Traditionally, birthstones are gems assigned to the month of a person's birth according to the Gregorian Calendar.
There are many different lists compiled by semi-literate nomads and are religiously followed by a shopping mall crowd.
Both traditional and modern birthstones are grouped by month as opposed to astrological signs.
January - Garnet
The alternative - Emerald. Legend holds that Noah hung a large garnet in the ark for illumination. It reportedly gave its wearer guidance during the night and protection from nightmares. Garnets are found in the U.S., Africa, Sri-Lanka, Brazil, and India.
February - Amethyst
The alternative - Bloodstone. The Greeks believed that it would prevent intoxication when worn. The amethyst has also symbolized peace, protection, and tranquility. It is mainly found in Brazil, Uruguay, and Zambia.
March - Aquamarine
The alternative - Bloodstone, Jade. In ancient times, the stone was said to aid seafarers. To dream of an aquamarine signifies the making of new friends; to wear aquamarine earrings brings love and affection. It is the universal symbol of youth, hope, and health. Aquamarine is mainly found in Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, and Ukraine.
April - Diamond
The alternative - Opal. Discovered about 2,500 years ago in India, the ancients believed they were splinters from the stars, or maybe crystallized lightening or hardened dew drops.
May - Emerald
The alternative - Sapphire, Agate. The emerald was thought to cure a wide range of ailments, including low IQ, poor eyesight, and infertility. It also enabled the wearer to predict the future. They are characterized by a garden of included crystals trapped within, known as the "Jardin," because under magnification, you will see lovely patterns resembling foliage in a garden. Emeralds are found mainly in Colombia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
June - Pearl, Alexandrite
The alternative - Moonstone. Pearls have been recognized as the symbol of modesty, chastity, and purity. They symbolize a happy marriage. Moonstone is sometimes used as an alternative since it physically resembles some pearls.
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 possessed an inner flame that burned eternally. Rubies are found in Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and India.
The alternative - Sardonyx, Sapphire. Peridots formed as the result of volcanic action. Tiny Peridot crystals are sometimes found in the black sands of Hawaii. They were considered powerful amulets against all evil and said to be favored by pirates. The Peridot is found in Burma, China, and the U.S. Spinel has been recently added as an August birthstone, thanks to its wide variety of natural colors, spinel is a designer's dream.
Spinel has been recently added as an August birthstone, thanks to its wide variety of natural colors, spinel is a designer's dream.
September - Sapphire
The alternative - Agate, Moonstone (Leon Megé favorite stone). The sapphire was honored by ancient priests and sorcerers, for it was said to enable them to foretell the future. Ancients believed the Ten Commandments were written on a sapphire tablet. Sapphire is found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Kashmir, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China, and the US.
October - Opal
The alternative - Tourmaline, Jasper. Opal has symbolized hope, innocence, and purity throughout the ages. Medieval writers believed opal could render its wearer invisible when the need arose. It is thought to banish evil spirits and favor children, the theater, and friends. Opals are found in Australia, Mexico, and the US. Tourmaline is used sometimes as a birthstone for October by those who prefer a faceted stone.
November - Citrine
The alternative - Yellow Topaz. It holds the distinction of being the gemstone with the widest range of curative powers. It has been known to change colors in the presence of poison. The Greeks felt it gave them strength. Topaz is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and China. Citrine is sometimes substituted for Topaz because it is readily available and less expensive.
December - Blue Topaz
The alternative - Tanzanite, Turquoise, Zircon, Lapis Lazuli, Onyx. In the 16th century, turquoise was used as currency by the Southwest Indians. They believed the gemstone brought everyone good fortune. It has also been used in the preparation of cosmetics. Blue Topaz is a popular alternative for those who prefer faceted stones.