JANUARY - GARNET
If you, like me, are lucky to be born in January, then Garnet is our birthstone. This beautiful stone can be found in a wide range of colours, from greens (for example, Tsavorite), to oranges and most commonly, red. You might notice that the name “Garnet” sounds like the last two syllables of the fruit “pomegranate”. This is because the word “Garnet” is derived from “pomegranate” – given that the deep red colours of some varieties of garnets remind one of the pomegranate’s seeds. Garnet is thought to signify peace, prosperity, good health and eternal happiness. With all these positive symbolisms, garnets are certainly the perfect stones to start off each year!
FEBRUARY - AMETHYST
The pretty Amethyst is the birthstone of February. It is the popular purple variety of quartz. Some cultures associate it with the god of wine, believing that it protects the wearer from getting intoxicated. Hence, some people believe that Amethyst gives power to the wearer and encourages a clear head.
MARCH - AQUAMARINE AND BLOODSTONE
Those born in March can choose from 2 birthstones – Aquamarine and Bloodstone. Aquamarine is the blue to greenish blue variety of the mineral beryl (which is the group that Emerald comes from). Its name is derived from two Latin words: aqua, which means “water,” and marina, which refers to the sea. It is believed to represent unity. The alternative birthstone for March is Bloodstone.
APRIL - DIAMOND The lucky individuals born in April have the Diamond as their birthstone. As the hardest of all gemstones, Diamonds form deep within the earth and take up to billions of years to form. With this patient formation, it is no wonder diamonds symbolise endurance. Indeed, Diamonds are a girl’s (or a boy’s) best friend!
MAY - EMERALD
Valued for its brilliant and beautiful green color, the Emerald can often be found adorning the wealthy and in elaborate jewellery. Emeralds are part of the family of beryls and are extremely valuable gemstones. They are thought to have healing properties, particularly relating to the eyes.
JUNE – PEARL, ALEXANDRITE AND MOONSTONE
If you are lucky enough to be born in June, you have three birthstones to choose from -Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone. Unlike most other gemstones, Pearls form in the soft tissue of either a living oyster or mussel. Natural Pearls are rare nowadays, with a large proportion of Pearls now being cultured by inserting an irritant bead into the oyster or mussel and letting the oyster or mussel coat the bead with nacre. Some believe that Pearls bring their wearer clarity to the mind and are universally associated with purity. Alexandrite is an expensive colour-changing gemstone. Moonstone, whilst relatively affordable and abundant, is beautiful and desirable, especially due to its adularesence or sheen.
JULY - RUBY
The beautiful red Ruby is the birthstone the July baby. It is the red variety of the mineral corundum. If corundum is any colour other than red, it is called a sapphire. Some of the most beautiful rubies are found in the Mogok region of Myanmar, and gemstones from this region often command a premium over those formed elsewhere, especially those of the “pigeon blood” colour. Rubies are often referred to as the king of gems and are said to bring love and success.
AUGUST – SARDONYX, PERIDOT AND SPINEL
Like the lucky June babies, August folks have 3 gemstones to choose from - Sardonyx, Peridot and Spinel. The lovely olive coloured Peridot is believed to bring purity to the wearer, whilst the colourful family of stunning Spinels is believed to promote health. Sardonyx – which is a combination of reddish and white alternating layers, is made up of 2 related minerals – sard and onyx. It is believed that Sardonyx represents bravery and joy, and protects against evil.
SEPTEMBER - SAPPHIRE
September’s birthstone is the Corundum variety called Sapphire. It comes in a rainbow of colours, ranging from yellow, orange, pink and the prized cornflour blue. The exception to this wide range of colours is red, as once it is red, it then becomes a Ruby. Sapphires are thought to represent integrity and loyalty.
OCTOBER – TOURMALINE AND OPAL
The two birthstone of October are Tourmaline and Opal. Opal may exhibit a spectrum of colors called play-of-color and Australia is a major source of such fine Opals. Another popular variety of Opal is the Fire Opal, usually orange or red in colour. Opal represents hope. Tourmaline comes in many different colours, depending on the trace elements within it. Some even come in more than one colour within the same gem. When the gem contains both red and green – it is often referred to as “Watermelon Tourmaline”. One of the most expensive varieties of Tourmaline is the Paraiba Touraline from Paraiba, Brazil. Given its electrifying and vivid bluish green hue, each carat of Paraiba Tourmaline can easily run into thousands of US dollars. Wearing Tourmaline is believed to bring strength.
NOVEMBER – CITRINE AND TOPAZ
The birthstones for November are Citrine and Topaz. They are fairly abundant and easily available in large sizes. Citrine is the golden variety of quartz. Most Citrine is produced by heating Amethyst. Topaz comes in several colours, including golden, blue and pink. Regardless of the color, Citrine and Topaz symbolize love and are believed to bring strength when worn.
DECEMBER – TURQUOISE, TANZANITE AND ZIRCON
The first birthstone of December is Turquoise. Its blue green colour comes from copper. Turquoise is sensitive to direct sunlight and chemicals like perfumes, creams and perspiration, hence requiring care when stored and worn. Do be careful when buying turquoise as there are many other stones which either naturally or through treatments resemble Turquoise. Turquoise is thought to bring peace. Tanzanite, as its name suggests, was first found in Tanzania, which remains the world’s only known source. It has a lovely purplish or violetish blue colour and is said to promote balance. Although the colour most associated with Tanzanite is blue or violet or shades of these, the majority of Tanzanites available in the market are heat treated to remove the greenish or brownish colours found natural in most Tanzanite rough. The third birthstone for December is Zircon which can be found on the market in various colours, including colourless, blue, and brown. Unfortunately, it is often confused with the cubic zirconia due to the similarity in name. However, it is a natural mineral.
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Sources- GIA/ AGS AND AGTA