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Guide to Birthstones, Birthstone Colours & Birthstone Meanings

Although dating back to biblical times (Book of Exodus 28 and 39), the custom of wearing Birthstones in Europe first became popular in Poland in the 16th century. By the 17th century, gemstones had become firmly associated with specific months of the year. Wealthy members of society would wear each months stone over the course of that month in order to be in harmony with the celestial spirits. As the months changed, the wearer hoped each stone would bring them the specific properties associated with each celestial period. For instance, Garnet would bring the wearer tranquility, protect against fevers as well as harm during travel. Whilst Ruby would bring clarity of mind and protect against harm from natural causes. This meant each individual had to invest in a set of twelve gemstones and a piece of jewellery with which to wear them. By the 18th century, probably as a financial necessity, society members began wearing only the gemstone that represented their birth month. Nowadays Birthstones are offered as gifts to symbolise the qualities attributed to the month of birth of the recipient.

What Are The Twelve Birthstones By Month

For historical, national and commercial reasons there are actually more than twelve birthstones and the number depends on the Birthstones Chart that you follow. Below you will find the Official British Birthstones List and the Official American Birthstones List along with an indication of whether birthstone beads or gemstones are Traditional Birthstones, a Modern Birthstones or Alternative Birthstones. Each entry comes with a description of the traditional Birthstones Meanings as well as a Birthstones Colours Chart.

For a wider understanding of each gemstone in these Birthstones Lists we have provided a link through to our Gemstones and MInerals Guide for each birthstone. This Gemstone Glossary provides the physical characteristics of each stone plus colour variations, history, sources, therapeutic properties, and the traditional meanings of gemstones.

The Official British Birthstones List

Defined in 1937 (Source: The National Association of Goldsmiths)

UK Traditional Birthstone for January is Garnet

JANUARY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Garnet Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Deep Red though also available in a wide variety of colours including Greens, Oranges and Yellows
Birthstones Meaning – Eternity, Faith, Friendship, Loyalty, Purity and Truth

Buy Garnet Beads

UK Traditional Birthstone for February is Amethyst

FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Amethyst Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Purple and Violet tones
Birthstones Meaning – Balance, Calmness, Courage, Health, Peace, Sincerity, Stability and Strength

Buy Amethyst Beads

UK Traditional Birthstone for March is Aquamarine

MARCH BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Aquamarine Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Pale Blue but available in a variety of hues from Sea Blues to Deep Greens
Birthstones Meaning – Awareness, Clarity, Courage, Faithfulness, Friendship and Understanding

Buy Aquamarine Beads

UK Alternative Birthstone for March is Bloodstone

MARCH BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Bloodstone Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Dark Green and Red
Birthstones Meaning – Courage, Creativity, Friendship, Health, Relationships

UK Traditional Birthstone for April is Diamond

APRIL BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Diamond Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White or Clear
Birthstones Meaning – Courage, Eternity, Relationships and Strength

UK Alternative Birthstone for April is Rock Crystal

APRIL BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Rock Crystal Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White or Clear
Birthstones Meaning – Awareness, Eternity, Courage, and Health

Buy Rock Crystal Beads

UK Traditional Birthstone for May is Emerald

MAY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Emerald Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Green hues
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Fidelity, Faithfulness, Friendship and Loyalty

UK Alternative Birthstone for May is Chrysoprase

MAY BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Chrysoprase Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Green
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Healing, Hope, Insight & Love

Buy Chrysoprase Beads

UK Traditional Birthstone for June is Pearl

JUNE BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Pearl Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White Iridescent
Birthstones Meaning – Beauty, Chastity, Friendship, Loyalty, Modesty, Nobility, Peace and Purity

Buy Pearl Beads

UK Alternative Birthstone for June is Moonstone

JUNE BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Moonstone Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Foresight, Good Luck, Intuition and Passion

Buy Moonstone Beads

UK Traditional Birthstone for July is Ruby

JULY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Ruby Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Deep Red
Birthstones Meaning – Confidence, Courage, Devotion, Enthusiasm, Happiness, Integrity, Prosperity and Success

UK Alternative Birthstone for July is Carnelian

JULY BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Carnelian Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Red
Birthstones Meaning – Energy, Enthusiasm and Even Temperament

Buy Carnelian Beads

UK Alternative Birthstone for July is Onyx

JULY BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Onyx Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Black
Birthstones Meaning – Comfort, Relaxation and Self Confidence

