Choosing your Birthstone: Colors and Meanings

Choosing a ring (or any other piece of jewelry) based on your own birthstone – or your loved one’s birthstone – can show that you have put that extra bit of thought into finding something that is special and personal to them.

Most people choose their birthstone from consulting the Modern List of Birthstones for each month or from the Zodiac Sign Gemstones Chart. We show below the birthstones for these together with some information about the colors to be found for each gemstone. 

However, as well as the Modern list of birthstones, there are also many ancient and cultural birthstone charts. Some of these birthstone charts coincide with the zodiac sign gemstones; others are totally different.  To see some of the further options for birthstones from ancient sources see our Birthstone Chart.

Care should be taken when you are buying your birthstone ring to ensure that the gemstone is 

  1. The best quality for its price; and 
  2. That it will be robust enough for its daily use.

With this in mind, we have provided information on what to look out for when purchasing your special ring. All of this can be found in the various sections below.

We hope you enjoy looking at the information about the birthstones by month and the gemstones for each Zodiac Sign: 

Birthstones by month – birthstones for each month, with birthstone colors:

January Birthstone

The Modern Gemstone for January is the Garnet – Birthstone Colors:  Pink, Purple, Red, Orange, Brown

Capricorn: is the main astrological sign for January (22nd December – 19th January)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Capricorn is the Ruby – Birthstone Colors: Bright red to rich carmine red

February Birthstone 

The Gemstone for February is the Amethyst – Birthstone Colors: Violet and Deep Purple

Aquarius: is the main astrological sign for February (20th January – 18th February)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Aquarius is the Garnet - (yes, I know it’s the same as the month gemstone for January, it’s typical of what happens when you start comparing different cultural charts.  You’ll find a similar situation with some of the other months.  Don’t worry, there really doesn’t need to be a right or wrong way – just go with whichever birthstone feels right to you. )

March Birthstone

The Modern Gemstone for March is the Aquamarine – Birthstone Colors: light blues and blue greens

Pisces: is the main astrological sign during March (19th February – 20th March)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Pisces is the Amethyst – Birthstone Colors:  Violet and Deep Purple

April Birthstone

The Modern Gemstone for April is the Bloodstone – Birthstone Colors: dark green with red splashes of Red Jasper

Aries:  is the main astrological sign during April (21st March – 19th April)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Aries is the Diamond – Birthstone Color: Traditionally Colorless but current trends have popularised Yellow, Champagne, Chocolate and Black Diamonds.  

May Birthstone

The Modern Gemstone for May is the Emerald – Birthstone Colors: Light green to deep green with hues varying from yellow greens, blue-greens and jade greens.   

Taurus: is the main astrological sign during May (20th April-20th May)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Taurus in the Sapphire – Birthstone Colors: The most popular colors are White Sapphire (as a less expensive alternative to diamond) and the rich blue sapphire (as seen in the famous Princess Diana/Kate Middleton engagement ring_.  Pink sapphires are also becoming increasingly popular. 

June Birthstone

The Modern Gemstones for June are: 

Moonstone  - Birthstone Colors: milky whites and blues, silver greys, pinks, peach, orange and silvery rainbow 

Pearl - Colors: white, cream, peach, pink, silver, gold grey and blue

Gemini: is the main astrological sign during June (21st May – 20th June)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Gemini is the  Agate  – Birthstone Colors: almost every color depending upon the minerals embedded in them.

July Birthstone

The Modern Gemstone for July is the Ruby – Birthstone colors: Bright red to deep carmine red

Cancer: is the main astrological sign during July (21st June – 22nd July

The Zodiac Gemstone for Cancer is the  Emerald   – Birthstone Colors: Various green hues as indicated in May above.

August Birthstone

The Modern Gemstone for August is: Peridot – Birthstone Colors:  Pale green and olive green

Leo: is the main astrological sign during August (23rd July – 22nd August)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Leo is the Onyx – Birthstone Colors: Black, black and white and brown and white.

September Birthstone

The Modern Gemstones for September are:   

Sapphire – Birthstone Colors: White, Rich Blue and Pink as outlined in May above.  Rings with sapphires in other colors such as yellow can occasionally be found.  

Lapis Lazuli – Birthstone Color: Deep blue with gold

Virgo:   is the main astrological sign during September (23rd August – 22nd September)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Virgo is the Carnelian – Birthstone Colors: Red, Orange-Red and Brown

October Birthstone 

The Modern Gemstones for October are:  

Opal  – Birthstone Colors:  milky white, creamy yellow, pink, blue and purple iridescent hues.  Other types of Opals include the Fire Opal and the Black Opal.   

Fire Opal – Colors in yellow, orange and red 

Black Opal: dark grey and dark blue to black

Tourmaline – Birthstone Colors: Mostly featured in jewelry with green or pink gemstones – although tourmalines can be found in blue, yellow, red, violet and other colors.

