A Bit of Birthstone Info

Posted on February 04 2018

I didn’t grow up with the inherent love of gemstones that I have now, but I did grow up with an understanding that most women loved birthstones. Whether it was wearing their own birthstone as a ring or pendant or wearing jewelry with birthstones representing the birth month of their kids. It seemed that a gift or present containing the appropriate birthstone often resulted in hugs and squeals of delight. Giving a gift of a birthstone brings two beautiful things together, family or loved ones and a beautiful gemstone.

So just how did birthstones come to be? Why do those born in April get to have diamonds while those in January get garnets?

About 2000 years ago, there was a Jewish historian by the name of Josephus who believed there was a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron’s breastplate (as described in the Bible’s book of Exodus) and the twelve months of the year, as well as the twelve signs of the Zodiac... and things moved on from there. 

Modern birthstones were really never standardized until 1912 when the National Association of Jewelers (now called Jewelers of America) had a meeting in Kansas and officially adopted a list. As history has shown, Americans and Brits haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on things. In 1937 Britain's National Association of Goldsmiths came up with their own list specially geared to those living in the UK and its Colonies. The American list was updated in 1952 by the Jewelry Industry Council of America when they added Alexandrite for June, Citrine for November, and Pink Tourmaline for October. In 2002 the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) added Tanzanite as a December birthstone and even more recently Spinel was added as a birthstone for August in 2016.

If all this is a bit confusing, check out http://www.americangemsociety.org/page/Birthstones for anything else you may want to know about American birthstones.

Month

Gemstones

January

Garnet

February

Amethyst

March

Aquamarine

April

Diamond

May

Emerald

June

Pearl/Moonstone/Alexandrite

July

Ruby

August

Peridot

September

Sapphire

October

Opal/Tourmaline

November

Topaz/Citrine

December

Tanzanite/Zircon/Turquoise