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Birthstone guide

Brithstones Overview

Birthstones: spiritual, thoughtful, loving gifts

Birthstones are ideal gifts for all occasions. Every month has its own birthstone which is said to be lucky or important for people born in that month. The concept of birthstones is common to most cultures and there are different stones attributed to the months, depending on which belief system you are following. The birthstone calendar used in this guide is one of the most commonly used in the UK, but you can find many different variations around the world.

Birthstone presents

Birthstones add an extra, fun dimension to buying presents for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Christenings or any other occasion. Whether it is jewellery set with a birthstone, such as necklaces, pendants, bracelets and rings, or just the stone itself, giving someone a birthstone present is showing that person that you have taken time and thought your purchase through.

Birthstone jewellery

Whether or not you believe in the spiritual aspects of birthstones, buying a birthstone is a thoughtful and fun gift to give. So take a look at our calendar to find out which stone is right for the person you are buying for and then select from our huge range of elegant, stylish birthstone jewellery.

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Garnet

Sexy, colourful and pure – garnet is the birthstone of January

Rainbow stone

Garnet is found in the greatest variety of colours of any gemstone, occurring in every colour except blue. The most common colour for garnet, however, is a beautiful rich red. Some garnets change colour, depending on whether they are under natural light or man-made lights. This means that people lucky enough to be born in January have a great range of garnet jewellery to choose from, in many different colours and styles.

The garnet family

Garnet is actually a family of minerals with similar physical and crystalline properties. This group includes hessonite, melanite, malaya, rhodolite, bohemian garnets and alamandite. Garnet is a versatile and impressive gemstone, whether you are looking for rings, pendants or earrings.

Technicolour dreamstone

From the Latin word granatus, meaning like a grain, garnet is a superb gem for a wide range of jewellery. Garnet is a great gem for all occasions in a myriad of colours.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancements properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for garnet

  • Birthstone characteristics: purity, truth, faithfulness, friendship, commitment, eternity, and removing negativity
  • Enhancements: garnet is said to enhance sensuality and sexuality

To see January birthstone, garnet, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/garnet

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Amethyst

Myths, luck and health – amethyst is the birthstone for February

Amethyst and Dionysius

According to Greek legend the god Dionysius, angered by an insult from a mortal, swore that he would gain revenge on the next mortal that passed him by. To do this he summoned two tigers. The maid Amethyst was the first to come along and was set upon by the tigers. The goddess, Diana, seeing this, turned Amethyst into crystallised stone to protect her from the tiger's claws. Dionysius, distraught at what he had done, wept tears of red wine, staining Amethyst purple, creating the stone that we revere to this day – a beautiful centrepiece for jewellery.

Spiritual stone

The Tibetans consider amethyst to be sacred to the Buddha, whereas in Greece amethystos is believed to cure drunkenness and symbolises sobriety. Amethyst also symbolises celibacy, is worn by Bishops and can be seen adorning medieval churches.

The colour purple

Amethyst ranges from light to deep purple. Amethyst is perfect for all forms of jewellery – rings, necklaces and earrings.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for amethyst:

  • Birthstone characteristics: health, luck, wit, stability, peace, balance, courage, inner-strength, calmness
  • Enhancements: considered the sobriety stone, amethyst is believed to prevent drunkenness

To see the February birthstone, amethyst, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/ameythst

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Aquamarine

Faith, courage and friendship – aquamarine is the birthstone for March

Treasure of the sea

The word aquamarine means sea water and some legends consider aquamarine to be the treasure of mermaids. Aquamarine has an element of mysticism and magic. It is said that if you dream about it, you will meet new friends.

Mystical magic

A beautiful stone that sits perfectly in jewellery, whether it is a necklace, ring or earrings, aquamarine is also said to have many mystical characteristics. Reputedly soothing, particularly for married couples to work out their differences, aquamarine also wards off the devil.

The colour of the sea

The March birthstone, aquamarine, is always pastel blue, although the darker the colour the more valuable the stone.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for aquamarine:

  • Birthstone characteristics: understanding, happiness, faithfulness, courage, friendship
  • Enhancements: aquamarine is said to enhance awareness and quick responses, easing communication problems

To see the March birthstone, aquamarine, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/aquamarine

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Diamond

Brilliant, unconquerable and priceless – diamond is the birthstone of April

Mesmerising, sparkling and brilliant

Diamonds were discovered in India in around 500BC and have been our number one treasured stone ever since. The hardest and simplest substance, composed of a single element and the purest of the gemstones.

