Birthstones & Gemstones
The Birthstone Poem – Released in 1889
By her who in this month is born,
No gems save Garnets should be worn;
They will insure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.
The February born will find
Sincerity and peace of mind;
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they the Amethyst will wear.
Who in this world of ours their eyes
In March first open shall be wise;
In days of peril firm and brave,
And wear a Bloodstone to their grave.
She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone,
Emblem of innocence is known.
Who first beholds the light of day
In Spring’s sweet, flower month of May
And wears an Emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and a loving wife.
Who comes with Summer to this earth
And owes to June her day of birth,
With ring of Agate on her hand,
Can health, wealth and long life command.
The glowing Ruby should adorn
Those who in warm July are born,
Then will they be exempt and free
From love’s doubt and anxiety.
Wear a Sardonyx of for thee
No conjugal felicity.
The August-born without this stone
‘Tis said must live unloved and lone.
A maiden born when autumn leaves
Are rustling in September’s breeze,
A Sapphire on her brow should bind,
‘Twill cure diseases of the mind.
October’s child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know;
But lay an Opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.
Who first comes to this world below
With drear November’s fog and snow
Should prize the Topaz‘ amber hue —
Emblem of friends and lovers true.
If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a Turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate’er you do.
– Gregorian birthstone poem printed in Notes and Queries, May 11, 1889.
The word garnet is derived from the Latin word granatus meaning “grain” or “seed”. Legend says that Noah hung a large garnet in the ark for illumination. It is believed that the garnet gives the wearer guidance in the night and protection from nightmares. According to the ancient Egyptians, it is an anecdote for snakes bites and food poisoning. Garnet jewelry has been dated all the way back to the bronze age. Anyone who is subject to depression should carry a garnet with them as it encourages joy, willpower and hope while its beautiful fiery red color drives away tiredness and stimulates the imagination.
It is 7 to 7.5 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. The garnet is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the second year of marriage. Garnets are found in the U.S., Africa, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil, Australia and India. A gift of a garnet is symbolic of love and the desire for a loved ones safe travel and speedy homecoming.
The word amethyst comes from the Greek word amethystos meaning “sober”. It is a variety of quartz and comes in many shades of purple. The amethyst was once considered more valuable than diamonds. It is a very abundant gemstone and is available in many different shapes and sizes. The ancient Greeks believed that it had magical and medicinal properties. It’s said to prevent baldness, improve the complexion and protect from treason and deceit. If an amethyst is worn it will alleviate migraines and help to improve concentration. This stone also has a soothing and relaxing effect and promotes healthy sleep. It is also a symbol of peace, protection and tranquility. Amethysts are also used to treat swelling, insect bites and acne. It is found in Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Western Australia and Morocco. The amethyst is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 6th year of marriage.
The word aquamarine is derived from the word aqua meaning “water” and maris meaning “sea”. This gem comes in several shades of blue ranging from blue-green to a light sky blue. Aquamarine is a 7.5 to 8 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. It is a member of the beryl family and is readily available in many different shapes and sizes.
It is said to protect against sea sickness, protect against dangers at sea and is thought to originate from a mermaids jewelry box. Aquamarine is also believed to bring wisdom, success, true love, peace, and popularity to those who wear it. It is believed to reawaken tired marriages and symbolizes safety and security. Aquamarine has long been believed to be a curer of problems with the vocal cords, speech and problems with the thyroid gland.
Aquamarine is found mainly in Brazil, but is also located in China, India, USA, Australia, and Africa. It was adopted as the Colorado state gemstone in 1971 and is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 19th year of marriage.
The name diamond is of Latin origin meaning “invincible.” Diamond’s are composed of very densly packed carbon atoms and are the hardest substance on Earth. Diamonds are either colorless or can be red, yellow, brown, black, green, blue, pink or violet. Yellow is the most common fancy color and pink is the most rare. A diamond gets its blue color from the presence of boron.
