Searching for the perfect gift for her (or him, or them) and not sure where to start? Birthstone jewelry is personal and can be selected (or even custom-made) to match any of the strong personalities in your life. Whether you’re looking for the perfect anniversary gift, birthday present or sercy for any occasion, this guide can point you to the gemstone gift that is sure to delight.
January – Garnet
The birthstone for January is garnet. The different types of garnet range between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that this birthstone is more susceptible to damage than rubies, sapphires and diamonds, while still being a great gemstone for earrings, necklaces, and even rings not worn every day. While garnet is typically thought of as red, it’s actually a group of several minerals, each with their own colors:
- Pyrope and almandine range from purple to red.
- Spessartine is found in exciting oranges and yellows.
- Andradite is mostly yellow to green (the gem variety known as demantoid).
- Grossular may have the widest range, from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and orangy red, as well as a strong vibrant green called tsavorite.
Bump up the surprise factor for a January birthday with a gift of garnet that is not red.
February – Amethyst
February’s birthstone is amethyst, whose name is derived from the Greek “amethystos”, which means “a remedy against drunkenness” (a benefit long ascribed to the purple birthstone.) Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means that it is appropriate for daily use in rings and other jewelry, but over time will show wear and require re-polishing. Amethyst is not only a birthstone, but also the gem traditionally given as a 6th wedding anniversary gift.
March – Aquamarine
The perfect gemstone gift for a March birthday is aquamarine whose name comes from the Latin for seawater, referencing its vibrant blue color. Ancient mariners also claimed the gem would calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. Aquamarine is the name for the mineral blue Beryl; though Beryl can also be found in other colors such as yellow, green and pink (pink beryl is called Morganite.) With a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale, aquamarine is durable enough for everyday wear and caring for an aquamarine gemstone gift is relatively easy. Aquamarine is also historically given as a present to celebrate a 19th wedding anniversary.
April – Diamond
Diamond is the birthstone for April. At a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, diamond is the most durable gemstone making it the perfect stone for rings worn every day. The largest diamond ever found – at 3,106 ct (621 grams) – was recovered from South Africa’s Premier mine in 1905. From it was cut the pear shaped 530 ct Cullinan I diamond, also known as the Great Star of Africa, which is now set in the Royal Sceptre with Cross and housed with the other Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
May – Emerald
May’s birthstone is emerald. Emerald is a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness but can be brittle especially if heavily included. The word emerald comes from “smaragdos”, ancient Greek for a “green gem”. Roman author Pliny the Elder wrote in his encyclopedic Natural History that “nothing greens greener” and that it had therapeutic properties that helped gem cutters, citing “no better method of restoring their eyes than by looking at the emerald, its soft, green color comforting and removing their weariness and lassitude.” Science has since proven this belief that viewing the color green relieves stress and eye strain. Colombia has been the source of the finest emeralds for more than 500 years, and Colombian emeralds are the standard by which all others are measured.
June – Pearl, Moonstone & Alexandrite
June has three birthstones to choose from: Pearl, Moonstone and Alexandrite. This gives you so many
more options for the perfect gift for a June birthday.
Pearl: These enchanting June birthstones are organic gems that grow inside a living saltwater or freshwater mollusk (either an oyster or a mussel). Pearls form when the mollusk secretes a substance called nacre around an irritant. Cultured pearls are a product of human intervention and almost all pearls on the market are cultured. Pearls are 2.5 to 3.0 on the Mohs Scale of hardness, so they are a comparatively soft gem; therefore, pearl gemstone gifts require special care. Store them separately from other gemstones and metal jewelry to prevent scratching. Always apply perfume, hair products and cosmetics before putting on your pearl jewelry. Pearls are also traditionally given as a wedding gift.
Moonstone: This glowing June birthstone is the best-known gem of the feldspar group of minerals. It is renowned for its “adularescence”, the light that appears to billow across a gemstone, giving it a special glow. The finest moonstones show a blue sheen against a colorless background, though they can also be found in stunning greys, browns, peaches and sometimes green. Moonstone is a 6–6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and should never be exposed to high heat.