The four Cs

From the word adamas, meaning unconquerable, the diamond is the ultimate symbol of love, the best example being the engagement ring. When looking for a diamond, always consider the 4 Cscarat, clarity, cut and colour. It is the combination of these that determines the value of a diamond. For something truly special take a look at The Leo® Diamond, exclusive to Ernest Jones. Visibly brighter than comparable diamonds, it has a unique patented cut. Diamonds come in a variety of shapes including brilliant round, princess cut, emerald, baguette, oval, pear and marquise.

Myth and legend

The ancients believed that diamonds were hardened dew-drops, crystallised lightning or splinters from the stars.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for diamond:

  • Birthstone characteristics: eternity, courage, health, balance, clarity, abundance
  • Enhancements: diamonds symbolise inner strength and are believed to enhance relationships

To see the April birthstone, diamond, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/diamond

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Emerald

Loyalty, faithfulness and friendship – emerald is the birthstone for May

Timeless emerald jewellery

Associated with loyalty, faithfulness and friendship, emerald jewellery makes a perfect gift all year round but is considered extra lucky when given in the birth month.

Gem of eternal spring

Emerald is the gem of eternal spring and has a great history and tradition. Used in both India and Egypt as far back as 3000BC, these emeralds are the aristocracy of gemstones. Treasured by the Romans, worn by Cleopatra and inscribed with religious scripture by the Moguls of India, the emerald is woven into the very fabric of human history.

Gem of a gift

Ideal for both classic and contemporary style jewellery, from emerald necklaces and bracelets to rings and earrings, this gem is valued in much the same way as diamonds by cut, clarity and colour. A perfect gem for gifts, whether or not it is the birth month.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for emerald:

  • Birthstone characteristics: goodness, fidelity, love, loyalty, friendship
  • Enhancements: emerald is said to enhance memory, clairvoyant powers and mental capabilities

To see the May birthstone, emerald, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/emerald

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Pearl

Modesty, chastity and purity – pearl is the birthstone for June

The world is your oyster in June

The word pearl comes from the latin word pirum, which means pear and relates to the shape of gem. Ancient Greeks believed that pearls promote marital bliss and that a pearl necklace can also prevent newly-wed brides from crying. The pearl is a powerful, beautiful, traditional gem. Pearl jewellery has made a huge comeback – pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings are the ideal gift, whether or not it is the relevant birthstone month.

Shape, colour and lustre

When buying a pearl there are a few things to consider. Lustre: the shine and reflection on the pearl's surface. The surface: if you rub it against your teeth, a real pearl should feel slightly rough as it is a natural product, fake pearls feel smooth. Colour: colour preferences for pearls differ around the world and depend largely on fashion and location. Pearl comes in various shades, including shimmering white and glistening pink. Shape: pearls are usually round, but cultured pearls can be encouraged to grow into other shapes.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for pearl:

  • Birthstone characteristics: modesty, beauty, peace, chastity and purity
  • Enhancements: the pearl is believed to enhance personal integrity

To see the June birthstone, pearl, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/pearl

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Ruby

Devotion, integrity and courage – ruby is the birthstone of July

Red hot and summery

The deep red of ruby has long been associated with religion and spiritual matters. The birthstone ruby is second only to diamond for hardness. Ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum. Any corundum that is not red is known as sapphire.

Buying rubies

An incredibly valuable gemstone, take into account considerations similar to the ones used when buying diamonds. Size, clarity and cut are all important when buying this birthstone and contribute to the value of your gemstone. A large ruby with lower clarity will have a lower value than a smaller one with greater clarity.

Oval and cushion cut are popular shapes for rubies in jewellery – including necklaces, rings and earrings – although emerald cut, brilliant round and pear-shaped rubies are also available.

Victorian red

The ruby was the favourite of the Victorians but also looks great with modern outfits and in modern and classic jewellery.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for ruby:

  • Birthstone characteristics: enthusiasm, strength, love, devotion, integrity, courage
  • Enhancements: ruby is considered to improve vitality, confidence, strength and generosity

To see the July birthstone, ruby, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/ruby

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Peridot

Gods, churches and fame – peridot is the birthstone for August

An historical stone

An olive or bottle green stone, peridot is the perfect centrepiece for pendants, earrings and rings. In Roman times it was referred to as evening emerald as it did not lose its lustre at night but was still visible by lamplight. After the Roman period, peridot was often used to decorate churches. Peridots, weighing up to 200 carats in size, are used to decorate the shrine of the Magi at Cologne cathedral. In Hawaii, peridot symbolises the tears of Pele, the god of fire and volcanoes. Through history and all over the world, peridot is valued for its properties and for its supposed healing and personal enhancement qualities.