Libra: is the main astrological sign during October (23rd September-22nd October)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Libra is the Peridot – Birthstone Colors: pale green and olive green

November Birthstone

The Modern Gemstones for November are:    

Imperial Topaz - Colors: Yellow, orange and brown.  However, since these birthstones are extremely rare and expensive you may wish to consider the less expensive Blue Topaz or the alternative yellow gemstone, Citrine

Citrine – Birthstone Colors: Pale yellow to deep orange-yellow and golden hues

Scorpio: is the main astrological sign during November (23rd October – 21st November)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Scorpio is the Beryl – comprise many different gemstones and colors,  These include: emeralds, aquamarines, golden beryls, morganite (pink) and many other gems.

December Birthstone

The Modern Gemstones for December are:    

Blue Topaz  - Birthstone Colors: Various blue hues of sky blue, greenish blue and electric blues   

Turquoise – Birthstone Colors: Sky blue, turquoise and greenish blues – with flecks of gold 

Tanzanite – Birthstone Colors: Deep blues and purple hues

Sagittarius: is the main astrological sign during December (22nd November – 21st December)

The Zodiac Gemstone for Sagittarius is the Blue Topaz – Birthstone Colors: See above for the different blue hues for this gem.  

About Birthstone Colors 

Gemstone colors are graded according to their hue, tonal quality and saturation of color.  The hue is the type of color and the tonal quality is how light or dark they are.  Birthstones need good saturation to enable them to look vibrant otherwise they can look dull and lifeless regardless of how light or dark they are.    

Gemstones are also graded by the quality of their clarity and transparency.  Many gems have flaws or inclusions that can minimise the amount of light that reflects from the crystal structure of the stone. The better the clarity and transparency, the more light can bounce off the gemstone and enable its vibrancy of color to be displayed. 

When buying birthstone jewelry online, it is advisable to check the merchant’s product details for information on the gemstones clarity and overall quality rating to ensure that your ring is of a suitable standard for its price.       

Gemstone Durability

Another important aspect to take into account when buying a birthstone ring is the amount of daily wear and tear it is likely to have.  Not all gemstones are ideal for rings worn every day.  Some are better than others at withstanding the scratching and knocks that invariably occur with normal daily activities.  When selecting rings that will be worn regularly then styles that have been designed with durable gemstones are often the best option.  Alternatively, if your favorite birthstone is not very durable, then look for rings where the gem is featured less prominently or as accent stones enhancing a larger more robust gemstone.  

The Moh’s Scale of Hardness 

There are two main elements to a gem’s durability: First the stone’s ability to withstand surface scratching (measured by the Moh’s Scale of hardness) and the extent of cleavage the birthstone contains.  

When selecting a gemstone ring that is to be worn daily it is advisable to select one with a stone that ranks high on the Moh’s scale.  The hardest and highest ranking gem on the Moh’s scale is the diamond (ranked no 10), with ruby and sapphire (ranked 9).  Birthstones with a hardness level of between 7.5 – 8 are still fairly robust for withstanding normal daily activities and these include Topaz, Aquamarine, Beryl and Emerald.

Gemstone Cleavage 

Even though a gemstone ranks high on the Moh’s scale for hardness this doesn’t mean that it cannot be damaged.  Many stones have cleavage planes within their structures that can split or shatter when subjected to a severe blow at a weak cleavage point.  There are four levels of cleavage: Perfect, Good, Indistinct and None. Gems with perfect cleavage produce a smooth surface along the cleavage plane when it is subjected to a sharp blow.  Jewelers use their knowledge of cleavage when cutting precious gemstones in their natural state. 

Gemstones with perfect cleavage include: Diamonds, Moonstones, Tanzanite and Topaz.  Gemstones with no cleavage include: Agate, Amethyst, Citrine, Opal, Ruby and Sapphires.  Depending upon the amount of cleavage a gemstone has it will break perfectly or imperfectly.  

Choosing Your Ring Setting

Selecting the best birthstone ring should therefore not simply be about the month, the zodiac sign or the color.  It is also important to think about the amount of daily wear and tear that the gemstone will need to withstand.  For example, diamonds may score high on the Moh’s scale and be resistant to scratching but their perfect cleavage can make them vulnerable to a severe blow.  

Therefore, if your choice of birthstone is one where the wearer’s daily activities may put the ring at risk of damage, then it is advisable to avoid designs where the gemstone is set high and exposed.  For vulnerable birthstones, look for styles where the gem is set low and protected by the ring’s metal.  Channel, V-prong and bezel settings are particular good for less durable gemstones where the ring is likely to be subjected to a high risk of knocks and blows. 

In order to help you select the most suitable gemstone for your ring we have created the following chart so that you can see how resistant or vulnerable your choice of birthstone may be to damage.