Our guide to birthstones
birthstone is garnet, a deep red stone associated with romance and passion. Along with being a favoured gemstone, garnet has multiple industrial uses due to its availability and versatility as a mineral. If you want to give garnet as a gift, consider it for anyone born in January or a second or sixth wedding anniversary. It is the traditional stone for these occasions.
Garnet is commonly known as a gemstone, but it actually defines a mineral group consisting of stones with similar chemical and physical properties. The main types of garnet include almandine, andradite, grossularite, pyrope, spessartine, and uvarovite.
Almandine is the most common type of garnet that includes reddish-brown gemstones. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Pyrope garnets are blood red in colour and typically lack inclusions. They are generally more expensive and desirable than almandine garnets. Another popular variety of garnet is rhodolite, which is a purplish red pyrope and almandine mix.
birthstone is Amethyst, as well as the gemstone marking 6th & 17th wedding anniversaries. It rates a 7 on the Mohs scale, which means it is extremely scratch-resistant.
Quartz, the mineral family for Amethyst may be the oldest gemstone known to man dating back to 20,000 BC. Amethyst is currently found in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Africa, United States, Siberia, Canada, Australia, France, Russia, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Zambia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
Amethyst can be light lavender, deep violet, and anywhere in between, and sometimes it looks reddish-purple, while other times, it can be blueish-purple. Amethyst gets its purple colour from iron oxide in the quartz, and it has more iron than any other type of quartz. After the stone crystallises, gamma rays that are emitted by radioactive materials inside the rock irradiate the iron, turning it purple. So it is safe to say that the stone can be a variety of shades to suit everyone.
birthstone is Aquamarine, It is easy to see why Aquamarine has always been associated with the sea. Used in jewellery since at least 500 BC, its tropical ocean blue tones effortlessly invoke images of landless skies and the waters below. Once believed to be the treasure of mermaids, it was often worn by sailors and travellers as a talisman to protect against being shipwrecked and to ward off sea sickness.
Aquamarine is also the official gemstone for the 19th wedding anniversary. It is mostly found and mined in Brazil and countries that fall along the Mozambique geological belt in Africa, though there are other sources. Darker shades of Aquamarine tend to be cloudier, whereas cleaner stones are often very light in hue.
Although it is most famous for its glorious cool blue colour, Aquamarine is sometimes found with delicate greenish hues. In recent times it's been noted that the bluer the stone is, the more valuable it is, generally speaking. But as recently as the 19th century it was the sea green coloured stones that were sought after by the worlds collectors.
Keep Aquamarine stored away from any gem with a higher hardness on Mohs Scale as these could scratch your gem. Remember that it will also scratch other gems with a lower hardness. Keep Aquamarine away from heat exposure too, as it doesn't take much heat on an Aquamarine to begin to permanently change the colour. Always put jewellery away when you aren't wearing it, and never wear pieces when doing household chores or gardening, etc. Caring for your Aquamarine jewellery will keep it looking its best for many years to come.
Aprilbirthstone is Diamond. Over the years, a diamond has remained one of the most spectacular gemstones of all time. But what exactly makes the diamond so fascinating? Not only does a diamond have the ability to captivate a person’s heart in just a few seconds, but the gemstone remains remarkable for the fact that they were formed before the age of dinosaurs. Today, a diamond is still known as the ultimate symbol of love making it the ideal gift for anniversaries, birthdays and special celebrations. Diamond is particularly special to someone born in April or celebrating a 60th Anniversary!
Today, the majority of diamonds on the market are mined underground or undersea using heavy machinery and high-tech equipment. However, before diamonds were mined below the earth’s surface they were found by miners alongside or at the bottom of rivers.
Diamonds are considered to be one of hardest natural materials known to man; according to researchers a diamond is up to 58x harder than anything you will find in nature. Therefore, the only object or piece of equipment that would be able to cut through a diamond would be another diamond.
birthstone is Emerald, Emerald is simply one of the most desirable, famous, and historical gemstones of all time. Part of the Beryl family of gemstones, which also includes Aquamarine and Morganite, Emerald has been mined for around 4,000 years. From Ancient Egypt to the modern day, all those who have gazed on the intense vivid greens of the gem have fallen under its spell, and it can be found throughout time in some of the most stunning pieces of jewellery ever to have existed.
The green in Emerald is caused by the presence of chromium, vanadium, or iron (or any combination of those three elements). Emerald is 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale and has fair to good toughness, making it a stone that requires more care in wearing than Ruby or Sapphire.
