There are many different lists all designed to help gemstone dealers to wrestle consumer's disposable income away from the diamond cartel.
Both traditional and modern birthstones are grouped by month as opposed to astrological signs.
In 2002 tanzanite was included as December’s third birthstone after turquoise and Zircon. The addition of Spinel to August marks the third addition to the birthstone list.
January - Garnet
According to Bible Noah hung a large garnet in the ark for illumination.
Unfortunately, he was not able to wire the garnet because the only pre-historic electrician was eaten by a hippo.
Nevertheless it apparently worked even without the wires. Take that Tesla! Interestingly enough, 5000 years later, garnets are being extensively used in lasers and opto-electronics.
Apart from their light-emitting capabilities that were apparently lost soon after the historic Mount Ararat landing, garnets reportedly provide guidance during the night and protection from nightmares.
Very helpful, when trying to keep your dinosaurs from eating all chicken in the dark of the storm.
Garnet was one of the twelve gemstones adorning Aaron’s breastplate, representing one of the twelve tribes Israel. Which one? No one knows, perhaps the one that was born in January.
Ancient Christians highly regarded red garnet to be symbolic of Christ’s blood sacrifice. The ancient Persians regarded garnet as a royal stone, and only royalty was allowed to own it. The sixth heaven - Arous (عروس) is composed of garnets and rubies in Islam.
Ancient Greeks believed that a garnet could give its wearer guidance in the night, allowing them to see when others could not.
Garnet was antiquity's TripAdvisor , warning the wearer of approaching danger when traveling.
February - Amethyst
Amethyst is a variety of Quartz of a spectacular purple color that ranges from deep violet and red to a lighter lilac hue.
Ancient Greeks believed that Amethyst would prevent intoxication and enables a clear mindset, in fact, the word "Amethyst" came from a Greek phrase "Not drunken yet."
Also wearing an Amethyst symbolized peace, protection, and tranquility. Linked to the crown chakra, it is helpful in purifying the mind and clearing negative thoughts, the negativity of stress, and anxiety.
With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, it is a durable stone.
The alternative to Amethyst for the month of February is Bloodstone, a dark-green stone flecked with red spots of iron oxide.
March - Aquamarine
The rich crystalline blues that make waters of the Caribbean so breathtaking, is the color of a fine Aquamarine.
A sub-species of Beryl, Aquamarine is a close relative of an Emerald (May's birthstone).
Aquamarine is a busy gemstone - in addition to serving March duty, it is associated with two signs of the Zodiac: Pisces and Gemini, as well as the planets Uranus and Neptune. On top of that, Aquamarine is also set as the stone to mark the 19th anniversary of marriage.
In ancient times, the stone was said to aid seafarers. To dream about aquamarine predicts making of new friends.
Wearing aquamarine earrings brings love and affection. It is the universal symbol of youth, hope, and health.
The alternative birthstone for the month of March is Jade which is also a designated Zodiac gemstone of Virgo.
April - Diamond
Diamonds were formed billions of years ago at great depths making them truly unique in the whole spectrum of gems.
People born in April are the luckiest people.
A Diamond is easy to buy and it is universally accepted as a valuable and desirable gift.
Diamond symbolizes love, purity, openheartedness, and unity. in addition to being a symbol of everlasting love, it was once thought to bring courage.
In Sanskrit, the diamond is called “vajra,” which means lightning; in Hindu mythology, vajra was Indra's weapon, Indra being the boss of other gods.
May - Emerald
Emerald’s color has been a benchmark of a green hue for thousands of years.
The most desirable color of Emerald is a slightly bluish green in a medium dark tone with strong to vivid saturation.
Clarity is less important, inclusions are tolerated, in most cases, an infusion of oil renders a heavily included specimen crystal-clear.
Chromium and vanadium impurities cause emerald’s rich green color. Their higher the concentration of these trace elements, the more color intensity, and more difference between an emerald and a less-expensive green beryl.
The Emerald is one of the four major precious gems: Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Paraiba.
