Starts With A Bang

What your birthstone means, according to science

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Geni, under a c.c.-by-s.a. 4.0 international license, of rings found in the Thetford Hoard at the British Museum.

“Nobility, without virtue, is a fine setting without a gem.” -Jane Porter

Since ancient times, gems were believed to bestow various traits and good fortunes upon those two whom they were gifted. In more recent times, we’ve associated gems with the time of the year someone was born, assigning each individual month a birthstone associated with it.

Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Yet scientifically, the individual gemstones themselves hold an impressive tale, with a variety of structures, stories and histories behind them all. What we think of as the magnificence or even the defining characteristic of some gems often arise from impurities, and one of the most coveted stones of all isn’t even a mineral!

Image credit: gemstone (L) by wikimedia commons user CRPeters under a cca-sa-3.0; periodic table by Wikimedia Commons user LeVanHan, annotated by E. Siegel.

Go find out the full story of what your birthstone means, according to science!