Are There Alternative Birthstones?

By | February 9, 2024

Ever wondered about the fascinating world of birthstones aside from the usual ones we hear about? This article is just right for you, exploring the less known but completely enchanting alternative birthstones. Turning every leaf in this mystery, you’ll gain engaging insights into these treasures – ones just as meaningful and magical as the common ones associated with your birth month. Get ready to broaden your horizons in the multi-hued universe of birthstones.

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Understanding the Concept of Birthstones

Birthstones are stunning gems that are associated with the months of the year, each month having a unique stone assigned to it. They hold a special place in many cultures, believed to possess characteristics that benefit the wearer.

Definition of birthstones

A birthstone is a gemstone or crystal that is associated with the month of someone’s birth. It’s believed these stones come with attributes and powers that can impact the wearer’s life, providing good fortune, protection, and positive energy.

Historical background of birthstones

The grounds of birthstones can be traced as far back as the bible times, around the first century AD. There is a mention in Exodus 28 about a breastplate belonging to Aaron, the High Priest, adorned with 12 gemstones representing the 12 tribes of Israel. However, the practice of wearing a single gemstone connected to one’s birth month didn’t begin until the 18th century in Poland and has continued to evolve over the centuries.

How birthstones are assigned per month

Initially, the assignment of birthstones was based on the color of the gems and their association with the 12 stones on the High Priest’s breastplate. But since then, multiple factors—like gem availability and cultural beliefs—have influenced these assignments.

Traditional Birthstones

Traditional birthstones are those that have been associated with birth months for centuries, based on ancient customs and beliefs.

List of traditional birthstones by month

Each month traditionally has a specific gem associated with it. January’s stone is garnet, February’s amethyst, and March’s is bloodstone. April has diamond, May emerald, June has pearl, July is associated with ruby, while August’s stone is sardonyx. September is linked with sapphire, October with opal, November has topaz, and December is turquoise.

Geographical origins of traditional birthstones

These traditional birthstones come from various locations around the globe, depending on where each gem is commonly found. For example, diamonds originate from South Africa, while pearls are mostly found in the seas of Japan and Australia.

Symbolism and meanings of traditional birthstones

Each birthstone represents unique traits and characteristics. For example, the ruby, July’s birthstone, symbolizes love and passion, while the diamond, April’s stone, represents strength and clarity.

Are There Alternative Birthstones?

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Modern Birthstones

Modern birthstones are a more recent list as established by the Jewelers of America in 1912. This list has been updated several times, with the most recent adjustment in 2016, introducing spinel as an alternative for August.

Differences between traditional and modern birthstones

The primary difference between traditional and modern birthstones lies in their selection process. Traditionally, the stones were often chosen based on mythological connotations. In contrast, modern birthstones were selected for their availability, value, or trendiness within the jewelry industry to promote sales.

List of modern birthstones per month

The modern list of birthstones slightly differs from the traditional one. Garnet still represents January, while amethyst remains for February, and aquamarine for March. Diamond is kept for April, emerald for May, and pearl for June. Ruby remains the birthstone for July, peridot is for August, sapphire for September, opal or tourmaline for October, topaz or citrine for November, and turquoise, zircon, or tanzanite for December.

Reasons for the changes in birthstones over the centuries

Changes in the list of birthstones were driven by a desire to standardize the list and promote consumer interest. While there were multiple lists in circulation, it was crucial for the jewelry industry to establish a definitive list which buyers could easily understand and follow.

Alternate Birthstones

Alternate birthstones provide options for individuals who prefer a different gem for their birth month than the one traditionally assigned.

Definition of alternate birthstones

Alternate birthstones are gemstones that can be a substitution to the traditional or modern birthstones. They are typically other gems that are found during the birth month but may not be as well-known or expensive as the recognized birthstone.

List of alternate birthstones by month

While there may be several options for alternate birthstones, a few examples include rose quartz for January, black onyx for February, and jasper for March. White quartz is for April, carnelian for May, moonstone for June, carnelian for July, peridot for August, lapis lazuli for September, pink tourmaline for October, citrine for November, and blue topaz for December.

Acceptance and popularity of alternate birthstones

Alternate birthstones have become increasingly popular as people search for more personalized, affordable or unique options. These alternatives provide versatility, allowing individuals to select a stone that resonates with their personal style or spiritual beliefs.

Are There Alternative Birthstones?

Healing Properties of Alternate Birthstones

Many believe that alternate birthstones, like all gemstones, carry unique healing properties which may influence the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of the wearer.

Healing properties explained

Healing properties of birthstones are believed to be energy vibrations that can harmonize with the user’s energy field, leading to balance and wellbeing. These stones are said to enhance positive vibes and reduce negativity.

Specific healing properties of select alternate birthstones

For instance, rose quartz is believed to promote love and emotional healing, while carnelian might boost courage and vitality. Blue topaz, an alternate birthstone for December, is thought to aid in clear thinking and communication.

