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How to Select Birthstone Jewelry Gifts

Dec 10, 2007
Birthstones are precious, often colorful gemstones that have traditionally symbolized the months of the year, as well as various other qualities. There are several traditions of birthstone categorization, but most systems have one or two stones associated with each month of the year. Historically, the birthstone tradition goes back at least two millennia to the first century A.D., when birthstones were first widely given as birthday gifts. Throughout history, they have been thought to bring good fortune and luck to the recipient.

Because the various traditions of birthstones are often in conflict with one another, a jewelry buyer is essentially free to buy any birthstone for any occasion. For example, the Ayurvedic birthstone tradition associates sapphire with August, while the Modern tradition associates the same stone with September. Plus, birthdays don't even have to be taken into account; instead, birthstone gifts can be chosen based upon the gift recipient's favorite colors.

Or, let's say you're shopping for a birthstone gift for your grown sister; it's conceivable to buy the stone representing her birthday, or you can buy the stone representing her husband's birthday, or that of her mother, father, or child. Ultimately, the field of birthstone gifts is open to much interpretation.

Even so, the American National Association of Jewelers did adopt a standard birthstone list in 1912. Since then, their system has been popular throughout the world, utilized as far and wide as Australia, Russia, and South America. Their list is as follows:

1. January is associated with garnet, a mineral that comes in a variety of colors, including brown, red, yellow, and almost every other color on the spectrum.

2. February has amethyst, a purple stone thought by the Ancient Greeks to have anti-drunkenness properties.

3. March's stone is aquamarine, thought by people in the Middle Ages to have magical abilities to counteract the effects of poison.

4. April is blessed with one of the most valuable of precious stones -- the diamond. The hardest known naturally occurring material, diamonds have been treasured throughout the world for as long as human civilization has existed.

5. Occurring in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere's spring season, May is appropriately associated with emerald -- one of the greenest naturally occurring stones. Emeralds also play a large role in several Old Testament Biblical stories, creating a mystical aura around the stone.

6. June's birthstone is pearl, a unique and highly valuable stone created in the ocean by certain species of mollusks. Pearls, too, have played roles in several religious traditions, and occur frequently in accounts of historical events, including stories involving the Spanish Conquistadors in the New World.

7. Symbolizing the heat of summer, July's birthstone is ruby, which is primarily a red stone, often with brownish or purplish tints. One of the most precious gemstones, rubies also symbolize passionate love.

8. August has peridot, a green olive-tinted stone that is mined in many regions throughout the world, and has also been found as a component in several meteorites.

9. September's stone is sapphire, which comes in many colors, primarily blue. The stone, which has many unique properties, also is said to represent true love.

10. October is associated with opal, which is often almost iridescent, but which is very rarely made up of a single color. Because opal is often multicolored, certain cultures throughout history of thought it to be a very lucky stone, carrying the beneficial properties of all other stones in one.

11. November's stone is yellow topaz, which has long been valued for its rarity and its rumored mystical properties.

12. Finally, December has turquoise, a blue-green stone that has been used in homes and as personal decoration by various cultures for thousands of years. Reminiscent of sea tones and blue skies, the stone's color is always a reminder, in the dead of winter, of better times to come.

Jewelry lovers and buyers who are interested in further pursuing the significance of birthstones will find all sorts of resources on the Web and in the library. Plus, those interested in astrology can find a world of material about the relationship between zodiac signs, constellations, and earthbound stones -- dynamics which also play a large role in determining which birthstones go with which months.
About the Author
Lulu Bells Treasures has been offering high quality 14k gold, sterling silver, diamond and gemstone jewelry online since 2003. Visit them today at http://www.lulubells.com to view their large selection of 14k gold jewelry and gifts. Use coupon code AM0807 for $10 off orders over $150.

Lulu Bells Treasures is a registered trademark owned by Lulu Bells Treasures, Inc.
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