As my birthday approaches I am thinking more about my birthstone and what it actually means. I am an October baby which is Opal. I do not own a genuine opal. An opal is a soft translucent stone that requires delicate care and I am extremely hard on jewelry since I am always on the go. I do however, appreciate its beauty and history. October also has an alternate birthstone in less traditional interpretations which is called pink tourmaline. I do own a few pieces of jewelry with this stone and find it very pretty.
I am writing this just in case you were ever curious about your own birthstone.
January - Garnet
Traditionally garnets are a reddish-brown shade although they do have other lesser known colors with other names. There are also Rhodalite (raspberry color), Spessartite (yellow-orange) and Tsavorite (green). The stone symbolizes, truth, patience,perseverance, and consistency. It is also thought that garnets keeps travelers safe.
February - Amethyst
One of my favorites, an amethyst is a beautiful quartz stone that comes in varying shades of purple from light to dark. If you have never seen raw quartz it really is stunning to see and understand where this stone comes from. It symbolizes serenity, peace, calming and royalty. It is thought to strengthen relationships and give the bearer courage.
March - Aquamarine
Aquamarine is the lightest blue stone I have ever seen. The name itself means "ocean water". It was thought to have healing properties for stomach, liver and heart diseases if the gem was soaked in water and one drank the water. It is traditionally thought to be a seafarers charm to protect against ocean dangers. Also a symbol of health, hope and youth.
April - Diamond
There is so much to say about a diamond. Diamonds are believed to give courage and strength to the person wearing it. The origin of the word is Greek (adamas) meaning unconquerable. This makes sense as to why it is the symbol of eternal love. Traditionally a diamond is a colorless stone graded on its fire and brilliance. There are also colored diamonds known as "fancy" which are true miracles of nature and are highly coveted because they are more rare. Colored diamond names include cognac champagne and chocolate. This is the stone most often associated with engagement rings. It is the hardest gemstone and can cut glass.
May - Emerald
This green gem was a favorite of Cleopatra. The most pure emerald color is a grassy green. A true un-flawed emerald is super extremely rare. Most gemstones have inclusions in them. Legends say emeralds had healing powers for poor eyesight and typical associations of this stone are love, rebirth and fertility. More modern interpretations include growth, patience and wisdom.
June - Pearl (non faceted) / Alexandrite (faceted)
June is one month that has 2 representations in this article. The typical embodiment of this month is pearl. This stone has long been a symbol of purity. Old wives tales also say that pearls symbolize tears and that a bride should not wear them because she will cry as many tears as she wears throughout her married life. Superstition says you do not buy pearls for yourself if you do not want bad luck. Customary pearls are a white milky color although natural pearls have been harvested in shades of black, grey, brown and pink. There are also freshwater varieties as well as the heritage saltwater type. It is interesting that pearls are the only gemstone to actually be formed within a living creature.
Alexandrite is the faceted stone for June. Beautiful but rare, this stone has a way of changing colors in lighting from a blue mossy green in natural light to a red with a raspberry feel in incandescent lighting. The majority of Alexandrite in the jewelry market are man made (lab created) stones because of its rarity. Alexandrite is said to assist creativity, fortify intuition and spark the imagination.
July - Ruby
Rubies have long thought to be the royalty of all gems. Legend has it that a ruby bestows good fortune on the owner. Its most important feature is its color which ranges from red to a purplish hue to bluish red to orange-red. The most lusted after ruby is the Burmese Ruby which is a hot vibrant red color with a slight blue undertone. The ruby personifies emotion, passion, courage and love.
August - Peridot
Peridot is one of several gemstones that is present in only one color in various shades. The naturally occurring color is a beautiful sparkling lime green. It can also be found in yellowish green, although the true limes and olive palettes are the most sought after. It symbolizes strength, power and influence. It has a nickname of "evening emerald". Folklore says that these gem crystals found in volcanic ash are the tears of the goddess Pele. Peridot is one of only 2 gemstones not formed in the Earths crust. Diamond is the other. Peridot is actually formed in magma and brought to the surface by tectonic or volcanic activity. Set in gold they are said to be a talisman to ward off evil, depression and nightmares.
