Click on month for more detailed information
|June||Cream||Pearl, Moonstone, or Alexandrite|
|October||Variegated||Opal or Tourmaline|
|November||Yellow||Topaz or Citrine|
|December||Sky Blue||Blue Zircon, Tanzanite, Turquoise, or Blue Topaz|
For More Information…
To find out more about your birthstone, or any gemstone, consult the professionals at Hood River Jewelers. We will be able to show you the widest variety of colors, cuts and designs to suit every pocketbook. We can also tell you how best to care for the gem, and will be available in the future to service your jewelry. Jewelers of America members have signed and abide by a Code of Ethics, so you can buy with confidence from your JA member jeweler. Look for the “J” mark on the door.
Garnet is the accepted birthstone for the month of January. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the second year of marriage. When most people think of garnet, they picture the dark red Bohemian garnet that was popular in Victorian times. You may be surprised to learn that garnets are found in every color except blue, including brilliant green tsavorite garnet, raspberry pink rhodolite garnet, and orange malaya garnet. Bright red “anthill” garnets are found in Arizona. The czars of Russia favored rare green demantoid garnets. Garnets offer enough variety in appearance to suit every taste, as well as an outstanding price range to suit every pocketbook. Legend holds that Noah hung a large garnet in the ark for illumination. Garnets are durable and brilliant and will give years of pleasure. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect garnet from scratches, sharp blows, and extreme temperature changes. Garnets are found in the United States, Africa, Sri Lanka, Brazil and India.
Amethyst is the recognized birthstone for February and the accepted anniversary gemstone for the sixth year of marriage. Amethyst is a variety of quartz and comes in pale lilac to rich, deep purple shades. Ideally, it is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes that give amethyst its beauty and fire. Because of its abundance, it is readily available in all sizes and shapes. It is durable and can be worn every day. Amethyst has symbolized peace, protection and tranquility. Because royalty has always adored the color purple, amethysts abound in the ornaments of ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and in the British crown jewels. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect amethyst from scratches and sharp blows. It is found mainly in Brazil, Uruguay and Zambia.
Aquamarine is the traditional birthstone for March. It is also the accepted anniversary gem for the 19th year of marriage. The ideal color of aquamarine is a refreshing pastel sea blue. Stones with a clear blue color without green or gray are generally the most valuable. If you are looking for a big, durable gemstone, aquamarine is readily available in larger sizes and is truly dramatic when cut in rectangular or oval shapes. It is a member of the beryl family, which also includes emerald. In ancient times, the stone was said to aid seafarers; thus it is an excellent gift suggestion for sailors or one who takes frequent cruises. It is a universal symbol of youth, hope and health. As part of the normal finishing process, some aquamarines are heated to remove traces of green and yellow. To maintain the brilliance of this beautiful gemstone, it should be immersed in jewelry cleaner or in lukewarm soapy water and cleaned with a small bristle brush. Do not use an ultrasonic machine to clean aquamarine. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect it from scratches and sharp blows. Aquamarine is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Zambia and Madagascar.
Diamond is the birthstone for the month of April. Besides being the most popular gemstone for engagement rings, diamond is the accepted anniversary gem for the 10th and 60th years of marriage. The name “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas,” meaning unconquerable – suggesting the eternity of love. In fact, diamonds have been the traditional symbol of love since ancient Greece. Discovered about 2,500 years ago in India, the ancients believed they were splinters from the stars, perhaps crystallized lightening or hardened dew drops. Although diamonds are associated with being a colorless stone, they are occasionally found with a strong, bright color – green, red, pink, blue, canary yellow and amber. These “fancy” colored diamonds are highly prized. Occasionally, to improve appearance, diamonds are laser-drilled, and sometimes a foreign substance is used to fill surface cavities or fractures. Diamonds may also be irradiated or heated to induce fancy colors. Even though it is the most durable of gemstones, care should be taken to protect a diamond from sharp blows. Household chemicals may discolor or damage the mounting. To clean, you may use a jewelry cleaner, lukewarm soapy water and a small bristle brush, soak in a half-and-half solution of cold water and ammonia for half an hour, or use a home ultrasonic machine with its recommended cleaner.
Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May. It is also the anniversary gemstone for the 20th and 35th years of marriage. Emerald is one of the most highly prized of all the gems. The name comes from the Greek “smaragdos,” which means green stone. The most prized is pure grass green. Emeralds are often characterized by a garden of inclusions trapped within, known as the “jardin,” because under magnification you will see all sorts of lovely patterns resembling foliage in a garden. A flawless, clear emerald is very rare and is usually found in only small sizes. Small to medium sized stones are often faceted in the “step” or emerald cut. The gem is also lovely when cut into a cabochon or dome shape. Sometimes emeralds are even carved. As part of the normal fashioning process, most emeralds are immersed in colorless oil or resin so small voids are not as noticeable. Care should be taken to protect it from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals and extreme temperature changes. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine for emerald. Emeralds are found mainly in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Pearl is the birthstone for the month of June. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the third and 30th years of marriage. A pearl is the product of an oyster’s defense mechanism. When a foreign irritant is introduced either by man (cultured) or naturally, the oyster surrounds it with layers of a substance called nacre. This forms the exquisite gemstone know as pearl. Natural pearls are extremely rare. Almost all pearls on the market today are cultured by man. Cultured pearls come in a wide range of colors. They should be relatively free of skin blemishes. The more perfectly round the shape the better. The higher the luster, or “orient,” the more valuable the specimen. The larger the cultured pearl, the greater the value. Besides the popular round shape, there are stylish mabe (large hemispherical cultured pearls), freshwater (elongated in interesting shapes and colors), and South Sea (large cultured pearls 10mm and up from the waters of Australia and Indonesia), to name a few. Pearls have been recognized as the emblem of modesty, chastity and purity. They have come to symbolize a happy marriage. Avoid household chemicals, cosmetics, hair sprays and perfumes. Don’t use ultrasonic cleaners. Wash with mild soap and water and store in a protective chamois pouch or tissue paper.
