So, it is that time of year again, and the birthday date looms in front of you. What do you buy? Enough with the candles and the scarves, enough flowers and chocolates – how about a beautiful piece of birthstone jewellery?
Each month is linked with a particular sparkling gemstone, and you can choose whether you want to follow the traditional or more modern stones list. So, what is so special about birthstone jewellery? Whether you are Pisces or Taurus, wearing a piece of jewellery with your birthstone in, can bring the wearer luck and protection. It makes the perfect gift for loved ones and family because it shows thought and love and is a gift which lasts for ever. So where did birthstones originate?
The Origin of Birthstones
Birthstones are an old and wonderful tradition, which span hundreds of years and each birthstone possesses unique properties and is thought by some to have specific powers.
The origin of birthstones can be traced back to the Breastplate of Aaron, as described in the Book of Exodus in the Bible. The Breastplate is designed with 12 unique gemstones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel. It was a religious garment with specific symbolism and although birthstones have religious origins, today the stones are associated with birth months.
Scholar Flavius Josephus from first century A.D. and St. Jerome from fifth century A.D. first made the connection between the 12 stones in the Breastplate of Aaron and the 12 zodiac signs. However, it was not until the 18th century that gemstones began to be linked to birth months. This tradition is believed to have begun in Poland between the 16th and 18th centuries.
In 1912, the National Association of Jewellers defined the ‘modern’ list of American birthstones and each month that they represented. This list combined various customs that had evolved over time while also ensuring the stones they chose were commercial enough for American jewellers to sell in large quantities. Over the years other gemstones have been added, including alexandrite to June and citrine to November in 1952.
Today, there are three separate lists of birthstones for each month: ancient, traditional, and modern. Gemstones on the “ancient” list have been used for thousands of years and some of the names for the stones have changed over the years too. Stones on the “traditional” list have been available for use for the past 500 years and the “modern” list of birthstones includes gems that have only been widely available for the past 100 or so years. Many of the lists include the same gemstones for some months such as diamonds for April.
You can choose between the lists depending on your taste and what you are looking for – but whether you are choosing because of the gemstone, the colour, or the healing powers the stone is believed to have, there is definitely a stone for you, and it is a wonderful way to express your own individuality.
If you feel like spoiling someone special on their birthday, have a look at our list and match your month to a gemstone. Cavendish French has a beautiful collection of hand-crafted silver jewellery set with natural semi-precious stones, shell and pearl. We also have a fabulous collection of silver jewellery micro-set (just like fine diamond jewellery) with AAA* quality cubic zirconia to replicate sparkling diamonds and other fine gemstones but without replicating the price tag.
January Birthstone - Garnet
Garnet is mined in a rainbow of colours. From the fiery orange of Mandarin Garnet to the rich green of Tsavorite Garnet and to the most widely recognized purple red colour of Pyrope Garnet, it is considered a great gift to symbolize friendship and trust.
Although we don’t have garnets in our collection, the beautiful colours of our cubic zirconia jewellery would be a perfect gift.
February Birthstone - Amethyst
If you were born in February, your birthstone is amethyst – the purple variety of quartz that has captivated people over many centuries. Because purple was a rare colour to produce in nature, it was often associated with royalty, and it was against the law in England for any commoner to wear amethyst jewellery. I am glad that law has changed! Its lilac to deep purple hues can be cut into many shapes and sizes, bringing out the true beauty of the stone. They look perfect set in sterling silver jewellery and we have designs both with natural amethyst and amethyst cubic zirconia. Why not take a look at our Deco Style Silver Earrings – a lovey birthday gift for someone who loves the vintage look or maybe our Timeless Elegance Earrings are more the classic style you are looking for in your gift.
It is believed to be a stone of spiritual protection and is linked to qualities of peace, courage and stability.
March Birthstone - Aquamarine
Aquamarine, the birthstone of March, has a wonderful colour and has long been a symbol of youth, health and hope. It is also associated with courage, loyalty, devotion, and friendship.
Aquamarine's name comes from the Latin for seawater, and ancient mariners claimed the gem would calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. Its mesmerizing colour ranges from pale to deep blue and are reminiscent of the sea and is the perfect colour for spring and summer wardrobes.
A wonderful gift for a best friend or loved one, our aquamarine cubic zirconia jewellery is the most beautiful fresh colour – I love our new Sparkling Solitaire Ring or maybe a delicate little square aquamarine cubic zirconia pendant which would be a great jewellery gift for teenagers.
April birthstone - April
So, Aprils' birthstone is the diamond and as we all know, every woman loves diamonds. They symbolize peace, purity and honesty and when set in an engagement ring, they become a symbol of love and loyalty.
Diamond jewellery is the eternal favourite and quite simply never go out of style, you dress them up, dress them down, they really are the perfect complement to everything. But diamonds are expensive and not everybody has a budget that can stretch that far.
We have created a wonderful collection of handmade cubic zirconia and silver jewellery which offers wonderful sparkling replicas of fine designer diamond jewellery without the price tag. Cubic zirconia is a manmade, virtually flawless diamond substitute which was first developed in the 1970’s. Our jewellery is designed in 925 sterling silver which is then rhodium plated to prevent scratches and tarnishing.
May Birthstone - Emerald
As the birthstone for May, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to give the owner foresight, good fortune and youth.
Emerald is derived from the word “smaragdus,” which means “green” in Greek. This mesmerizing stone's rich green colour is unmistakable, renowned as a colour of spring it is the perfect gemstone to celebrate May birthdays.
Our wonderful emerald cubic zirconia jewellery collection would make the perfect alternative to real emeralds. Set in sterling silver, these AAA* quality stones are almost identical to fine emerald jewellery. Our new Emerald Cubic Zirconia Beauty Earrings have been a really popular and we have a lovely fine band ring set with clear and emerald colour stones.
