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Ultimate Guide to Birthstones

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

When shopping for birthstone jewelry gifts, always shop with professional jewelers -- look for jewelry stores that are Missouri Jewelers Association Members -- who can show you a range of options and explain any special properties of the birthstone jewelry.

All information adapted from Jewelers of America publications. All images from MJA vendors. Click on images for more information.

Jewelers of America helped develop the current birthstone list that dates back to 1912. With the most recent update being the addition of Tanzanite in 2002

Birthstone jewelry makes great gifts for any special occasion. Discover the unique aspects and special characteristics of each birthstone to help you purchase the perfect gift for your loved one or yourself.

History of Birthstones

The history of birthstones began many centuries ago with the connection between the 12 stones in Aaron's breastplate, the 12 months of the year and the 12 signs of the zodiac. The Biblical description states that the 12 jewels in the breastplate were to be made from specific minerals, each unique, which resulted in the birthstone gems.

The 12 birthstones were believed to hold special healing and therapeutic powers. Originally people would keep all 12 birthstones and wear one a month to gain their full beneficial effects. The current tradition of wearing your personal birthstone is only a few centuries old.


January - Garnet

Garnet gets its name from the word “pomegranate,” as the crystals bear a resemblance to pomegranate seeds and it is best known for its deep red hue. Garnet has been found in many regions around the world, including Russia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, and the United States.

Garnets are believed to stimulate energy and promote true love. Garnet also has one of the most diverse color spectrums of all gemstones -- it comes in every color except blue. You’re sure to find a piece of garnet jewelry to match the birthday girl’s tastes. Browse our selections above for January birthday gift ideas.

February - Amethyst

Make her feel like a queen on her birthday with a birthday gift of amethyst jewelry. Amethyst gives women and men the look of royalty at affordable prices. Royalty and religious figures once wore amethyst as a symbol of their important stature in society. Ancient Greeks believed amethyst possessed mystical powers, like preventing drunkenness and conveying strength and wit when worn. Learn more of amethyst’s special characteristics here.

March - Aquamarine

Aquamarine gemstones get their name from the sparkling blue sea that their colors reflect. Its breathtaking colors, from light blue to blue green, glitter and gleam even in muted light conditions making them fantastic gemstones for evening wear. Aquamarine jewelry will make the birthday girl look dazzling on her special day and for every other occasion. Learn more about aquamarine’s special characteristics here.

April - Diamond

Show how much you care with diamond jewelry for April birthday gifts. While diamonds are found in all rainbow colors, they are most known for the brilliance of their clear white hues. Many diamonds are over three billion years old, making them the oldest of all gemstones. In Greek culture, diamonds were thought to be teardrops from the gods. Rare and fascinating, mysterious and magical, the diamond has evoked the feelings of romance and long-lasting love throughout history. Learn more about diamond’s special characteristics.

May - Emerald

Emerald is one of the most treasured gemstones of all time; the first-known emerald source was Egypt around 3500BC. Emeralds get their name from the Greek word “smaragdos,” which means "green stone." Its vivid color saturation gives prized emeralds the deep green hue that symbolizes renewal and spring, making it the perfect birthstone for the month of May. The May birthstone is a classic and eternal gemstone. No other green gemstone rivals emerald’s luxuriant green hue. Learn more about emerald’s special characteristics.

June - Alexandrite

June has three birthstones each showcasing nature’s magic with their unique formation and color properties.

For the chameleon in your life, the alexandrite gemstone has color-changing properties that give it a magical effect of displaying green in natural sunlight and red in interior light.

Moonstones have a special property called adularescence: the effect when light appears to billow across a gem giving it a unique glow – like a full moon on a clear night. Moonstones range from opaque to transparent, but the finest have a glass-like quality with a vibrant blue shimmer.

Pearls are examples of nature’s beautiful magic, formed when a mollusk slowly covers tiny grit in its shell with lustrous layers. Learn more about pearl quality factors in our comprehensive Pearl Buying Guide.

July - Ruby

Known as the “King of Gems,” ruby has a scarlet color and intensity like no other red gemstone. The July birthstone, ruby, is a timeless symbol of love and makes a truly personal July birthday gift. The ruby gemstone, with its deep red hues, has symbolized romance, passion and the heart’s desire for thousands of years; they are even referenced in the Bible. Known as the "king of precious stones,” ruby has been esteemed since ancient times. In Ancient Greece, women believed wearing rubies would bring them love and physical beauty. Today, a gift of ruby jewelry is a timeless example of your love and care.

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is the source for the world’s finest quality rubies, known as “Burmese rubies.” Learn about ruby’s other special characteristics.

August - Peridot and Spinel

Birthstone jewelry gives your gift a personalized touch that shows how much you care and August babies have options!

Spinel sparkles in a variety of colors. Most known for its red and pink hues, it also comes in purple, fiery oranges, black, gray and intense blue. You can learn all about what makes spinel special here.

Peridot is the perfect choice for lovers of light green. Peridot gemstones were once thought to contain rays of sunshine, due to their golden glow in sunlight. If your birthday girl or guy is a history lover, they'll like Peridot's old age: Egyptians first discovered the gem, which dates back to the 2nd millennium BCE.

September - Sapphire

Don't be blue when searching for September birthday gifts; we've got you covered with jewelry featuring sapphire, the September birthstone, in every color of the rainbow.

Sapphire is often most known for its deep blue variety, in fact the ancient Greek writers referred to sapphires as hyacinths after the beautiful blue flowers. Yet it is one of the most colorful gemstones on earth. Sapphire's colorful options lets September babies mix and match their birthstone jewelry. As gifts, you can further customize September birthstone jewelry by selecting pieces in the birthday girl or guy's favorite colors. See more sapphire facts.

October - Opal and Pink Tourmaline

Opal dazzles the eye with a spectral display of dancing colors that flash within its mysterious depths; while tourmaline occurs in more colors and color combinations than any other gem variety. In a world of unique gemstones, opals stand out with their “play-of-color,” a spectrum of colors that sparkle and dance in various kinds of lighting. Due to their optical effects, every opal is unique in appearance; discover other unique opal characteristics.

While pink tourmaline is often associated with the October birthstone, tourmaline is one of the most colorful gemstones, found in a range of color from rich reds to peach, greens, blues and violets.

November - Citrine and Topaz

Citrine and Topaz reflect the warm tones of the fall season in which November babies are born. Citrine gets its name from the French word “citron,” which means lemon. It's colors bring to mind the warmth of mid-day sun and range from pale yellow to deep burnt orange.

Topaz dates to biblical times and was originally discovered in its yellow form -- and sometimes confused for citrine, which is why they share in celebrating this birthstone month. While it is known for its warm amber, orange and brown shades, it can be found in a range of colors from pinks to cool blues and greens.

December - Tanzanite, Turquoise and Zircon

December babies can choose from three cool blue gemstones. December birthstones include one of the most ancient gems ever discovered (turquoise) and one of the newest (tanzanite). Let's get to know the newbie.

Discovered in 1967, tanzanite is named in honor of its country of origin, Tanzania. Tanzanite is often described as “velvety,” mostly because of its deep and saturated color, which ranges from purplish blue to a pure blue.

Turquoise, which is found among the jewelry of ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesoamerica and China, is often associated with warm weather. Yet it adds the perfect pop of color to an outfit all year. We love turquoise’s cheery bright blue hue paired with winter whites.

Zircon can be found in a range of colors, but December babies have blue zircon as their third birthstone option. Not to be confused with cubic zirconia, zircon is a natural gemstone known for its lustrous light reflection. It is mined in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Australia.

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