Birthstones 101: The Complete Guide

Birthstones 101: The Complete Guide

Our tips to guide you through picking birthstones for your jewellery

Birthstones are the ultimate gift as they are traditionally associated with spiritual powers of healing and protection, if chosen correctly for their wearer. Follow this complete guide to learn how to add the precious touch of traditional personalisation to your handcrafted jewellery.

What is a Birthstone?

Birthstones are the gems that represent the month you were born. Each month has specific precious or semi-precious gemstones associated with it. Each gem has its own historical significance and unique characteristics that make it special to the wearer.

So where did this idea of Birthstones come from?

Most scholars agree that birth stones date back to biblical times, detailed in the book of Exodus in the Breastplate of Aaron, which held 12 unique gemstones each to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. However, the true modern concept of its origin is debated. It is agreed that the modern day list of birthstones was created in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers and has remained unchanged since. Today, birthstone enthusiasts or potential shoppers are able to choose from traditional or modern gemstones associated with each month.

Modern vs. Traditional Birthstones

The traditional birthstone list is believed to have originated in Poland between the 16th and 18th centuries. The modern list was presumably adapted to make it easier for jewellers to work with these gems by changing all gems to only include transparent gems. The beauty of these two gemstone lists is that there is no right or wrong answer. You are able to flit from traditional stones to modern depending on which gem you resonate more with. 


Modern Birthstone
Traditional Birthstone 


























Golden Topaz




Blue Zircon

Blue Topaz


Lapis Lazuli

Modern vs Traditional Birthstone Chart

The Modern Birthstones (in order of birth month):

Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Diamond, Emerald, Alexandrite, Ruby, Peridot or Spinel, Sapphire, Tourmaline, Golden Topaz or Citrine, Blue Zircon or Blue Topaz or Tanzanite.

This is roughly adapted from the traditional list that includes (in order of birth months):

Garnet, Amethyst, Bloodstone, Diamond, Emerald, Pearl, Ruby, Sardonyx, Sapphire, Opal, Topaz, Turquoise, or Lapis Lazuli.

Your own birthstone can be chosen from either list, traditional or modern, depending on which stone you like best!

January: Garnet

Birthstone Background:

Traditionally the garnet is an ancient stone found in the Czech Republic, Greece, Russia and India. Ancient Egyptians believed this stone was the symbol of life. It was also associated with prestige in ancient Rome, as nobility wore garnets on signet rings.

Birthstone Spirituality:

Garnets are believed to be a protective stone, bringing peace and health to a home, making them a powerful stone to have in your everyday space. They are also thought to represent goodwill, happiness, positive emotions and purpose to their January wearers. There is a spiritual belief that those who do good while wearing a garnet will receive goodwill in return.

Birthstone Description:

The true colours of a garnet include red, the most well known colour of the pyrope garnet, but they can also come in various shades and in extraordinary range of colours, including orange in mandarin garnets or green in tsavorite garnets. So whether you're a fiery Jan baby or a more of a cool green vibe, there's a garnet perfect for you.

Garnet Stone placed on a white surface.

February: Amethyst

Birthstone Background:

The amethyst is a popular gemstone found in America, Canada and Brazil as it is a very affordable stone. Historically, amethysts were thought to be rare and treated similarly to diamonds. It was subsequently used as a symbol of royalty by monarchs.

Birthstone Spirituality:

Amethyst is a commonly used gemstone in meditation and is thought to bring stability, humidity, and relaxation properties. It is considered a protective gemstone and is associated with creativity, passion, and harmony.

Birthstone Description:

The true colours of an amethyst, a faceted stone range from a deep reddish purple to a pastel pink. Of course, the most recognisable is a true purple, although as it is a crystalline quartz, it can often be recognised in rock formations resembling its occurrence in geodes with an ombre of purple.

Amethyst Stone held by a tong.

March: Aquamarine

Birthstone Background:

The semi-precious stone aquamarine acquires its name from the Latin words aqua and marina, meaning "the sea," rightfully suited to this tranquil gem. They are typically found in Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, and Zambia, among other places. The Romans and Greeks thought aquamarine stones were the treasures of mermaids. Sailors believed they would protect ships venturing out to sea.

Birthstone Spirituality:

The aquamarine is thought to provide a sense of calm and tranquility. Known as the "cooling gem", it is often used in mediation to cool down an atmosphere.

