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The origin of how birthstones came to be corresponded with certain months of the year is not entirely clear and varies from country to country. However, the most documented correlation comes from Josephus, a 1st century Jewish historian, who believed that there’s a connection between the 12 stones in Aaron’s breastplate that signified the tribes of Israel that were said to symbolize the 12 signs of the zodiac. Actual translations vary, but the birthstones and their place in modern western society can probably be attributed to this historian.
For the purpose of this article and 21st century readers’, all birthstones and the corresponding months of the year will be based on modern theories and classification. Please see below for a full list of months and their associated birthstones. Of all the birthstones listed, ruby gemstones and diamonds are probably the most valuable in a monetary sense, but this does in no way detract from the other gemstones. In modern society, birthstones set in a variety of pieces of jewellery are commonly given as gifts between close friends and family members.
Birthstones by Month
Please note, that the stones and months detailed below vary between cultures and even countries. For the purpose of clarity, the list below corresponds with the 2013 British classification.
- January – Garnet – A beautiful red stone that, if set correctly, can produce a stunning piece of jewellery
- February – Amethyst – Stunning Violet Quartz
- March – Aquamarine and Bloodstone – Aquamarine is semi-precious stone from the Beryl family famous for its sea-blue colour. Bloodstone – Green colour with dots of red that resemble blood
- April – Diamond/Rock Crystal
- May – Emerald/Chrysoprase
- June – Pearl/Moonstone
- July – Ruby/Carnelian
- August – Peridot/Sardonyx
- September – Sapphire/Lapis Lazuli
- October – Opal
- November – Topaz/Citrine
- December – Tanzanite/Turquoise
For those with an interest in birthstones, their history and distribution, a wealth of information can be found on the websites of gem societies and high-end jewellers.
As a Gift
As previously mentioned, pieces of jewellery adorned with recipient’s birthstone make the ideal gift for all, both young and old. Loose gemstones are also an option if they are to be stored safely for children to choose their own jewellery design when they get of an age to do so. Although rings are generally the most popular settings for birthstones, obtaining the correct size from the intended recipient would spoil any element of surprise. Earrings, bracelets and necklaces are probably the best choices when buying as a gift and they are generally sized for all.
The design you choose is a matter of personal taste. If you are buying something as symbolic as this for a loved one, you will probably have a good idea of their personal taste and fashion sense.
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Buying from a Respected Jeweller
Aside from selecting the correct birthstone and the right piece of jewellery, it is also important to buy from a reputable source. Respected jewellers, both online and on the high street will be able to provide you with all the information you need before you buy.