These three gemstones are the birthstones of April. Find out the identities, origins, and myths of these April gems–as well as their meanings and symbolism.
April & Birthstones
April is the fourth month in the Gregorian calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, April is considered spring in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and Germany. The origin of its name is ancient. Long ago, the Romans named the month Aprillis in Latin. Many believe that since Roman months were named in honor of gods and goddesses, and that April was a sacred month for the Goddess of Love Venus, April might have been derived from Venus’s equivalent Greek goddess Aphrodite.
Author: Unknown, Source: Tiffany & Co. (1870 & 1907). More about this poem.
Birthstones or natal stones are gemstones that designate your birthday. Besides monthly birthstones, there are designated gemstones that represent your particular birth year, birthday, day of birth, and zodiac sign. It is important to understand that it is a fluid list. Throughout history and across different cultures, there had been a number of different gemstones designated as the April birthstones. For the purpose of this article, we’re picking three unique gemstones to represent April: diamond, sapphire, and opal. The former two are the most popular April birthstones in the western culture while the latter, opal, is a mystical birthstone that originated from ancient Tibet that will add some variety to this list.
Three Birthstones of April
Diamond is both a modern and traditional birthstone for April. The symbol of forever love has stood the test of time and remained on April’s birthstone roster.
The name ‘diamond’ came from the Greek word ‘adamas’ meaning ‘unconquerable; indestructible.’ A natural diamond takes billions of years to form. While there are other factors to consider, diamond is generally considered the more expensive gemstone compared to other gemstones.
In terms of chemical composition, diamond is a transparent crystalline form of carbon that is four times harder than corundum. In fact, it is one of the hardest natural materials found on earth.
Cutting a diamond requires knowledge and craftsmanship because of its extreme difficulty. Only one in a million rough diamonds are large enough to produce a one-carat diamond. Today, the ‘Golden Jubilee’ holds the title of being the largest cut diamond in the world. The 755-carat rough stone was cut and polished by Gabriel Tolkowsky. It took him two years to design the world’s largest cut diamond. The diamond was named ‘Golden Jubilee’ because it was sent as a gift to the King of Thailand for his 50th Coronation Anniversary in 1997.
Aside from being a symbol of love, diamond also symbolizes strength, perseverance, courage, elegance, and luxury. Wearing a diamond is beneficial for it is believed to make you become strong physically. Diamond is purported to carry energy that promotes mental clarity that helps you to overcome the challenges and difficulties in life. For being one of the hardest materials in the world, it is understandable that diamond is also believed to be a protective gemstone that protects the wearer from physical harm and curses. As a specific example, diamond is believed to ward off the curse of evil eyes. One anonymous second-century BCE poet wrote about this particular belief about diamond:-
The evil eye shall have no power to harm
Him that shall wear the diamond as a charm.
For over 500 years, diamond has been the most preferred jewel for engagement rings and wedding rings. This tradition can be traced back to medieval Europe in the year 1477 when Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, received a diamond engagement ring from Archduke Maximilian of Austria. This inspired many wealthy people and other royalties. Later on as diamond became more affordable (but still expensive), it became a common practice among regular folks.
Above: Cut sapphire gemstone. Credit: johno49 @ Pixabay
Sapphire is a traditional birthstone for April. Some call it the ancient April birthstone because its history as an April gem traces back to the Renaissance period. Nowadays, sapphire is perhaps better known as the September birthstone, but the fate of April borns and sapphire are intertwined through centuries of association, and that isn’t something that you can just shake off. Tiffany’s birthstone poem in 1907 gave a nod to sapphire’s position as April birthstone (see the beginning of this article).
Although sapphire exists in many different colors, its most famous color is blue. Due to the presence of different chemical elements, sapphire forms in all possible colors. Besides blue sapphires, other sapphire colors are yellow, purple, green, brown, violet, orange, pink, colorless, and black.
The mysteriously fascinating black sapphire is a variety of corundum. It can either be in semitransparent or opaque form. The Black Star of Queensland mined in Australia is the world’s largest black star sapphire which weighs 733 carats. A star sapphire is a unique variety that displays a prominent star pattern that seems to float on its surface. The rare gem was cut by Harry Kazanjian who decided to sacrifice over 400 carats for it not to lose its star pattern.
In terms of meaning and symbolism, sapphire takes a different direction from its modern counterpart diamond. While sapphires are also believed to protect to their owners, the blue gemstones are better known as a symbol of truth, sincerity, intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and nobility. Sapphire also has a heavenly connection, for it was believed that it symbolizes heaven. For this reason, sapphires were worn by clerics of the Middle Ages.
Sapphire is a good gift option for those born in April considering its positive vibrational patterns.
Above: Opal and its rainbow colors. Credit: tshearer@Flickr
Opal is the mystical birthstone for April and a modern birthstone for October. The mystical birthstone list originated from a Tibetan culture that existed from the 7th to 9th centuries AD. If you’re interested in the metaphysical realm, this mystical birthstone may just have a stronger spiritual connection to April borns better than its modern and traditional counterparts.
The name opal was derived from upala in Sanskrit. Upala means “jewel,” or “stone.” Interestingly, opal used to be a popular female name in the US in the early 20th century. However, its popularity dwindled as the century unfold.
Opal differentiates itself from other gemstones with its unique rainbow hue, better known as “play-of-color.” The gorgeous array of colors that seems to be trapped inside this stone will always leave one mesmerized.
Chemically, the opal gem is a shapeless form of silica that is chemically combined with water molecules. The stone forms as the silica deposits are carried by rainwater into cracks and voids through the earth.
Opal symbolizes truth, hope, purity, and energy.
People born in April are lucky to have this rainbow gem as their birthstone. Just like the rainbow, opal brings the promise of better days and grants the feeling of hope to its wearer. It is also believed to possess moon energy that can boost intuition. Coincidentally, opal is one of the stones that can be found in the moon together with peridot.
She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow. This stone
Emblem of innocence is known.
Innocent, repentant —
Sun and shower —
Wears a diamond or a sapphire
As her dower.
The April birthstone poem found at the beginning of this article and in the image above was published by Tiffany’s in 1870 and 1907.
In 1870, Tiffany & Company (also known as Tiffany & Co. and Tiffany’s) published twelve poems dedicated to the monthly birthstones in a pamphlet. The poems were credited to an “unknown author.” From the source that we have, we believe that only the first stanza of the poem was published during this time.
About forty years after that, in 1907, Tiffany’s published Natal Stones: Sentiments and Superstitions Associated with Precious Stones authored by George Frederick Kunz. In the 30-page book, a second stanza was added for each of the poems. The second stanza for the April poem was the only one that gave acknowledgment to the older April gemstone which was sapphire.
The book also suggested that the April flower was Daisy.
Birthstones by Month
January Birthstones | February Birthstones | March Birthstones | April Birthstones | May Birthstones | June Birthstones | July Birthstones | August Birthstones | September Birthstones | October Birthstones| November Birthstones | December Birthstones