Birthstones (or Birth Stones) are the precious stones that are uniquely fit to the month of birth of people, who were born at a certain time under a certain zodiac sign. These gems have its value in jewelry because of its gorgeous colors, unique history, meaning, mystical & healing properties.
The first author, who described the mystical properties of the gems in English (not in Latin) was Thomas Nicols. His book was the first source about the gems, written in modern English. We can use his book as the source of the Birthstone science, because, Nicols was the firs «modern» (XVII c.) author, who described the influence of the precious stones to the health, the destiny and to the character of man.
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 the Birthstone for January. Garnet, as a mineral–is a kind of Carbuncle. Its name came to us from the Hebrew «אדכ», «Adems», that means «Rubinus» or «Red», because of its color. Ancients believed that Garnet «does illuminate the heart to contemplate true and divine things».
Amethyst is the Birthstone for February. Chemically, Amethyst is the 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. Amethyst is used in jewelry because of its perfect transparency & the beauty of its color.
Aquamarine is the Birthstone for March. Aquamarine is a precious variety of Beryl with a gorgeous pale-green color. This gem always symbolized the Sea & the Sky both for the ancients.
Bloodstone is also the Birthstone for march according medieval sources. Bloodstone is a not transparent gem and it’s famous because of unique impregnation of small «points» with the «color of blood».
Diamond is the 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 of colors, it could be transparent, red, yellow, green, pink, blue and even black.
Emerald is the Birthstone for May and it is famous because of its rarity and the 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 are represent the Birthstones for June, according to different birthstone charts & traditions.
Alexandrite is the rarest of 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 Emerald. Only noble persons could worn this gem in XIX c.
Ancient sources tell us that Pearls was discovered before 400 B.C. But Pearls was used in jewelry already in Roman era. In the middle ages it was a very rare gem because of troubles to get it. But in XIX c., Mr. Mikimoto invented the method to cultivate 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 the stone. Moonstone is symbolize the satellite of our Earth.
Ruby is the Birthstone for July. This gem has a deep red-wine color. Some ancient authors compare its color as a color of pigeon’s blood. It is ranks next to the Diamond in its value. Some ancient sources tell us the legends about an «illuminative power» of the Ruby.
Peridot is the Birthstone for August. Peridot in its own is the 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 the Birthstone for September. Ancients described its color as a «sky color which is very pleasant for the eye». The ancients associated this gem as «cold» and «dry». It has been esteemed of great worth in its mystical properties, according to the ancient sources.
Opal & Tourmaline are symbolize the Birthstones for October. Both these stones have multiple of colors & different tints.
Opal is very rich of colors and plays of it in a daylight. Chemically, Opal is a precious Carbuncle, which often using in jewelry. Some varieties of Opal could be yellow as Topaz or Blue as Sapphire.
Tourmaline is famous because it could demonstrate a full rainbow of colors. Its history begins in India. It hardness is equal to Emerald and it is also often using in the rings, earrings, bracelets, charms and other jewelry.
Topaz & Citrine are represents the birthstones for November. These gems has usually Yellow color.
Topaz is the 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 a «Yellow stone».
Citrine has also yellow color, as a Topaz. Chemically is is a variety of Quartz. The buyer must be very careful, when buying jewelry, because Citrine is often used to simulate Topaz. But true Maderia Citrine is very rare and expensive.
Turquoise, Tanzanite & Zircon represent the birthstones for December.
Thomas Nicols describes Turquoise as hard, not transparent gem, which represents a sky-blue & apple-green color. He also describes its name as a «Turk Stone» (of Turkish people, discovered this gem). But Pliny called it «Boreas».
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.
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.