How Were Birthstones Chosen for Each Month?

Have You Ever Wondered…

  • How were birthstones chosen for each month?
  • What is a birthstone?
  • Which birthstones correspond to each month?

  • Do you like jewelry? We do! Whether it’s a ring, a bracelet, or a necklace, we love to wear jewelry to add a little bit of sparkle and shine to whatever we’re wearing. How about you?

Do you have a favorite type of gemstone? Of course, many people lovediamonds. But there are many other types of beautiful gemstones.

In fact, each month of the year has a particular gemstone associated with it. We call these special monthly gemstones birthstones, since many people believe the particular gemstone that corresponds to the month of their birth has special properties.

How did certain gemstones become associated with the months of the year? Experts believe that birthstones can be traced back to the Bible. In Exodus 28, Moses sets forth directions for making special garments for Aaron, the High Priest of the Hebrews. Specifically, the breastplate was to contain twelve precious gemstones, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

Later, these twelve stones were likely also linked to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Eventually, they also became associated with the twelve months of the calendar year.

Throughout history, there have been many myths and legends associated with birthstones. Many cultures have believed that birthstones have magical healing powers or bring good luck. Not all cultures have agreed on which stones correspond to which months, though, so you can find different lists of birthstones over the course of time.

Today, most jewelers agree on a basic set of birthstones. Let’s take a look through the calendar to learn a bit more about each of these birthstones.

The birthstone for the month of January is thegarnet. Some believe garnets provide safety during travels. February’s birthstone is the amethyst, which is thought to make one courageous. If your birthday is in March, your birthstone is the aquamarine. Aquamarines have been associated with certain healing powers.

April features what is arguably the most coveted birthstone: the diamond. Diamonds remain an enduring symbol of love. Another birthstoneassociated with love is the emerald, which is the birthstone of May. June’s birthstone is another popular jewel: thepearl. Pearls have long been a symbol of purity.

The birthstone for July is theruby. Ancient cultures believed the ruby could ward off evil. The peridot is the birthstone of August. Symbolizing strength, the peridot is sometimes known as the “evening emerald” due to its light green color. September’s birthstone, the sapphire, was also thought to guard against evil, especially poisoning.

The opal is the birthstone of October. It represents faithfulness and confidence. November’s birthstone, the topaz, is usually associated with love and affection. Finally, December’s birthstone is the turquoise, which was often thought to symbolize luck and success.

Wonder Words (19)




Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day combines history and geology!

Try It Out

Isn’t today’s Wonder of the Day a real gem? Keep digging for more knowledge by checking out the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Want to learn more about birthstones from an expert? Take a field trip to a local jewelry store. Speak to a jeweler about the different types of birthstones. Ask to see examples of each. Which ones are the rarest? Which birthstone is the most expensive? Which one do you think is the most beautiful?
  • WONDERing about where birthstones come from? Jump online to check out Where are gemstones mined? There you’ll learn more about how and where some of the most popular gemstones are mined. Do you live near any of these areas? Do you think it would be fun to mine for gemstones? Why or why not?
  • Curious to know more about the birthstone for the month you were born? Do some research! Head on over to the American Gem Society’s Birthstones by Month webpage and click on the month of your birth on the left. Read all about the history and unique properties of the birthstone associated with the month you were born. Do any of the things you read ring true to you? Do you have any jewelry that features your birthstone? Share what you learn with a family member and help them research their own birthstone.