Jewelry with Moonstone:
Alexandrite: The June birthstone, alexandrite, is the rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes color in different lighting. Most prized are those alexandrites that show a vivid green to bluish green in daylight or fluorescent light, and an intense red to purplish red in incandescent light. Alexandrite is relatively hard—8.5 on the Mohs scale. It has excellent toughness, which makes it a good choice for a gemstone gift in the form of rings or other jewelry subject to daily wear.
. An alexandrite engagement ring would be a unique and meaningful option for a June-born bride-to-be.
July – Ruby
Ruby is the July birthstone and is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species. Traces of chromium give rubies their rich red color which distinguishes them from other sapphires (corundum.) The name is derived from the Latin word “ruber”, meaning “red” – the color of love and passion. In ancient India, ruby was called the “king of precious stones” for its rarity, durability and beauty. Ruby is a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, second only to diamond, making it a great gemstone for regular wear. Rubies are often heat treated to remove purplish coloration, leaving a purer red. The process can also minimize “silk”, or minute needle-like inclusions, that can cause a gem to appear lighter in tone and more opaque. The trade typically accepts heat treatment, as it is stable to normal conditions of wear and care.
August- Peridot & Spinel
Peridot and spinel are both August birthstones.
Peridot: The August birthstone, peridot, is the yellowish green to green gem variety of the mineral olivine. Throughout history, peridot has often been confused with other gems such as emerald. The Shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral is decorated with 200 carats of gems that were believed to be emeralds but are, in fact, peridot. Some historians even speculate that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection may have been mostly peridot. With a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, peridot is softer than many gems and cannot take hard wear the way a sapphire or diamond can. It is safest to use a soft-bristle brush with a mild dish soap in warm water to clean this sensitive stone. In addition to being August’s birthstone, peridot is a traditional 16th wedding anniversary gift.
Spinel: The August birthstone, spinel, comes in a wealth of colors: intense red to vibrant pink, orange, blue to bluish green, violet and grey. Spinel’s name comes from the Latin word “spina”, which means “thorn”, in reference to the shape of spinel crystals. For centuries, spinel was mistaken for other gemstones and some of history’s most famous “rubies” have actually turned out to be red spinel. Spinel is 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it more durable than peridot. This August birthstone is also traditionally given as a 22nd wedding anniversary gemstone gift.
The September birthstone is sapphire, a gem that’s been cherished for thousands of years. Although the term sapphire usually brings to mind the blue variety of corundum, this birthstone comes in a rainbow of other colors. The September birthstone is relatively hard, ranking 9 on the Mohs scale (second only to diamond) and has excellent toughness making it a great choice for rings and other gemstone jewelry subject to daily wear. This also makes sapphire a great alternative to diamond for a center stone in engagement rings. In addition to being the September birthstone, sapphire is also the traditional gift for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
October- Opal & Tourmaline
October has two birthstones, opal and tourmaline.
Opal: The name of opal, the traditional October birthstone, is believed to have originated from the Sanskrit word “upala”, meaning “precious stone”. In ancient Rome, this became “opalus” with the same meaning. Most opals are valued for their shifting colors in rainbow hues – a phenomenon known as “play-of-color.” Hundreds of years ago, opal was believed to embody the virtues and powers of all colored stones. The opal birthstone can be found in many places, but the mines of Australia are the most productive in the world. Lightning Ridge, a small town in New South Wales, Australia, is famed for producing prized black opal. Opal ranges from 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and special care is required to maintain its beauty. If exposed to high heat, sudden temperature changes or prolonged moisture opals can degrade or fracture. Opal is also the stone given as a gift to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary.
Tourmaline: Tourmaline is the newer October birthstone. The name comes from the Sinhalese word “toramalli”, which means “stone with mixed colors,” because it often has multiple colors in one crystal. Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling array of colors. Among the most popular are the pink and red rubellites, the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines and the neon green and blue “paraíba” tourmalines. Because of its vast range of colors, tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones. The tourmaline birthstone is rated 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is suitable for everyday wear, though it will abrade more quickly than sapphires. A tourmaline gemstone gift is also given to celebrate the 8th wedding anniversary.