Birthstone Description:

Aquamarines are found in shades of blue, ranging from pale to deep blue, occasionally with a green tinge.

Aquamarine Stone held by a tong.

April: Diamond

Birthstone Background:

The diamond is a hard gemstone and the best to wear long term. In ancient times, the Greeks used these stones in battle to make themselves invincible. However, they also believed diamonds represented innocence and purity, therefore they were used as engagement rings to symbolise this during the Renaissance.

Birthstone Spirituality:

Diamonds, a scintillating stone, bring a sense of radiance and light to the soul.

Birthstone Description:

Diamonds are the most transparent gemstones and are typically seen as white. However, a diamond can be found in a variety of colours, in which case they are called fancy coloured diamonds. A diamond 'sparkle' reflects the light, so depending on what it is reflecting, it may appear as if it were a mixture of grey and white tones.

Check out our "The Ultimate Diamond Guide" for more information.

A stunning Oval Cut Diamond Ring with its reflection on a white shiny surface.

May: Emerald

Birthstone Background:

The emerald was famously collected by Cleopatra as they were mined in Egypt in the 330 BC. The Egyptians used the emerald in jewellery and burials as a believed symbol of protection. It is a very popular gemstone for an engagement ring due to its colour and durability.

Birthstone Spirituality:

This stone is thought to have many mystical qualities. It is thought to have positive energy and spirituality.

Birthstone Description:

The emerald colour can range from a yellow to a blue hue, with the most pure cuts reflecting a pure rich green colour.

A close-up of a Nature Inspired Emerald Stone Ring placed on a shiny surface.

June: Pearl

Birthstone Background:

This is the traditional birthstone of June. It is a lustrous, opaque gem which comes naturally finished. It is a very eloquent stone that is becoming very trendy in 2022.

Birthstone Spirituality:

The pearl provides a sense of balance and emotional health to its wearer. It is also associated with purity, as it is created and 'untouched', making it all natural and pure.

Birthstone Description:

The pearl is the only gem, which means it can come in a range of colours and no two pearls are exactly the same. They range from black to pink or classic white.

A close-up of a hand holding a Pearl Earring.

July: Ruby

Birthstone Background:

The name 'ruby' comes from the latin word rubeus meaning red. This strongly coloured gem was historically used to ward off the plague but is now a coveted gemstone worn in a multitude of jewellery due to its radiant hue and hardiness. It's a variety of corundum gems.

Birthstone Spirituality:

The ruby represents love, passion, and wealth. It is believed to amplify energy and bring wealth, love, and good fortune.

Birthstone Description:

The ruby gets its true rich red colour from the element chromium, which causes the ruby to appear to glow from within.

A close-up of a Diamond and Ruby Ring placed on a white surface.

August: Peridot

Birthstone Background:

This semi - precious gem was known as the gem of the sun in ancient Egypt. It was believed to harness the power of nature.

Birthstone Spirituality:

This light-hearted stone is thought to inspire a sense of happiness and understanding, a joyful spiritual meaning. This birthstone is all things sweet, from its pretty, light colour to its adorable spiritual meaning.

Birthstone Description:

The peridot ranges in hue depending on how much iron is present in the particular gem. It can range from lime green to brown. However, it is mostly seen in a light lime green. It isn't the hardest of stones, so it needs to be worn with care to avoid damage.


Peridot Stone placed on a white surface.

September: Sapphire

Birthstone Background:

This true blue gemstone was thought to bring spiritual enlightenment by Buddhists and was worn for guidance by the Greeks when seeking answers from the oracle. These gems are nowadays adorned for their durability as well as their beauty in all their different colours.

Birthstone Spirituality:

The blue sapphire, is considered a highly spiritual stone, associated with focusing the mind and psychic awareness. This is why it is thought to help wearers have long, deep sleep.

Birthstone Description:

The sapphire can range in a variety of colours; the most popular are pink, blue, or black. Each colour has its own unique beauty and suits different wearers' styles.

A Ring with Sapphire Stone placed in the white surface.

October: Precious Opal

Birthstone Background:

The opal is typically found in Australia, and it stands out for its unique ability to diffract light to display a kaleidoscope effect. Each opal is a "one of a kind" colour combination, making each gem essentially irreplaceable and completely unique.

Birthstone Spirituality:

The opal is believed in Arabic legend to fall from the sky in bolts of lightning, giving it the ability to change in the light. It is also thought of as the ideal gem to attract positive energy.

