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Gemstone Meanings: The Surprising Symbolism of Your Jewels

We’ve all heard that diamonds symbolize true love, but what are the symbolic meanings of other popular gemstones? From ancient times to today, gems of every hue have been imbued with significance and special powers by cultures around the world. Here are the legends associated with some of the world’s most treasured jewels:

Sapphire

sapphire

Blue has long been considered the color of fidelity, and sapphires were once the preferred gem for engagement rings (before diamonds claimed that honor in the early 20th century).

Emerald

Legends have said that placing an emerald under your tongue gives you the ability to foresee the future (but we do not recommend that!), and that emerald protects against evil spells and can cure disease.

Ruby

Ancient Hindus believed that those who offered rubies to the god Krishna would be emperors in a future life. People in India and Burma have also believed that rubies offered safety and peace, and medieval Europeans thought that these gems guaranteed health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love.

Amethyst

Because of its color the ancient Greeks associated amethyst with the wine god Bacchus, and believed that the gem could prevent drunkenness. Amethyst has also been thought to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted.

Peridot

The Egyptians thought that peridot protected against nightmares and brought the wearer confidence, good luck and health. In fact, it’s believed that some of Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were actually peridots.

Aquamarine

Aquamarine is believed to provide courage, mental clarity and good health. Because of its association with water, aquamarine has been said to keep sailors safe at sea.

Pearl

pearl

In ancient China, pearls were believed to protect against fire, and in Europe they were associated with chastity and purity. Pearls retain that association with innocence today.

Garnet

Garnet has long been associated with clergy and nobility. In ancient Egypt the pharaohs wore red garnet necklaces, and in ancient Rome rings with carved garnets were used to stamp the wax on important documents.

Citrine

This gem is also known as “healing quartz,” because legend has it that citrine promotes vitality and energy in whomever wears it. And according to the Chinese feng shui philosophy, citrine creates wealth and abundance.

Opal

Because opals can exhibit so many different colors within a single stone, it has long been thought to possess supernatural powers. In ancient Rome, this gem symbolized love and hope. The ancient Greeks believed opals gave their owners the gift of prophecy and guarded them from disease. Europeans have long considered the gem a symbol of hope, purity, and truth.  Once, it was thought to have the power to preserve the life and color of blond hair.

Zircon

Folk wisdom says that zircon has the power to relieve pain, protect travelers and prevent nightmares. In the Middle Ages, this gem was thought to induce sound sleep, drive away evil spirits, and promote riches, honor, and wisdom.

Topaz

Topaz symbolizes love and fidelity, and is said to bestow strength and intelligence on the person who wears it, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Turquoise

From ancient times to today people have ascribed special powers to turquoise. Native American tribes of the Southwest wore turquoise as an amulet thought to offer protection, and in ancient Persia (and modern day Iran) some believe that wearing turquoise can ward off the “evil eye” (other people’s ill will).

Final Thoughts

Do you buy into the idea that gemstones have special meanings or powers? Do you wear a gem as a good luck charm? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section!

Sources: Gemological Institute of America, American Gemological Society

COMMENTS

Marion Says:
June 2nd, 2016 at 10:29 am

True or False: It is “bad” luck to wear
a gemstone that is not your Birthstone? Especially OPAL

Jessica gabriel Says:
July 2nd, 2016 at 9:48 am

I wear a turquoise since it’s my birthstone. Is it ok. I need something that will draw wealth and success to as I,m having a lot of bad luck and my money keeps going and I’m left with nothing . Let me know also I have a lot of gemstone rings and earrings like garnet, Oman alexandrite jade diamond but wear this occasionally whe I go out. The only ring with turquoise I wear every day 24/7

traceymccreadie Says:
July 3rd, 2016 at 11:38 am

I like the rings

Patrick Lawlor Says:
July 8th, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Very nice and interesting.

Patrick Lawlor Says:
July 8th, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Very educational to our clients.

Karen Says:
July 21st, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Marion, so interesting that you should say that about the Opal. My birthstone is the turquoise but I would like to wear a white opal. I’ve made many friends and cherish everyone of them. I liken an opal to meeting someone. At first you see a blank page but as you get to know them you see their colours. Their “true blue” causes. What they feel strong about. In my cause that would be teaching children. The things that they love … “red”. My case — dogs. The natural beauties of this world would be the green. Me — waterfalls. Yellow is a happy colour. What makes that friend happy. I love to see my friends laugh. I don’t own an opal but I consider my friends “gems”.

Miri Says:
July 23rd, 2016 at 6:09 am

I’ve been given various gems in rings and have worn them even though they are not my birthstone. Luck or not, if I like it I wear it, not every day, as I like variety as well as beauty.

Miri Says:
July 23rd, 2016 at 6:10 am

What does Alexandrite mean?

EDsouza Says:
July 27th, 2016 at 6:45 pm

I believe in gem stones, Priest Aaron, Prophet Moses’ brother, used to wear gem stones as per Holy Bible

scott Says:
August 30th, 2016 at 2:11 pm

is Pearl the month of june and what as a male does wearing a black pearl mean

Douglas Malott Says:
September 20th, 2016 at 10:33 am

I noticed that there was nothing mentioned about my birthstone Alexandrite, as I was born in the month of June. Could you please tell me more?

sherri koss Says:
October 28th, 2016 at 2:43 pm

i want a ring with my birthstone january

Daniel Says:
November 6th, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I do not believe that gems give anything except the beauty of them. I believe that supernatural powers are just nothing more then an illusion of thoughts.

VERN RIEDIGER Says:
December 12th, 2016 at 11:20 am

RECENTLY BOUGHT A MEN’S EMERALD RING IN ISRAEL. THE APPRAISAL AT HOME WAS MORE THAN TWICE WHAT I PAID FOR IT. SURPRISE!!

Barbara Grant Says:
January 10th, 2017 at 10:02 am

I had cancelled all postings from this site and was told within 24 hours it would be cancelled. 2 weeks later I am still getting your postings. PLEASE STOP SENDING POSTS-CANCEL THE POSTINGS

Johan Says:
February 11th, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Very interesting

Roger Says:
February 23rd, 2017 at 6:13 am

Russian alexandrite (rare)? meaning..

Dylan Says:
March 6th, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Hi hi go hi I’m him

Katie Says:
March 19th, 2017 at 1:05 pm

I was born in October, so my birthstone is the Opal. Should I get an opal to wear around college soon?

Jaisa maryines Says:
March 24th, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Great

Jaisa maryines Says:
March 24th, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Great survey

Lois Says:
March 25th, 2017 at 4:00 am

Yes, I also would like information on Alexandrite as it is my birthstone as well. Thanks

Leah Lavoie Says:
March 25th, 2017 at 8:58 pm

In opal. I always thought i was special. Lol. Just not in beauty. I am blonde tho.

Leah Lavoie Says:
March 25th, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Marion, i think that it is bad luck. ESPECIALLY opal.

Barbara Roth Says:
April 1st, 2017 at 6:29 am

Since God created everything, and He did not make anything bad or wrong, everything created has special powers, purposes and meanings.

vir bone Says:
April 3rd, 2017 at 12:29 pm

I am wore Malachite almost for the 46 years to shed away my Kidney Pain problem, the day I put it in my ring finger the ruler and constant pain vanished, I am Happy giving this stone to the pain sufferers free of cost considering helping human being a mean paying thanks to the Nature making this stone a remedy of kidney pain,,

Beckie stephens Says:
April 4th, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Likes them

Anita Harris Says:
April 7th, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Some places say that my birthstone is alexandrite, while others say that it’s pearl. My birthday is June 24th. Can you tell me without a doubt which is my birthstone?

Rinit Says:
April 12th, 2017 at 8:31 am

Anita Harris, both alexandrite and pearl are your birthstone. Most months have 2 stones. My birthday is in October. My Mom bought me a daughter’s pride ring with diamond for her birthday April, alexandrite for my Dad, June and pink (the stone was never identified but a pink stone is shown in all of the guides) for my birthday, October. A few years later she bought me another one with diamond, pearl and opal. Both rings were correct. I believe the rule is one is considered a stone while the other is a gem for the month.

Kathleen Says:
April 27th, 2017 at 2:10 pm

I got my friend a bracelet to ward off evil eye she says it has changed her life.

Nbd Says:
May 2nd, 2017 at 9:15 pm

I love iy

Rina Says:
May 13th, 2017 at 10:28 pm

What about Alexandrianite there are two gemstones for Gemini they are pearls and Alexandrianite

Carly Says:
May 16th, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Love it

trip Says:
May 20th, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Really nice

Chelsea Andrade Says:
May 25th, 2017 at 12:47 pm

This was awesome

lea Says:
May 26th, 2017 at 10:17 am

Very nice wish I could afford all of them

lea Says:
May 26th, 2017 at 10:19 am

Very cool

Bye bye Says:
June 6th, 2017 at 10:42 pm

Very nice information.!

