Birthstone 101: Find Out What Yours Is & What It's All About
You're already familiar with your birthstone, but do you know why your birth month was given that stone, and what it really means? We dug for the answers so you don't have to. Here's everything you need to know about each month's birthstone and what it means, from a crystal expert.
The history of birthstones:
Birthstones have a long and rich history stemming all the way back to biblical times. In the book of Exodus (28:17-20), it is said that 12 gemstones were placed on the breastplate of the prophet Aaron. "There were 12 stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes," it reads.
Over time, the stones became associated with the 12 zodiac signs, and eventually with the 12 months. In the early 1900s, the National Association of Jewelers made the 12 birthstones official.
Birthstones are now popular gift options for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and other celebrations. Each stone is said to have a unique meaning and property, which we'll dive into next.
- January birthstone: Garnet
- February birthstone: Amethyst
- March birthstone: Aquamarine
- April birthstone: Diamond
- May birthstone: Emerald
- June birthstone: Pearl
- July birthstone: Ruby
- August birthstone: Peridot
- September birthstone: Sapphire
- October birthstone: Opal
- November birthstone: Topaz
- December birthstone: Turquoise
The stone associated with January is garnet. Garnet can come in a variety of colors, though as far as birthstones are concerned, it's typically red. It's thought to be a very grounding stone that brings its owner back to reality. Since January is a month of Capricorns and Aquarians, garnet is great for both of those signs.
As Yulia Van Doren, author of Crystals: The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing and founder of Goldirocks, tells mbg, "It's very important to have the grounding of a 'safe space' in order to be able to bravely explore unknown ideas and unchartered passions, which is why ultra-grounding garnet is the perfect adventure partner for both Capricorns and Aquarians."
She adds that garnet can help you keep your boundaries firmly established and respected while also helping to remove your inhibitions and blockages so that you feel safe and supported exploring your soul's true desires.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February, known for its striking purple color. It's a variety of quartz, which is a hard, crystalline mineral made of silica. It's associated with Aquarius and Pisces in the zodiac.
Van Doren tells mbg that amethyst has been revered for centuries for its balancing effect. "Amethyst carries an energy which helps neutralize imbalances and can really help calm Aquarian and Piscean tendencies toward extremes," she says.
This stone is also thought to serve as a reminder to treat your body and mind as the sacred temples they are, she notes, and make healthy choices and decisions. "You can never have enough amethyst around you, in my humble opinion—keep this purple crystal anywhere and everywhere," Van Doren adds.
Those born in March have the birthstone aquamarine. Characterized by its light blue color, it was named after the Latin term for seawater, aqua marina, Van Doren notes.
"Aquamarine is the blue variety of the mineral beryl," she says, adding that it's very much a "go with the flow" crystal. "It encourages you to follow your curiosity and can help you break out of mindless routines, stale habits, and fear-based thinking," she explains.
According to Ashley Leavy, founder and educational director of the Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy, the best aquamarine is going to be that brilliant sea-blue, which often gets its color from being heated. It can have greenish hues sometimes, as well, or even be more transparent.
Since March is the birth month of some Pisceans and Aries folks, Van Doren adds this can be a helpful stone for the Pisces who gets overwhelmed by details, or the fiery Aries with overactive mental chatter.
One of the most famous and expensive gemstones known to man, diamonds are the birthstone for April—and subsequently, some of those born under Aries and Taurus.
According to Van Doren, diamonds' name comes from the Greek word "adamas," which means invincible. "These extraordinary crystals will help support whatever intention you ask of them," she says.
Astrologically speaking, Van Doren explains that for Aries and Taurus, "This brilliantly strong gemstone will help you stand strong in your own sparkling truth—something you are already naturally gifted at doing—and is a beautiful reminder that there's always light at the end of every tunnel, no matter how pressurized things get."
May's birthstone, Emerald, is a mineral that gets its striking green color from trace amounts of the chemical elements chromium or vanadium. It's a birthstone of both Geminis and Taureans.
"Emeralds have shone brightly through countless mythologies and histories for good reason: This is a gemstone which can manifest huge gifts of magnetic good fortune, abundance, and health," Van Doren tells mbg.
This stone "radiates powerful energies of growth and creative manifestation," Van Doren notes, adding it's very helpful for "balancing Taurus’ infamous stubbornness, and a natural complement to Gemini's inquisitive, inventive, creative personality."
And according to Leavy, emeralds are also known to bring peace, calm, and inspiration, as well as protection. "They're known as a stone of loyalty, too, so you'll often see them in Victorian jewelry, and they encourage friendship and stimulate empathy," she adds.
If you were born in June, your birthstone is the pearl, which happens to be the only gemstone formed by a living creature, Van Doren notes. These lustrous gems are made of calcium carbonite, just like the shells of the mollusks from which they come.
"Pearls are luminous reminders that it's often the most difficult things in life that transform us the most beautifully," she explains, adding, "But just as it takes a mollusk much time and effort to transform a grain of sand into a pearl, it also takes us a lot of time and dedicated soul work to transform our greatest challenges into priceless radiance."
