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Alternative Birthstones - How Other Gems Can Fit Into Your Birthstones

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A lot of people are really into birthstone jewelry. Sometimes, the person who wears the stone feels a profound connection to it because they believe that it shares essential components of their identity.

On the other hand, there are many who simply like the way their birthstone looks, which is the primary reason they favor it.

But what if you don't like the stone that represents your birth month? Or, what if the cost of your birthstone is simply out of your price range?

You might not be aware of all the choices available to you, but there are actually quite a few.

Continue reading to learn more about the conventional as well as the alternative birthstones.

COPYRIGHT_BER: Published on https://www.bernardine.com/alternative-birthstones/ by Barbara Mitchell on 2022-09-15T03:22:39.831Z

A Brief History Of Birthstones

The human race has been captivated by jewels for thousands of years. Raw shells, bones, feathers, and even jewels were used by prehistoric men as body ornaments.

The ancient Egyptians and Sumerians were highly developed societies that created jewelry with cutting-edge complexity from cut and polished gems.

Legend has it that the high priest of the Israelites wore a special "priestly breastplate" that contained a jewel representing each month of the year.

Twelve precious stones, arranged in four rows of three, were carved and woven into the fabric of this elaborate breastplate. The twelve minerals chosen each stand in for one of Israel's twelve tribes.

Scholars disagree on the exact minerals used, but the engraving suggests that they were likely all very soft ornamental stones.

As time went on, the custom was updated such that a specific gem would stand in for each calendar month. In this article, we'll learn not only the traditional birthstone for each month but also some contemporary alternatives in case you don't like your own.

Several gemstones of different colors, shapes, and sizes placed together
Several gemstones of different colors, shapes, and sizes placed together

January Birthstones

The gemstone attributed to January is garnet. Many people will be disappointed by this because garnets have a reputation for being unattractive because of their dark color and lackluster quality. In truth, there are a wide variety of garnets, and they can be found in almost any color other than a genuine blue.

Rare garnets can exhibit asterism (often a four-rayed star), chatoyancy, and color transition from emerald green to reddish purple (a cats-eye effect).

Garnets were considered to defend warriors in battle and protect against wounds in both Native American Indian societies and during the Mediaeval period in Europe. However, if garnets just don’t appeal, additional birthstones that signify January are rose quartz, emerald, according to Tibetan astrology, and yellow or blue sapphire, according to jyotish astrology.

February Birthstones

Amethyst, a type of quartz that is purple in color, is the birthstone for February. Some people will be let down since they believe amethyst is readily available and inexpensive in contrast to precious stones like ruby and emerald. Amethyst is now a common gemstone, yet in the past it was a rare and valuable commodity on par with ruby, emerald, and sapphire.

Crown and holy jewels often have purple stones because of their association with royalty and enlightenment. Amethyst was believed by ancient Greeks to prevent inebriation because of the wine association. The tragic decline in amethyst's value began in the 19th century, when German settlers in Brazil discovered extensive quantities of the gem.

Alternative gems like bloodstone are available, and they make excellent signet rings due to their robust, manly appearance. According to jyotish astrology, blue sapphire is the ideal birthstone for Aquarians, who are ruled by Saturn.

March Birthstones

The month of March is related with aquamarine, a very pretty gemstone that is a very delicate blue-green in color. This stunning gem, which is related to emerald and other beryls, is named for the beryl family from which it originates.

It's possible to find aquamarine in both a light pastel blue and a deeper, more azure blue. Aquamarines with a vivid, natural color, like those mined in Santa Maria, Minas Gerais, Brazil, are highly desirable.

Aquamarine has been popular as an alternative engagement ring since Medieval times, when it was thought to protect lovers. It was thought that mermaids secreted treasures of aquamarine in their underwater caverns to shield mariners from harm.

You can go for jasper or jade instead of aquamarine if you choose. Blue sapphire is the recommended stone for early March according to jyotish, while yellow sapphire is the better option for the rest of the month.