History and culture

The Crusaders brought peridot to Europe in the Middle Ages from St John's Island in the Red Sea. Not merely a decorative gem that looks fantastic in jewellery, but also a historical and significant gem with a role in the history and culture of the world.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for peridot:

  • Birthstone characteristics: success, peace, luck, love, truth, faithfulness, loyalty
  • Enhancements: peridot is considered the stone of fame, dignity and protection

To see the August birthstone, peridot, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/peridot

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Sapphire

Natural, heavenly and harmonious – sapphire is the birthstone for September

Engaging sapphire

Derived from the Greek word sappheiros, sapphire means 'precious stone'. Historically regarded as an important stone, sapphire has a long and proud tradition in culture and history. Prince Charles even gave Lady Diana a sapphire engagement ring.

All the colours of the rainbow

Sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum and occurs in all of the colours of the rainbow except red. Red corundum is called ruby. Membership of the group is defined by the hardness – all corundum registers 9 on the Mohs scale (used to categorise gem hardness). Blue sapphires are the most common, although Ernest Jones stocks pink and blue sapphire jewellery.

Deep blue

The natural colours of sapphire, sky blues, deep blues and flower petal pink bring to mind images of nature, spring days and fresh air. Sapphire is a beautiful, natural, evocative gem, ideal for earrings, rings and necklaces.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for opal:

  • Birthstone characteristics: wisdom, purity, hope, confidence, loyalty
  • Enhancements: opal is said to enhance imagination, dreams and healing

To see the October birthstone, opal, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/opal

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Opal

Rainbow gem of good fortune – opal is the birthstone for October

Down under gem

Opals are Australia's natural gemstone. The Australian Aborigines have a legend in which the creator came down to earth on a rainbow to bring the message of peace to all mankind. At the place where his feet touched the ground, the rocks mixed with the rainbow and turned into opals.

A little bit of everything

In the Middle Ages opal was considered to be a lucky stone because it was believed to contain all of the virtues of the gemstones, as it contained all of their colours.

Mult-coloured quality

When discussing opals, experts talk about harlequin, church windows and needle fire in an attempt to capture and express the multi-coloured quality of opal. The most important criteria when valuing opal is the play of the colour, but we also consider the thickness, cut, patterning, weight and finish. This gemstone captures the imagination and inspires legends – a fantastic gem for jewellery and gifts.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for opal:

  • Birthstone characteristics: wisdom, purity, hope, confidence, loyalty
  • Enhancements: opal is said to enhance imagination, dreams and healing

To see the October birthstone, opal, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/opal

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Topez

Colourful, magical and ancient – topaz is the birthstone for November

Multi-coloured gemstone

Legend has it that topaz dispels anger and nocturnal fears and makes men who wear it handsome! Topaz comes in a variety of colours, including white, yellow and blue. Blue topaz is most commonly used in jewellery and is the perfect centrepiece for rings, pendants and earrings. This beautiful gemstone is the ideal birthstone gift.

Mixed history

Topaz has been mined for more than 2000 years. It is unclear where the name comes from. One theory is that it derives its name from the Sanskrit tapas, meaning fire. Another is that it is named after an ancient Greek island, Topazios, where a yellow stone was mined.

Holy cities

Topaz is one of the gemstones that form the foundations of the 12 gates to the holy city of Jerusalem. With its range of colours and history, both metaphysical and physical, topaz is one of the finest gemstones.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for topaz:

  • Birthstone characteristics: sincerity, courage, wisdom, constancy, loyalty faithfulness, friendship
  • Enhancements: topaz is considered to enhance strength, release of tension, emotional balance and happiness

To see the November birthstone, topaz, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/topaz

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Turquoise

Auspicious, natural and fashionable – turquoise is the birthstone for December

Riches, beauty and history

Turquoise was one of the first gemstones to be mined and has come in and out of fashion through-out history. It was very popular in Victorian times and the Aztecs decorated their ceremonial masks with turquoise stones. An important gemstone, with its own place in history, it is called turquoise after the Turkish, who first introduced it to Europe from Persia.

Radiant ancient gem

This stunning gemstone, intense in its colours, has been coveted for its beauty since ancient times. Turquoise varies in colour, from blue to green, depending on the balance of copper and iron in its make up. The most desirable turquoise is believed to be the sky blue gem from Persia, however in Tibet greener turquoise is equally prized. The highest quality turquoise is pure, radiant and sky blue. The more the colour tends towards green and the more irregular the matrix, the lower the estimate of the stone's quality. Turquoise is beautiful in jewellery and makes an exquisite birthstone gift.

Birthstones have characteristics or enhancement properties associated with them. Here are some of these properties for turquoise:

  • Birthstone characteristics: prosperity, success, happiness and good fortune
  • Enhancements: communication, protection, regeneration, strength

To see the December birthstone, turquoise, in a range of stunning jewellery, come to www.ernestjones.co.uk/turquoise

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