In folklore an Emerald represents youthfulness, growth, and intelligence, because, as everyone knows, the green color is the smartest one, just look at the trees. The emerald is thought to cure a wide range of ailments, including low IQ, poor eyesight, and infertility (probably caused by poor eyesight). Emerald enabled the wearer to predict the future.
Cleopatra, famously, was a sucker for a good emerald, albeit a defective one, otherwise, why would she commit a suicide after the Battle of Actium defeat?
June - Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
Alexandrite was named in honor of the Russian Czar Alexander II in 1834, to mark his birthday and, very conveniently, kiss his royal bottom, a popular activity in Russia even today.
“Emerald by day, ruby by night,” the Alexandrite changes color from bluish green in daylight to purplish red under incandescent light. In regular light, both colors are mixed so the stone looks brownish-green.
Alexandrite is a rare variety of chrysoberyl and gem-quality natural stones are extremely rare and monstrously expensive.
Pearls are organically created inside the shells of certain species of clams. Today most pearls are cultivated in oyster farms, which makes them very affordable.
Pearls are recognized as the symbol of modesty, chastity, and purity. They symbolize a happy marriage.
The largest pearl in the world is famous 3 inches long Pearl of Asia that was a gift from Shah Jahan to his favorite wife, Mumtaz.
Apparently, it was more valuable at a time than the Taj Mahal he later built for her.
Coco Chanel, a fashion guru, and Nazi sympathizer once remarked: “A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.”
Up until the sixteenth-century people believed that moonstones changed in appearance with the phases of the moon.
Romans believed that within the stone one can find see the face of Diana, the Goddess of the Moon.
Allegedly, the Moonstones have the power to bring victory, health, and wisdom even today.
In India, the moonstone is considered a sacred stone and it is often wrapped in yellow cloth because everyone knows that yellow is a sacred color. Moonstone will bring a good fortune, brought on by a spirit that lives within the stone.
July - Ruby - Leon Megé's birthstone
Known as the "Lord of the Gems", the Ruby is said to protect its owners from all kinds of misfortune.A fine ruby assures its owner that he will live in harmony with his neighbors.
Many ancients believed that the Ruby has an inner flame that is burning eternally, which protects the wearer from all sorts of evil.
Rubies were also believed to enhance a decision-making power and aid the wearer in making important financial decisions. Not so much in marital decisions: when the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew she was presented with a Ruby ring. 10 years later they were divorced.
Ruby-studded shoes have curious abilities - once you activate a sequence by clicking them three times, you are beamed straight to Kansas. Think of it as a Transporter from hell.
Alternate Birthstones For July: Onyx (Quartz), Carnelian (Reddish Quartz), Turquoise (Sky blue, plastic-like, opaque gemstone).
Wealthy Greeks and Romans often possessed a personal logo, carved into hard gemstones, which they used to seal documents or shlepped around as amulets.
Carnelian was especially popular due to even distribution of its color. Carnelian is the official colors of Cornell University.
Olive-green colored Peridots (called "poor woman's emerald") were believed to host magical powers and were considered powerful amulets against all evil.
They said to be favored by pirates, but the combined purchasing power of this consumer group is greatly diminished these days.
Until Spinel joined the club in 2016 Peridot and Sardonyx were the only two August birthstones.
It was a big deal, the "official" list was amended only twice before in the past 106 years.
For many centuries, Spinel was thought to be rubies and sapphires because they have similar properties and were found in the same area as corundum. Spinel is actually superior to corundum varieties due to its single refraction and better brilliance.
The famous "Black Prince" ruby in the center of the British Imperial Crown recently turned out to be a red Spinel.
Thanks to its wide variety of natural colors and better availability Spinel is an excellent choice for those who celebrate their birthday in August.
Sardonyx is a reddish-brown variety of Onyx which is an opaque aggregate quartz.
Popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans, it was supposed to infuse its owner with courage and victory, useful qualities, at a time, when most people owned a single pair of underwear.