September - Sapphire
Another favorite of mine, sapphire in Greek simply means blue. It is the ultimate and the standard against which other blue gems such as topaz, lapis lazuli and tanzanite are graded. This stone epitomizes dignity, sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility. The reinforcement of nobility is one of the greatest tales in modern history. In 1981, Prince Charles presented Lady Diana Spencer with a stunning oval sapphire ring surrounded in diamonds as her engagement ring. In November of 2010, Prince William became engaged by presenting this same ring to Kate Middleton. Sapphires are now one of the more popular non-traditional engagement stones. The truer the color blue is on the stone, the more expensive it is. The populace finds that the darker shades of blue can be just as sought after.
Sapphires do come in almost every color of the rainbow (except red which is a Ruby). I have seen pink, yellow, violet and orange as well. The rarest is a pink-orange salmon color that would remind you of a bursting sunset on a deserted island.
October - Opal (traditional) / Pink Tourmaline
October is the 2nd month with both a faceted and non faceted stone. Opals the non faceted are an amazing stone that encompasses a fire within made of of the richest reds, purples, greens and yellows all swirling together in a sort of abstract way. As unique as snowflakes, opals are truly one of a kind. Depending on which way the light hits you may see calming bursts of blue and green or the true fire in reds and yellows. The play of colors is truly stunning and can be worn with so many different styles. There are also black opals stemming from Australia off Lightning Ridge. These stones have iron oxide and carbon present not in other opals which give them their color. Faithfulness and confidence are what this gemstone represents.
Pink tourmaline on the other side of the spectrum, symbolizes compassion and friendship. Tales suggest that it protects the wearer from people with bad intentions. Mixed stone is the definition of tourmaline and the standard for October is a pink bubblegum color.
Tourmaline has many other variant shades such as cranberry red, magenta, peach, orange, canary yellow, mint green, grass green, forest green, ocean blue and violet. I truly like the Watermelon tourmaline which is reminiscent of your favorite summer treat. The way the gem is cut leaves a green rim, white inner ring and pink center that can remind you of summer all year round.
November - Citrine / Yellow Topaz
Both Citrine and Yellow Topaz are faceted stones and very similar to one another. Citrine (French for lemon) color ranges from a yellow color to an orange-brown tone perfect for the autumn season. It is a very popular and affordable gemstone that is readily available in a range of shapes, sizes and mediums ( necklaces, bracelets, rings pendants). In ancient history, it was carried to protect against snake venom and evil thinking. It is associated with prosperity and success.
Yellow topaz is connected with healing and strength for both mind and body. In many shades ranging from yellow, honey brown, amber gold, and even red, pink and blue, there is a mass appeal for Topaz stones. Ancient Egyptian myths say this stone comes from the sun which generates its power to heal and protect.
December - Blue Topaz / Turquoise
December, the third month with two stones, both blue. Darker than the aquamarine but not as deep as sapphire, the blue topaz gemstone is truly stunning. The London Blue is the deepest of all the hues of this stone and is incredibly breathtaking. Blue used to be the rarest of all the topaz colors and is now easily available. Healing properties are said to be able to calm your mind if you are nervous. Fidelity, everlasting love and mutual understanding are the modern interpretations for this stone.
The turquoise has a rich history and is thought to be one of the oldest gemstones. The name of the stone is also the color, although it can be lighter more like a robins egg blue also. It is a sacred stone for Native Americans. This is an opaque stone that usually has natural veining of some kind and has graced the collections of Pharaohs in ancient times. It is said to represent a life filled with happiness and good fortune. Ancient practitioners believed that the stone acted like a mood ring when the wearer was ill.
I hope that you were able to learn a little more about gemstones through this article. Please comment your thoughts below.