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Roger Weller, geology instructor

wellerr@cochise.edu


Birthstones
by Tarin Nugen
Physical Geology
Spring 2007
                  

 

Birthstones and Zodiac Stones   

            Birthstones are a gift of precious material that we use to symbolize the month in which we were born.  These stones have been used since the first century as a way of showing good luck on ones birthday.  Birthstones can also be called birthday stones, but this wording can be confusing as it is used as a synonym for an anniversary gift, which is related to the recipient’s age. (wikipedia.com)  Due to the fact that there have been many different sets of birthstones throughout the years and many different cultures have had many different versions of which stone goes with each month; in 1912 the American National Association of Jewelers, Jewelers of America, decided to standardize the list.  There are less expensive alternates added to the list as substitutes for the more expensive cut stones.  The following list is currently the most used list in the United States as well as many other countries:

 

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-material)

Alexandrite or Moonstone

July

Ruby

Jade or Carnelian

August

Peridot

Aventurine, Sardonyx or Sapphire

September

Sapphire

Lapis Lazuli

October

Opal

Pink Tourmaline

November

Yellow Topaz

Citrine or Turquoise

December

Blue Zircon

Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli or Tanzanite

Credited given to wikipedia.com
In 2002, Tanzanite was added to December by the American Gem Trade Association.

The following chart shows the different birthstones that have been used throughout the years:

Birth Month

Mystical Birthstones

Ayurvedic Birthstones

15th-20th Century Birthstones

January

Emerald

Garnet

Garnet

February

Bloodstone

Amethyst

Amethyst, Hyacinth, Pearl

March

Jade

Bloodstone

Bloodstone, Jasper

April

Opal

Diamond

Diamond, Sapphire

May

Sapphire

Agate

Agate, Emerald

June

Moonstone

Pearl

Agate, Cat's Eye, Turquoise

July

Ruby

Ruby

Onyx, Turquoise

August

Diamond

Sapphire

Carnelian, Moonstone, Sardonyx, Topaz

September

Agate

Moonstone

Chrsolite

October

Jasper

Opal

Beryl, Opal

November

Pearl

Topaz

Pearl, Topaz

December

Onyx

Ruby

Bloodstone, Ruby

Credit given to www.jewelrymall.com  

            In addition to the monthly birthstones, an astrological version of birthstones has been created.  These birthstones are based on the twelve zodiac signs.  The following chart is the dates for the tropical sun signs and their associated birthstones:

 

SIGN

BIRTHSTONE

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Diamond

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Emerald

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Crystal

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Pearl

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Ruby

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Sapphire

Libra (September 23-October 23)

Opal

Scorpio (October 24-November 21)

Zircon

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Turquoise

Capricorn (December 22-January 21)

Garnet

Aquarius (January 22-February 18)

Amethyst and Moonstone

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Aquamarine

Credit given to wikipedia.com

 

GARNET
             January’s birthstone is the garnet, as well as the zodiac sign Capricorn.  The name garnet comes from the Latin word  “granatus” meaning grain.  Garnets are a group of minerals that have been used as gemstones and as abrasives since the Bronze Age.  We normally see the garnet offered in red colors, can come in a wide variety of colors.  The six common varieties of garnets are: pyrope, almandine, spessarite, grossular, uvarovite and andradite.
 

        

www.gimizu.de         www.jewelryexpert.com  www.gc.maricopa.edu    www.minedirect.com

 

AMETHYST

             February’s birthstone is amethyst, as well as the zodiac sign Aquarius.  Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz.  Other than just being a birthstone it is also often used as ornaments.  The name comes from the Greek word a (“not”) and methuskein (“to intoxicate”), the stone was worn to prevent drunkenness and intoxication.  Amethyst can be found in many locations throughout the United States: Texas, Yellowstone National Park, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Haywood County, North Carolina, Maine, and the Lake Superior Region.  It is also found in Ontario and Nova Scotia, Canada, and found in abundance in Brazil.

 

                    

www.cs.cmu.edu             www.mysticallinks.com   www.fengshuifusion.com  ww.jciworldcorp.com

 

 

AQUAMARINE

             March’s birthstone is aquamarine, as well as the zodiac sign Pisces.  Aquamarine comes from the Latin word aqua marina, meaning water of the sea.  Along with being March’s official birthstone it is also the 19th anniversary gemstone.  In the Middle Ages people believed that aquamarine could magically cure the effects of poison.  Also, ancient sailors to ensure safe sailing put aquamarine stones under their pillows.  It is a transparent beryl stone.  It has a very pale blue or turquoise color.  It can be found in places such as the United States, Russia and Brazil.

 

                

www.jewelinfo4u.com     www.henckert.com            www.pbs.org                 www.bellazandra.com

 

DIAMOND

             April’s birthstone is the diamond, as well as the zodiac sign Aries. The word diamond derives from the word adamas, meaning invincible.  It is the hardest natural material known to man.  It is also the third-hardest material after aggregrated diamond nonorods and ultrahard fullerite.  This hardness and tots ability to disperse light make it very easy to use in jewelry.  Historically, people have believed that diamonds possess supernatural powers: giving victory to those who carry it on the left arm,  it deprives lodestone and magnets of their virtue, Arabic diamonds are said to attract iron greater than magnets and that a diamond can only be broken by smearing it with fresh goat’s blood.  In Western Cultures, diamonds are a symbol of fearlessness and virtue, but also sometimes are associated with power, wealth, crime and misfortune.  In today’s society diamonds are a symbol of eternity and love, and this is why they are the most common gemstone used in engagement and wedding rings.  Along with the diamond being the April birthstone, it is also the 60th anniversary symbol.
 

