Birthstones (or Birth Stones) are gems that are uniquely suited to people, born at a certain month under a certain zodiac sign. These gems are highly valued in jewelry because of its gorgeous colors, unique history, meaning, mystical & healing properties.
First author, described the mystical properties of colored gems in English (not in Latin) was Thomas Nicols. His book was a first source about the gems, written in modern English. We can use his book as a source of the Birthstone science, because, Nicols was first «modern» (XVII c.) author, who described influence of the precious stones to human health & destiny.
George Frederick Kunz in his book «The Curious Lore of Precious Stones», published in 1913, described these 12 stones as the birthstones for each month. Here is his list, represented below.
List of Birthstones by month
Garnet is a Birthstone for January. The Garnet, as a mineral is a kind of Carbuncle. Its name came to us from Hebrew «אדכ», «Adems», that means «Rubinus» or «Red», because of its color. Ancients believed that the Garnet «does illuminate a heart to contemplate true and divine things».
Amethyst is a Birthstone for February. Chemically, the Amethyst is a most valuable variety of Quartz, which have a violet-blue tint of Purple color. There is also colorless variety of this gem, discovered by German chemist Heintz. The Amethyst is used in jewelry because of its perfect transparency & the beauty of its color.
Aquamarine is a Birthstone for March. The Aquamarine is a precious variety of Beryl with a gorgeous pale-green color. This gem always symbolized for ancients both the Sea & the Sky.
Bloodstone is also Birthstone for march according to medieval sources. The Bloodstone is not transparent gem and it is famous because of its unique impregnation of small «points» with the «color of blood».
Diamond is a Birthstone for April, and it is the most famous gems of all birthstones. It also the hardest of all minerals and precious stones. This gem could be any color, it could be transparent, red, yellow, green, pink, blue and even black.
Emerald is a Birthstone for May and it is famous because of its rarity and its deep green color. It was the lovely gem of the famous medieval author, known as Hermes Trismegistus. Ancients called its tins as a «Spring Color».
Alexandrite, Pearls & Moonstone represent a Birthstones for June, according to different birthstone charts & traditions.
The Alexandrite is rarest of all precious stones and one of the latest. It was discovered only in XIX c. It has a dark-green color, which is very similar to the Emerald. Only noble persons could worn this gem in XIX c.
Ancient sources tell us that the Pearls was discovered before 400 B.C. But the Pearls was used in jewelry already in the Roman era. In the middle ages it was a very rare gem because of big troubles to reach it. But in XIX c., Mr. Mikimoto invented some method to cultivate the Pearls. There are also the black pearls which is much rare than the white one.
The Moonstone is also birthstone for June and it is famous by its strange unclear blue tint inside it. The Moonstone is symbolize the satellite of our Earth.
Ruby is a Birthstone for July. This gem has a deep red-wine color. Some ancient authors compare its color with a color of pigeon’s blood. It is ranks next to the Diamond in its value. Some ancient sources tell us a legends about an «illuminative power» of the Ruby.
Peridot is a Birthstone for August. The Peridot in its own is a variety of Chrysolite or Olivine. Its color is pistachio-green or olive-green and it is famous because of its considerable luster and transparency.
Sapphire is a Birthstone for September. Ancients described its color as a «sky color which is very pleasant for the eye». They described this gem as «cold» and «dry». It has been esteemed of great worth in its mystical properties, according to ancient sources.
Opal & Tourmaline are the Birthstones for October. Both these stones have multiple colors & different tints.
The Opal is very rich of colors and plays them in a daylight. Chemically, the Opal is a precious Carbuncle, which is often using in jewelry. Some varieties of this gem could be yellow as the Topaz or Blue as the Sapphire.
The Tourmaline is famous because it could demonstrates a full rainbow of colors. Its history begins in India. It hardness is equal to the Emerald and it is also often using in rings, earrings, bracelets, charms and other jewelry.
Topaz & Citrine represent us the birthstones for November. These gems have usually Yellow color.
The Topaz is legendary precious stone, described by Pliny the Elder, who gave it its name in the honor of the Greek island, where it was found. But its name, translated from Egyptian signified the «Yellow stone».
The Citrine has also yellow color, as a the Topaz. Chemically it is a variety of Quartz. Any buyer must be very careful, when buying jewelry, because the Citrine is often used to simulate the Topaz. But the true Maderia Citrine is very rare and expensive.
Turquoise, Tanzanite & Zircon represent the birthstones for December.
Thomas Nicols describes the Turquoise as hard, not transparent gem, which represents a sky-blue & apple-green color. He also describes its name as a «Turk Stone» (because of Turkish people, discovered this gem). But Pliny called it the «Boreas».
The Tanzanite is a pretty young precious stone which is used in jewelry only since 1967. It was discovered in Africa (Tanzania) by one of the wild locals. Today it is rare & expensive stone of mostly purple color.
The Zircon has its name from the Persian word «zargun», which means a «gold color». It is not expensive stone which is using in a modern jewelry, mostly, to imitate more expensive precious stones.