A growing trend in the engagement ring world is using your partner’s birthstone, which speaks to a growing desire for individuality and personal symbolism and moving beyond mass-produced designs towards something genuinely unique. While this can be a romantic and beautiful idea, not all birthstones are durable enough for daily wear. Keep reading to learn which gems are associated with each month, and special considerations that come with using birthstones in your engagement ring.
Why Choose a Birthstone Engagement Ring?
Using birthstones add a personalized symbolic touch to an engagement ring, and each month’s stone carries a unique cultural meaning and history. Since an engagement ring is one of the most special pieces of jewelry most will wear, having one feature a gemstone is an incredible way to add even more thoughtfulness to the occasion. Some choose to incorporate the birthstones of both partners into their ring design, or even children, the possibilities are endless. As you consider a birthstone engagement ring, one key factor to know is that each stone will have a different strength and durability.
If your birthstone is a softer gemstone such as an opal, pearl, or moonstone, and you’d like to use the gem as your main stone, you’ll need to use a more protective setting such as a bezel or prong in your design. You’ll also want to ask yourself if you’re ok with using a stone that will need extra care and maintenance, and could even need to be replaced in the future from daily wear.
If you have your heart set on having softer gems included in the design of your birthstone engagement ring, there are some great ways to include your birthstone without sacrificing wear. You can include them as smaller accent side stones or on the band of your ring and use a more durable gem for your main stone. Compared to a large center gem, any wear and tear on smaller accent stones will be much less noticeable and more manageable.
Birthstone Considerations By Month
Each month of the year features anywhere from one to three birthstones, and each stone will have a different rating on Moh’s Hardness Scale. It’s important to understand the qualities, characteristics and wearability of the stones that you’re considering using for any type of jewelry, but particularly something like an engagement ring that you’ll wear daily.
- January: Garnet: While the deep red is the most known and popular version of this gem, garnets come in a variety of colors including orange, green and yellow, and they symbolize loyalty and devotion. Garnet has a hardness of 6.5-7.5 so a main stone would need a protective setting.
- February: Amethyst: A variety of quartz available in a range of purplish hues, amethyst is a popular healing stone considered as having a special spiritual power. Amethyst has a hardness of 7 so a main stone would need a protective setting.
- March: Aquamarine: Known as a symbol of trust, hope and devotion, aquamarine carries perfect meaning for an engagement ring and is incredibly durable with a 7.5-8 hardness.
- April: Diamond: Available in a variety of colors, as well as salt and pepper varieties although a more standard choice, diamonds can be made more unique and personalized and have the toughest rating at 10.
- May: Emerald: Ranging from yellowish-green to deep green, emeralds symbolize faithfulness and enduring love, and are known for the inclusions that create their unique look. At a 7-8 rating, you’ll need to be careful with the type of setting for this stone.
- June: Pearl, Alexandrite & Moonstone: Known to represent qualities like purity, generosity, and new beginnings, pearls are a lovely symbol of a lasting relationship, but rate the softest of all birthstones. Alexandrite is a rare variety of chrysoberyl, and strongly pleochroic, giving it a fun personality and it’s durable at 8.5. Moonstone has a unique hue and soft luster, but is rather soft at a 6-6.5.
- July: Ruby: Rubies are a symbol of love and passion, perfect for an engagement ring. They are also extremely resilient, strong, and durable, falling just below a diamond on the Mohs scale.
- August: Peridot & Sardonyx: Peridot is typically a green stone and a symbol of strength. It’s another slightly softer stone at 7, so consideration of the setting is key to its longevity. Sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness and clear communication and rates a 6.5.
- September: Sapphire: A beautiful gemstone in white, yellow, orange, green, purple, pink, and of course, blue revered as a symbol of wisdom and clarity. It’s also just as hard and durable as a ruby.
- October: Opal & Pink Tourmaline: Opal is a milky stone featuring splashes of red, green, blue and purple once believed to be the most powerful gem of all with healing and therapeutic powers. A bit on the softer side at 5-6, opals require extra care. Often mistaken for a ruby, pink tourmaline rates 7, is more vibrant and thought to bring joy, happiness, and love into the wearer’s life.
- November: Topaz & Citrine: Citrine is a yellow variety of quartz rated at 7, that’s long been heralded for its warming effect from its vibrant color. Topaz rates at a durable 8, and comes in a variety of colors, the most popular being an orangish-yellow. Cultures throughout time believed topaz delivered strength, long life, and intelligence to the wearer.
- December: Turquoise, Tanzanite & Zircon: Turquoise has been a talisman of good luck for centuries, but is rather soft at a 5-6. The velvety blue-violet tanzanite is lovely, but it’s a softer stone at 6-6.5, so special care needs to be taken. Zircon is available in a broad color palette and is relatively durable with a rating of 6-7.5.
Be sure to work with a trusted jeweler to design and create a birthstone engagement ring. They will be able to give you the best information about the strength and durability of each birthstone, and also advise on the best setting to protect your piece so you can wear and enjoy it every day. Book an appointment or call us at (720) 560-3548.