Written by Tom | 1st Jan 2021
Do you know what your birthstone is? How about the powers associated with it? The origin of birthstones dates back for centuries and it’s believed that each stone has its own unique set of healing powers and fortunes. In the Gregorian calendar, birthstones are assigned by month; 12 different stones were assigned to the 12 months of the year, and if you incorporate zodiac signs into the equation, you may even have multiple birthstones. We asked gemstone experts Deborah Mazza and Naomi Howard to talk us through every birthstone and their properties.
Garnet comes in many different colours, but it’s usually the deep-red variant that is recognised as a birthstone. It takes its name from the Latin word for seed ‘granatus’, courtesy of how similar it looked to pomegranate seeds. For those born in January, the garnet is said to broadly provide protection. “Primarily, it is said to balance and strengthen the individual, increases their willpower, self-esteem, resistance and even boosts the immune system”, says Deborah.
The garnet also has another notable feature which is that it’s highly reflective. This meant that many travellers during the Dark Ages carried garnet (then known as carbuncle) to guide them through the night. This might be why the stone is also said to help you let go of nightmares and light your way in dark times.
Garnet is said to provide protection and boost the immune system – perfect for January
February’s violet stone stands for wisdom. Its name derives from the ancient Greek tale of Dionysus (the god of wine) and Amethystos, the latter of whom was turned into a statue which Dionysus dyed a deep purple when he emptied his wine glass over it. The Greeks regarded amethyst as helping prevent intoxication, hence why their cups were often studded with the violet stone.
These days, Deborah says, the stone is thought to have other properties beyond aiding sobriety and restraint. “It relieves stress and strain, alleviating sadness and grief, and also strengthens the imagination, which is why it’s considered to be a talisman of focus and success”.
The Greeks believed this stone prevented intoxication, but it's also a talisman of focus
Aquamarine is the stone of calm and serenity, supposedly an excellent gift for public speakers
Those born in April are blessed with one of the world’s most precious stones – the diamond. The Ancient Hindus believed diamonds were formed by bolts of lightning and tiny fragments of these crystalline gems have even been found in meteorites. While they’ve long casted stratospheric origin tales, more contemporary tales are of the earthly kind – concerning power, greed and love.
Consequently, the diamond is a symbol of love and purity, says Deborah, but they have more practical properties too. “Diamonds are great conductors and amplifiers of energy, which help positivity by projecting empowering thoughts around those who bear them, while expanding opportunities in attracting prosperity”.
Diamonds symbolise love and bring prosperity and empowerment to those that wear them
Long courted by Cleopatra, emeralds are some of the rarest gems in the world (and women are having a specific impact on the emerald market) and are May's gemstone. They stand for hope and blissful domestic partnership, a stark contrast to Cleopatra’s own relationships. “The emerald brings loyalty and provides domestic bliss”, says Deborah. “And keeps partnerships in balance, hence why it’s known as the 'stone of successful love'”.
For those hoping for happy partnerships, emeralds are said to foster 'successful love', for anyone that's not Cleopatra that is.
Like its resident zodiac sign (Gemini rules most of the month), June has two faces or rather gemstones representing it – the pearl and Alexandrite, though the pearl tends to hog the limelight. In contrast, however, to Gemini’s more duplicitous characteristics, Deborah says the pearl is a harbinger of truth. “It’s known as the ’stone of sincerity’, as it brings truth, enhances personal integrity and helps one to focus”.
Pearls are regarded as the stones of truth, known to enhance personal integrity.
For those born under the summer or winter sun (depending on your hemisphere), Ruby is your signifying stone. A deep red gemstone, it shares similar properties to sapphire, apart from its colour. “Rubies are associated with passion and prosperity”, says Naomi. “It’s first and foremost a stone of love, confidence, vitality, strength, and sexuality. Many of these connotations come from its blood-red colouring”. July babies, we hope you’re listening.
Blood-red in colouring, rubies are said to get your blood going in more ways than one.
This olive-green gem is yet another jewel held in great regard by the Ancient Egyptians. Its ability to emanate the same gentle green glow no matter the amount of light made it a symbol of beauty for the ancients. Nowadays, its uses signal renewal. “Peridot is highly beneficial for attuning to and regulating the cycles of one’s life, such as physical cycles, mental or emotional phases, as well as intellectual progression”, says Naomi. It’s also said to help a person light up a room, for any Leos reading.
It's good news for Leos – peridots supposedly help anyone brighten up a room
The deep blue colouring of Sapphire isn’t just a calming reminder of the sea, it’s said to contain that very same power, according to Naomi. “Sapphire is exceptional for calming and focusing the mind, and allowing the release of mental tension. It encourages opening the mind to beauty and intuition, bringing lightness and joy as it restores balance within the body”.
Sapphires possess the power of restoring balance and lightness to the body
October’s often the time of year when we’re most in need of nourishment and this is something Opal can help with. “Opal provides gentle, nurturing support for the emotional body”, says Naomi. “It also helps alleviate worry, chronic stress and depression, and is a perfect antidote for healing subconsciously held pain”.
Perhaps opal's loveliest trait is its ability to heal subconsciously held pain
Topaz is the stone of consistency and friendship. It is believed that wearing topaz around your neck will give you strength and intellect. While topaz comes in a range of colours, its bluish hued-variant is the rarest of them all and it’s said to bestow any wearer with a variety of powers. “Blue Topaz reflects the energy of the mind and knowledge”, explains Naomi. “It’s capable of stimulating one’s self-confidence, and ability to learn and think through complex concepts and ideas. It also inspires creativity.”
When faced with a set of complex or difficult ideas, look to Topaz.
Rounding out the year is Turquoise, regarded as the stone of friendship. It stems from a long trading history which began with a rather interesting Turkish tradition. Receiving a gift of turquoise was said to instill you with the ability to make friends easily – the only catch being, you needed to have a friend to gift you this first.
Still, it’s a gemstone for all and a natural fit for the ending of the calendar year. “Turquoise empowers men and women equally, perhaps because of its dual mineral makeup of copper and aluminium compounds”, says Naomi. “Whether it’s worn or carried, it’s always a talisman of luck, success and ambition.”
Turquoise is the stone of friendship – an ideal gift that's said to help recipients make friends too
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