Birthstone Description:

The opal is one of the most unique stones as it is able to be seen in a variety of colours depending on the lighting and angle from which it is viewed so it can display an array of colours. Typically, they are primarily white and feature a range of hues from pinks to blues depending on the light.

A close-up of an elegant Ring with Opal stone, placed on a white surface.

November: Topaz

Birthstone Background:

In Ancient Egypt, the topaz represented Ra, god of the sun. Topaz has a good level of hardiness and a broad range of colours, making it one of the most popular gemstones for handcrafted jewellery.

Birthstone Spirituality: 

The spirituality of the topaz is centred around strength as a symbol of strength for both ancient Egyptians and Hindus.

Birthstone Description:

The true colours of topaz differentiate depending on its purity. Pure topaz is colourless, but impurities give it hues of blue and pink, among others. The richest of colours is the imperial topaz, which has a bright orange tone.

A pair of Topaz Birthstone

December: Tanzanite

Birthstone Background:

The tanzanite was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, which is the only place it has ever been found. It is tradition in tarzanite for women to wear these gems during childbirth to ensure the baby is healthy.

Birthstone Spirituality:

This gem is thought to boost self-expression and help make its wearer aware of their own inner strengths.

Birthstone Description:

The true colour of this gemstone is a violet- blue, a bright and easily recognisable colour.

A plier holding a Tanzanite Birthstone.


Birthstone Symbolism in Astrology and Zodiac Signs:

Astrology and zodiac signs have long been intertwined with birthstones, providing an added layer of symbolism and connection for those who are drawn to these spiritual and cosmic influences. In many traditions, the stones associated with each zodiac sign are believed to possess unique properties and energies that resonate with the characteristics and traits of the individuals born under that sign.

A collection of different Gemstone placed on a jewellery box of Layla Kaisi Collection.

Aries (March 21 - April 19): Diamond

As the first sign in the zodiac, Aries is associated with the diamond, a gemstone symbolising strength, courage, and determination. These qualities are often attributed to the bold and assertive nature of Aries individuals, who are known for their strong will and passionate spirit.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20): Emerald

The sensual and grounded Taurus is connected to the emerald, a stone of love, fertility, and abundance. The emerald's vibrant green hues and calming energy are believed to align with the earthy and nurturing disposition of those born under this sign.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20): Pearl

Versatile and adaptable Gemini is represented by the pearl, a gemstone symbolizing wisdom, purity, and intuition. Pearls are believed to enhance communication skills and foster understanding, complementing Gemini's innate curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Ruby

The deeply emotional and intuitive Cancer is linked to the ruby, a stone of love, passion, and protection. The ruby's fiery energy resonates with Cancer's strong emotional nature, providing warmth and security in times of need.

Leo (July 23 - August 22): Peridot

The proud and confident Leo is associated with the peridot, a gemstone symbolizing abundance, prosperity, and light-heartedness. The peridot's radiant green energy is believed to amplify Leo's natural charisma and warmth, attracting success and positive energy.

Virgo (August 23 - September 22): Sapphire

The practical and detail-oriented Virgo is connected to the sapphire, a stone of wisdom, discipline, and spiritual growth. The sapphire's calming blue energy is thought to help balance Virgo's analytical tendencies, promoting clarity and inner peace.

Libra (September 23 - October 22): Opal

The harmonious and diplomatic Libra is represented by the opal, a gemstone symbolizing balance, creativity, and transformation. Opals are believed to enhance Libra's innate sense of beauty and harmony, fostering personal growth and emotional well-being.

Scorpio (October 23 - November 21): Topaz

The mysterious and intense Scorpio is linked to the topaz, a stone of power, strength, and transformation. The topaz's vibrant energy is thought to resonate with Scorpio's passionate and transformative nature, promoting personal growth and spiritual awakening.

Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21): Turquoise

The adventurous and optimistic Sagittarius is associated with turquoise, a gemstone symbolizing protection, wisdom, and truth. The turquoise's soothing energy is believed to guide and support Sagittarius on their quest for knowledge and personal growth.

Capricorn (December 22 - January 19): Garnet

The disciplined and ambitious Capricorn is connected to the garnet, a stone of grounding, perseverance, and success. The garnet's stabilizing energy is thought to align with Capricorn's steadfast determination, providing support and motivation on their path to achievement.