April Birthstones

If your birthday is in April, you'll be pleased to learn that the diamond is the traditional birthstone for those born in that month. Diamond is still the most sought-after jewel in the Western world, therefore most people would understand and respect this decision. With a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, tremendous dispersion, and good tenacity, diamond is exceptionally durable and well-suited for use in ring settings; it is, in short, worthy of its status as the king of stones.

It's possible you didn't realize this, but diamonds aren't solely found in colorless varieties. Diamonds can range in color from blue to yellow to green depending on the presence of trace elements like boron and nitrogen in the crystal structure.

It is believed that the huge pressures experienced by the stones as they are driven up from the Earth's mantle, color the famous and highly valued pink diamonds from the Argyle mines in Australia. Opal, in Tibetan tradition, or beautiful red coral, in jyotish astrology, is a good alternative gem if you don't like "bling" or are just looking for something a little bit different.

May Birthstones

May is known as "emerald month" because of its supposedly lush green weather. Since the time of Cleopatra and her famous emerald mines, emeralds have been highly sought after by humans. For ages, only the royal family has been able to afford these precious gems.

After the conquistadors plundering the emerald mines at Muzo in Colombia during the 15th century, emeralds became extremely fashionable. In comparison to the emeralds mined in Ancient Egypt, these were of superior quality thanks to their high Chromium content and vivid, velvety green color.

Many of the jewels were "tested" by being shattered with anvils since the invaders initially considered them to be tougher than diamonds. The color green is associated with the heart chakra and the emotion of love.

Before the popularity of diamonds in the twentieth century, emerald rings were often chosen. When Prince Albert and Queen Victoria became engaged in 1840, he gave her a ring with a snake design studded with emeralds. Since not everyone is fond of green, Jyotish astrology suggests using either a diamond or a carnelian of a deep orange color as an alternate birthstone.

June Birthstones

Pearls, the most valuable biological gemstones, are the official birthstone for June. The processes of carbonization (jet) and petrification (amber), performed on plant material, produce organic gemstones made by creatures such as mollusks and coral polyps.

Pearls have been highly sought for by humans for millennia, but up until the 20th century, they were extremely uncommon because mollusks need years to grow one and the possibility of a parasite invading their shell is quite low. Divers who come across them will count themselves lucky.

Most pearls sold today are the result of man-made culture and farming techniques, making them affordable for a wide range of consumers. Australia is responsible for the world's finest "South Sea" pearls, which range in color from silver to white.

Due to their distinctive brilliance, sometimes compared to the moon's light, pearls have long been associated with femininity. Pearls come in a wide variety of colors besides white, including stunning gold, grey, black, and iridescent peacock green varieties.

If pearls don't suit you, consider alexandrite, a rare chrysoberyl that shifts color in different lights, or the more manly chalcedony or agate.

Where Did Birthstones Come From?

July Birthstones

Ruby, the most ardent and sensual jewel, is given to those born in the month of July. The red color of a ruby has long been interpreted as a metaphor for the life-giving blood that flows through our veins.

As Sanskrit, ruby is reffered to as the "king of precious stones" or "ratnaraj." The Hindus thought that if they presented Krishna with high-quality rubies, he would bestow upon them the role of Emperor in their next life. During the Middle Ages, rubies gained symbolic meaning in Western civilizations, becoming a symbol of love, ardor, and financial success.

Some may not know that ruby and sapphire are both members of the Corundum family (which comes in all colours of the rainbow.) As a form of aluminum oxide, ruby is colored red by chromium. In direct sunshine, the chromium in a ruby may make it appear practically neon.

Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is home to the world's most renowned rubies, which may be found in the region of Mogok. Carnelian and onyx are alternatives to the traditional birthstones that are more cheap and can be worn by either gender.

August Birthstones

The lovely green gem known as peridot is the traditional birthstone for those born in August; yet, many people with this birthday are not fond of this gemstone. Peridot is a mineral belonging to the olivine group, which is traditionally connected with the sun.

