All About Birthstones

Gems come in a variety of colors and can brighten up any ensemble while adding a touch of sophistication. Historians believe the idea of assigning gems to certain months can be traced back to biblical times, specifically the twelve stones in Aaron's breastplate, each representing a different tribe of Israel, the twelve months of the year, and the twelve signs of the zodiac. Throughout the centuries, the birthstone list became distanced from its biblical origins and finally became more formalized into a modern list by the Jewelers of America in 1912.

Listed below is each birthstone by month, its color, its country of origin, and a fun fact. Some months include multiple birthstones, but this list will focus on the most popularly used stone for that month.

Birthstones by month

Stone: Garnet
Color: Variety of colors, but most commonly dark red
Origin: All over the world.  Notably: Russia, Czech Republic, Tanzania, and Namibia
Fun Fact: It is the state gemstone of New York.

Stone: Amethyst
Color: Purple
Origin: All over the world.  Notably: Brazil, Uruguay, Canada, France, India, Madagascar, Mexic o, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the United States
Fun Fact: In ancient Greek times, amethyst was thought to prevent drunkenness.

Stone: Aquamarine
Color: Greenish blue (more blue)
Origin: The most valuable come from Brazil, but can also be found in Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Russia
Fun Fact: It is the stone for the 19th wedding anniversary.

Stone: Diamond
Color: White (clear)
Origin: Russia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, and Canada
Fun Fact: The largest gem quality rough diamond is the Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South Africa and weighing 3,106.75 carats.  The largest stone produced from the rough is the Cullinan I (Great Star of Africa) and is currently part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Stone: Emerald
Color: Most commonly green shades
Origin: Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe
Fun Fact: In the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Emerald City whose walls are green, is located in the center of the Land of Oz.

Stone: Pearl
Color: Most commonly white/off-white
Origin: south Pacific and Indian Ocean (cultured pearls)
Fun Fact: Pierre Cartier purchased the Fifth Avenue New York Cartier store in 1917 with a matched double strand of natural pearls valued at approximately $1 million.  The building was valued at $925,000.


Stone: Ruby
Color: Pink to blood red
Origin: Myanmar, Vietnam, Mozambique, and Kenya
Fun Fact: Some believe that dreams including rubies predict success in business.

Stone: Peridot
Color: Yellowish green (more green)
Origin: St. John’s Island, Myanmar, United States, Pakistan, China, Norway, and
Fun Fact: Peridot can also come from space via meteorites, although gem quality is rare.

Stone: Sapphire
Color: Variety of colors, but most commonly blue
Origin: Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Australia, China, East Africa, and United States
Fun Fact: Princess Diana’s engagement ring included a 12 carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire and was eventually given to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, as her engagement ring.

Stone: Opal
Color: Most commonly iridescent
Origin: Over 90% of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia; other countries include Ethiopia, Mexico, and Brazil
Fun Fact: In the Middle Ages, the opal was thought to cause invisibility!

Stone: Topaz
Color: Variety of colors
Origin: Russia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Pakistan, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Nigeria, and United States
Fun Fact: During the 1800s in Russia, only the royal family could own the gem.

Stone: Tanzanite
Color: Blue to violate
Origin: Tanzania
Fun Fact: Unlike other gems, tanzanite can only be found in one place in the world - a very small mining area near the Mirerani Hills in Tanzania.

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