Aquarius (January 20 - February 18): Amethyst

The innovative and independent Aquarius is represented by the amethyst, a gemstone symbolizing spirituality, intuition, and inspiration. Amethyst is believed to enhance Aquarius' visionary nature, encouraging creativity and promoting higher states of consciousness.

Pisces (February 19 - March 20): Aquamarine

The compassionate and intuitive Pisces is linked to the aquamarine, a stone of emotional healing, inner peace, and serenity. The soothing energy of aquamarine is believed to help Pisces connect with their deep well of emotions and spiritual wisdom, facilitating personal growth and emotional balance.

Incorporating birthstones into custom-designed jewellery can add a profound and personal touch, celebrating the wearer's unique connection to their astrological sign and the energies associated with it. 

Zodiac Sign

Date Range


Symbolism & Connection


March 21 - April 19


Represents strength, courage, and invincibility; amplifies the natural energy and leadership qualities of Aries.


April 20 - May 20


Symbolizes abundance, growth, and renewal; supports the earthy and grounded nature of Taurus.


May 21 - June 20


Encourages wisdom, balance, and communication; enhances the adaptability and curiosity of Gemini.


June 21 - July 22


Represents love, passion, and emotional strength; intensifies the emotional depth and nurturing instincts of Cancer.


July 23 - August 22


Symbolizes joy, light-heartedness, and positive energy; aligns with the generous and creative spirit of Leo.


August 23 - September 22


Promotes clarity, focus, and self-discipline; strengthens the analytical and organized qualities of Virgo.


September 23 - October 22


Enhances harmony, balance, and relationships; amplifies the natural diplomacy and appreciation for beauty in Libra.


October 23 - November 21


Symbolizes strength, transformation, and emotional depth; empowers the intense and passionate nature of Scorpio.


November 22 - December 21


Represents protection, wisdom, and spiritual growth; supports the adventurous and optimistic spirit of Sagittarius.


December 22 - January 19


Encourages grounding, perseverance, and ambition; reinforces the practical and disciplined nature of Capricorn.


January 20 - February 18


Symbolizes spiritual awakening, intuition, and inner peace; aligns with the innovative and visionary qualities of Aquarius, encouraging creativity and promoting higher states of consciousness.


February 19 - March 20


Stone of emotional healing, inner peace, and serenity; helps Pisces connect with their deep well of emotions and spiritual wisdom, facilitating personal growth and emotional balance.

                                  List of Birthstones based on Zodiac Sign

Birthstone Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of birthstone jewellery is essential to ensure its longevity and beauty.

A Marquise Cut Light Green Diamond Ring placed on shiny surface with black background.

General Care Guidelines:

Always remove your birthstone jewellery when engaging in activities that may expose it to chemicals, abrasive materials, or excessive force, such as cleaning, gardening, swimming, or exercising. Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures or rapid temperature changes, as this can cause some gemstones to crack or become discolored. To prevent scratches or damage, store your birthstone jewellery separately in a soft-lined box or pouch.

Cleaning your Birthstone Jewellery:

Use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently wipe away dirt, dust, and oils from your birthstone jewellery. For more thorough cleaning, use a mild soap and lukewarm water solution with a soft-bristled brush to gently clean the jewellery, focusing on hard-to-reach areas. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasives, or ultrasonic cleaners, as these can damage some gemstones.

Specific Care Recommendations for Popular Birthstones:

Diamonds, Sapphires, and Rubies:

These hard gemstones can be safely cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaner. However, for fracture-filled or treated stones, stick to mild soap and water.


Due to their natural inclusions and potential treatments, avoid using ultrasonic cleaners, steam cleaners, or harsh chemicals. Instead, use a mild soap and lukewarm water solution to clean emeralds gently.


Pearls are delicate and require special care. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe them clean. Avoid exposing them to chemicals, extreme heat, or ultrasonic cleaners, as these can damage their luster and surface.


Opals are sensitive to temperature changes and can be easily scratched. Clean them with a soft cloth and mild soap solution, avoiding any soaking, as it may cause the stone to lose its play-of-color.

Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, and Malachite:

These porous gemstones can absorb chemicals and oils, so avoid using any soap or chemicals for cleaning. Instead, use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe the surface.

Garnet, Amethyst, Citrine, and Topaz:

Clean these gemstones with a mild soap and lukewarm water solution, using a soft-bristled brush if necessary. Avoid exposing them to extreme heat or ultrasonic cleaners, as these can cause damage.