When a diamond is not “gem quality” it is used in manufacturing and industry. The value of a diamond largely depends upon how skillfully and well it is cut. Diamond’s value is measured based on cut, color, clarity and carat weight. (4c’s)
A gift of a diamond is symbolic of everlasting love and is the official stone for the 60th wedding anniversary. It symbolizes wisdom, enlightenment, purity and clarity. It provides protection, preserves peace and gives the wearer power. The diamond encourages self-confidence and a desire for independence while counteracting jealousy.
The emerald has been revered as one of the most popular and valued gemstones throughout history. With it’s deep green color, caused by traces of chromium, many people associate it with a lush green garden in full bloom. Emeralds have many inclusions which the French call “jardin” meaning garden because of their resemblance to foliage.
Emeralds are a 7.5-8 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, and they are very difficult to cut because they are quite brittle and have inclusions that cause the stone to easily crack or chip. Emeralds grow very slowly within metamorphic rocks and are usually restricted in size by the rock, making large emeralds very costly and rare. The most prized emerald specimens come from a mine in Columbia but they are also found in Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Nigeria an Russia.
An emerald is believed to promote mental growth, perceptiveness and be effective against headaches. It symbolizes hope, development and maturity. It is supposed to bring luck and success as well as power. They were once considered to be an antidote to poison in India. The Egyptians used to leave these beautiful stones, engraved with the symbol of the leaf, in the tombs with their dead. The ancient Romans associated this precious gem with fertility and rebirth, and dedicated it to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
The emerald is the traditional gift for the 55th wedding anniversary but it also used as a 20th and 35th wedding anniversary stone.
The pearl forms when an irritant, such as a small parasite or a grain of sand, lodges in the flesh of an oyster, mussel or clam. Because of this irritant, a substance called “nacre” starts to form around it. Over several years, the layers of nacre start to build up around the irritant creating a beautiful pearl. Not all pearls are made in nature (called freshwater pearls), laboratories began a process of their own to make pearls by placing a piece of shell or bead in the clam to stimulate the production of nacre (called cultured pearls). Natural pearls are found in the Persian Golf as well as in the waters off Japan, Australia, Panama, Venezuela and California. They come in a variety of colors including pure white, pink, yellow, gray and black. They also come in many different shapes and sizes.
The pearl is the symbol of woman’s perfect beauty. It is believed that chronic headaches and migrains can be alleviated or completely cured by wearing a pearl necklace directly on the skin. Pearls also reduce allergies. A pearl necklace is believed to warn sensitive people of imminent disaster. Psychologically, pearl promote wisdom and committment well into old age. They are considerd to be a symbol of purity and are often given to celebrate a marriage or the birth of a child. The pearl is the accepted gemstone for the 30th wedding anniversary.
June also has 2 alternative birthstones: the first is Moonstone. It varies in color from clear to blue-white or peach. It was considered by ancient civilizations to be a sacred stone, bestowing the wearer with great spiritual understanding. A gift of the stone is symbolic of health and longevity. The second is Alexandrite, a yellowish or brownish green colored stone. It is symbolic of joy and good fortune.
The word ruby is derived from the Latin word rebeus meaning “red”. The ruby is among the most highly prized of gems throughout history. It is said that it combines Eros, sensual love, and Agape, spiritual love, and is therefore divine love in crystalized form. Rubies were thought to represent heat and power. Ancient tribes used the gem as bullets for blowguns, and it was said that a pot of water would boil instantly if a ruby was tossed into it. When the crystal is ground into a powder, it is placed on the tongue as used as a cure for indigestion.
Ruby is a member of the corundum family. Sapphires and rubies are exactly the same stone, with the only difference being in the color. Ruby is only red and ranges in hue from orangey red to a purplish red. Large rubies are very rare and very beautiful.