The ancient Egyptians held this precious stone in high esteem, dubbing it the "jewel of the sun" because to its radiance. It's possible that this is why the Western zodiac sign Leo, whose ruling planet is the Sun, has been assigned to the month of August.

In the past, peridot was frequently mistook for emerald because of the similarity in their colors. Emeralds from Cleopatra's mines might have been peridot, according to one theory. It was widely held that peridot, when set in yellow gold, protected its wearer against curses and enchantments.

The color green isn't popular, but there are lots of options for those who don't want to dress in it. Birthstones for the month of August can range from ruby to onyx and sardonyx in Hindu tradition. Choose diamond in honor of Humatiel, the Guardian Angel of the month of August, if you desire that.

September Birthstones

September is sapphire month, therefore those born in September get one of the world's favorite gems as their birthstone. Most people recognize sapphire as a blue gemstone, however it comes in all colors except red.

Fancy sapphires are other than blue and come in pink, yellow, and padparadscha, an orangey pink sapphire from Sri Lanka named after the lotus flower.

Sapphires can feature asterism (typically a six-pointed star; some can display twelve), color change (from blue to purple), and severe color zoning (these are the parti sapphires which can be strongly banded or zoned in yellows, blues, and greens.)

Sapphires have always symbolized devotion, fidelity, faithfulness, dignity, and honesty, therefore they've adorned royal and priestly vestments for generations. In ancient Greece and Rome, sapphires were supposed to protect against envy and damage, while in the Middle Ages they symbolized heavenly spirits.

Due to Princess Diana, blue sapphire has become a popular choice for engagement rings. As sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9, it's excellent for everyday ring wear. Moonstone and Zircon are Ayurvedic and Hindu alternatives to sapphire respectively.

October Birthstones

Those with an October birthdate have a wide variety of options from which to choose their birthstone. Opal and tourmaline are equally beautiful options because of their multicolored patterns.

Opal is one of the world's rarest and fascinating gemstones. The world's best opal may be found in Australia, specifically the black opal mined in Lightening Ridge in New South Wales. Though its body color is black, precious black opal can sometimes show every color in the spectrum.

Play of color occurs when light is scattered by silica spheres in the gem's atomic lattice, creating a kaleidoscopic look. Most of the time, you'll see shades of green and blue, with occasional red flashes. Patterns like "Harlequin" and "Chinese Writing" can appear in some rare opals.

Tourmaline, also known as the "rainbow stone," can be found in a wide variety of colors. Watermelon tourmaline is a beautiful bi-colored gem with clearly defined pink and green color zones; it is also known as "Rubellite" for its red variety and "Indicolite" for its teal blue kind. Golds, browns, blacks, greens, oranges, and pinks are some of the other colors available.

Paraiba tourmalines are the rarest and most valuable variety of the mineral oligoclase. Gems with this striking neon blue to blue-green color are highly sought after by collectors because of the traces of copper used to color them. Their stunning beauty earned them the name "Paraiba" after the Brazilian region where they are mined.

If neither tourmaline nor opal appeal to you, then you might choose beryl according to Italian customs or coral according to the Hindu calendar of birthstones.

Two unpolished gemstones surrounded by several polished gemstones with different colors
Two unpolished gemstones surrounded by several polished gemstones with different colors

November Birthstones

Topaz and citrine, two varieties of golden quartz, are both suitable as November birthstones. In the realm of gemstones, the topaz family reigns supreme, with Imperial Topaz serving as the family patriarch.

The rich golden through to orange and pink hues of Imperial Topaz are said to evoke the colors of the setting sun, making it a delicious sherry-colored gem. In 17th century Russia, natural pink topazes were reserved primarily for the Tsars hence the name. They are the rarest and most valuable of the topaz family and the main sources are Ouro Preto in Brazil and the Ural Mountains in Russia.

Topaz also comes in a beautiful spectrum of blues including a sky blue that is akin to aquamarine; a Swizz blue that is a bright electric blue and “London Blue”, which is an uber popular dark teal that blends with all colours. For a November birthday, consider getting something blue, as it is the color most people enjoy donning.

