Birthstones are a fascinating aspect of the gem and jewelry world, and are derived from early beliefs regarding the one’s time of birth and its relationship to the planets. Wearing a certain stone as protection against illness and misfortune, or another gem for good luck, eventually developed into the birthstone systems of today.

Modern Birthstones
From these early systems, comes the modern birthstone system.

Month 20th & 21st Centuries 18th to 19th Centuries
January
Garnet
Garnet
February
Amethyst
Amethyst or hyacinth
March
Aquamarine or bloodstone
Jasper or bloodstone
April
Diamond
Diamond or sapphire
May
Emerald
Emerald or agate
June
Pearl, moonstone or alexandrite
Pearl, moonstone or alexandrite
July
Ruby
Turquoise or onyx
August
Peridot or sardonyx
Sardonyx
September
Sapphire
Peridot
October
Opal or tourmaline
Beryl or opal
November
Topaz or citrine
Topaz or pearl
December
Turquoise, zircon, lapis lazuli or blue topaz
Ruby

The Western birthstone system originates from the writings of Jesephus (1st century AD) and St. Jerome (5th century AD). Both trace the custom to the gems of the Hebrew High Priest’s Breastplate. Over time, the birthstone custom died, only to be revived again in 18th-century Poland.

Zodiac Gems
Long before the modern 12-month calendar was invented, astrologers assigned certain gemstones to the 12 signs of the zodiac based on the symbolism and metaphysical powers each stone was believed to possess.

Sign Sign Zodiac Stone   Sign Sign Zodiac Stone
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Capricorn
Dec. 22–Jan. 20
Ruby   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Cancer
June 22–July 22
Emerald
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Aquarius
Jan. 21–Feb. 21
Garnet   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Leo
July 23–August 22
Onyx
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Pisces
Feb. 22–March 21
Amethyst   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Virgo
August 23–Sept. 22
Carnelian
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology

Aries
March 22–April 20

Bloodstone   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Libra
Sept. 23–Oct. 23
Peridot
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Taurus
April 21–May 21
Sapphire   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Scorpio
Oct. 24–Nov. 21
Beryl
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Gemini
May 22–June 21
Agate   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Sagittarius
Nov. 22–Dec. 21
Topaz

Indian Planetary Gemology
In ancient India, beliefs regarding the planets and their relationships with stones also is found. This has developed into what some today refer to as “planetary gemology”. In such systems, there are nine planets and nine gems, as shown below. Sometimes jewelry is made using one each of these gems and are termed navaratna jewels (nava = nine; ratna = jewel).

Sign Planet Hindu Planetary
Stone
  Sign Planet Hindu Planetary
Stone
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Sun Ruby   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Venus Diamond
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Moon Pearl   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Saturn Blue Sapphire
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Mars Coral   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology
Rahu
(moon’s north node)
Hessonite Garnet
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology

Mercury

Emerald   birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology
Ketu
(moon’s south node)
Cat’s Eye
birthstones, planetary gemology, astrological gems, astrological stones, zodiac gems, zodiac stones, gems and astrology Jupiter Yellow Sapphire        

Birthstones for days of the week

Most Latin-based languages connect each day of the week with one of the seven “planets”: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The French, for example, uses the following:

English French Planet Gem
Monday Lundi Moon Pearl
Tuesday Mardi Mars Ruby
Wednesday Mercredi Mercury Amethyst
Thursday Jeudi Jupiter Sapphire
Friday Vendredi Venus Carnelian
Saturday Saturn Saturn Turquoise
Sunday Dimanche (Latin: dies solis) Sun Topaz

Gems for all seasons

Season Gem
Spring Emerald
Summer Ruby
Fall Sapphire
Winter Diamond

Choosing a birthstone
If nothing else, the above should make clear that there are a bewildering variety of birthstone choices, depending on nationality, culture, religion, etc. Which one is right for you? We suggest that, if none of the above birthstones strikes your fancy, you simply choose a personal gemstone that symbolizes a special time for you. Choose a personal gemstone based on your zodiac sign, the day of the week on which you were born or the color designated for your birth month.