The gemstone for January is garnet; for February, amethyst; for March, aquamarine; for April, diamond; for May, emerald; for June, pearl and Alexandrite; for July, ruby; for August, peridot; for September, sapphire; for October, opal and tourmaline; for November, topaz and citrine; and for December, tanzanite, zircon and turquoise. A birthstone is a gem linked to a particular month of the year.
Birthstones are gems representing a certain month in the year, each also carrying a certain meaning that has evolved over time. Sometimes people use their birthstones as the preferred gemstone for jewelry that they wear. Each month could have more than one birthstone attached to it, with different countries having different ideas of what gems are birthstones.
Modern birthstone lists differ quite widely from the original lists. Birthstones once held religious meaning in the Western hemisphere, and the Hindu text Mani Mala lists a similar set of gems with key differences associated with Eastern gemstones. One Hindu birthstone is a golden siva-linga, or lingam, which is associated with Hindu culture and religion.
The original Western association with the Foundation Stones of Christianity has since been lost, with some of the original stones changed. Some scholars who comment on the subject believe that the modern lists are a product of salesmanship, meant to sell gemstones as opposed to ascribe any meaning to them.
The origin of birthstones comes from the first century Jewish historian Josephus, who believed there to be a significance in the relation between the twelve gemstones of Aaron's breastplate and the 12 months of the year. Garnet is associated with friendship. Amethyst is associated with peace of mind and tranquility. Aquamarine is associated with a cool temper. Diamond is associated with the natural and exotic. Emerald is associated with good fortune. Additionally, pearl is associated with the sea and natural beauty, while ruby is associated with good health. Peridot is associated with protection from nightmares. Sapphire is associated with the heavens and heavenly blessings. Opal is associated with radiance. Topaz is associated with love, and zircon is associated with the ability to alleviate pain. In 1912, the National Association of Jewelers organized a standardization of the gemstones and their corresponding months, which is the source of the United States' modern list of birthstones.