Buy Onyx Beads

UK Traditional Birthstone for August is Peridot

AUGUST BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Peridot Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Lime Green hues
Birthstones Meaning – Faithfulness, Fame, Love, Loyalty, Success and Truth

Buy Peridot Beads

UK Alternative Birthstone for August is Sardonyx

AUGUST BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Sardonyx Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White & Reddish Brown
Birthstones Meaning – Friendship, Happiness, Integrity, Stability, Stamina and Willpower

UK Traditional Birthstone for September is Sapphire

SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Sapphire Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Deep Blue or Indigo but also Pink and Yellow
Birthstones Meaning – Constancy, Intuition, Serenity, Sincerity and Truth

UK Alternative Birthstone for September is Lapis Lazuli

SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Lapis Lazuli Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Deep Blue
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Serenity and Truth

Buy Lapis Lazuli Beads

UK Traditional Birthstone for October is Opal

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Opal Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Rainbow Iridescent hues
Birthstones Meaning – Health, Hope, Innocence and Purity

Buy Opal Beads

UK Alternative Birthstone for October is Tourmaline

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Tourmaline Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Multi Coloured
Birthstones Meaning – Health, Hope, Purity and Vision

UK Traditional Birthstone for November is Topaz

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Topaz Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Yellow through to Bright Blue
Birthstones Meaning – Constancy, Courage, Faithfulness, Friendship, Loyalty, Peace and Wisdom

UK Alternative Birthstone for November is Citrine

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONESALTERNATIVE

Citrine Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Yellow
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Energy, Happiness, Joy, Optimism and Relationships

Buy Citrine Beads

UK Modern Birthstone for December is Tanzanite

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONESMODERN

Tanzanite Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Blue
Birthstones Meaning – Communication, Compassion and Self Awareness

UK Traditional Birthstone for December is Turquoise

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Turquoise Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Blue Green , Teal and Aqua tones
Birthstones Meaning – Creativity, Happiness, Good Luck, Prosperity, Success and Wisdom



The Official American Birthstones List

In 1912, in an effort to standardise Birthstones, the organisations associated with the Jewelers of America officially adopted a list of gemstones, detailed as Traditional in the table below. The list was not changed until 1952 when a nationwide survey of men’s buying preferences showed that the available choice between June and December was not being followed and that a new buying pattern had emerged. These changes are detailed as Modern in the table below. More recently two attempts were made to add Tanzanite as December’s stone. Although December already had two stones representing it the American Gem Trade Association announced in 2002 that they had added tanzanite to December’s birthstone list Later in 2006 the Tanzanite cartel decided that a new marketing strategy would help their business and announced that Tanzanite would be a birthstone not just for a particular month of the year but should be presented on the birth of each child, no matter which month they were born in. The Jewelers of America accepted the idea hoping it would help increase sales of birthstone jewellery. This list is currently the most widely used in the United States and many other locations including the Far East and Australia. (Source: The American National Association of Jewelers)


US Traditional Birthstone for January is Garnet

JANUARY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Garnet Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Deep Red though also available in a wide variety colours including Greens, Oranges and Yellows
Birthstones Meaning – Eternity, Faith, Friendship, Loyalty, Purity and Truth

Buy Garnet Beads

US Traditional Birthstone for February is Amethyst

FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Amethyst Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Purple and Violet tones
Birthstones Meaning – Balance, Calmness, Courage, Health, Peace, Sincerity, Stability and Strength

Buy Amethyst Beads

US Traditional Birthstone for March is Aquamarine

MARCH BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Aquamarine Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Pale Blue but available in a variety of hues from Sea Blues to Deep Greens
Birthstones Meaning – Awareness, Clarity, Courage, Faithfulness, Friendship and Understanding

Buy Aquamarine Beads

US Modern Birthstone for March is Bloodstone

MARCH BIRTHSTONESMODERN

Bloodstone Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Dark Green & Red
Birthstones Meaning – Courage, Creativity, Friendship, Health, Relationships

US Traditional Birthstone for April is Diamond

APRIL BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Diamond Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White or Clear
Birthstones Meaning – Courage, Eternity, Relationships and Strength

US Traditional Birthstone for May is Emerald

MAY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Emerald Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Green hues
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Fidelity, Faithfulness, Friendship and Loyalty

US Modern Birthstone for June is Alexandrite

JUNE BIRTHSTONESMODERN

Alexandrite Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Green
Birthstones Meaning – Confidence, Joy and Love