Scientific versus anecdotal evidence of healing properties

Though many believe in these healing benefits, it’s essential to note that these claims are largely based on anecdotal evidence and personal experience. While there isn’t robust scientific evidence to confirm these healing properties, many individuals maintain that their birthstones have positively impacted their lives.

Buying Guide for Alternate Birthstones

Choosing the right alternate birthstone can be a fun and enlightening journey. However, it’s crucial to keep certain factors in mind during your search.

Where to buy alternate birthstones

You can find a vast selection of alternate birthstones in jewelry stores, online marketplaces, and gemstone specialty shops. Ensure that you purchase from a reputable seller to guarantee authenticity and quality.

Tips on selecting high quality stones

Look for clarity, color richness, and cut to determine the stone’s quality. Also, choose a stone that resonates with your personal energy or has meaning to you.

Price ranges for alternate birthstones

Prices can vary significantly based on factors like size, quality, and rarity. While some alternate birthstones may be more affordable than traditional ones, it’s essential to research and compare prices to ensure you’re getting good value for your money.

Are There Alternative Birthstones?

Using Alternate Birthstones in Jewelry

Alternate birthstones can be included in a wide variety of jewelry, like rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The stone you choose often impacts the jewelry style and overall aesthetic.

Popular types of jewelry for alternate birthstones

Rings and pendants tend to be the most popular jewelry pieces for incorporating birthstones, but depending on the size and cut of the stone, it could be used in any type of jewelry.

How to choose the right piece of jewelry for your alternate birthstone

Think about your lifestyle, fashion sense, and personal preferences when choosing how to incorporate your birthstone in jewelry. Also, consider how often you plan to wear it.

Maintenance and care for birthstone jewelry

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure your birthstone jewelry stays in great shape. In general, clean your jewelry regularly with a soft cloth and mild soap, but be sure to check the specific cleaning instructions for your particular gemstone.

Cultural Differences in Birthstones

Around the world, various cultures have their unique interpretations and associations of birthstones, which can lead to some fascinating variations.

How different cultures regard birthstones

In some cultures, birthstones are seen as vital protective amulets, while others regard them as merely decorative. Some societies offer unique birthstones based on zodiac signs or used a distinct gem for each day of the week.

Examples of cultural variations in birthstones

For example, the Indian or Hindu culture has a distinct list of birthstones based on astrology and ancient scriptures, and these differ vastly from the western culture birthstones.

Understanding alternate birthstones within a cultural context

When exploring alternate birthstones, it’s interesting to consider how various cultures interpret different gemstones. This cultural understanding can give you a richer and more personalized connection to your chosen alternate birthstone.

Are There Alternative Birthstones?

Personalizing Birthstones

Choosing an alternate birthstone can be an intensely personal decision that reflects your individuality, style, and life journey.

Using personal intuition in selecting birthstones

Some people suggest using your intuition when selecting a birthstone. The idea is that you’ll naturally be drawn to a stone that aligns with your energy or supports your current emotional and spiritual journey.

Incorporating personal significance and symbolism

You might select an alternate birthstone because of a significant milestone or memory that month or because the stone’s attributed characteristics resonate with you personally.

Personalized birthstone gifts

Giving a personalized alternate birthstone as a gift can be very meaningful. It shows thoughtfulness and can create a special bond between the giver and the receiver.

Critiques and Potential Downsides of Alternate Birthstones

While alternate birthstones can offer greater selection and personalization, it’s also worth considering some of the critiques and potential downsides.

Critiques of the alternate birthstone concept

Some purists argue that the idea of alternate birthstones simply dilutes the tradition. Others believe it’s a marketing ploy created by the jewelry industry to sell more gems.

Potential downsides to owning and using alternate birthstones

One potential downside is that alternate birthstones may not hold their value as well as traditional ones, especially if they are less known or common.

Addressing criticisms and overcoming potential downsides

Yet, regardless of the critiques or downsides, the joy and meaning one derives from their chosen birthstone—be it traditional, modern, or alternate—can often outweigh potential negatives. After all, the personal and emotional connection one feels towards their birthstone is truly priceless.

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Author: marklsmithms1

Hi, I'm Mark, the author of Maura Gems and Jewellery. As a team of qualified gemmologists and goldsmiths, we bring you world-class jewellery at Bangkok prices. With offices in both Bangkok and the UK, we ethically source the finest gemstones directly, eliminating any middlemen. We offer a wide range of stunning ready-made jewellery items in our new online store, available for retail or wholesale. Additionally, we specialize in custom-made jewellery where we can bring any design to life. Whether you're a trade professional or an individual customer, we cater to all. Feel free to email me at or call/WhatsApp me at 07470547636 or +66949355718. Discover our incredible collection by visiting our online store. I guarantee you'll love what you find there!

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