They are a 9 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale and are heavier than a diamond. The most beautiful rubies are thought to be from Burma, but they can also be found in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It has been said that ruby’s red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extingushed, making a gift of this stone a symbol of everlasting love. It is said if it worn on the left hand, that the stone will bring good fortune to its wearer. Rubies are the wedding anniversary stone for the 40th wedding anniversary year.
Peridot comes from the Arabic word faridat meaning gem. It is formed as a result of volcanic activity and is mainly found in places where pressure and heat are abundant like volcanic rock and the mantle of the Earth. Several years ago, native Hawaiians discovered peridot crystals in the black sands of Hawaii, explaining their presence as tears shed by Pele, the volcano goddess. Throughout history, the peridot has been used as a means ro connect with nature.
It has been said that the perodot glowed with light even after it was dark outside. That’s why miners were said to have hunted for these gems at night, marking their location, then returning the next day to retrieve them. Because of this mining technique, the peridot has been given the nickname “evening emerald.”
Peridot ranges in color from light yellowish green to a dark olive. The Egyptians began mining this stone in the early 1500’s. Today it is found in Burma, Norway, Brazil, Australia, Hawaii, The Congo and in Arizona. It is a 6.5-7 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. houses the largest known cut peridot, a whopping 310 carat gem.
Back in the day, peridot was ground into a powder and used as a remedy for asthma and as a cure for thirst that was brought on by fever. It is believed to protect against evil and negativity. It is used as a whole body tonic and also to channel spirits. Wearing peridot was thought to bring peace and provide protection against nightmares.
A gift of peridot is symbolic of vitality. It signifies strength, both individual and within a relationship, as well as the promise of new growth in years ahead. Peridot is the official gemstone for the 16th wedding anniversary.
Sardonyx is the alternate birthstone for August It is a type of translucent or opaque quartz with alternating parallel bands of brownish red and white. It is mined in India, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Brazil and Uraguay. A gift of this stone is considered symbolic of happiness within a relationship.
Sapphire comes from the Greek word “sapphirus” meaning blue. It is a very hard stone, with a ranking of 9 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. The sapphire is a variety of the mineral Corundum, which is found in every color of the rainbow. Red corundum is considered a ruby, with all other colors being classified as sapphire and blue being the most prized color. Sapphires are found in Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Myanmar, Thailand, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China and Madagascar.
Sapphires have been a long time favorite among priests and kings, who consider them symbolic of wisdom and purity. It was once believed the world was set up on an enormous sapphire that painted the whole sky blue with its reflection. When ground into a powder, it is believed to cure colic, rheumatism and mental illness and strengthen eyesight. When a sapphire amulet is worn, it is said to be protective against envy and poisoning.
A gift of sapphire represents sincerity, peace and faithfulness. It is the recommended gemstone for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
The word opal comes from the Latin word “opalus” meaning precious jewel. It was called “Cupid Paederos” by the Romans, meaning a child beautiful as love. In mythology, the gods saw it as the embodiment of the beauty of all precious stones. Opals were said to be the tears of joy shed by Zeus when he conquered the Titans.
The opal dates back to prehistoric times. It is non-crystallized silica, which is a mineral found near the earth’s surface in areas where geothermal hot springs existed. As the hot springs dried up, layers of silica combined with water, were deposited into the bedrock cracks forming opal. Opals contain up to 30% water, so it is very important to protect it from heat and harsh chemicals. With a ranking of only 5.5 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, opal is very soft and can break easily so it must be protected from sharp blows.
There are 4 types of precious opals: white (also known as light opals), fire, water and black opals. White are the most common and the black opals are the most rare.
Opals were believed to ward off nightmares and protect the eyesight. They were set into crowns and worn in necklaces to ward off evil. It has a beneficial effect on the psyche, healing broken hearts and restoring inner harmony. Opal is believed to provide foresight and prophecy.
The opal is the national gemstone of Australia and the suggested stone for the 14th wedding anniversary. A gift of opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence.