sapphire - alternative birthstones
sapphire - alternative birthstones

Alternative Birthstones


Not happy with your birthstone? Explore these alternative birthstones associated with astrological signs, angels, the hour or day of your birth, and more.

2 Minute Read

Wearing your birthstone supposedly brings you luck. But what if you don't particularly like the gemstone associated with your birth month? For those looking for alternative birthstones, options exist beyond the modern and traditional lists of gems.
sapphire - alternative birthstones
Sapphire comes in many different colors, not just classic blue, as this set of 17 oval-cut sapphires demonstrates. It's not just the September birthstone, either. If you're a Taurus or named Paul, or if you were born in the 10 AM hour or on Thursday, you could make sapphire one of your alternative birthstones. 7.78 ctw, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Choose stones associated with zodiacal signs or months symbolic of angels. You can even forgo your birth month and pick a gem associated with the day of the week or hour of your birth.

birthday pendant - alternative birthstones
Birthstones make popular personalized jewelry choices. For example, this pendant features the birthstones of family members. "Mother's pendant…," photo by gemteck1. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Alternative Birthstones Based on the Signs of the Zodiac

Zodiac SignGem
Aquarius (January 21 - February 18)Garnet
Pisces (February 19 - March 20)Amethyst
Aries (March 21 - April 20)Bloodstone
Taurus (April 21 - May 20)Sapphire
Gemini (May 21 - June 21)Agate
Cancer (June 22 - July 22)Emerald
Leo (July 23 - August 23)Onyx
Virgo (August 24 - September 22)Carnelian
Libra (September 23 - October 23)Chrysolite
Scorpio (October 24 - November 22)Beryl
Sagittarius (November 23 - December 22)Topaz
Capricorn (December 23 - January 20)Ruby

Note: the dates for the zodiac signs are tropical dates.

In the 19th century, the term chrysolite referred to yellow-green chrysoberyl as well as peridot and prehnite gems. However, that name is no longer used. (Chrysoberyl, peridot, and prehnite are all distinct gem species).

peridot
This peridot, cut from a pallasite meteorite found in Indonesia, features some needle-like inclusions — crystals trapped within the gem — that have an iridescent flash. Portuguese oval-cut, 0.29 cts, 4.7 x 3.6 mm. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Alternative Birthstones Associated with Guardian Angels

MonthGemGuardian Angel
JanuaryOnyxGabriel
FebruaryJasperBarchiel
MarchRubyMalchediel
AprilTopazAsmodel
MayCarbuncleAmbriel
JuneEmeraldMuriel
JulySapphireHerchel
AugustDiamondHumatiel
SeptemberJacinthZuriel
OctoberAgateBarbiel
NovemberAmethystAdnachiel
DecemberBerylHumiel

The ancient term carbuncle refers to any red gem. Historically, stones referred to as carbuncles were likely red garnets. Jacinth was likely either a transparent, reddish brown zircon or hessonite garnet, although the term sometimes referred to blue stones, too.

spessartite garnet - alternative birthstones
Spessartite garnet, 13.49 cts, cut by AGTA Spectrum Award-Winner Mark Kaufman. Jos, Nigeria. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Alternative Birthstones Based on the Names of the Apostles

If you share a name with one of the twelve apostles, this list may interest you. During the Middle Ages, many scholars associated each apostle with a gemstone. (Judas was replaced by Paul, who wasn't one of the original twelve). Not surprisingly, different writers made different connections. Below, you'll find one such list. Note, these choices have no connection to date or time of birth.

ApostleGem
PeterJasper
AndrewGarnet
JohnEmerald
PhilipCarnelian
BartholomewChrysolite
ThomasBeryl
MatthewTopaz
JamesSardonyx
ThaddeusChrysoprase
SimeonJacinth
James (the Younger)Amethyst
PaulSapphire

Sardonyx is a variety of chalcedony with red and white layers.

sardonyx key - alternative birthstones
Clock or watch key with bezel-set sardonyx cabochon. Image courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Brunk Auctions.

Alternative Birthstones Based on Birth Hour

1 AMSmoky Quartz1 PMZircon
2Hematite2Emerald
3Malachite3Beryl
4Lapis lazuli4Topaz
5Turquoise5Ruby
6Tourmaline6Opal
7Chrysolite7Sardonyx
8Amethyst8Chalcedony
9Kunzite9Jade
10Sapphire10Jasper
11Garnet11Lodestone
12Diamond12Onyx
lapis lazuli - alternative birthstones
A bracelet made from lapis lazuli beads. Jewelry and photo by Deomar Pandan, KamayoJewelry.com. Licensed under CC By-SA 4.0.

Alternative Birthstones Based on the Day of the Week of Birth

In this system, each day of the week offers at least two choices.

BirthstoneDay of the WeekPhenomenal Birthstone
TopazSundaySunstone
Pearl, Rock CrystalMondayMoonstone
Ruby, EmeraldTuesdayStar Sapphire
Amethyst, LodestoneWednesdayStar Ruby
Sapphire, CarnelianThursdayCat's eye
Emerald, Cat's eyeFridayAlexandrite
Turquoise, DiamondSaturdayLabradorite

Rock crystal is colorless quartz.

Cat's eye ring
14k yellow gold cat's eye men's ring with pavé set diamonds. Cabochon-cut chrysoberyl, 8.78 cts. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Golden State Auction Gallery, Inc.

Birthstones Based on Seasons

Perfect for those who really want to pick from the "Big Four" gemstones.

SeasonBirthstone
SpringEmerald
SummerRuby
AutumnSapphire
WinterDiamond
emerald
Round brilliant emerald, 6.20 cts, 1.2 x 1.1 x 0.8 cm, near Kenticha, Oromia, Ethiopia. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Birthstone Advice

Feeling overwhelmed by the options? Maybe this makes it easier to understand why superstitious attachments to gems gave way to a more scientific approach. You could just appreciate gemstones for their physical and optical properties or simply their beauty. Try this birthstone gemology quiz.

However, many people still feel a strong mystical connection to gems. If you do, surely in the lists above you can find a birthstone that corresponds to you and feels right. You and your choice will likely withstand this happy little arena of birthstone madness.

museum display - birthstone gems
Birthstones on display at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada. Photo by Bryce Edwards. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Dr. Gerald Wykoff GG CSM

Dr. Gerald Wykoff is GG (Graduate Gemologist), a CSM (Certified Supreme Master gemcutter), educator, and author of several gemology books. He founded the American Society of Gemcutters in the 1980s and served for more than 10 years as the editor of its monthly magazine, American Gemcutter.

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