US Traditional Birthstone for June is Moonstone

JUNE BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Moonstone Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Foresight, Good Luck, Intuition and Passion

Buy Moonstone Beads

US Traditional Birthstone for June is Pearl

JUNE BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Pearl Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White Iridescent
Birthstones Meaning – Beauty, Chastity, Friendship, Loyalty, Modesty, Nobility, Peace and Purity

Buy Pearl Beads

US Traditional Birthstone for July is Ruby

JULY BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Ruby Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Deep Red
Birthstones Meaning – Confidence, Courage, Devotion, Enthusiasm, Happiness, Integrity, Prosperity and Success

US Traditional Birthstone for August is Peridot

AUGUST BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Peridot Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Light Green hues
Birthstones Meaning – Faithfulness, Fame, Love, Loyalty, Success and Truth

Buy Peridot Beads

US Modern Birthstone for August is Sardonyx

AUGUST BIRTHSTONESMODERN

Sardonyx Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – White & Reddish Brown
Birthstones Meaning – Friendship, Happiness, Integrity, Stability, Stamina and Willpower

US Modern Birthstone for September is Sapphire

SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Sapphire Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Deep Blue or Indigo but also Pink and Yellow
Birthstones Meaning – Constancy, Intuition, Serenity, Sincerity and Truth

US Traditional Birthstone for October is Opal

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Opal Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Rainbow Iridescent hues
Birthstones Meaning – Health, Hope, Innocence and Purity

Buy Opal Beads

US Traditional Birthstone for October is Tourmaline

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Tourmaline Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Multi Coloured
Birthstones Meaning – Health, Hope, Purity and Vision

US Traditional Birthstone for November is Yellow Topaz

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Yellow Topaz Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Yellow through to Bright Blue
Birthstones Meaning – Constancy, Courage, Faithfulness, Friendship, Loyalty, Peace and Wisdom

US Traditional Birthstone for November is Citrine

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Citrine Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Yellow
Birthstones Meaning – Clarity, Energy, Happiness, Joy, Optimism and Relationships

Buy Citrine Beads

US Modern Birthstone for December is Tanzanite

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONESMODERN

Tanzanite Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Blue
Birthstones Meaning – Communication, Compassion and Self Awareness

US Modern Birthstone for December is Zircon

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONESMODERN

Zircon Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Blue
Birthstones Meaning – Honour, Self Esteem, Wealth and Wisdom

US Traditional Birthstone for Decemeber is Turquoise

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Turquoise Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Blue Green, Teal and Aqua tones
Birthstones Meaning – Creativity, Happiness, Good Luck, Prosperity, Success and Wisdom

US Traditional Birthstone for December is Blue Topaz

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONESTRADITIONAL

Blue Topaz Birthstones

Birthstones Colour – Blue
Birthstones Meaning – Calming, Fidelity, Happiness, Love and Luck




If that is not enough choice there are also Birthstones Lists for the hour, day of the week, and season! This article ends with a Day of the Week Birthstones List which identifies a Birthstone for the day of a persons birth:

Day of the Week Birthstones List

Monday Day Of The Week Birthstone is Pearl

MONDAY BIRTHSTONES

Pearl Birthstones

Buy Pearl Beads

Tuesday Day Of The Week Birthstone is Ruby

TUESDAY BIRTHSTONES

Ruby Birthstones

Wednesday Day Of The Week Birthstone is Amethyst

WEDNESDAY BIRTHSTONES

Amethyst Birthstones

Buy Amethyst Beads

Thursday Day Of The Week Birthstone is Sapphire

THURSDAY BIRTHSTONES

Sapphire Birthstones

Friday Day Of The Week Birthstone is Carnelian

FRIDAY BIRTHSTONES

Carnelian Birthstones

Buy Carnelian Beads

Saurday Day Of The Week Birthstone is Turquoise

SATURDAY BIRTHSTONES

Turquoise Birthstones

Sunday Day Of The Week Birthstone is Topaz

SUNDAY BIRTHSTONES

Topaz Birthstones


Further Reading – History of Birthstones

The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz – a compendium of all the powers that have been associated with gemstones through the ages.

Official Birthstones List – Free Adobe PDF to download and keep

Download this Free Guide to Birthstones as a PDF

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Copyright © 2008-2013 Anna Weller of Big Bead Little Bead

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