January – Garnet
The birthstone for the month of January is Garnet. Garnet comes in many different colors, what you see here is the traditional birthstone color, a reddish brown color called a Mozambique garnet. the stone has a hardness rating of 7.0 out of 10.0 on the MOHS Hardness scale. It was believed that Garnet would protect the wearer in his/her travels and keep them in good health. The Mozambique garnet is a relatively inexpensive stone although some of the fancier colors can be quite expensive. Garnet also comes in many shades of red, green, and even orange, yellow, and purple.
February – Amethyst
The birthstone for the month of February is Amethyst. Amethyst is a semiprecious purple stone that is a beautiful example of the mineral quartz. Amethyst is always purple in color, but comes in varying shades. Usually the darker the better. Most of these stones are mined in Brazil, Uruguay, and Africa (the African variety is considered the best). There were magnificent stones coming out of Siberia but these deposits have (for the most part) dried up. Amethyst was believed to protect it’s wearer from the effects of alcohol.
March – Aquamarine
The birthstone for the month of March is Aquamarine. A light pale to medium dark blue version of the mineral Beryl. This stone is often confused with Blue Topaz & Blue Zircon. The Aquamarine, however, is a much more sought after (and much more expensive) stone. Although relatively inexpensive in the lighter blues, Aqua can command a very high price as it gets darker. It’s MOHS hardness rating is 7.5 – 8.0 making it a good everyday stone. Aquamarine was believed to prevent seasickness, quicken intellect, and enhance courage.
April – Diamond
The birthstone for the month of April is Diamond. Diamond is the hardest most versatile stone of all. It rates a perfect 10 on the MOHS hardness scale. This doesn’t mean that diamond won’t break, but of all stones, the diamond will take more abuse than any other. Diamond has a very strict grading regiment for it’s quality and this will greatly affect it’s price (although even poor quality diamonds can be more expensive then some of the semiprecious stones). To learn more about diamond grading, please go to our diamond grading page. Diamond comes in many colors but white (clear) is the most common. Diamond is believed in many cultures to symbolize a healthy and happy marriage, it has also been said to make it’s wearer invincible.
May – Emerald
The birthstone for the month of May is Emerald. Emerald is a medium to dark green form of the mineral Beryl. It is mined primarily in Zambia, Brazil, and Columbia. The Colombian goods are traditionally better but also much harder to get. Therefore, the already expensive Emerald becomes very expensive for darker & cleaner stones. Emerald has a MOHS hardness rating of 7.5-8.0 but it is a very brittle stone that is usually oiled to fill in fractures that reach the surface of the stone. An emerald wearer should be cautious not to bump the stone too hard. Emerald is a symbol of immortality & faith. It was the first stone to be reproduced by man in a laboratory. Many companies now produce “Created Emerald” at a fraction of the natural cost. But, there still is no substitute for a natural dark green, clean emerald.
June – Alexandrite and Pearl
For those born in June, you have 2 different birthstones. The Alexandrite & the pearl. Let’s start with Alexandrite. It is a color changing form of the mineral chrysoberyl. Alexandrite will change from green (under florescent or sunlight) to red (under incandescent or spot light). This beautiful stone is found in Russia, Africa, Brazil, & Sri Lanka. It has a MOHS hardness rating of 8.5 & is a very tough stone. Alexandrite is not found in much quantity anymore so its price is always very high. A nice clean stone with a good color change can cost more per carat than good quality diamonds. Next is the pearl. Introduced as a birthstone for June since Alexandrite got so expensive, it is the only organic gem on the birthstone list.
Pearls are formed in both saltwater oysters & in freshwater mussels. Most of the pearls harvested today are cultured. What this means is that man planted a seed to get the oyster or mussel to produce the pearl. Very few “natural” pearls are on the market today. Pearl only has a MOHS hardness rating of 3-4. It even reacts poorly to chemicals in perfume and makeup. Pearls require extra special care and should always be put on last. Pearls come in a variety of colors, shapes, and prices.
July – Ruby
The Ruby is July’s birthstone. A red version of the mineral corundum, ruby is a rare and beautiful gem. It (along with Sapphire, which is blue corundum) is second only to diamond with a MOHS hardness rating of 9. Rubies however are routinely heated to remove traces of brown & purple. This process can weaken the stone a little but, unless you are a jeweler who is planning on retipping around the stone, there is no need to worry. Ruby comes in many shades of red and also many price ranges. An exceptional Ruby with a dark red color can rival diamond in price. Ruby was believed to bless it’s wearer with good health, wealth, and wisdom.
August – Peridot
The August birthstone is the Peridot (the “t” is silent). Unlike most other gems, Peridot is a mineral all it’s own called Olivine. These stones are generally light but can get to darker shades of green in larger sizes. It is a relatively inexpensive gemstone. Only a large, very dark stone would command a high price. It has a MOHS hardness rating of 6.5 – 7. Peridot is surrounded in superstition. It was believed to have the ability to break evil spells & have medicinal purposes. It was also believed that the stone would grow in power when set in gold.
September – Sapphire
Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. Sapphire is the mineral corundum (same as ruby). Although it comes in many colors, blue is the most common and is the traditional birthstone. Sapphire is a 9 on the MOHS hardness scale & reacts very well to most everyday wear & tear. It is found all over the world, but is mined primarily in several African countries along with Australia, Thailand, & Sri Lanka. Sapphire prices range from very affordable to extremely expensive. It all depends on the stone’s color tone, it’s clarity, and where it came from. A good quality “Ceylon” can be as expensive as diamond.
October – Opal and Pink Tourmaline or Rose Zircon
Those born in October have more than one choice in stones. Traditionally the Opal is the birthstone but, since Opal is such a fragile stone, Pink Tourmaline or Rose Zircon can be used as alternates. Opal is a fiery stone that generally has a white, black, or blue background with many color streaks in it. It only has a MOHS hardness rating of 4.5-6 & reacts poorly to heat & chemicals. It is usually not very expensive, although some larger black opals can be very high priced. It was believed to do many things including giving the power of prophecy & good health. It is found all over but Australia is today’s primary source.
Pink Tourmaline is, of course, the pink variety of tourmaline which is one of the most colorful stone species around. It is found mainly in Brazil, Africa, & the U.S. Pink Tourmaline is a relatively inexpensive stone.
November – Topaz
The birthstone for the month of November is Topaz. Generally yellow or golden Topaz is the color choice for November. This has led many people to substitute Citrine for November since it’s color is almost identical and since Citrine is only about 1/10 the price of nice Golden Topaz. Citrine is a yellow version of quartz. The color is usually obtained by heating a gray or purple quartz (amethyst). Topaz is an 8 on the MOHS hardness scale & Citrine is a 7. Citrine, however, has a good toughness rating whereas Topaz is poor in that category. Citrine is mainly found in Brazil. Topaz is found in Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, U.S., Russia, and Sri Lanka.
December – Turquoise and Blue Zircon
December has two main birthstones, Turquoise and Blue Zircon. Turquoise is a 6 on the MOHS hardness scale. Turquoise is an opaque stone (you can’t see through it) and is generally used in silver pieces. It is a favorite stone of the Native Americans in jewelry. Turquoise is found mostly in the U.S.
Blue Zircon is a 6 – 6.5 MOHS Hardness scale. Blue Zircon is an inky dark blue that is transparent and will usually be found in gold jewelry. Blue Zircon is found in Australia, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, and Kampuchea. Blue Zircon was believed to promote riches, honor, and wisdom.