Gemstones come in pretty much any colour you can think of and in every hue as well. They can add some subtle sparkle, a hint if colour or huge impact focal point to any piece of jewellery.
If you can't decide on your favourite colour or stone a good place to start is with your birthstone. A semi-precious or precious stone that is linked to your month of birth or star sign. You can find various lists of birthstones from modern to astrological but below lists the range of colours and properties of the traditional birthstones.
January's birthstone is traditionally garnet, from the Latin word garanatus meaning seedlike, from the seeds of a pomegranate. It is a moderately hard stone being 7-7.5 on the Moh's hardness scale, diamond being the hardest at 10. Garnet comes in a range of dark orangey to pinky reds but also ranges to a vibrant green. It is said to inspire loyalty, passion, self worth and healing.
February has the purple quartz semi-precious stone amethyst as it's traditional birthstone. It ranges from deep, velvety purples to pale pastel lilacs and is also 7 on the hardness scale. Amethyst is said to prevent intoxication, aid creative thinking and provide peace and sincerity.
Aquamarine is the traditional birthstone for March and comes in palest blue to rich darker shades, it is 7.7 on the hardness scale so is a popular stone for everyday wear. It is said to promote clear and logical thinking and to balance emotions.
If you are lucky enough to be born in April your birthstone is diamond, it is pure carbon and is the hardest of gemstones. Diamonds are graded on the 4 C's, colour, cut, clarity and carat weight and range in price accordingly. They are a symbol of love, innocence and clarity.
May's birthstone is the emerald, one of nature's most desired and valuable stones throughout history. It has a distinctive green colour and is said to promote happiness, compassion and a healthy heart, it has long been a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
Pearls come in a variety of colours from pale cream to dark oily grey, are most coveted if they are naturally grown in the ocean, and are June babies birthstone. They are believed to symbolise a pure heart and promote openess and truth, maybe why they are so popular with brides.
Rubies are the birthstone of July babies and are one of the hardest stones just below diamond at 9. They are essentially the same as sapphires but with slightly different colouring trace elements. They are believed to provide energy, emotional strength and health and happiness.
Peridot, pretty much the only gemstone that only comes in one colour although the green comes in a multitude of shades, is August's birthstone. The name peridot comes form the French word peritot meaning gold and is said to promote positivity and felicity and is believed to help regenerate many organs including the heart.
September has one of the most colour diverse stones as it's birthstone, the sapphire. As you can see sapphire's come a veritable rainbow of colours and is also one of the hardest stones at 9 on the scale. It is believed to amplify wisdom and focus and to heal wounds.
Opal's are the birthstone of October and seem to consist of a whole rainbow of colours in one stone. They are fairly soft but if treated properly can give years of beauty. They are the gemstone of balance and harmony.
November babies are also lucky as they have a range of topaz colours to choose from, the most popular being the blues. They promote friendship, creativity and honesty.
And finally, the birthstone for December is traditionally and is one of the oldest known gemstones, having been found in jewellery from 7000 years ago. It is said to promote unity with the earth, wisdom, wholeness and truth.
But don't worry if you don't like your official birthstone there are so many amazingly beautiful colours, cuts and sizes of gemstones, a good jewellery designer will offer you the opportunity to view and choose from a selection, you are sure to find one that will express your style in a piece of jewellery designed for you.