Bye bye Says:
June 6th, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Very nice information.! I’ve never heard this information before I really enjoyed.

Emily Says:
June 10th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

I love all these butiful gems

Adrianna Says:
June 21st, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Love the um the um um… the EMARLAD

Becca Remer Says:
June 23rd, 2017 at 7:09 pm

My birthstone is a diamond, why isn’t that on here?

Alyssa Rosario Says:
June 28th, 2017 at 5:11 pm

I’m born in January

Alyssa Rosario Says:
June 28th, 2017 at 5:12 pm

I want to learn more

Mary Kay Schober Says:
July 2nd, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Indeed from my native American spirit, I know they do

Shaun Grimshaw Says:
July 3rd, 2017 at 3:16 am

Interesting!

Reviewer Girl Says:
July 4th, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Such sweet legends! And the jewelry is sooooooo beautiful !!!!!! ?? good job guys !!!

Debra Says:
July 9th, 2017 at 7:42 am

I ware rubies for love in an all around
Kind of love.

Debra Says:
July 9th, 2017 at 7:46 am

I ware silver for beauty an pease. And emerged for luck of the clover an money.

Joanne Lin Pelletier Says:
July 9th, 2017 at 8:53 am

I’m looking at my family gem’s, my mother’s & myself. Reading the suppior meanings.

Mary Franke Says:
July 12th, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Hi Becca, you can learn about diamonds here: https://www.brilliantearth.com/news/15-amazing-facts-about-diamonds/. Thanks for your interest!

Dam Says:
July 22nd, 2017 at 6:22 am

I ware silver for beauty an pease. And emerged for luck of the clover an money.

Ruth Says:
July 23rd, 2017 at 3:00 pm

I was told by Great Gma (1893) that you should not buy an opal for your self, it is bad luck. An Opal must be given to you. Just some old stuff?

Abbi mirza Says:
July 25th, 2017 at 4:44 pm

We as Muslims Truly believe in power of gem stones especially carnelian, turquise, garnet, jade, and topaz there is no doubt that some of these stones has magical and healing powers but all stones has to be real not synthetic and real stones are heavy in weight not light and they shine in the dark, before we wear a stone we put it in cold water for few hours to purify and wear it before go to bed in our religion if you feel uneasy for any reason after wearing a new stone weather its a ring necklace or bracelet just take it off that’s what I always do I am a true believer of its power esp carnelian yellow or liver color yellow is very rear and hard to find.

Abbi mirza Says:
July 25th, 2017 at 4:47 pm

I will write again about some interesting things about stones.

Ashelle nealand Says:
July 31st, 2017 at 5:24 pm

I am so rich I bleed money ????

arianna Says:
August 3rd, 2017 at 8:52 pm

I love it

arianna Says:
August 3rd, 2017 at 8:53 pm

I love it?????

Emily watson Says:
August 6th, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Mines not here

Ron harper Says:
August 8th, 2017 at 7:53 pm

To much $$$$

Judith Jorge Says:
August 11th, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Yes. I two believe in stones. Real ones. Not synthetic. Specially garnet. Turquoise. I have one is turquoise. Tree if life. Sometimes feels so heavy. I take it off. It does shine more at night. I love learning about stones. And their history. I am attracted to real stones and real silver. Turquoise. Diane’s (princess) engagement ring. Is so beautiful. The blue is so soothing.

Judith Jorge Says:
August 11th, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Thank you.

kionna Says:
August 12th, 2017 at 6:42 pm

love the sapphire

Marc lumpkin Says:
August 14th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Thank u

yvette Says:
August 16th, 2017 at 7:02 am

oooo very pretty

Aniyah Says:
August 18th, 2017 at 10:04 pm

I liked it

Nina Says:
August 19th, 2017 at 3:01 pm

June has two birthstones, the pearl and the gem stone Alexandrite.

Stacie Says:
August 23rd, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Stunningly beautiful jewelry
Would like to see a variety of settings including alexandrite

Naksh Kaloo Says:
August 25th, 2017 at 4:47 am

Meaning of Gemstones beautifully described. Great Blog!

Michael Smith Says:
August 28th, 2017 at 10:48 pm

This is cool ?

