What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a colored stone? Usually found in the form of a ring or pendant, birthstones are gemstones associated with various qualities that symbolize the month of birth in the Gregorian calendar. How these gemstones were associated with different months isn't entirely clear but, like all traditions, they evolve over time. Some believe birthstones originate from Biblical times when a priest's breastplate was adorned with twelve different colored gems. The first century Jewish historian Josephus is said to have believed there was a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron's breastplate, relating to the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve months of the year and the twelve signs of the zodiac. As the tradition developed, people wore a different gem each month as a sort of talisman, believing each stone held certain powers. And gradually, specific gemstones became attached to specific months. It was in 1912 that the American National Association of Jewellers created a colored stone list. Although it was controversially developed for commercial purposes, the list is now accepted worldwide as the definitive list of birthstones, with some months taking on more than one gemstone. There are of course numerous legends and myths about colored stone healing powers and their therapeutic influence. According to these legends, wearing a gemstone during its assigned month heightened its healing powers and for the full effect, individuals needed to own all twelve and alternate them monthly. Whether you take this as true depends entirely on your faith, but it never hurts to add a colourful gemstone to your collection with its own very special meaning.

Garnet, the colored stone of January, is mined in a rainbow of colors. From the fiery orange of Mandarin Garnet to the rich green of Tsavorite Garnet and to the most widely recognized color of Pyrope Garnet, it is considered a great gift to symbolize friendship and trust.

Amethyst, the colored stone of February, is a variety of Quartz that carries a spectacular purple color that ranges from a blend of deep violet and red to a lighter lilac hue. Ancient Greeks believed that the stone protected the wearer from drunkenness and enabled them to keep a balanced mindset.

Aquamarine, the colored stone of March, has a rich color and has long been a symbol of youth, health and hope. Its mesmerizing color ranges from pale to deep blue and are reminiscent of the sea. A perfect colored stone for March, the Aquamarine creates a beautiful accent to spring and summer wardrobes.

Diamonds, the colored stone of April, are commonly associated with love which make it the perfect gift for a loved one. While white diamonds are most common, fancy colored diamonds can be found in various colors including yellow, blue, pink and a variety of others as well.

Emerald, the colored stone of May, carries the rich green color of Spring and radiates a beautiful vivid tone. They are considered to be a symbol of rebirth and love. Emeralds are the rarest gemstones and are typically mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia.

Alexandrite gemstones are extremely rare and desirable since they change color based on the lighting.

Rubies, the colored stone of July, are considered the king of gems and represent love, health and wisdom. It was believed wearing a fine red Ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner. A Ruby is the most valuable gemstone and its value increases based on its color and quality.

Sardonyx goes as far back as the ancient Greeks and Roman, who used the stone during battle, believing it would bring them to victory.Sardonyx comes from India, but can also be found in Brazil, Uruguay, the United States, and Germany.

Sapphire, the colored stone of September, is most desired in its pure, rich blue color but is present in almost every color including pink, yellow and green. In the Middle Ages the gem was believed to protect those close to you from harm and also represented loyalty and trust.

Tourmaline is a favorite gemstone for many because it’s available in a rainbow of beautiful colors. Tourmaline is a crystalline boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium.

November birthdays is Topaz symbolizes love and affection, and is said to bestow strength and intelligence on the person who wears it, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and a gift of blue topaz is said to be a promise of love and fidelity.

The word turquoise dates back to the 13th century, drawing from the French expression pierre tourques, which referenced the “Turkish stone” brought to Europe from Turkey.