Fine Jewelry

The Alternative Guide To Birthstones

Clockwise from top left: bracelet, Messika; ring, Pascale Monvoisin; flower earrings, Casa Castro; galaxy earrings, Andrea Fohrman

Not enamored with the traditional gemstone attributed to your birth month? Discover the alternative jewels that hold potent meaning and symbolism in different cultural calendars

January, rose quartz

Garnets, the traditional gemstone for those born in January, are striking stones drenched in a punchy, blood-red, fiery hue. If you’re averse to bold color, though, consider rose quartz instead. This delicate pale-pink stone is believed to emanate healing properties, manifest love and romance, and clear the mind – a positive talisman to start the new year with.

February, onyx

Amethyst is the widely accepted birthstone for February, but those who aren’t keen on purple gemstones might prefer the inky-black gloss of an onyx jewel. Believed to radiate protective energy, onyx is commonly used in the Middle East as a worry stone, and championed for soaking up anxiety and stress.

March, jade

A tranquil, traditionally green gem, jade is an alternative birthstone to aquamarine for those born in March. Some believe that it bestows good luck and friendship, and it is often associated with the heart chakra. Those who prefer jade’s blue hue may appreciate Casa Castro’s carved floral earrings, crafted from glossy dumortierite and ice-blue jade.

April, opal

April-born jewel fans seeking an alternative to their classic diamond birthstone should look to the kaleidoscopic hues of opals, attributed by the Tibetan mystical birthstone calendar. Maria Tash’s discreet hoops feature opals complemented by delicate pavé diamonds for a double dose of symbolism.

Clockwise from top right: drop earrings, Mateo; single hoop earring, Maria Tash; single drop earring, Sophie Bille Brahe

May, agate

This month is believed to have as many as six birthstones (emerald being the most traditional), but, according to the Ayurvedic Hindu calendar, agate remains one of the most exclusive. Also good: agate is offered in a variety of colors, including this ethereal white and grey palette selected by Pascale Monvoisin for her ‘Gaia’ ring.

June, moonstone

Assigned to the month of June as an alternative to pearls or alexandrite, moonstone has long been considered mystical. Its ghostly silvered hues are peaceful and delicate, hinting at its touted calming qualities and promotion of inner balance.

Rings, clockwise from top left: Larkspur & Hawk, Emily P. Wheeler, Pascale Monvoisin

July, carnelian

Those looking for a different option to rich, red rubies will find an equally vivid alternative in carnelian – considered a talisman for love and passion. Sydney Evan’s carnelian-bead bracelet delivers a diamond-studded rondelle design that’s crafted in 14-karat gold and would look ideal as part of a vibrant stack.

August, spinel

Larkspur & Hawk’s ‘Illustrated’ ring hosts a selection of spinels – a stone believed to encourage passion, devotion and longevity. Spinels come in myriad shades, offering a wide variety of choice for those who aren’t keen on the more traditional version of peridot.

September, lapis lazuli

A striking semiprecious gem, lapis lazuli boasts a remarkable royal-blue tone that features natural flecks of gold and taupe. Compared to its polished September counterpart, the sapphire, lapis lazuli has a more organic feel and is believed to bring both protection and wisdom.

October, tourmaline

Pippa Small’s pink tourmaline earrings are an eye-catching substitute to opal, which has a somewhat conflicted history (opals were thought to be the amalgamation of all beautiful gemstones by the Romans, but were later suspected to bring bad luck). It is said that tourmaline, however, can be worn to amplify confidence and diminish fear.

November, pearl

A modern composition of pearls, Sophie Bille Brahe’s ‘Ocean’ earrings are set to look like frothy waves – a neutral and subtle alternative to the bold-yellow gemstone more commonly assigned to November: citrine. While citrine is thought to represent prosperity, pearls are cherished for their delicate luster and are sometimes referred to as ‘the stone of sincerity’.

December, turquoise

Tanzanite might be the best-known gemstone for those born in December, but turquoise is a dazzling option that’s believed to align the chakras, bringing tranquillity, protection, good fortune and hope.