If you enjoy yellows and golds, you may select citrine as your birthstone. This popular golden quartz is quite inexpensive and is available in huge carat weights suited for striking cocktail rings.

Citrine can be found in a number of different countries, Australia included, but Brazil is by far the largest producer. Given its reputation as the "Merchant's Stone" and the belief that it can bring financial success to its owner, a gift of citrine could be an excellent way to help someone out in the long run.

If none of those options sound good to you, Hindu astrology suggests red coral, carnelian, and cat's-eye stones. Men's jewelry can also benefit from these three alternatives.

December Birthstone

If December is your birth month, I hope you enjoy the color blue as much as your gemstone suggests. The blue zircon has been the designated birthstone for December since the Middle Ages.

Many people mistake zircon for cubic zirconia, despite the fact that zircon is a real gemstone. Zircons have exceptional dispersion, making them capable of separating white light into its component colors like a diamond.

Once upon a time, it was believed that donning a blue zircon would lead to greater levels of enlightenment and contentment with one's life. Setting these brilliant sky blue diamonds in warm yellow gold makes for a stunning presentation.

It's also worth noting that many people choose turquoise as their December birthstone. The ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Aztecs were just a few of the societies that held the turquoise in high esteem for its reputed ability to aid in spiritual communication, facilitate healing, and bring good fortune.

Turquoise has been used by Native American Indians for generations to create stunning sterling silver jewelry that has become highly sought after by collectors. Beautiful light blue decorative jewels set in sterling silver sparkle magnificently and go wonderfully with light-colored summer garments.

Tanzanite, with its stunning purple/blue pleochroism, is a popular contemporary birthstone option. After its discovery by a Masai tribesman in the Merelani district at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1967, tanzanite was soon promoted by Tiffany & Co.

Since the name "zoisite" didn't sound very appealing, the name was changed to "Tanzanite" once it was determined that the brilliant blue crystals weren't corundum (sapphire). As a result of its stunning beauty and exceptional clarity, tanzanite has become one of the most sought-after colored gemstones in the world.

According to both Arabic and Hebrew customs, if the color blue brings you down, try a ruby instead. In addition to the classic turquoise, lapis lazuli is also a good option for males.

People Also Ask

Does May Have An Alternate Birthstone?

The traditional May birthstone is emerald, one of the world's most valuable gems. Birthstone jewelry for May newborns can be made with a variety of different stones, including lab-grown emeralds. The above image depicts: Agate is a less expensive alternative for May's birthstone.

How Many Birthstones Can You Have?

Though other businesses have promoted their gems into the mix, the traditional list of birthstones remains unchanged from its original twelve. Birthstones are associated with several zodiac signs; for example, the sign of Gemini has its own birthstone.

Is There An Alternative Birthstone For April?

The alternate birthstones for April are coincidentally two of the most popular diamond alternative gemstones: white topaz and quartz. Both topaz and quartz develop in a variety of colors.

Conclusion

Do not fret if you do not see any beauty in your birthstone. It's not necessary that you like it or even wear it. Jewelry should make you feel good, therefore don’t be ashamed to choose one of the ancient or alternative birthstones if you enjoy them more than the modern counterparts.

Moreover, if you don't like any of them, feel free to choose any other gemstone you like. Tanzanite is the birthstone for June babies. There’s no rule prohibiting it.

Ultimately, jewelry should make you joyful. Whether a gemstone is traditionally associated with your birth month, you should choose a stone that has personal meaning to you. This will ensure that you have a positive experience while donning them.

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About The Authors

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell - Barbara is recognized by the industry leaders for her passion and objective to make beautiful jewellery accessible, affordable and forever wearable. She designs custom made jewelery made of gold and diamonds for more than 20 years. Her website, bernardine.com has been mentioned in many books such as "The 12 Gemstones of Revelation", "Teens Have Style!", "10-Minute Crystal Healing" and websites such as wikipedia.org, etsy.com, buzzfeed.com, yahoo.net.

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