Education Center

Birthstones


Add ImageColored gemstones and Birthstones combine beauty with durability in spectacular – and often valuable - displays of color… They capture the imagination with their history and lore.  Of the countless varieties of colored gemstones, the traditional birthstones below are most popular.

Gemstone Durability is measured on the “Mohs Hardness scale” – which refers to a stone’s resistance to scratching.  (1 is least resistant and 10 is the most - the only gemstone on the hardness scale that is a 10 is diamond.)  However, a gem that has a high number on the hardness scale may still be delicate in nature. Toughness refers to a gemstone’s resistance to cracking and breaking.  For instance, emerald is fairly high on the hardness scale at 7 1/2-8, but it is not a tough stone – and needs to be treated and maintained with care.

Gemstones have long been considered precious collectibles, and have been worn throughout history to signify position and wealth. Many gemstones have also been associated with healing properties or other lore and legend. Modern birthstones did not exist until 1912, when the Jewelers of America developed a standardized list of birthstones for each month.

 

Visit the GIA Gemstone encyclopedia for more in-depth history and information on these and many other precious gemstones!

Visit the GIA Gemstone encyclopedia