How to buy a birthstone
A birthstone buying guide
A birthstone is a stone based a person's month of birth and is symbolic of certain character traits. A birthstone is a personal memento that has special meaning. Birthstones may be worn as part of a piece of jewelry; sometimes birthstones are worn in honor of someone you love. Here is a look at how to choose a birthstone.
>> Who is the birthstone for?
The first thing to decide before you buy birthstones is who you are purchasing them for. If you are buying a stone for yourself or a loved one, you know the birth date. If you are buying jewelry that includes a couple's birthstones, you'll have to find out the birth dates of each partner.
You might be purchasing different types of birthstones for a grandparent or parent and planning to craft a piece of jewelry that includes each of the grandchildren or children's birthstones. This is a popular choice for Mother's Day, Grandparents' Day, a birthday and other special occasions.
>> Choose a birthstone by birth month
The next thing is to select the birthstone by month. As you do some research, you'll discover that birthstones based on months may vary. Birthstones by month have changed over the years, and the stone that represents a certain month today may not be the same stone used in the past. For instance, heliotrope was once the birthstone for March, but today March is represented by aquamarine.
Different cultures use different gems to represents the months. Some months may have more than one stone. For example, the month of June is represented by both pearl and moonstone. When you are faced with multiple options, select the birthstone color you like best or the one that will complement your skin tone best.
>> Use other categories for birthstones
Although the most common type of birthstones are the ones that correspond with certain months, there are other options for different types of birthstones. You can find birthstones that represent a day of the week or the season of the year. You can find a corresponding stone for each zodiac sign.
A day of the week gemstone is designed for the day you were born on. For instance, if you were born on a Monday, your stone is pearl. If you were born on a Saturday, your stone is turquoise.
The zodiac signs are similar to the monthly birthstones, but based on the zodiac dates. For example, ruby represents July in the monthly birthstones, but also represents the zodiac sign Capricorn, which is December 22 to January 20.
When figuring out how to choose a birthstone, you might want to use a category other than the traditional birth month. This is especially helpful if you prefer stones other than the one that represents the month in which you were born.
>> Select family birthstones
When selecting birthstones for a family, think about how you will wear them. Family arrangements are often found in rings or necklaces, with each gem lined up in a row. For children's birthstones, you might set them by age. Some people like to include both parents' stones, and others only include the children's gems in their family birthstone pendants or rings.
When you are deciding on how to choose a birthstone for a grandparent, consider including all the grandkids, all the children or the eldest in each family.
>> Choose the right piece of jewelry for the birthstone
Once you have decided on the best birthstone to buy, it's time to select the right piece of jewelry to put it in. Birthstone ring jewelry is a popular choice, and necklaces are favorites, too. You can buy different types of birthstones for earrings or as a set. Many birthstone sets include a ring and necklace or a pair of earrings and a necklace.
When looking at birthstone colors, think about the color choice for the setting. Sterling silver and gold are both common choices, but your personal preference will dictate the one you like best. White gold birthstone jewelry is a modern option. You can have the birthstone stand alone or place it in a setting around other jewels such as pearls.
>> Caring for gems
When thinking about how to choose a birthstone, don't forget to consider the care of the gem. Gems are delicate and should be kept in a lined jewelry pouch or box to prevent them from chipping or cracking. Real gems are more fragile than imitations, and some gemstones are hardier than others.
Put on your birthstone jewelry after applying skin care products and makeup to prevent these products from dulling your gems. Clean the gems by wiping them with a lint-free cloth. Always check with a professional about specific care based on the gem you choose and the setting.
Birthstones are a lovely gift to give and to receive. When figuring out how to choose a birthstone, there are numerous options. Part of the fun is deciding which of the different types of birthstones you will pick; the other half is wearing them.