Diamonds have long been associated with the month of April and are traditionally considered the birthstone for this month. However, diamonds are not the only gemstone associated with April births. While diamond is the most well-known April birthstone, there are actually three other lesser known gems that are also considered official birthstones for April.
Official April Birthstones
According to the American Gem Society (AGS) and the Jewelry of America (JA), there are four official birthstones for April:
So while diamond is arguably the most popular, it is not the only gemstone option for people born in April. Let’s take a closer look at each of these four April birthstones.
Diamond is the primary birthstone for April. Diamonds are among the most prized gems in the world, known for their sparkling brilliance, fire, and hardness. The word “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas” meaning indestructible. Diamonds have been treasured for centuries as symbols of eternal love and worn in engagement rings and other jewelry.
Diamonds are the hardest known natural material on earth. They are crystallized carbon that forms under extremely high heat and pressure conditions deep beneath the earth’s crust. Diamonds vary in color from colorless to shades of yellow, brown, pink, blue, and green. The most common diamond color is light yellow. Completely colorless diamonds are the rarest and most valuable.
Key diamond facts:
– Hardest known natural material
– Made of crystallized carbon
– Vary in color from colorless to shades of yellow, brown, pink, blue, green
– Most common color is light yellow, colorless is rarest/most valuable
– Symbolize eternal love, often used in engagement rings
Rock crystal is a variety of the mineral quartz that is also considered an April birthstone. It is a colorless and transparent quartz, often used in jewelry as an affordable diamond substitute. Rock crystal has a vitreous (glassy) luster and a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for use in jewelry.
Rock crystal forms naturally when liquid silica crystallizes inside fractures, cavities, or vugs in the earth. It is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks in many locations around the world. Some key sources are Brazil, the Swiss Alps, and Dauphine, France. Rock crystal has been used in jewelry and as a gem material since ancient times. Ancient Greeks and Romans drank from cups carved from rock crystal because they believed it would protect against poisoning.
Key rock crystal facts:
– Variety of the mineral quartz
– Colorless and transparent
– Hardness of 7 on Mohs scale
– Affordable diamond substitute
– Used in jewelry since ancient times
– Believed to have protective powers in ancient times
Sapphire is a precious gem variety of the mineral corundum, after diamond it is the hardest natural material on earth. Sapphires are most well-known for their blue gem varieties, but they actually occur in a range of colors including pink, yellow, green, white, purple, orange, and brown. The word sapphire comes from the Greek word “sappheiros” meaning blue. However, any corundum that is not red (ruby) is classified as sapphire regardless of color.
Blue sapphires are one of the most popular engagement ring center stones after diamonds. Sapphires symbolize wisdom, loyalty, and nobility. Prince Charles gave Lady Diana a large blue sapphire engagement ring. Kate Middleton now wears the same ring. Sapphires are an especially fitting birthstone for April which is associated with steadfast loyalty and trust.
Key sapphire facts:
– Variety of the mineral corundum
– Very hard natural material, 9 on Mohs scale
– Found in range of colors besides blue
– Blue variety most popular for engagement rings
– Symbolizes wisdom, loyalty, nobility
– Worn by Princess Diana and Duchess Kate Middleton
Opal is considered by many to be the luckiest and most mystical of all April birthstones. Opals are known for their shimmering play of color which makes each opal unique. The name opal comes from the Sanskrit word “upala” meaning precious stone.
There are two main varieties of opal, precious opal and common opal. Precious opal displays flashes of color called opalescence. This striking play of color occurs when light refracts off the tiny silica spheres that make up opal’s structure. Common opal is opaque to translucent and does not display opalescence.
Opals form when silica gel fills fractures and voids in host rocks. They are found in many locations around the world including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and Europe. Australia produces over 90% of the world’s precious opal supply.
Key opal facts:
– Displays flashes of rainbow color called opalescence
– Each opal is unique in its color play
– Considered a good luck gemstone
– Precious opal variety displays play of color
– Formed when silica gel fills rock fractures and voids
– Mined in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, US, and Europe
History and Folklore
April’s mix of traditional and mystical birthstones has its roots in ancient history and folklore. Here is a look at how these four gems became linked with people born in the month of April.
Ancient Birthstone Systems
Some of the earliest examples of birthstone history trace back to Jewish history and the breastplate of Aaron described in the book of Exodus. The breastplate contained four rows with three gemstones in each row, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. One theory is that these twelve stones eventually came to represent each month of the year. The gemstone we know today as diamond was likely represented by Jasper on the breastplate.
In the first century CE, Jewish historian Josephus wrote that the twelve stones of the breastplate corresponded to the twelve calendar months. During the same time period in Rome, stones were also becoming linked to zodiac signs and calendar months. Historians speculate that Roman culture helped spread the concept of birthstones to other cultures.
Over many centuries, variations developed in birthstone lists according to region and culture. In 1912, in an effort to standardize birthstones, the American National Association of Jewelers (now Jewelers of America) published an official birthstone list which is the source of today’s modern birthstone calendar.
This list linked diamond, sapphire, and opal with April. Rock crystal was added later as an additional birthstone for April when alternate birthstone lists were developed to give people more choices. Adding rock crystal offered an affordable clear stone option comparable to diamond.
April Lore and Symbolism
The symbolism and lore associated with April’s four birthstones resonate with the meaning and significance of this springtime month. April is often seen as a month of contradictions and duality. We experience both spring’s capricious weather and its blossoming promise of new life. It is a time of hope and optimism mixed with uncertainty. April’s birthstones mirror these themes.
Diamond’s pure brilliance contrasts with the opaque, earthy moodiness of opal. Similarly, sapphire’s constancy and faithfulness differs from rock crystal’s delicate clarity. Each stone offers enduring qualities that provide balance during April’s changeable season. Those born in April resonate with these stones in different ways.
How to Choose an April Birthstone
Wondering which April birthstone is right for you? Here are some tips on choosing a birthstone to represent your April birthday:
Consider Color Preference
April’s birthstones come in a beautiful rainbow that includes clear, blue, multicolor, and yellow/golden shades. Which color most appeals to you? Sapphire and diamond offer blue and clear white respectively. Opal displays flashes of many colors while rock crystal is colorless. Choose the hue that resonates.
Think About Symbolism
Do any of the symbolic meanings for April’s birthstones resonate with your personality or desires? Are wisdom, loyalty and nobility values you appreciate? Or does the good fortune and magic of opal fit you better? Let the traditional symbolism guide you.
Factor in Budget
Diamond and sapphire are premium gems that are more costly. Opal and rock crystal offer budget-friendly options. But keep in mind that even small diamonds and sapphires can fit in any jewelry budget. Consider going with a simpler ring or pendant setting for a pricier gem.
Consider Combining Stones
There’s no rule that says you can’t wear two or more April birthstones! Many people enjoy layering necklaces or rings that showcase multiple April gems. Combining stones can represent different facets of you or commemorate the strengths of partnerships or relationships.
Choose Your Favorite
Most importantly, which of April’s beautiful birthstones do you find most appealing? Which calls out to you? While tradition assigns these gems to April, they are gifts for all to enjoy regardless of birth month. Pick the stone that you most love – because when it comes to birthstones, your favorite is the one that’s just right for you!
While the diamond is the most famous and iconic April birthstone, there are actually three other lesser-known gems that are also associated with April births. According to official birthstone lists, diamond, rock crystal, sapphire, and opal are all considered April’s birthstones. Each stone has its own special symbolism, lore, and significance for those born in April’s month of multitudes. Whether you stick with tradition or follow your heart, April offers a bounty of birthstone beauties to choose from.