The world of gemstones is quite vast, and apart from those who work in the jewelry business, unfamiliar to most. Various gemstones can make for beautiful pieces of fine jewelry, and even engagement rings, though. We’re happy to acquaint you with this world by discussing the various gemstone meanings. Throughout history, many people have been drawn to particular stones for their unique meanings, and this tradition is still very much alive today. Take birthstones, for instance; simply being associated with one’s birth month is meaningful enough to seek out jewelry made with a certain gemstone. There is much more to gemstone meanings than that, though. Looking to learn more about the different gemstone names and characteristics? Let’s dive into the beautiful world full of sapphires, rubies, diamonds, and so many other stunning stones.
10 Gemstones and Their Meanings
Throughout the ages, gemstones have been sought after for their intangible qualities just as much as for their tangible beauty. In addition to symbolism, many have believed that gemstones exude a deeper spiritual or earthly power such as protection, strength, or wisdom. Some believe that a powerful stone offers healing properties to the owner and can establish inner peace. While we may have lost some of the spiritual connection to jewels that our ancestors had, we can still appreciate their history when we look at them and perhaps, even, select a future stone with more than simply color and cut in mind. When you have the knowledge of gemstone meanings, a unique gemstone may speak to you.
There are many different types of gemstones to choose from. Among the various gemstones, diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald are considered precious gemstones, and all others are considered semi-precious. If you are looking to add a precious gemstone to your collection, this blog post is a great place to start. So, let’s begin with the most coveted, rare, and precious stones and discover the meaning behind each one.
The sapphire is a brilliant shade of dark blue that some ancient people even thought gave the sky its color. This brilliant and powerful stone has symbolized wisdom, sincerity, faithfulness, purity, and nobility. These noble meanings have made the stone popular amongst royalty and clergy throughout the ages. Before it was used in jewelry, though, the sapphire was used to heal ailments by being ground up into a powder. Today, no one would think to spend a precious stone in such a way, but it still symbolizes healing and is thought to ward off envy as well. The sapphire is also the birthstone of September and the traditional gift for a 45th wedding anniversary.
Much of a diamond’s meaning is related to its unique qualities, those that are unlike any other gemstone. For one, it is the most durable gemstone because of its incredible hardness, and so it has symbolized both strength and invincibility. It’s easy to see why a diamond’s invincible nature, combined with its beauty, made it a popular symbolic choice for engagement rings. Only the unbreakable stone would do for the unbreakable vow. Today, diamonds are so synonymous with engagement rings that they have come to symbolize love and commitment as well.
In addition to wedding rings, diamonds are popularly used in birthstone jewelry for those born in April, and in other fine jewelry in their colored forms. When a diamond has a saturated yellow, pink, or blue hue, it is considered a fancy colored diamond, which is incredibly rare. There are even black diamonds, which symbolize eternal love, passion, and energy.
Beauty, wisdom, and life itself are some of the qualities the ruby has come to represent. It’s no surprise, then, that this stone has been one of the most sought-after gemstones throughout history. It was called the “King of Gems” by ancient Hindus and commonly worn by royals to ward off evil. The vibrant red hue also symbolizes love and passion, making it a unique and significant choice for an engagement ring. Those with a July birth month can consider themselves lucky with the ruby as their birthstone.
The emerald has long been a stone that symbolizes truth. It was believed that emerald jewelry would enable the wearer to reveal truths, specifically as it relates to their lover’s true feelings. It was even thought that placing an emerald under one’s tongue would grant someone the ability to see the future. This view has shifted into the ability to see things clearly and rationally when wearing an emerald.
The ancient Greeks may have believed this as well, but they also tied the emerald gemstone to the goddess, Venus, who symbolizes love and hope, two meanings that the stone still carries today. The gorgeous green stone has also always been tied to spring (it is the birthstone of May) because of its color and new beginnings, which have led to stone to symbolize fertility as well.
Amethyst ranges in color from light lilac to deep purple, but every shade is beautiful. Purple, of course, is the color of royalty, which made amethyst a popular gemstone amongst kings and queens and the crowns and scepters that accompanied them. Today, the amethyst is still somewhat popular in jewelry, especially with those who were born in February.
Amethyst is not only sought after for its gorgeous purple color, but also for its healing properties. While many choose to wear amethyst jewelry, others choose to place an amethyst crystal in their home. In either form, it is thought to enhance intuition and clear-headedness and thus lead to positive energy and spiritual growth. For ages, it has also been thought to increase resistance to alcohol. The word amethyst, itself, comes from the Greek word amethystos, which means sober. For those struggling with addiction, an amethyst could be a special gift to provide the strength they need.
Opals are considered magical and lucky gemstones that symbolize hope, purity, and truth. The pearl-like gem can show a variety of colors like a rainbow and give off beautiful iridescence, which is rather entrancing and where its “magical” nature likely came from. This beautiful gem has been beloved by many different cultures and people for its beauty, however, it is an incredibly vulnerable stone that can break easily or lose its iridescence. While it does require gentle handling, opals can make for beautiful jewelry and carry meanings of happiness, faithfulness, loyalty, and confidence.
Garnet is traditionally a deep red color but it does come in a variety of shades. In its radiant shade of red, it is said to shine from within, even lighting the way for Noah’s ark according to legend. In any hue, it is closely associated with one’s purpose and life’s work and believed to stir up creative energy. For millennia, garnet was also thought to offer protection, and worn by warriors and royalty alike for this benefit. As a gift, garnet can symbolize a traveler’s safe journey and speedy return. For those born in January, garnet also symbolizes their birth month.
Topaz was thought to bestow strength and intelligence and protect against disease and death, a very useful purpose for its wearers in ancient times. While we may have more advanced knowledge of disease prevention today, topaz still has its charm. The beautiful blue gemstone symbolizes fidelity and love as well, making it a fitting choice for a jewelry gift from one partner to another. That blue hue is also why ancient people believed topaz has cooling powers, be it to cool boiling water or a hothead.
The green gemstone, peridot, has long been symbolic of nature. The ancient Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun” because of its fiery appearance that is said to even shine by night, also giving it the name “evening emerald”. The August birthstone takes much of its meaning from the characteristics of nature: strength, vitality, and new growth.
Aquamarine’s blue to blue-green color is thought to resemble the sea, which suits its symbolism: a gemstone that protects sailors from seasickness and offers safety to all travelers. Thus, safety and security are closely tied to gifts of aquamarine jewelry. This sparkling blue beauty is also the birthstone of March.
What Gemstones are Good for Engagement Rings?
From emotional healing to supporting inner strength, gemstones have always had a long history of healing properties and meanings throughout time. While each and every one of these gemstones is beautiful in its own right, the precious stones: sapphire, ruby, emerald, and diamond are the most suitable for engagement rings. This is because they are the most durable and often cut to perfection for this very purpose.
Of these precious gemstones, diamonds are by far the most popular gemstone for engagement rings for a number of reasons. Their near-colorless nature is flattering on everyone, they are incredibly hard and durable, making them ideal for everyday wear, and they have become the hallmark stone of the engagement ring market. Plus, of course, they sparkle beautifully and pair well with a variety of metals.
Diamonds can be quite expensive, though, and the mining of natural diamonds can be unethical. For a suitable stone for your engagement ring that is conflict-free, environmentally conscious, more affordable, and identically gorgeous, shop our selection of lab grown diamonds at 12FIFTEEN Diamonds.