Gemstone Information

Learn about gemstones, their history, lore and romance. If used in jewelry, learn about how to care for them.

Birthstones are a fun, popular and colorful introduction to the world of gemstones. They appeal to audiences around the world regardless of gender, age, nationality or religion. Birthstones carry secrets, attributes and lore that are unique to each gemstone. There are countless myths and legends around the many different powers and attributes that birthstones have. Whether or not you believe these legends, it’s hard to disagree that learning about birthstones can be an educational and entertaining experience. Discover what makes your birthstone a powerful statement of your finest qualities.

Alexandrite 

June Birthstone

 

Green in sunlight. Red in lamplight. Color-changing alexandrite is nature’s magic trick.
THE FACTS

It’s the color-change variety of the mineral, chrysoberyl. Bluish green in daylight, purplish red under incandescent light; hard and durable. Top quality examples are rare and valuable.


Amethyst

February Birthstone

The essence of the color purple, amethyst is beautiful enough for crown jewels yet affordable enough for class rings.

THE FACTS

Purple variety of the mineral quartz, often forms large, six-sided crystals. Fine velvety-colored gems come from African and South American mines. In demand for jewelry at all price points.

Ametrine

This transparent quartz has colors of both amethyst and citrine, and is called ametrine or amethyst-citrine.

THE FACTS

Ametrine, one of the rarest types of transparent quartz, combines two colors: amethyst’s purple and citrine’s orange-to-yellow, growing together in a single crystal.

Aquamarine

March Birthstone

Named after seawater, aquamarine’s fresh watery hue is a cool plunge into a refreshing pool.

THE FACTS

Blue to slightly greenish-blue variety of the mineral beryl. Crystals are sometimes big enough to cut fashioned gems of more than 100 carats. Well-formed crystals might make superb mineral specimens.

Citrine

November Birthstone

Citrine is the transparent, pale yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz.

THE FACTS

Citrine’s color comes from traces of iron. It’s perhaps the most popular and frequently purchased yellow gemstone and an attractive alternative for topaz as well as for yellow sapphire.

Diamond

April Birthstone

Diamonds are among nature’s most precious and beautiful creations.

THE FACTS

This hardest gem of all is made of just one element: carbon. It’s valued for its colorless nature and purity. Most diamonds are primeval—over a billion years old—and form deep within the earth.

Dazzling brilliance. Captivating color. The planet’s most valued gems are fancy color diamonds. Fine color diamonds are the most rare and costly of all gemstones. Their ranks include the world’s most famous jewel—the Hope—and the most expensive gem ever auctioned—The Graff Pink.

Emerald 

May Birthstone

Emerald is the bluish green to green variety of beryl, a mineral species that includes aquamarine.

THE FACTS

The most valued variety of beryl, emerald was once cherished by Spanish conquistadors, Inca kings, Moguls, and pharaohs. Today, fine gems come from Africa, South America, and Central Asia.

Garnet

January Birthstone

Garnets are a set of closely related minerals forming a group, with gemstones in almost every color.

THE FACTS

The garnet group of related mineral species offers gems of every hue, including fiery red pyrope, vibrant orange spessartine, and rare intense-green varieties of grossular and andradite.

Jade

Jade is actually two separate gems: nephrite and jadeite. In China, a pierced jade disk is a symbol of heaven.

THE FACTS

Prized by civilizations from ancient China to the Aztecs and Mayans of Central America, jade is crafted into objects of stunning artistry.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis is a beautiful rock; an aggregate of several minerals, mainly lazurite, calcite, and pyrite.

THE FACTS

Lapis lazuli is treasured for its beautiful deep blue color. Afghanistan is considered the source of the best-quality lapis.

Morganite

Morganite is the pink to orange-pink variety of beryl, a mineral that includes emerald and aquamarine.

THE FACTS

Like its cousins emerald and aquamarine, morganite is a variety of the beryl mineral species. This gem gets its subtle blush when a trace amount of manganese makes its way into morganite’s crystal structure.

Opal

October Birthstone

Fireworks. Jellyfish. Galaxies. Lightning. Opal’s shifting play of kaleidoscopic colors is unlike any other gem.

THE FACTS

Opal’s microscopic arrays of stacked silica spheres diffract light into a blaze of flashing colors. An opal’s color range and pattern help determine its value.

Pearl

June Birthstone

Perfect shining spheres. Lustrous baroque forms. Seductive strands, warm to the touch. Pearls are simply and purely organic.

THE FACTS

Produced in the bodies of marine and freshwater mollusks naturally or cultured by people with great care. Lustrous, smooth, subtly-colored pearls are jewelry staples, especially as strands.

Peridot

August Birthstone

Found in lava, meteorites, and deep in the earth’s mantle, yellow-green peridot is the extreme gem

THE FACTS

Yellow-green gem variety of the mineral olivine. Found as nodules in volcanic rock, occasionally as crystals lining veins in mountains of Myanmar and Pakistan, and occasionally inside meteorites.

Ruby

July Birthstone

Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species, which also includes sapphire.

THE FACTS

Traces of chromium give this red variety of the mineral corundum its rich color. Long valued by humans of many cultures. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby was called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.”

Sapphire

September Birthstone

The name “sapphire” can also apply to any corundum that’s not ruby, another corundum variety.

THE FACTS

Depending on their trace element content, sapphire varieties of the mineral corundum might be blue, yellow, green, orange, pink, purple or even show a six-rayed star if cut as a cabochon.

Spinel

The Black Prince’s Ruby. The Timur Ruby. For centuries, spinel, the great imposter, masqueraded as ruby in Europe’s crown jewels.

THE FACTS

Although frequently confused with ruby, spinel stands on its own merits. Available in a striking array of colors, its long history includes many famous large spinels still in existence.

Tanzanite

December Birthstone

Poised between lush blue, vibrant violet, and rich purple, exotic tanzanite is found in only one place on earth, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.

THE FACTS

Named for Tanzania, the country where it was discovered in 1967, tanzanite is the blue-to-violet or purple variety of the mineral zoisite. It’s become one of the most popular of colored gemstones.

Topaz

November Birthstone

Honey yellow. Fiery orange. Cyclamen pink. Icy blue. In warm or cool tones, topaz is a lustrous and brilliant gem.

THE FACTS

Colorless topaz treated to blue is a mass-market gem. Fine pink-to-red, purple, or orange gems are one-of-a-kind pieces. Top sources include Ouro Prêto, Brazil, and Russia's Ural Mountains.

Tourmaline

Tourmalines have a variety of exciting colors with one of the widest color ranges of any gem.

THE FACTS

Comes in many colors, including the remarkable intense violet-to-blue gems particular to Paraíba, Brazil, and similar blues from Africa. Favorite of mineral collectors

Zircon

Zircon is a colorful gem with high refraction and fire that’s unfairly confused with cubic zirconia.

THE FACTS

Optical properties make it bright and lustrous. Best known for its brilliant blue hues; also comes in warm autumnal yellows and reddish browns, as well as red and green hues