Aquamarine, Peridot, and Tourmaline:

These gemstones can be cleaned using a mild soap and lukewarm water solution. However, avoid exposing them to extreme heat or rapid temperature changes, as this can cause the stones to crack or become discolored.

Professional Maintenance:

It's a good idea to have your birthstone jewellery checked by a professional jeweller at least once a year. They can assess the piece for any damage, loose settings, or wear and tear, and perform any necessary repairs or cleaning to keep your jewelry looking its best.

By following these care and maintenance tips, you can preserve the beauty and longevity of your birthstone jewellery, ensuring it remains a cherished possession for years to come.

Expert Tips on Buying Birthstone Jewellery

 A compiled list of essential tips to help you select and purchase high-quality birthstone jewellery.

A Close-up of  a Emerald Cut Sapphire Diamond Ring placed on a shiny surface.

Research Your Birthstone:

Before you begin your search for the perfect birthstone jewellery, it is essential to understand the characteristics, history, and meanings associated with your birthstone. This knowledge will not only allow you to make more informed decisions but also appreciate the personal significance of the piece.

Evaluate Gemstone Quality:

The quality of the birthstone is a crucial factor in determining the overall value and beauty of the jewellery. When evaluating a gemstone, consider its colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Look for stones with even colour distribution, minimal inclusions, and a well-proportioned cut.

Choose the Right Setting:

The setting plays a significant role in enhancing the appearance of the birthstone and ensuring its security. Consider settings that complement the shape and size of the stone, provide adequate protection, and suit your personal style.

Select the Appropriate Metal:

The choice of metal can impact the durability, appearance, and maintenance requirements of your birthstone jewellery. Consider factors such as metal allergies, lifestyle, and personal preferences when choosing between gold, silver, platinum, or other alternatives.

Work with a Reputable Jewellery Designer:

Collaborate with a reputable and experienced jewellery designer such as Layla Kaisi to ensure the quality, authenticity, and craftsmanship of your birthstone jewellery. Look for jewellers with positive reviews, professional certifications, and affiliations with recognised industry organisations.

Request a Certificate of Authenticity:

When purchasing a high-quality birthstone, it is essential to obtain a certificate of authenticity from a recognised gemmological laboratory. This document verifies the gemstone's characteristics and ensures that you are investing in a genuine, high-quality piece.

Set a Budget:

Establish a budget before you begin shopping for birthstone jewellery. This will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending. Keep in mind that lab-created gemstones and alternative metals can offer more affordable options without compromising on beauty or quality.

Consider Custom Designs:

If you have a unique vision for your birthstone jewellery, consider working with a jeweller to create a custom piece. This allows you to incorporate your personal style, preferences, and sentimental elements into a one-of-a-kind creation.

Inspect the Craftsmanship:

Examine the finished piece closely to ensure that the birthstone is securely set, the metalwork is smooth and polished, and the overall design is well-executed. High-quality craftsmanship ensures the longevity and beauty of your birthstone jewellery.

Seek Expert Guidance:

If you are unsure about any aspect of your birthstone jewellery purchase, do not hesitate to seek advice from a professional jeweller or gemmologist. Their expertise and guidance can help you make informed decisions and find the perfect piece that meets your expectations. 

Birthstone Jewellery FAQ'S

What is the most valuable birthstone?

The most valuable birthstone is the diamond. It is the highest priced and traditionally the most luxurious gemstone in the birthstone lists.

Can you have two birthstones?

Absolutely, for months such as August and December, there are several options to choose from or to simply have them all. There are no rules when it comes to picking a birthstone suited to you.

Can I wear my birthstone every day?

This would depend on the hardiness of your birthstone. For months such as April or September, the diamond and sapphire are perfect for everyday wear, whereas the opal or emerald could be prone to scratches or impurities over time if worn during everyday activities.

Which is the rarest birthstone?

This title of the rarest gemstones would go to Tanzanite for its singular discovery spot, as every other birthstone can be acquired in a variety of places around the globe.

Image of Ophelia Mason author for the Layla Kaisi Collection Journal

Ophelia Mason

Ophelia Mason is a writer, content creator, and author for the Layla Kaisi Collection Journal. She transcribes the beauty of artistically handmade jewellery. She is passionate about sharing the stories woven through each design and retelling the moments captured in each piece in imaginative detail. She has an eye for creative harmony and an appreciation for individual reflection in the form of unique jewellery.

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