The meanings and significance behind precious stones
When I’m designing bespoke jewellery I often include precious and semi-precious stones as a way to add meaning and significance to a unique piece.
Below I’ve put together a quick guide to birthstones and what they signify. But you might also choose or commission a piece incorporating a precious or semi-precious stone because of the qualities it represents. For instance, sapphire signifies wisdom so it can make a wonderful graduation gift; peridot represents protection so would work brilliantly as a gift for someone who was about to go travelling; and the meanings assigned to emerald, ruby and aquamarine make them great alternatives to diamonds for engagement rings.
January’s Birthstone – Garnet
Garnets are the stones of regeneration and energy and are thought to bring order to chaos. The name Garnet comes from the Latin garanatus, meaning “containing many seeds” and referencing the pomegranate. Garnets have been found in necklaces dating back as far as 3000 BC.
February’s Birthstone – Amethyst
Amethysts, a crystalline quartz, are believed to have a calming energy that helps focus and concentration. The word comes from the Greek “without drunkenness” and amethyst is thought to help protect from poison. Amethysts are also known as dream stones and are said to help with insomnia.
March’s Birthstone – Aquamarine
Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater and the stone is said to calm waves and keep sailors safe. It is believed that Aquamarine gives the wearer protection against enemies and quickens the intellect.
April’s Birthstone – Diamond
Aprilʼs birthstone is the serene and powerful white diamond. Diamonds are a symbol of unity and commitment, representing love, romance, trust and everlasting togetherness.
May’s Birthstone – Emerald
Emeralds are known as the stone of successful love. They are believed to open the heart and the heart chakra. Their soothing energy is also thought to help heal and lift the spirit.
June’s Birthstones – Alexandrite and Pearl
Still incredibly rare, Alexandrite wasnʼt discovered until the 19th century. Workers in a Russian emerald mine thought the stones were emeralds – until they found they gave off a brilliant red glow in the light of the campfire before returning to their elegant teal shade in the morning.
Pearls are the oldest known gem and for many centuries were considered the most valuable. Unlike other gems, Pearls are an organic matter derived from a living creature – oysters and molluscs. Sometimes called the “teardrops of the moon”, Pearls are thought to symbolise innocence and purity.
July’s Birthstone – Ruby
Know as the “queen of stones”, Rubies are often considered the most magnificent of gems. At one time more valuable than diamonds, Rubies represent passion, protection and prosperity. Rubies are believed to stimulate your base chakra, increasing vitality and promoting a clear mind.
August’s Birthstone – Peridot
Created from fire and light, Peridot is one of only two gems formed in molten rock in the upper mantle of the earth rather than in the earth’s crust (diamonds are the other). Peridots have been prized since early civilisation for their protective powers and are believed to be a talisman for abundance in all areas of life including wealth, health, happiness and love.
September’s Birthstone – Sapphire
Sapphires are also known as the stone of wisdom. Their pure blue ray is thought to bring order and healing to the mind, encouraging strength and focus. Blue sapphires range in colour from very pale to deep royal blue or indigo – the most desired colour is deep cornflower blue, also called Kashmir or bleu de roi. Black, green, orange, pink, violet, white and yellow sapphires are also found.
October’s Birthstone – Tourmaline
Tourmalines are associated with protection and are believed to dispel negative energy, helping to resolve internal conflict and so create positive energy. Some believe they help guard against environmental pollutants. Tourmalines are often very dark or black in colour but also come in dark yellow, red, dark pink, light blue, blue green, green or colourless.
November’s Birthstone – Yellow Topaz
Derived from ancient Sanskrit, the name Topaz means “fire”. This sparkling golden jewel is believed to instill faith and help you achieve your full potential. Yellow Topaz is also thought to emit an energy that attracts helpful people and brings new friendships.
December’s Birthstone – Tanzanite
Known as the “stone of magic”, Tanzanite is believed to promote spiritual awareness and insight. It is sometimes referred to as the “workaholic’s stone” because it is said to help you slow down and take things easy. Discovered in Tanzania in 1967, it has a remarkable trichroism, which means it appears blue, violet or burgundy depending on its orientation.
My Ball & Chain Birthstone Pendants started off as a commission. A customer liked the shape of my Snowball Tassel Necklace but wanted something stronger and bigger. The finished design, with the significance of the birthstone glinting underneath, has proved very popular. You can take a look at my birthstone collection here. I’ve also put together a quick guide to commissioning a unique piece of jewellery here or do get in touch or stop by if you have an idea that you’d like to talk through.