January – Garnet
Garnet signified eternal friendship and trust, and is a perfect gift for a friend. The word garnet is derived from the word granatum, meaning seed, and is called so for its resemblance to a pomegranate seed. Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that are found in a rainbow of colors, ranging from the deep red of the pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of tsavorites.
February – Amethyst
Amethyst was believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus. It also was said to keep the wearer of amethyst clear-headed and quick-witted. Throughout history, Amethyst has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. English regalia were often decorated with amethyst to symbolize royalty. The gemstone is purple quartz, a blend of violet and red that can be found all across the globe.
March – Aquamarine and Bloodstone
The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, symbolizing the sea. Legend says that Neptune, the King of the Sea, gave aquamarine as gifts to the mermaids, and from then on, it has brought love to all who have owned it. It was also believed to protect sailors and guarantee a safe voyage. The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded, making it a good anniversary gift for married couples. The gemstone is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; however the color is usually larger in stones.
Bloodstone, the second birthstone for March, is dark-green jasper flecked with vivid red spots of iron oxide. This ancient stone was believed to have healing powers, especially for blood disorders. It is sometimes called the martyr’s stone as legend tells that it was created when drops of Christ’s blood stained some jasper at the foot of the cross.
April – Diamond
Diamonds are the ideal gift for a loved one. From the Greek, adamas, for unbreakable or unconquerable, the diamond is known to be one of the earth’s most enduring and hardest substances. When cut and polished to excellence, a diamond enchantingly reflects a sparkling and alluring light that will by definition last forever. Now, the ultimate gift of beauty is available in more choices than ever. Fancy-colored diamonds are natural, rare, and truly exotic gems of the earth. Diamonds in hues of yellow, red, pink, blue and green range in intensity from faint to vivid. Generally, the more saturated the color, the higher the value. As fancy-color diamonds are very desirable, color is sometimes introduced in a laboratory. These are called color-treated diamonds. When purchasing a fancy-color diamond, be sure to ask if any enhancements or treatments were used to improve its color and/or clarity.
May – Emerald
The emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Emerald, derived from the Greek word smaragdus, meaning green. The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly.
June – Pearl, Alexandrite, & Moonstone
Pearls have been treasured for their lustrous, creamy texture and subtle iridescent reflections since the dawn of humankind. Historically, pearls have been used as an adornment for centuries. They were one of the favorite gem materials of the Roman Empire, later in Tudor England, the 1500’s were known as the pearl age. Pearls are unique as they are the only gems that come from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty. The first successful commercial culturing of round saltwater pearls began in the early 1900s. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.
Alexandrite First discovered in Russia in 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II, Alexandrite is an extremely rare chrysoberyl with chameleon-like characteristics. If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you’ll love alexandrite, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in lamplight, it is a red gem, with a warm raspberry tone. You can watch it flick back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light. Moonstone Named by Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s appearance altered with the phases of the moon. Moonstones show a floating play of light and sometimes show either a multi-rayed star or a cat’s eye. Considered a sacred stone in India, this gemstone is believed to encapsulate a spirit whose purpose is to bring good fortune. Moonstone can be found in a variety of colors including green, blue, peach, and champagne.
July – Ruby
Celebrated in the Bible and in ancient Sanskrit writings as the most precious of all gemstones, rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. There’s no better way to demonstrate your love than by giving a ruby in celebration of a July birthday. Rubies are said to arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and guarantee health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love. Members of the gem species corundum, ruby is harder than any other natural gemstone, with the exception of diamond, and therefore is durable enough for everyday wear. The color of the gem is most important to its value; therefore fine-quality ruby is extremely rare. The most desired color is a medium or medium dark vivid red or slightly purplish red. If the gem is too light of has too much purple or orange, it will be considered a fancy-color sapphire.
August – Peridot
This gemstone is believed to host magical powers and healing properties to bring the wearer power, influence, and a good year, as well as protect against nightmares. As peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and is brought to the surface by volcanoes in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. Peridot comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but the most desirable bright lime green and olive greens.
September – Sapphire
The ancient Persian rulers believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire and its reflection colored the heavens blue. Medieval clergy wore sapphires to symbolize heaven, while commoners thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings. Blue sapphires can range from light to very dark greenish or violetish blue, as well as various shades of pure blue. The most desired colors are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violetish blue. Sapphire, like Ruby, is a variety of the gem species corundum, both known to be one of nature’s most durable stones. It can be found in all colors of the rainbow. Pink, purple, green, orange, or yellow corundum are known by their color (pink sapphire, orange sapphire, etc). Ruby is the red variety of corundum.
October – Tourmaline and Opal
Tourmaline has become a popular gemstone among jewelry aficionados as it is available in a wide variety of colors, it can be ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly desirable. The watermelon tourmaline for example, features green, pink and white color bands to resemble its namesake, and cut into thin slices with a pink center, white ring and green edge.
Revered as a symbol of hope, fidelity, and purity, opal was dubbed the Queen of Gems by the ancient Romans because it encompassed the colors of all other gems. The name opal derives from the Greek opallos, meaning, “to see a change (of color).” Opals are found in a range of color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. The beauty of an opal is the contrasting product between the background and its color play. Opal, with or without enhancement, should be treated with some care. Opal is softer than many other gemstones and should be stored carefully to avoid being scratched by other jewelry. It should also be protected from blows, as exposed corners can chip. Opal should not be exposed to heat or acid.
November – Topaz and Citrine
The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the sun god. Legend has it that topaz dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight. The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz is found in a rich rainbow of colors. Often confused with citrine quartz (yellow) and smoky quartz (brown), topaz and quartz are separate and unrelated minerals species. Topaz comes in yellow, pink, purple, orange, and many popular blue tones. The most desired color of topaz is called Imperial topaz after the Russian Czar of the 1800s and features a magnificent orange body color with pinkish undertones.
Named from the French word for lemon, “citron” since citrine has a juicy lemon color. Citrine is known as the “healing quartz.” This golden gemstone is said to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. Citrine can be found in a variety of shades ranging from pastel yellow to dark brownish orange. It is one of the most affordable of gemstones and plentiful in nature.
December – Blue Zircon, Tanzanite and Turquoise
In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honor and wisdom in its owner. The fiery, brilliance of zircon can rival any gemstone. The affordability of its vibrant greens, sky blues, and pleasing earth tones contributes to its growing popularity today. Because it can be colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colors in between, it is a popular gem for connoisseurs who collect different colors or zircon from different localities.
Tanzanite exhibits an exotic vivid blue, kissed by purple hues for which the gemstone is treasured. Colors range from blue to purple, for which it is often heat-treated to achieve. The most desirable tanzanites are medium dark in tone, vivid in saturation, and slightly violet blue. Tanzanite has the beauty, rarity and durability to rival any gemstone. It is the ultimate prize of a gemstone safari. Tanzanite is mined only in Tanzania at the feet of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.
From the French expression Pierre tourques, or Turkish stone, Turquoise originated in the thirteenth century and is known to be one of the oldest known gemstones. This robin egg blue hued gemstone has been attributed with healing powers, promoting the wearer’s status and wealth, protection from evil and brings good luck. Turquoise is found ranging from greenish blue, to robin’s egg blue, and to sky blue. Its transparency ranges from translucent to opaque. Often this gemstone is used for beads, cabochons, carvings, and inlays. Its popularity fluctuates in fashion, however is a withstanding favorite in the American Southwest.