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Birthstones

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HISTORY

The history of birthstones goes back thousands of years, having originated in Biblical times, as is told in the Book of Exodus, with the description of the twelve jewels on the breastplate of Aaron. For each month there is a primary gemstone, and frequently an alternate gemstone that serves as each month’s birthstones. The alternate stone is typically less expensive but similar in color to the primary.

NOT SURE WHICH GEMSTONE IS YOUR BIRTHSTONE? CHECK OUT OUR LIST

BIRTHDAY MONTH

PRIMARY BIRTHSTONE

ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE

January

Garnet

Pink Quartz

February

Amethyst

No Alternate

March

Aquamarine

Bloodstone

April

Diamond

White Topaz

May

Emerald

Chrysoprase

June

Pearl

Moonstone

July

Ruby

Carnelian

August

Peridot

No Alternate

September

Sapphire

Lapis

October

Opal

Tourmaline

November

Topaz

Citrine

December

Turquoise

Blue Topaz


VARIANCE


There is a degree of variance among lists of birthstones. For example, some lists include alexandrite as the birthstone for June and blue zircon for December. We've left these gemstones out of our birthstone section as our jewelry designers don’t traditionally use them in their handcrafted jewelry creations.

THREE BASIC CATEGORIES

Birthstones are often divided into three basic categories. Ornamental stones are colorful or attractive stones that are not really considered “gemstones,” including malachite or hematite. Semi-precious gemstones are stones of moderate value like amethyst and turquoise. Lastly, precious gemstones are the most valuable of all stones such as a ruby and an emerald.

DURABILITY

Birthstones are measured by Moh's scale of hardness. "Hardness" refers to whether you can scratch one material with another. It also gives you a general idea of the stone’s durability. Sometimes a wide range of numbers may be given for one stone as a direct correlation to the different varieties of that gemstone. For example, an almandine garnet has a different hardness level than a grossular garnet because these two gemstones have a different chemical makeup. Moh’s scale of hardness runs from 1 to 10. Use the following base reference points:

  • 1 – Talc
  • 2 – Gypsum
  • 3 – Calcite
  • 4 – Fluorite
  • 5 – Apatite
  • 6 – Orthoclase (Feldspar)
  • 7 – Quartz
  • 8 – Topaz
  • 9 – Corundum (Ruby & Sapphire)
  • 10 – Diamond