the emotions. This stone is far less pricey than other birthstones, which means you can plump for bigger stones for the same budget.
December – Zircon
For someone born amidst the swirl of festive holidays and the deep midwinter a zircon birthstone adds a bit more colour to what, in Nature, is a muted time of year. In tones of yellows, blues and reds, zircon is thought to relieve pain and nightmares, and to offer protection. This is one of the oldest minerals on the planet, formed deep in the Earth’s crust.
December – Turquoise
In shades of blues of varying translucency and depth, turquoise is a stunning birthstone. Believed to offer healing and ward off evil, it is also traditionally associated with wealth and good fortune. Turquoise was beloved by many ancient cultures and remains popular today, with its distinct colour and vibrant appearance.
December – Tanzanite
This stone is very versatile and has been used for a wide range of jewellery thanks to its differing shapes and sizes. The purple-blue tones denote richness and opulence commonly associated with royalty. Compared with other birthstones, tanzanite is a recent discovery, only having been mined since the mid twentieth century.