           

 brysonburke.com             www.pbs.org                www.diamondvues.com   www.gemstone.org

 

EMERALD

             May’s birthstone is the emerald, as well as the zodiac sign Taurus.  The emerald is a form of the mineral beryl.  Emeralds come in shades of green and bluish green.  The color green that it shows is from trace amounts of chromium or vanadium.  On the Mohs Scale of Hardness its hardness is between 7.5 and 8.0.  By weight the emerald is the most valuable gemstone.  Emerald’s are mined in Egypt, Austria, Afghanistan, Russia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Brazil, Pakistan, and occasionally found in Columbia.

 

                  

www.moldavites.net        www.jewelinfo4u.com       www.gemstone.org            csd.unl.edu

 

PEARL

             June’s birthstone is the pearl, as well as the zodiac sign Cancer; it is the only non-material birthstone.  Pearls are round objects produced and found in oysters.  Once harvested, pearls can be used for jewelry or crushed and put in cosmetics or paint formulas.  There are two categories of pearls: freshwater and saltwater.  Freshwater pearls are formed in mussels that are in lakes, rivers, ponds and other bodies of fresh water.  Most freshwater pearls come from China.  Saltwater pearls are formed in oysters in the ocean, normally in protected lagoons.  The three main types of saltwater pearls are Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian.  Pearls are normally thought of as being white; but they come in many different colors, such as pink, gold, blue and black.

 

              

         billhails.net            www.purepearls.com   www.soprettypearls.com.au  ninegemstones.com              

 

RUBY

            July’s birthstone is the ruby, as well as the zodiac sign Leo.  Rubies are members of the mineral corundum family.  The colors vary from blood red to a light pink and can be a brownish or purplish, caused mainly by chromium.  The name ruby comes from the Latin word, ruber, meaning red.  Rubies are one of the four stones considered precious, the others being sapphire, emerald and diamond. Rubies rank a 9.0 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness.  Natural rubies are very rare, but can be created cheaply.  Rubies are mined in Africa, Asia, Australia, Greenland, Madagascar, United States, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.  A synthetic ruby crystal was used to create the first laser.  Also, the ruby is the most commonly mentioned stone in the bible.

 

                    

www.gemstone.org     www.agta-gtc.org       www.shopping.astrolozy.com    www.mnh.si.edu

PERIDOT

             August’s birthstone is peridot. Often referred to as the “poor man’s” emerald, the peridot is one of the few gemstones that come in only one color-green.  The intensity of green depends on the amount of iron that the crystal encompasses, varying from yellow-green to olive to brownish green.  Peridot is the gem form of the forsteritic olivine, which is a very common material but retrieving a gem quality is very rare.  The name peridot comes from the Arabic word faridat, meaning gem, or the French word peritot, meaning unclear.  Peridot is mined in many states in the United States, Australia, Brazil, China, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and has also been found in iron-nickel meteorites.  Peridot and been said to bring the person wearing it success, peace, and good luck

 

                            

www.faceters.com               palagems.com             www.faceters.com         www.metalsmiths.com

 

SAPPHIRE

             September’s birthstone is a sapphire, as well as the zodiac sign Virgo.  Sapphires are in the family of the mineral known as corundum, which is a 9.0 in the Moh’s Scale of Hardness.  Sapphires can be found naturally but can also be artificially made to allow for cheaper prices.  Iron, titanium and chromium give sapphires their color.  Though the normal color related to sapphires is blue, other colors such as yellow, pink, purple, orange, green, brown, gray, black and colorless are known as a fancy color sapphire.  Sapphires can have a star-like quality appear, this is called asterism.  Sapphires are also the given as 45th anniversary gifts.  They are also one of the four most valued stones, along with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies.

 

                          

www.palagems.com  jewelry.about.com  www.twin-diamonds.com   www.forgetmenotjewelry.com

OPAL

             October’s birthstone is the Opal, as well as the zodiac sign Libra.  Opals are mineraloids and part of the amorphous family.  They are formed when the mineraloid gel is deposited at a low temperature to a rock.  Opals have a pretty high water content, normally between three and ten percent, but sometimes having a 20% water content.  There is a wide variety of colors of opals, ranging from white, milky blue, gray, red, yellow, green, brown and black.  The origin of the word opal is from the Sanskrit Upala, the Greek word opallios, and the Latin word opalus, meaning precious stone.  Opals are the national gemstone of Australia and the state gem of Nevada is the black opal.

 

                     

www.opal-online.org           www.gemstone.org  hondurasopals.tripod.com   www.jewelinfo4u.com 

 

YELLOW TOPAZ

             November’s birthstone is yellow topaz.  Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine.  Topaz has a hardness of 8.0 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness.  Pure topaz is clear, but impurities tint the stone; the most common being a yellow or wine color, but can come in white, gray, green, blue, pink or a reddish-yellow.  Topaz is found in the Ural, Llemen, Afghanistan, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Pakistan, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and United States.  The name topaz derives from the Greek word topazos, meaning to seek.

 

                              

www.djezpics.net  www.woolsweaterstreet.com   www.silvershake.com      www.nigeriantopaz.com

 

BLUE ZIRCON

             December’s birthstone is blue zircon, and the zodiac sign Scorpio.  Zircon belongs to the nesosolicates family.  It has a 7.5 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness.  The colors very from blue, red, brown, and green; and the colorless stones are a common substitute for diamonds, which are known as “Matura Diamonds.”   Zircons can change color by giving heat treatments.  The name zircon comes from the Arabic word zarqun, meaning vermilion, or the Persian word zargun, meaning golden colored. Zircon is also used as abrasives and insulating purposes.  Zircons are mined in the Narryer Gneiss Terrane, Yilgarn Craton and Western Australia.

 

                       

palagems.com            www.raru.com            www.celticjewelry.com   www.gallopinggems.com