November- Topaz & Citrine
The two birthstones for November are topaz and citrine.
Topaz: The November birthstone, topaz, can be found in a wide range of colors: colorless, light blue, yellow, orange, pink, violet, brown and, very rarely, red. Imperial topaz is a very specific hue of pinkish orange or peach. Topaz is an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, but can be brittle and thus more susceptible to chipping or cracking than other gemstones. Blue topaz is often gifted for the 4th wedding anniversary. Imperial topaz is the traditional gem given as a 23rd wedding anniversary gift. The vast majority of blue topaz seen today is the permanent result of treating colorless topaz with irradiation and heating. The rainbow effect seen in “Mystic Topaz” is not natural and created by coating colorless topaz with a thin artificial film.
Citrine: The November birthstone, citrine is the transparent yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz, which has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Citrine has been a popular gemstone gift since ancient times and has a history of being mistaken for the other November birthstone, topaz. At 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness with good toughness, citrine is usually durable enough for normal wear and care.
December- Tanzanite, Zircon & Turquoise
Tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise are all birthstones for December.
Tanzanite: December’s birthstone, tanzanite, was one of the most exciting gem discoveries of the 20th century. Blue stones emerging from Tanzania were identified as the mineral zoisite in 1962 and were eventually named tanzanite in honor of its country of origin. Tanzanite is known for its deep and saturated color, which ranges from a pure rich blue to violet. Some rare natural tanzanite has polychroism, meaning they display multiple colors – most commonly green to blue or violet. Tanzanite is a 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale and is resistant to the effects of normal heat, light and common chemicals though it abrades more easily than other gemstones, such as sapphire. Tanzanite should never be exposed to very high temperatures or sudden temperature changes. Most tanzanite begins as brownish zoisite that is heat treated to produce the blue to violet hues that characterize this December birthstone. This treatment is widely accepted in the industry because the resulting color is permanent and could have happened naturally if the stone had stayed in the earth longer. Tanzanite is not only a December birthstone, but it is also the traditional gemstone gift given for a 24th wedding anniversary.
Zircon: The December birthstone, zircon has a broad color palette – red, orange, yellow, brown, green, blue and colorless. Zircon is known for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire, which has resulted in centuries of confusion between colorless zircon and diamond. Elahera, a region in central Sri Lanka, is one of the country’s most productive zircon mining areas. Zircon ranges from 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and it is best to avoid wearing it in rough conditions to avoid abrasion. The traditional 49th wedding anniversary gemstone gift is also zircon.
Turquoise: Turquoise, a December birthstone option, is a semi-translucent to opaque gemstone that ranges from blue to green. Turquoise played an important role in the lives of Native Americans. The Pueblo maintained that turquoise got its color from the sky, while the Hopi thought the gem was produced by lizards scurrying over the earth. In European tradition, the gift of a turquoise ring means “forget me not.” China is the world’s largest producer of turquoise, although most of the U.S. production of turquoise comes from Arizona and Nevada. The Kingman mine in Arizona is a historically important source known for producing intense blue turquoise. Now closed to turquoise mining, Arizona’s Sleeping Beauty mine was a prolific producer for more than four decades. Turquoise has a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6 and is typically cut into cabochons, meaning they are polished but not faceted and typically have a flat back. Turquoise can be damaged by acids, and it can be discolored by certain chemicals and cosmetics, or exposure to high heat.
No matter the occasion, gemstone jewelry is the perfect gift! Whether it’s a milestone birthday or “just because,” gemstone gifts that recognize a birth month show an extra layer of care and attention. This post can serve as a guide to birthstones. Be sure to bookmark it for future reference. The team at llyn strong fine art jewelry is here to help you select (or custom-make) the perfect gift!
Just give us a call at 864.233.5900 or visit us in store at 1322 East Washington, Suite C1, in Greenville, SC.