What is a birthstone?
Birthstones are gems that are associated to a birth month, with each stone holding a unique meaning and significance. They are commonly seen as coloured gemstones within birthstone pieces such as necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. These jewellery pieces are typically given as presents, enabling their wearer to celebrate their birth month all year long. They are a great and sentimental way of honouring an important date and are an opportunity to give a loved one a personalised, meaningful gift.
Though they date back to ancient times, birthstones have become a popular part of modern society and a widely spread belief is that wearing your birthstone is a symbol of wellness. They bring good luck, health and protection. As well as each birthstone having their own connotations, they also each have a fascinating and rich history, symbolising various characteristics that hold true to their wearer.
What is the origin of birthstones?
Some historians attribute the origin of birthstones to biblical times, linking them to the twelve gemstones of the breastplate of Aaron. Though their creation may be linked to this, birthstones are a relatively modern trend. The traditional list of birthstones for each month was established between the 16th and 18th Century, where it became a common occurrence for women to wear the stone that corresponded to their month of birth, as well as for these pieces to be gifted to loved ones. Since the original list was formed, there have been some minor modifications. Generally though, the list has remained relatively unchanged, in keeping with the rich history of these stones.
What are the birthstones and their meanings?
As previously mentioned, birthstones are thought to improve the health and well-being of people born in their respective months. The gemstone’s symbolic qualities are also linked to their colour, becoming unique and personal to their wearer. Whilst some stones have one specific meaning, others have multiple, leaving themselves open for interpretation.
January - Garnet
Garnet is derived from the Latin term ‘granatus’, which means ‘seed’, as the stone resembles the dark red colour of a pomegranate seed. Though Garnets are typically known as a red gem, they can come in many colours, such as orange, green, black, and honey brown. Their exquisite colouring symbolises faith, love and courage. January’s birthstone connotes protection, and keeps it's wearer safe during travel.
February - Amethyst
As members of the quartz family, Amethysts are prized for their intense, deep violet colour and mesmerising crystal structure. Amethysts have been used within jewellery pieces since Ancient Egypt and remain very popular today. The February gemstone represents passion, hope and royalty. In fact, at one time, only royalty could wear this stone. It is also believed to strengthen relationships and give its wearer courage, calming the spirit and giving clear focus to those within this birth month.
March - Aquamarine
Aquamarine's are highly sought after due to their beautiful blue or cyan colour and flawless crystal structure. They promote serenity, boosting love, youth, good health and overall happiness. Early sailors used aquamarines to protect them against dangers whilst out at sea and to clearly remember their loved ones whenever they were away. Aquamarines also inspire harmony within marriage, making these pieces perfect gifts, especially for a bride’s, ‘something blue’.
April - Diamond
Those lucky enough to be born in April have Diamonds as their birthstone. This colourless stone is the strongest natural substance on earth so it is not surprising to hear it brings clarity and resilience to the wearer. It's name is derived from the Greek word 'adamas' meaning 'invincible'. In addition to being a symbol of everlasting love, diamonds are also thought to bring courage. Learn more about the Diamond 4C's and the Diamond Shapes, as well as overall Diamond Education at Deacons Jewellers!
May - Emerald
Emerald is a dark green, rich stone that promotes fertility, rebirth and love. It's beautiful, green colour inspires thoughts of Spring-time and renewal, signifying growth, patience and hope. Their association with Venus, the Greek Goddess of love and beauty, is a unique amongst the birthstones and is yet another reason as to why the stone is treasured by so many.
June - Pearl
Pearls stand out amongst the 'birthstones' as they are not technically stones at all. They are actually a mineral and protein compound, created within mollusks. Their off-white, iridescent hue denotes their symbols of purity, innocence and modesty. Some also believe that pearls can protect against nervous and anxious thoughts as well as diffusing any anger. Pearls are often gifted at weddings due to their purity and historic tales of creating strong bonds between two people. Discover more about pearl jewellery for brides.
July - Ruby
Rubies are known for their deep and rich red colours. This blood red colouring comes from the mineral Chromium that is present in the ruby and is said to promote vitality and physical strength. They also have a variety of undertones such as pink, orange, purple and brown. Many believe that rubies protect their wearer from evil, as well as signifying beautiful qualities like love and passion.
August - Peridot
Peridot’s are renowned for their ethereal, olive green colour that gives off a green glow at night. This ability to glow glow led to the belief that they will protect their wearer from nightmares. The Peridot also symbolises strength, and is the epitome of timeless beauty.
September - Sapphire
A Sapphire's most common form is blue and it is a favourite for rings, earrings, pendants and bracelets. Despite this, coloured sapphires are increasingly popular and come in any colour other than red. This is because when its mineral, Corundum, is red, the stone is classed as a Ruby. The Sapphire brings wisdom and success to all who wear it and when in Royalty, they signify holiness, which is of course an important image for the head of the church.
October - Opal
Symbolising faithfulness and confidence, Opals display a wide array of brilliant colours. Opals simultaneously diffract light and display all of the colours of the rainbow. Due to all these colours being held within one stone, Opals bring good luck to their wearer as each and every gemstone is represented within an Opal's colour range. Our range of opal jewellery at our Deacons Swindon store includes black and fire opal stones for those of you looking for something a little more unusual.
As one of the rarest varieties of Quartz found in nature, Topaz brings success and prosperity to those born in November, protecting them from negative influences by improving intellect. Citrine complements the Autumnal tones with its shades of brown, orange and yellow. It has also become the second most popular variety of Quartz in jewellery.
Topaz is one of the most popular coloured stones, and is high on the Mohs scale. It is associated with soothing, healing and rejuvenating, also known as the gemstone of good fortune and love. Topaz used to be predominantly available as a golden yellow stone but in recent years, it's stunning pale blue variety has come to the fore.
December - Turquoise
As a gemstone, Turquoise has been highly valued for thousands of years. Turquoise is regarded as a love charm and promotes the values of friendship. It is also believed to relax the mind with it's calming opaque, blue and green colouring connoting to this.
Coloured Gemstone Jewellery at Deacons
Deacons stock a wide range of coloured gemstone jewellery that you can wear as birthstone piece's, occasion wear, or even to complement an existing jewellery collection.
Although diamonds are an obvious choice for engagement rings, other gemstones are also favoured by some, maybe as a colour preference or for other sentimental reasons. A beautiful example is Princess Diana's sapphire engagement ring. Its unmatched blue hue stunned the world and is still talked about to this day, now beautifully worn by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge!
Browse coloured stone jewellery at Deacons today and find the perfect piece. Our bespoke jewellery service also offers an opportunity to either remodel an existing coloured stone jewellery piece or to create a design especially for you!