Michelle White Says:
September 1st, 2017 at 2:52 pm

This is a very interesting article, though I wished it broke down and explained more details of the gemstones. Many different religions/faiths believe that gems and natural “stones” (moonstone, hematite, jade, gold stone, lapis lazuli, and hundreds more) have different powers. Mostly it comes down to the powers of faith and belief. I struggle with depression and addiction (in this gemstone facts addiction is not limited to drugs or alcohol. Can include addictions to gambling, sex, money, shopping, etc. If it’s affecting your life in a negative manner then assistance should be sought). I knew that amethysts can be healing but I didn’t know until today the many individual ways amethysts can help people. I’ve always loved this gemstone and now it has an extra special significance for me, it’s my son’s birthstone. Reading and learning about gemstones is fun and interesting. I’d suggest that if a person likes to learn new and useful information then this is a great topic. I’m lucky that I’m my city we have a few “natural religions” stores. By coincidence I was at one today and saw many things I’d like to learn more about. So go have fun! And maybe learn that a gemstone is more than just a “pretty rock”!

April Conway Says:
September 1st, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Beautiful jewelry . Interesting information.

Rosanne Mansfield Says:
September 6th, 2017 at 3:19 pm

my birthstone is a garnet and what you say about this stone is somewhat true especially about the nobility part since I am a blood aristocrat. Now I’d like to obtain a sapphire and a citrine in their natural state. I will wait till later. thank you ever so much!!!

Jeff Tanner Says:
September 7th, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Look great.

Reggie Says:
September 15th, 2017 at 2:29 am

What is my gemstone/birthstone for 10/12/1972?

Reggie Says:
September 15th, 2017 at 2:31 am

What is my gemstone/birthstone for October 12, 1972?

Denise Champoux Says:
September 15th, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Please send more info ( e- mail about emeralds).

Sean Says:
September 17th, 2017 at 9:52 pm

Hey

Sean Says:
September 17th, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Hey what’s up I’m Sean

Sean Says:
September 17th, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Hi I’m Sean thank you I love this

Amber hooper Says:
September 20th, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Idk what

Avdi Says:
September 25th, 2017 at 8:37 am

I wants knows about the world’s

Avdi Says:
September 25th, 2017 at 8:38 am

The application is so much good for students and oldest, and alas fantastic fishing tgar

B. Earth Says:
September 25th, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Hi Reggie, your birthstone is opal. Thanks for your interest!

B. Earth Says:
September 25th, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Hi Denise, you can learn more about emeralds on our website here: https://www.brilliantearth.com/emerald-education-treatment/. Thanks for your interest!

Gina Guilder Says:
September 26th, 2017 at 9:21 am

I love emralds

c aki Says:
September 28th, 2017 at 9:36 am

🙂

Linda Monsure Says:
September 30th, 2017 at 2:09 am

Enjoyed the info

Elizabeth Platero Says:
September 30th, 2017 at 3:57 pm

You learn something new everyday.

l.lemus60@live.com Says:
September 30th, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Needed the coins

l.lemus60@live.com Says:
September 30th, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Needed coins

Kathy Says:
September 30th, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Yes, I do feel gems have special meanings. I wish I could afford more!

Jaxx Says:
October 1st, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Interesting

Jaxx Says:
October 1st, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Nice to know about using blue for wedding rings

Diana Says:
October 5th, 2017 at 8:01 am

Would enjoy info on rare colored gemstones.

jeannine Says:
October 6th, 2017 at 9:06 am

Pretty stuff. I would like to own each piece shown here. When I was three I had a huge jewelry box stuffed with some real jewelry and some fake. I loved to play with it. I would pile on necklaces, bracelets and rings. My ears were not pierced at the time so I only had clip ons. They kind of hurt. I was glad to get my ears pierced. Every girl young or old loves jewelry

Alley Says:
October 12th, 2017 at 8:39 am

I wear peridot because it’s my birth stone I just love the color of aquamarine it’s just so pretty

Ann Marie Horgan Says:
October 18th, 2017 at 2:59 am

Opal is my birthstone for the month of October. Now that’s a magical birthstone. Fascinating to look at. Almost like a kalidascope of changing colors and so many varigated varities. I could never get bored looking at an opal stone.Firey opals. Cool as snow with ever changing hues of a rainbow. Pretty as a special snowglobe in itself amazingly hipnotizing.I could go on. Fairy tales do come true when there is an opal looking back at you. Opal jewelry makes me happy instantly. I guess you could “Fall”as in this season of October for this birthstone. Always and forever.

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