This is a great stone for the two astrological signs of June: Gemini and Cancer. For Geminis, Van Doren notes, pearls can help calm the tendency to get easily distracted. And for Cancer, pearls can help soothe nerves.
Leavy explains that pearls also have a strong association with the moon (which rules Cancer, btw). "This association makes sense because it literally looks like a tiny moon—it's brilliant, and shining, and lustrous," she says, adding, "the ancient Greeks and Romans believed this stone was actually formed from the light of the moon."
Those born in July have the striking red ruby as a birthstone. This gem is composed of transparent red corundum, which is a mineral form of aluminum oxide.
According to Van Doren, rubies are supremely powerful grounding and protective crystals. She notes that they "resonate with our two lower chakras, helping clear deeply rooted issues related to self-worth, scarcity, and survival."
This is also an excellent stone for increasing your energy, vitality, and motivation, according to Leavy. "It's great for encouraging exploration of new thoughts and ideas, so if you have been feeling a little bit stuck, boxed in, or lacking some creativity, it really encourages you to shift your perspective and think of things in a new way," she adds.
And while all these things are certainly not exclusive to Cancers and Leos born in July, Van Doren says, these signs get to claim the beautiful red gemstone as their own, and will "greatly benefit from surrounding themselves with the protective, grounding energy of rubies."
Peridot is the birthstone for August. It's a magnesium-rich variety of the mineral olivine that gets its green color from the iron that lies within it.
"Often found in areas of volcanic activity," Van Doren tells mbg, "bright-green peridot is associated with Pele, fierce Hawaiian Goddess of fire and volcanoes." She says that just as a volcano or fire burns everything in its path, peridot can help clear away any energies holding you back, such as jealousy, insecurity, or indecision.
For Leos and Virgos born in August, this is a great stone to have on hand. "Jealousy can be a core challenge for Leos, who love to hold the spotlight, and insecurity and indecision are often core challenges for self-critical Virgos," Van Doren explains. Peridot aids in developing strong boundaries and standing confidently in your choices, even when they go against the norm, she adds.
September's birthstone is the deep blue sapphire, whose name comes from the Latin saphirus and the Greek sapherios, which both mean "blue." It's a variety of corundum and contains aluminum oxide and trace amounts of other elements.
Sapphire has been revered as the 'Wisdom Stone' since ancient times, Van Doren explains, helping us to "connect with our higher self and our inner empath who sees the bigger picture, acts from a global perspective, and walks in someone else's shoes." This gem is all about making choices with everyone's best interests at heart.
Virgos and Libras born in September would do well to keep Sapphire close, "to help you stretch your compassion muscles, empower your better self, and keep small-minded, fear-based thinking at bay," Van Doren says.
If you were born in October, the colorful opal is your birthstone. It's a type of silica and is technically classified as a mineraloid.
As Van Doren explains to mbg, "This mysterious stone hides endless shimmering rainbows within its milky-white depths," helping us to remember to look beyond the surface. "Look deeper, look closer: at people, places, ideas, and within yourself," she adds.
October is the birth month for some Libras and Scorpios, and Van Doren says this rainbow gemstone "helps balance Libra's natural inclination toward order and aesthetic beauty so that they don't get stuck in surface-level superficiality." And for Scorpios, she says, opal's multifaceted energy compliments their multilayered personality.
Born in November? Your birthstone is topaz, an aluminum silicate mineral containing the chemical element fluorine. Depending on trace elements within the stone, the color can vary from clear to yellow-orange, golden-brown, pink, and more.
"Topaz is an ancient gemstone that vibrates with a very particular 'noble' energy," Van Doren says. By noble, she adds, think high moral principles and ideals and the type of person who chooses to do the right thing and walk the higher path whenever possible.
For Scorpios and Sagittarians born in November, Van Doren says this precious gemstone can be particularly beneficial. It helps to balance "both Scorpios' and Sagittariuses' tendencies to sometimes get a little too wrapped up in their own stories and balances any tendencies toward selfishness and self-absorption," she explains, adding it can also help elevate your vibration to the highest level possible.
And last but certainly not least, we have December's birthstone, turquoise. (Tanzanite and zircon are sometimes grouped in with December, but we'll focus on turquoise for now.) It's a light greenish-blue mineral formed by a chemical reaction that happens when water with certain minerals like copper and aluminum leaks through rocks.
"Turquoise has an ancient history as a revered gemstone," Van Doren says, noting that it's a stone of folklore wisdom and natural magic. "It reminds us that we can draw support and healing from the natural world whenever needed—all you have to do is ask," she adds.
For Sagittarians and Capricorns born in December, Van Doren says turquoise will be particularly soothing and supportive.
The bottom line.
If you needed any more reason to add to your crystal collection, now's as good a time as any to invest in your birthstone—and maybe look into birth month flowers, as well.
And of course, you can still enjoy the properties of any precious gem, even if it's not associated with your birth month. After all, you can never have too many crystals—especially when they're this stunning.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.