Birthstones: Not Just for Birthdays

Birthstones sell and promoting them year round can benefit your bottom line. Not just for birthdays, birthstones personalize jewelry gifts for all occasions from the birth of a child and Mother’s Day to graduations, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. Often the first taste of personalization, birthstones resonate with customers who want special pieces signature to them.

While notions of birthstones as powerful charms were born in ancient India and Babylonia, today’s birthstone list originated in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers and expanded with many gem alternatives—the most recent addition is tanzanite for December. Moreover, the color range within a gem family like garnet, diamond, pearl, sapphire, opal, and tourmaline increases possibilities.

Conversation starters and storytellers, birthstones open doors in gem sales. Beyond their significance as birth-month markers, particular stones symbolize character traits and for nearly 5,000 years have been thought to possess magical, healing powers.

“The great thing about gems is that customers will buy them for many personal reasons,” says Kate Peterson, president of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland, who encourages thinking beyond birthstones. “The energy, power and mysticism associated with a color or mineral; reminders of people, places or times; or just because ‘I like that color’ are key purchasing drivers.” She advocates big opportunities for jewelers willing to commit to the category, noting that color sells well in stores where the staff has a passion for it!

January- Garnet comes in practically every color except blue; regarded as the gem of commitment and truth, fostering success, self-esteem and creativity.

February- Amethyst comes in many shades from lilac to purple; symbolizing sincerity and spiritual love it wards off negativity, quickens intelligence and advances luck.

March- Aquamarine is the blue variety of beryl, sister to emerald, ranging from soft blue-green to deep blue; believed to reawaken love, kindle friendship and lift spirits.

April- Diamond, while known for its white light, is also found in black, gray, brown, yellow, pink, blue, purple, green, and red colors; signifying love and character.

May- Emerald, green variety of beryl, symbolizes hope and loyalty, a gem of love and self-expression believed to protect relationships and inspire success.

June- Pearl, an organic gem cultured in a saltwater oyster or freshwater mollusk, comes in many colors and varieties; thought to inspire love and inner strength. Moonstone is a transparent frosted white gem with a silvery or soft blue sheen, but also occurs in peach, gray and green colors—a good luck gem for lovers.

July- Ruby, sister to sapphire, varies in shade from purplish and bluish red to orangey red in medium to dark hues, symbolizing bravery, determination and passion.

August- Peridot, a transparent to translucent volcanic gem, ranges from yellowish green to deep olive; signifying insight and honesty, fostering love and happiness.

September- Sapphire, sister to ruby, comes in many colors including blue, purple, violet, pink, peach, orange, yellow, and green; symbolizing truth, peace and prosperity.

October- Opal, semi-transparent to opaque, includes in its color a spectrum of shades; and signifies hope, good fortune, and inner strength. Tourmaline, possessing an array of colors of all known gems, appears in virtually every color; is a gem of enlightenment, compassion, and reconciliation.

November- Citrine, sister to amethyst, comes in shades from soft yellow to rich honey to smoky brown. Signifying fidelity and joy, calm optimism. Topaz comes in a variety of colors orange, peach, pink, champagne, golden, warm brown, yellows, and greens; symbolizing love,affection, and commitment.

December- Zircon comes in several shades including yellow, orange, mocha, green, blue, and red; symbolizing prosperity, honor wisdom, clarity, and spiritual growth. Turquoise is an opaque light to dark blue or blue-green gem, which may contain web-like patterns of other materials—a gem of good karma and virtue. Tanzanite, found only in Tanzania in violet blue to purple tones is ultimate childbirth gift, symbolic of native Maasai wearing blue for happy, healthy new life.