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Modern and Traditional Birthstones for Each Month

A month of the year is typically associated with a specific gemstone. However, modern birthstones are often different from traditional birthstones, and many people prefer the newer choices over the older ones. Whether you’re looking to find out what your own birthstone is or you want to help someone else figure it out, here’s an at-a-glance chart comparing modern and traditional birthstones for each month of the year.

January: Garnet

This is an auspicious stone, bringing good fortune and long life. Not only that, but it was also believed to be a cure for fevers and infections. Garnet comes in several colors, including red, green, yellow, orange and violet. The red variety is most commonly used as a birthstone of January. In modern times, garnet has also been recognized as a symbol of commitment between two people. By wearing one or exchanging them with your sweetheart on special occasions such as anniversaries or holidays, you may bring you even closer together. Of course it may take time to decide which type of garnet you’d like to wear; there are many options available from all different colors and sizes!

February: Amethyst

In Greek mythology, Amethyst was a nymph who became a powerful deity. One day, while she was bathing in a stream with her friends, she saw Hermes (the messenger of gods) and felt instantly in love with him. The god did not return her feelings, but one night he saw her sleeping under a tree. In order to avoid waking her up as he left, he stole some wool from some nearby sheep to make her a blanket (while she slept). As soon as Amethyst awoke and found out what had happened, she made a crocheted coverlet of small purple flowers – Amethysts – over which to lay that stolen wool to taunt Hermes on his next visit.

March: Aquamarine & Bloodstone

Aquamarine is one of just two gemstones that occur naturally in both blue and green. Found in Brazil, it’s named for its water-like color (aqua), which is also reflected in its name in other languages: aquamarin, aquamarina, aquamarino, acquamarina, aquamarine. Bloodstone is known to be a stone of courage; it was used by ancient warriors to draw blood when fighting. The mineral hails from Asia but is found around the world. In ancient times, they were often carved into seals or engraved with symbols or words to be worn as amulets or talismans against evil spirits.

April: Diamond

Modern birthstone; Emerald: Traditional birthstone. Other gemstones: Azurite, Amber, Aquamarine, Chrysoprase, Diamond, Emerald, Garnet (all types), Hematite, Jade (all types), Jet (serpentine), Lapis Lazuli*, Olivine*, Opal* Rose Quartz*, Ruby* Sapphire*, Peridot*, Tanzanite*, Topaz*. *Not a traditional birthstone.

May: Emerald

The traditional birthstone for May, emerald is actually beryl, a mineral closely related to aquamarine. Emeralds occur in both deep green and pale green colors, but usually feature some level of yellow tinting. According to legend, if you carry an emerald with you on your travels, it will protect you from witches. Another folktale claims that if you give someone an emerald ring on May Day (May 1), it means they’re stuck with you forever! In modern times, green is also considered a symbol of growth and renewal. No wonder emerald is such a popular choice!

June: Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone, & White Topaz

June’s birthstone is pearl. Historically, it was believed that pearls protected against evil spirits, so pregnant women would wear them to ensure a safe delivery. More modern choices include ruby, blue topaz and tanzanite

July : Ruby & Peridot

Despite being a relatively new addition to birthstone lists, peridot has been popular in Eastern cultures since ancient times. Said to bring good luck, it’s also believed to have healing properties. Meanwhile, red rubies are often used as symbols of love; perhaps because they’re associated with passion, courage and strength. They’ve also long been used as talismans against harm. This combination is a lovely tribute to that month’s star sign: Cancer. The gemstone born from water (Cancer rules water) shows off its abilities by drawing off an individual’s personal energy in order to focus on fulfilling their duty, which helps Cancers accomplish their goals more effectively than any other sign.

August : Sapphire & Lapis Lazuli

August’s modern birthstone is sapphire, while its traditional birthstone is lapis lazuli. The traditional birthstone was likely chosen to represent nobility, with lapis lazuli being one of the most expensive gemstones available at that time. Sapphire has been in use as a birthstone since 1902, before which it was occasionally used to represent September. When choosing a gem to represent your August birthday, you can’t go wrong with either sapphire or lapis lazuli. In fact, both gems possess an exquisite royal color that will look regal no matter what you choose: sapphires are light blue in color (though there are some that are purple or green) while lapis lazuli varies from light blue to dark violet.

September : Blue Sapphire & Tanzanite

September’s birthstone is both modern (since 1998) and traditional (ancient). The modern gem is blue sapphire, which was discovered in Sri Lanka in 1777. Blue sapphires are mined primarily in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Australia, Russia and Kenya. The stone is prized for its vibrant color as well as its durability. Cultured Tanzanite has become popular since it’s discovery in 1967 by Tiffany & Co. The source of tanzanite is only one mine: Merelani Hills in Tanzania’s Arusha Region.

October : Pink Tourmaline, Opal, & Rhodolite Garnet

The birthstone of October is pink tourmaline, opal, or rhodolite garnet. Pink tourmaline is a mineral composed primarily of aluminium with traces of iron, magnesium, lithium, potassium, titanium, silicon and vanadium. It gets its name from its delicate pink color. Opal is also translucent with various colors created by an interplay between tiny reflective spheres of silica embedded in an epoxy matrix; it occurs naturally in a variety of colors ranging from clear through white to gray to red. Rhodolite garnet is essentially a purplish-red variety of pyrope (aluminum silicate) with more than fifty percent grossular (grossularite).

November : Topaz & Citrine

Topaz is November’s birthstone, while citrine is one of four modern birthstones that are alternatives to traditional stones. If you can’t find these two gems, garnet or sardonyx might also work as an alternative. Topaz symbolizes dignity, honor, innocence and imagination. And Citrine symbolizes strength, energy and creativity. However, traditionalists still celebrate topaz as an official gem for November (as well as amethyst), but citrine was not added until 1912 by Jewelers of America in hopes of boosting sales due to topaz’s fading popularity at that time.

December : Turquoise, Blue Zircon, Spinel, Tanzanite, & Black Spinel

Gemstone varieties are now available in shades of turquoise, blue zircon, tanzanite, spinel, black spinel and black onyx. (This list is not exhaustive.) The traditional birthstone was agate. It’s now lapis lazuli. If a person has more than one birth month, you can use whichever stone comes first alphabetically.

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