Emerald is the birthstone for May and the anniversary gemstone for the 20th, 35th and 55th year of marriage. It is the ideal birthstone for May as its deep bright greens perfectly reflect the new life and regeneration of nature during springtime.
Junebirthstone is Pearl. Those born in June aren’t just lucky because the month has 3 official birthstones but more so because one of these gemstones is the Pearl. According to the legend, the June birthstone is believed to symbolise purity, clarity, and loyalty. Given its symbolic meaning and captivating beauty, Pearls are an especially great gift for anyone born in this month.
Despite being classified as a gemstone, Pearls differ significantly from all others (including Sapphires, Rubies, Emeralds, etc.) due to the fact that they are the only gems to come from a living creature. All other gemstones form in the Earth’s crust as magma cools under high pressure. Did you know that less than 1 in every 10,000 wild oysters contain Pearls!?
There are four main Pearl types, and they vary in terms of size, shape, colour and value. Freshwater Pearls are mainly grown in rivers and lakes across China. They are the most widely available Pearls and as a result, they are sold for an appealing price. Japanese Akoya Pearls are a variety of saltwater Pearls that are arguably best-known in the world. They are produced in Japanese and Chinese waters and feature spherical shapes with a beautiful lustre. Tahitians Pearls – another type of saltwater Pearls cultivated in the islands of French Polynesia. Despite sometimes being referred to as black Pearls, they also come in beautiful shades of grey, blue, green, and purple. South Sea pearls are the largest of all pearls and feature white, cream, and golden hues. They can be found in the waters of Australia and the Philippines.
While people believe that all Pearls are perfectly round and symmetrical, this is simply not true. They come in an array of different shapes. The most common include round, off-round, drop, and baroque. Round-shaped Pearls are undoubtedly the most popular ones, but given different budgets and taste, others are admired too
birthstone is Ruby. Both rubies and sapphires are gems of the mineral corundum; all colours of the rainbow occur in this family of gemstones and are called sapphires apart from when the presence of chromium causes the beautiful vivid red colour for ruby.
The name Ruby comes from the Latin ‘ruber’ meaning red, but due to its rarity its very name inherently means ‘precious’. Indeed it is one of the most expensive gemstones as it rarer to find in exceptional quality.
The very finest rubies in the world are Burmese, these have a deep blood-red hue with a tinge of blue. These rubies are very rare though, so Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and parts of Africa are also important sources. It is very much a personal preference as rubies colour that may shade towards pink and purple, but all good quality of rubies should have vibrant pure colour.
Rubies are a very hard gemstone measuring 9 on Moh’s hardness scale, as second only to diamonds they are perfect for everyday wear. First mentioned in the bible they are said to shield against negative energy and promote strength, courage and joy. In Indian culture they are worshiped as the gemstone of the sun. With the colour red, we think of fire, it is the colour of seduction, danger and adventure. In this Edwardian target ring, we see that cupids arrow has struck the bullseye and the (lucky!) wearer is the victim of passionate love.
birthstone is Peridot. Sometimes called chrysolite, is the transparent gem variety of the mineral olivine. The name is derived the French word ‘peritot’ meaning gold as the mineral can vary towards this colour; although the finest stones are prized for their ‘oily’ green tone which is caused by the presence of iron.
Peridot is the national gem of Egypt who knew it as the ‘Gem of the Sun’. Legend says it was Cleopatra's favourite gemstone, and historians now believe that many of the “emeralds” she wore were actually peridot as it was mined for over 3,500 years on St John’s Island in the red sea.
The principle source now is the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona and today the gemstones are still appreciated for their beauty and associated embodiment of protection, positive power, healing and good health.
As the birthstone for August and it is also by association the birthstone for star sign Leo. Their characteristics are said to be dramatic, outgoing, fiery and self-assured.
birthstone is Sapphire, It is also a traditional gift for those celebrating a 5th or 45th anniversary! Sapphire is the most precious and valuable blue gemstone. It is a very desirable gemstone due to its excellent colour, hardness, durability, and lustre. Sapphires belong to the family of minerals known as corundum (the same family as Ruby!)
Gemstones are rated on their ability to withstand scratching based on a system called the Mohs Scale of Hardness, and Sapphires score a 9 out of 10. The only natural item that can scratch a Sapphire is a Diamond, which has a 10 on the Mohs Scale. The durability of Sapphires makes them an excellent choice for engagement rings and other jewellery you plan to wear every day.
When you think of Sapphires, you probably think of a rich blue colour, but sapphires actually come in almost every colour of the rainbow! Including pink, peach, orange, yellow, green, teal, and purple!
