Birthstones – Modern and Traditional – Legend and History

Birthstones: Complete Overview

What is a birthstone and what birthstones should I be wearing? Maybe these are questions you have asked yourself.

You can find the answers to all questions you’ve ever had about birthstones below.

If you are interested in the powers and meanings attributed to birthstones take a look at this article: Birthstone Meanings

Birthstones by Month:

January birthstone garnet February birthstone amethyst March birthstone aquamarine April birthstone diamond
January February March April
Garnet Amethyst Aquamarine Diamond

May birthstone emerald June birthstone the pearl June birthstone ruby August birthstone peridot
May June July August
Emerald Pearl Ruby Peridot

September birthstone blue sapphire October birthstone opal November birthstone topaz December birthstone tanzanite
September October November December

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Traditional Birthstones by Month:

Traditional birthstones are the birthstones that were used before 1912, when the modern system of birthstones was introduced. These birthstones are a great alternative if you dislike your modern birthstone or when they are simply too expensive.

 Month  Gemstone(s)
 January  Garnet
 February  Amethyst, Hyacinth (Zircon), Pearl
 March  Bloodstone, Jasper
 April  DiamondBlue sapphire
 May  Emerald, Agate
 June  Cat’s Eye, Turquoise, Agate
 July  Turquoise, Onyx
 August  Sardonyx, Carnelian, MoonstoneTopaz
 September  Chrysolite (Peridot)
 October  Opal, Aquamarine
 November  TopazPearl
 December  BloodstoneRuby


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Zodiac Birthstones by Sign

 Sign  Date Gemstone
 Aquarius  January 21 – February 19  Garnet
 Pisces  February 20 – March 20  Amethyst
 Aries  March 21 – April 20  Bloodstone
 Taurus  April 21 – May 20  Sapphire
 Gemini  May 21 – June 21  Agate
 Cancer  June 22 – July 22  Emerald
 Leo  July 23 – August 23  Onyx
 Virgo  August 24 – September 23  Carnelian
 Libra  September 24 – October 23  Peridot
 Scorpio  October 24 – November 22  Beryl
 Sagittarius  November 23 – December 21  Topaz
 Capricorn  December 22 – January 20  Ruby


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Birthstone Colors by Month:

The list of birthstone colors by month seen below will make it easier to find a replacement for any birthstone. Perhaps a certain birthstone is too expensive, like diamonds and rubies. Or maybe the birthstone simply isn’t your style.

Plenty of alternatives are available though. For example diamonds can be replaced with white topaz. Rubies can be replaced with far cheaper spinels or garnets and they look just as amazing!

This allows you to switch your birthstone, while still keeping the color that people associate with those months.

 Month  Gemstone(s)
 January  Red
 February  Purple
 March  Blue
 April  White (clear)
 May  Green
 June  White
 July  Red
 August  Green
 September  Blue
 October  Multi-color, Pink
 November  Yellow
 December  Blue


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The History of BirthstonesSelection of birthstones

The history of birthstones starts at the breastplate of Aaron containing 12 different gemstones.

These gemstones represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Today they are believed to have formed the basis of the traditional birthstones. Which in turn have had a large influence on the modern system of birthstones.

Though other cultures lay claim to a system of birthstones as well, leading to a varied list of traditional birthstones that one can pick from if they don’t like their modern variants.

It’s likely that they were worn by everyone originally, because it was believed that the powers that gemstones had were higher during their “birthstone month”. Over time this changed to birthstones having more power to people that were born in the same month.

The list of modern birthstones was introduced by the Jewelers of America in 1912, trying to standardize the growing amount of birthstones. This is currently the most widespread system for birthstones in the US and a large number of other countries.

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Should I Only Wear My Birthstone?

People often wonder if they should only wear the gemstones that are their birthstones.

The short answer is: No, feel free to wear a gemstone that is not your birthstone. It is just the traditional gemstone associated with your month.

Some people will only wear their birthstones. Others that do not like their own birthstones, because of their look or price, will wear another gemstone with the same color.

Most people however will just wear the gemstone they enjoy most. Not paying attention at all to birthstone colors, birthstone signs, etc. You will have to find out for yourself what you prefer, tradition or modernity, there is nothing wrong with either of them.

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