Moonstone is sometimes used as an alternative birthstone by those born in June, since it physically resembles some pearls.
Ruby is the accepted birthstone for July. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 15th and 40th year of marriage. Ruby is known as the “Lord of the Gems” because of its rarity and beauty. Derived from the Latin word “rubber,” it simply means red. Ruby, like sapphire, is a variety of corundum and only exists as a true red in color. The finest color is a vivid, almost pure spectral red. Many believed rubies possessed an inner flame that burned eternally. As part of the customary fashioning process, virtually all rubies are heated to permanently improve their color and appearance. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect it from scratches and sharp blows. The finest rubies emanate from Burma, having been mined there since ancient times. Other sources include Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan and India.
Peridot is the accepted birthstone for August. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 16th year of marriage. Peridot should be a lively lime green, without a brownish or olive cast. Peridot is the child of volcanic action. Tiny peridot crystals are sometimes combed from the black sands of Hawaii. Care should be taken to protect peridot from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals and extreme temperature changes. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine for cleaning peridot. The peridot is abundant and is available in larger sizes. It is found in Burma and the United States. The most important source of peridot in the world is the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation near Globe, Arizona, where it is mined by native Americans. Large sizes are mined in Myanmar, and peridot is also found in China.
Sapphire is the September birthstone as well as the accepted anniversary gem for the fifth and 45th years of marriage. A variety of corundum, sapphire comes in all colors except red (the red variety being known as ruby), but is especially popular in deep blue. Fancy colored sapphires – including pink, green, orange and golden yellow – are magnificent when combined in a necklace or bracelet. The stone’s durability, combined with its beauty, makes it the perfect alternative for an engagement ring. Ancient priests and sorcerers honored sapphire above all gems. Ancients believed the Ten Commandments were written on a sapphire tablet. Marriage partners put great faith in the stone. As part of the customary fashioning process, virtually all blue, yellow and golden sapphires are heated to permanently produce or intensify their color. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect it from scratches and sharp blows. Sapphire is found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China and the United States.
Opal is the October birthstone as well as the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 14th year of marriage. White opal has a white or light body color with flashes of many colors. Black opal has a black, dark blue, dark green or gray body color with vivid flashes of color such as red, pink and bright green. Opal has symbolized hope, innocence and purity through the ages. Care should be taken to protect opal from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals and extreme temperature changes. To maintain the brilliance of opal, it should be wiped clean with a soft cloth. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine or jewelry cleaner. Opal sources are Australia, Mexico and the United States.
Sometimes tourmaline, which spans the spectrum from red to violet, is used as a birthstone for October. Tourmaline also occurs in color combinations in one stone, which accounts for its popularity. It is not as fragile as opal and is sometimes selected by those who prefer faceted stones.
Topaz is the accepted birthstone for November. Blue topaz is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the fourth year of marriage, and imperial topaz for the 23rd year. Most people think of topaz as a transparent golden yellow gemstone. However, this gemstone occurs colorless as well as orange-yellow, red, honey-brown (dark sherry), light green, blue and pink. The name topaz is derived from the Greek word meaning “to shine” and also implies “fire.” Orange-red imperial topaz and pink colors are rare and most valuable. The lore, magic and romance of topaz goes back many thousands of years. As part of the normal fashioning process, most brownish to sherry brown topaz is heated to produce a permanent pink color. Certain types of topaz are irradiated and heated to produce shades of blue. Topaz is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.
Citrine is often used an alternative to topaz because it appears in many of the same colors as topaz. Unlike topaz, citrine is readily available and inexpensive even in large sizes.
Turquoise is the accepted birthstone for December and is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 11th year of marriage. Colors of turquoise range from sky blue (the most desirable color) to blue green and apple green. The name means “Turkish stone,” because the trade route that brought it to Europe used to come via Turkey. The best qualities are found in northeast Iran (Persian turquoise). However, the southwestern United States is now the world leader in production. The deposits in Sinai were already worked out by 4,000 B.C. At that time the stone was used for jewelry, amulets and in the preparation of cosmetics. During the 16th century, turquoise was used as currency by the Southwest Indians. Although large quantities of beautiful turquoise that have not been color enhanced are available, today’s turquoise is commonly stabilized with plastic to improve its color and durability. Chalky varieties of turquoise are normally impregnated with oil or wax to enhance color. This color change may not be permanent. Care should be taken to protect turquoise from scratches, sharp blows, hot water and household chemicals. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine for turquoise.
Tanzanite and Blue Zircon
Tanzanite and blue zircon have become popular alternatives in recent years for those who prefer faceted stones.