Birthstone Guide

Throughout the ages, people have had the desire to adorn themselves with items of beauty and significance, and birthstone jewelry has long been a preferred choice.

Civilizations including the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, Incas and Aztecs strongly believed that gemstones possessed many attributes, including curative powers and even the power to convey the soul to peace in the afterlife. While the value of gemstones is consistent across history, the story of their integration as birthstones is less clear.

Interestingly, there is no definitive source for the assignment of gemstones as individual birthstones by the world's peoples. However, there are a number of legends and lists that document differing groups of birthstones. They include:

  • Mythical birthstones are said to come from the ancient Tibetan culture and date back thousands of years.
  • Biblical birthstones were mentioned in the Bible's Old Testament and suggests that the twelve birthstones can be traced to the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • Ayurvedic birthstones date back to ancient Indian culture and those who believed that specific stones have medicinal effects.
  • Zodiac birthstones have evolved over thousands of years as astrologers have assigned gems of certain colors to the twelve signs of the zodiac. These gems are thought to help people influence the planets in their favor.
  • Modern (traditional) birthstones came into existence 1912, when the American National Association of Jewelers developed the list in an effort to settle on a standard. This list of traditional birthstones is still in use today.

Giving a gift of birthstone jewelry is both thoughtful and meaningful. And birthstone jewelry is perfect for most any occasion. Typically, birthstone jewelry is given on a special birthday, graduation day or even an anniversary. Birthstones are also used in personalized jewelry, including couple's rings, mother's rings and family rings and pendants. Often, a person's birthstone is chosen as the center of their high school or even college class ring.

Clearly, birthstone jewelry continues to be a favorite for a wide range of reasons. It is attractive, meaningful, and offers the potential of positive mental and physical effects. For these and other reasons, consider the gift of birthstone jewelry from Zales.

January - Garnet

As the birthstone for January, the warm, blood-red garnet stands in contrast to this cold month. Garnet is thought to bring friendship, loyalty and sincerity to the wearer, and the stone is said to have the power to ensure good health and protection during travel. Garnet is also thought to regulate the heart and blood flow and aid in curing depression. In earlier times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to ensure that they meet again.

February - Amethyst

Rich and regal, deep purple amethyst is the birthstone for February. It is said that wearing an amethyst keeps one on an even keel. It is thought to bring peace of mind and drive away angry passions and worries. Amethyst has been used as a healing stone for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain. Amethyst is also said to bring the wearer healing, peace, love, spiritual fulfillment, courage, and happiness.

March - Aquamarine

Icy-blue aquamarine, the traditional birthstone for March, is said to provide a sense of youth and hope, like the new spring that comes each year. Since ancient times, aquamarine has been believed to endow the wearer with foresight, courage and happiness. It is thought to increase intelligence. Aquamarine has been used as a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety. Legends say that sailors wore aquamarines to keep them safe during travel and prevent seasickness.

April - Diamond

Diamond is the traditional birthstone for those born in April. Although usually thought of as the jewel of love and power, the diamond is also said to strengthen the body and soul of the wearer. It is also thought to protect their innocence and bring out their very best qualities.

May - Emerald

The bright green emerald honors those born in the greenest month - May. Its color is associated with fertility and joy. Emerald is thought to be able to help tell the future and sharpen the mind. They are also worn to enhance love and contentment.

June - Pearl

Lustrous and lovely, pearl is the traditional birthstone for June. The elegant pearl is said to bestow the qualities of modesty and purity upon its wearer. According to early Chinese legends, pearls fell from the sky when dragons fought. Ancient folklore says that pearls were the tears of the gods and Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss. Pearls are said to bring the power of love, money, protection and luck.

July - Ruby

Rich red ruby is the traditional birthstone for July. A symbol of zeal and passion, it is thought to give its July-born wearer undying vigor, fortune and love. It is also a powerful protector for those surrounded by unfriendly forces.

August - Peridot

Fresh, spring-green peridot is the traditional birthstone for August. Thought to bring about friendships, it is said to help the wearer to steer clear of envy and helps ward off depression and fear. It can also be used to help gain divine inspiration, strengthen the effect of medicine and improve one's speech. Peridot is also said to bring the wearer good luck, peace and success. It is also thought to attract love and calm anger.

September - Sapphire

The cool blue sapphire, the traditional birthstone for September, marks the season's shift from summer to autumn. To those born in this transition month, sapphire is said to help relax and clear the mind. It also protects its owner from fraud, envy and ill health. Sapphire is said to bring the wearer spiritual enlightenment and inner peace.

October - Opal

Elegant and iridescent opal is the traditional birthstone for those born in October. It is complex and colorful, and is said to ensure fidelity and confidence, in addition to sharpening the mind and emotions. Legend says that the opal aids inner beauty, faithfulness and can help the wearer recall past lives. It is especially good for the eyes.

November - Citrine

Warm and cheerful, the golden-yellow citrine is the traditional birthstone for those born in November. Citrine is believed to make the wearer lighthearted and hopeful. Citrine is said to promote creativity, help personal clarity and eliminate self-destructive tendencies.

December - Blue Topaz

In shades ranging from pale to deep, the breathtaking blue topaz is the stunning birthstone for December. Those born in the last month of the year are said to gain a pleasant disposition and patient attitude when wearing blue topaz. It is also a symbol of fidelity and love, and is thought to cure many diseases.