June Birthstone – Peal and Alexandrite
If you were born in the month of June, you are lucky enough to have three birthstones to call your own. June is one of only three months (the others are August and December) that has three birthstones, giving you a variety of beautiful birthstone choices.
The traditional stone is pearl, extremely popular over the centuries not only because of its natural beauty but also its link to powerful women from Cleopatra to Marilyn Monroe to The Queen, it is definitely the go-to gem for powerful women. With exquisite white lustre, it creates a look that is simple, elegant and appropriate for any occasion. It is a symbol of perfection, long life and fertility.
Natural pearls are now very rare and expensive, so many people choose cultured pearls instead.
Our range of silver jewellery set with freshwater pearls makes a perfect alternative and looks just as beautiful. Nothing is better than a simple pair of freshwater pearl stud earrings which we have available in a number of sizes but if you want a little bit more – our Nested Pearl Necklace with matching earrings, bracelet and ring would make a wonderful and very special jewellery gift.
Alexandrite is the modern birthstone choice for June and is known for displaying one of the most remarkable colour changes in the gem world — green in sunlight and red in soft evening light. “Emerald by day, ruby by night,”
The green colours of Alexandrite represent growth, peace, calm and fertility, whereas the red colours represent the opposite characteristics such as energy, power, passion and aggression, so it makes sense that Alexandrite is often symbolic for conflicting emotions such as love and anger.
This modern June birthstone is so rare and expensive few people have even seen a natural alexandrite. Our alexandrite colour cubic zirconia also changes in the light and is a perfect affordable alternative. Take a look at our little teardrop earrings which make thoughtful and beautiful birthday gift.
July Birthstone - Ruby
Rubies, the birthstone of July, are considered the king of gems and represent love, health and wisdom. It was believed wearing a fine red Ruby brought good fortune on its owner and it is also known as the stone of courage.
The value of the ruby increases based on its colour and quality. And they have been valued by cultures around the world for many centuries.
Rubies today symbolise love and enchantment. In The Wizard of Oz, we all remember how Dorothy’s magical ruby slippers transported her back home to Kansas. And they look just beautiful set in silver or gold jewellery – the rich colour reminds us of love and romance, making it the perfect jewellery gift choice. Our Ruby Band Ring looks great worn alone or stacked with other cubic zirconia rings.
August Birthstone - Peridot
August's birthstone, the peridot, is a light green, ancient, cosmic birthstone that has been found in hardened volcanic lava in Hawaii—and in meteorites that have fallen to Earth. The Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the Sun” and believed it had special healing powers.
Through history, people have regarded peridot as a symbol of vitality, strength and new growth bringing peace and health to the wearer. Some also say that peridot has special powers. For instance, if you wear it as your birthstone, legend says it can attract love and happy relationships in your life.
Our peridot cubic zirconia jewellery set of pendant, earrings and ring with a Rennie Mackintosh design make the perfect alternative to real peridot.
September Birthstone - Sapphire
Sapphire, the birthstone of September, is most desired in its pure, rich blue colour but is surprisingly available in almost every colour from pink to yellow and green. In the Middle Ages the gem was believed to protect those close to us from harm and also represented loyalty and trust.
Like amethysts, sapphire is often associated with royalty (Princess Diana and Kate Middleton) and since olden times, sapphires have been believed to protect royal families from harm, envy and bad spirits. Blue sapphires were even thought to be an antidote for poison.
We love the colour of our rich blue sapphire cubic zirconia and have some wonderful vintage designs which look almost identical to antique sapphire jewellery. Some of my favourites are our intricate Belle Epoque Style Necklace and Sapphire Blue Beauty Earrings.
October Birthstone - Opalique
Opalique is made by binding together small shards of real Opal with resin and has all the beautiful opal-like colours and markings in the stones. The beautiful rich colour is just wonderful and changes as it catches the light.
Our range of opalique jewellery is a wonderful blue colour which changes as it catches the light. Perfect jewellery for sunny summer days and holidays by the sea – our simple stud earrings are perfect to wear every day and available in a number of shapes.
November Birthstone – Citrine and Topaz
Those with November birthdays have two beautiful birthstones to choose from: topaz and citrine. Topaz comes in a rainbow of colours and citrine is prized for its beautiful yellow and orange hues. Both November birthstones are known to have calming energies while bringing fortune and warmth to the wearer.
The name citrine comes from the French word citron, meaning lemon and is said to impart joy, wonder, delight and enthusiasm. The colour really does make you feel all those things. One of my favourite designs of all time (and yours too, as it is one of our best sellers) is our Bold Vintage Style Ring which also has matching silver earrings and necklace. We now also have this design with aquamarine cubic zirconia for those with March birthdays. If you are looking for a birthday gift for a teenage or flower enthusiast, our little Flower Necklace is perfect.
December Birthstone – Tanzanite and Turquoise
Tanzanite is a magnificent gemstone and a thousand times rarer than diamond – so those with December birthdays are truly fortunate although, having said that, not many people can afford to buy real tanzanite! Tanzanite is the exquisite blue-purple variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world - Tanzania.
We have a range of tanzanite blue cubic zirconia jewellery which looks just wonderful. The deep rich blue colour really stands out against the silver settings. Whether you choose simple stud earrings or maybe our more ornate Delicate Deco Earrings, we know you will love the colour.
Turquoise is also a birthstone for December and has been admired over the centuries for its distinct colour, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish egg shell blue.
Turquoise is the symbol of friendship and is thought to bring peace to the home and good fortune to the owner. What could make a better gift for a special friend or loved one than a piece of turquoise and silver jewellery?