Sardonyx was a popular material for carving cameos and intaglios used in ancient timed as stamps and seals.
September - Sapphire
Ancient priests and sorcerers honored Sapphires because they enabled to foretell the future.
The Ten Commandments were inscribed on a sapphire tablet, supporting a theory of their extraterrestrial origin.
The Biblical sapphire was probably a blue Lapis, a gemstone that looks like a blue marble.
Ancient Greeks, wore Sapphires to ensure the oracles gave them a decent advice. During the Middle Ages, blue Sapphires were thought to harness divine blessings from Heaven. Buddhists thought they were enlightened by Sapphires.
Hindus used sapphires for worship. Greedy European royalty hoarded Sapphires for their resale value and bragging rights.
Lapis Lazuli is an alternate birthstone for the month of September if you want something opaque and inexpensive.
October - Tourmaline, Opal
Tourmaline is considered to be the alternative birthstone for those born in October, but it is an anachronism, it should be the primary choice, not the other way around.
Tourmaline comes in a great variety of colors, red, green and dark orange are the most popular choices.
Neon-blue Brazilian Paraiba is by far the most precious variety of Tourmaline.
Tourmaline is viewed as a symbol of power, protecting against toxins, pollutants, and depression. Tourmaline rates a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it a durable gem suitable, unlike Opals, for daily wear in any kind of jewelry.
Establishing Opal as October's primary birthstone is a marketing decision.
Opal is a hard sell due to its questionable durability, Opal is not even a mineral, it is classified as a mineraloid because of its amorphous structure.
In essence, Opal is a beautiful plastic made by Nature, prone to cracking when it dries out.
Opal's water content could measure up to the fifth of the total weight. Opal is a relatively soft gemstone (Mohs 6) same hardness as a beer bottle.
Opal is for pendants and earrings rather than rings. It is formed by rain soaking the ground and depositing silica into rock layers crevices.
According to Arabian legend, opals fell from the sky during storms when the lightning stroke the sand. Australian aborigines thought the creator visited the earth in a rainbow and left them with opals as a gift.
There are no Opals two that are identical in color and pattern. Each opal is different and unique and because of this make a very personal gift.
Opal has symbolized hope, innocence, and purity throughout the ages. Medieval writers believed opal could render its wearer invisible and will banish evil spirits. It is thought to favor children, theater, and friends.
November - Topaz and Citrine
November primary birthstone is Topaz, Citrine is being an alternative.
Topaz comes in a wide range of colors such as yellow, pink, purple, and blue.
In nature the yellow color is the most common in Topaz, the rarest color is red.
Topaz holds the distinction of being the gemstone with the widest range of curative powers.
Including changing its color in the presence of poison and even thought to prevent a sudden death.
The ancient Greeks felt that Topazes gave them strength, prevented mental illnesses, and increased overall wisdom.
The early Mediterranean literature (long lost) is full of references to those who "lost their topazes", or simply speaking, are nuts.
Yellow Topaz can be substituted with Citrine - cheap and readily available yellow Quartz.
December - Tanzanite, Turquoise and Zircon
Zircon is the oldest mineral on Earth, more than 4.4 billion years old.
During the Middle Ages, people believed that zircon ward off evil and bring prosperity, wisdom.
It was also thought to induce sleep, therefore it makes a great gift to a coffee industry executive.
Extremely fragile Tanzanite is a bluish-purple mineral Zoisite renamed by Tiffany executives for marketing purposes. the original rhymes with "suicide", which is exactly what the process of setting it is.
Because Tanzanite was discovered very recently (in 1967) there are no superstitions associated with wearing it as of yet.
Turquoise was used by Native Americans as currency, and in weaponry, attaching Turquoise to bows and rifles was supposed to improve accuracy.
They also believed Turquoise delivers a good fortune. It did not.
Turquoise was used in cosmetics.
The word itself comes from the French pierre tourques for “Turkish stone” because Turkish traders brought the brightly colored stone to Europe.
Nowadays it is mainly used in South Western silver jewelry.