Sapphires are often associated with loyalty and dignity and are a favourite gemstone for royalty. The most famous royal Sapphire today is the engagement ring given by Prince Charles to Lady Diana in 1981, and is now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. It features a 12-carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds (similar to this beautiful ring underneath). Now that is a beauty!
Sapphire engagement rings certainly aren’t only for royals. Before the twentieth century, blue sapphires were the favoured gemstones for engagement rings. Sapphires were quite popular in Victorian engagement rings when they were often surrounded by smaller diamonds to create floral designs
birthstone is Opal. Opal is one of the most beautiful and precious gemstones there is. Did you know Opal is made up of water and silica (the main component in glass). It is one of only six types of precious gemstones found in the earth, sharing prestigious company with Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds, and Pearls. Occurring in most varieties of rock, the vast majority of opals are mined in Australia (about 95%), with other Opal’s are found in United States, Mexico, Peru and Brazil!
Did you know that Opal’s come in a variety of colours? Depending on the conditions in which it formed, Opal may be transparent, translucent or opaque and the background colour may be white, black or nearly any colour of the visual spectrum. Black opal is considered to be the rarest, whereas white, grey and green are the most common.
The value of each individual Opal differs greatly depending on the unique qualities of the Opal. There are many determining factors, including body tone, play of colour, colours present, brilliance, pattern, and size.
Opal is softer than most other gemstones. Because of that Opal is best suited for use in earrings, brooches and other pieces of jewellery that rarely encounter scuffs and impacts. Although, you can have Opal set in a beautiful ring but more care will be needed.
birthstone is Topaz, One of the most well-known topaz gemstones is a 1680 carat colourless topaz that resides in the Portuguese crown. The gemstone was originally thought to be the largest diamond ever found until its true identity was discovered as a colourless Topaz! Did you know that Topaz is commonly found in brown and blue? However, a lot of people don’t know that it is also available in a wide range of other colours including yellow, orange, red, pink, violet and green. A rainbow gemstone for real!
Topaz is the designated gemstone for the 4th and 23rd anniversaries. Blue topaz is reserved for the 4th anniversary while imperial topaz is reserved for the 23rd anniversary! Topaz is also the birthstone for November birthdays!
The majority of Topaz can be found in Brazil. Some other notable locations for this gemstone include Russia, Germany, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria. There are two theories about where the name topaz originated. One is that the name came from a small island in the Red Sea called Topazios. This island never actually produced any topaz gemstones, but instead produced peridot. In fact, before modern mineral detection methods were invented, topaz was often confused with Peridot. The other theory surrounding the origin of its name comes from the Sanskrit word “tapas,” which means fire.
Topaz has a rating of 8 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale for gemstones, making it a durable gemstone that can be worn daily without too much risk of damage. When cleaning your beautiful Topaz jewellery, It’s important to avoid steam or ultrasonic machines: Warm, soapy water works best.
birthstone is Tanzanite, The name "tanzanite" was given because the world's only known tanzanite deposit of commercial importance is in northern Tanzania. The name reflects the gem’s limited geographic origin. The mines are all located in an area of about eight square miles in the Merelani Hills, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and the city of Arusha.
Although nearly all of the world’s most popular gemstones have been known and used for hundreds of years, tanzanite was not discovered in commercial quantities until the 1960s. In the short time since then, it has become the second most popular blue gem after sapphire. It is one of a very small number of gems of any colour that have been discovered and brought to strong consumer popularity within the past century. This rapid rise to popularity was accomplished mainly by Tiffany’s promotion and tanzanite’s beautiful blue colour. Because of its growing popularity, Tanzanite was designated as a modern birthstone for the month of December in 2002.
Tanzanite gems with a strong-to-vivid blue, purplish blue and violetish blue colour are the most valuable. These rich colours are the most appealing to the majority of people shopping for tanzanite. Most tanzanite have a light to medium tone and low to medium saturation. Although these gems are not considered to be top colour, many people prefer them and gladly pay the lower price. Tanzanite in these softer colours often appeals to buyers who like aquamarine and blue topaz.
Tanzanite is a beautiful gem. In addition to its beauty, it has some properties that require it to be given special care. Tanzanite is best suited for earrings, pendants, and other jewellery items that will not encounter abrasion and impact. It is less suited for use in a ring. Many jewellers recommend that "tanzanite rings are for dress rather than daily wear."
Hardness is the resistance of a gem to being scratched. Tanzanite has a hardness of about 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale This hardness is low enough that the gem is vulnerable to being scratched during normal wear if it is used in a ring. This problem can be reduced if the setting is designed to protect the stone from impact and abrasion, or if the ring is not worn during activities when the chance of impact or abrasion is high.