Birthstones

Birthstones

A birthstone is a gift of a precious material (jewelry, mainly gemstones; themselves traditionally associated with various qualities) that symbolizes the month of birth (in the Gregorian Calendar). It is sometimes also called birthday stone (cf. infra; but that word is, confusingly, sometimes used as a synonym for an anniversary gift, which is related to the recipient's age, i.e. year of birth).

There have been many different sets of birthstones used throughout history and in different cultures. In 1912, in an effort to standardize them, the American national association of jewelers, Jewelers of America, officially adopted the following list; it is currently the most widely used list in the United States and many other locations, including Australia and Thailand. Some alternates have been adopted to be a less expensive substitute for a cut stone.

Month Birthstone Alternate
January Garnet Rose Quartz
February Amethyst Onyx
March Aquamarine Red Jasper ('Bloodstone')
April Diamond Rock Crystal (Quartz)
May Emerald Chrysoprase
June Pearl (the only non-mineral) Alexandrite or Moonstone
July Ruby Jade or Carnelion
August Peridot Aventurine, Sardonyx, or Sapphire
September Sapphire Lapis lazuli
October Opal Pink Tourmaline
November Citrine Yellow Topaz or Turquoise
December Blue Topaz Turquoise, Tanzanite, or Zircon

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