11 Types of Gemstones and What They Symbolize

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Gemstone Meanings, Their History, and Finding the Perfect Stone For You

A collection of blue gemstones

Gemstones have been valued and celebrated since ancient times, holding a significant place in many cultures and traditions. Some were believed to possess healing properties while others were used to attract love or ward off evil. These historical symbols of wealth, status, and power continue to dazzle us with their beauty even today.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect gem to gift your beloved or simply curious about these magnificent stones, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about the 11 most popular types of gemstones and prevalent gemstone meanings. Keep reading to find out!

1. Black Onyx Meaning

A pair of Black Onyx cufflinks

Derived from the Greek word “onyx”, which means “claw” or “nail”, the black onyx is a stone that has been both feared and revered throughout history. In Greek mythology, onyx was formed from the fingernails of Venus that Cupid severed as she slept. Due to its pitch-black hue, it was believed to be a symbol of misfortune in many ancient civilizations.

But for the same reason, it also began being used as a protective talisman against evil. In fact, it is believed that Cleopatra used to wear black onyx because she believed it would alert her about incoming dangers.

Black onyx is also associated with several gemstone meanings such as strength, endurance, and perseverance. That’s why it’s often recommended for critical thinkers and those who are going through a difficult period in life and need something to ground them. It’s also very well-suited for people looking to overcome bad habits and live a more disciplined and focused life.

Various black onyx meanings aside, it’s simply a stunning stone that looks good on anyone. If you believe in metaphysical powers, we recommend wearing a pair of black onyx cufflinks or rings to take advantage of this type of gemstone and its ability to bring more focus, determination, and confidence into your daily life.

2. Sapphire Meaning

A Sapphire ring

The name “Sapphire” originates from the Greek word for “blue stone” known as "sappheiros”. In ancient Greece, sapphire was worn when seeking guidance from the oracle. It was also used to protect oneself from negative energies and the ill intentions of others.

Owing to its brilliant celestial blue hue, sapphire rings were popularly worn by the nobility who believed that these types of gemstones attracted divine blessings and protection. Buddhists and Hindus also believed in similar sapphire gemstone meanings and used them for spiritual enlightenment and worship.

Sapphires are an excellent match for those born in the month of September because it’s their birthstone. People drawn to sapphire's meaning and symbolism are believed to be wise, honest, and loyal. They follow their own wisdom and intuition and are not easily swayed by the opinion of others—a reason why they’re thought to complement good leaders.

Those who wear sapphire gemstones are practical and objective thinkers who look at the bigger picture. Other gemstone meanings associated with sapphire gemstones are sincerity, strength, and perseverance. Sapphires are hardy stones that look amazing paired with either white gold or yellow gold. So, if you’re thinking of buying an engagement ring or an anniversary gift, this could be a suitable alternative gemstone to a diamond.

3. Citrine Meaning

A Citrine ring

The first discovery of citrine can be traced to ancient Greece and since then it has solidified its footing as a gemstone loved by nobility, merchants, and priests alike. For Ancient Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks citrine gemstone meanings were similar.

They believed this golden stone had protective abilities and could soothe those with harsh temperaments. It was also known as the “merchant’s stone” and “success stone” due to its propensity towards attracting wealth. Citrine rings and talismans were popular among Romans. They were also crafted into hilts for swords and daggers by the Scottish. It was also used as a carving stone by the Greeks.

Given their rich, golden hue, these types of gemstones are often associated with deep symbolic gemstone meanings and feelings of joy, warmth, and positivity. Citrine is the birthstone of those born in November under the Scorpio sign and is often preferred by those with an optimistic view of life. It’s for people who are creative, confident, and driven toward their goals.

Another popular citrine meaning is that it invites wealth and abundance into one’s life. In metaphysical branches, citrine is used for meditation, manifestation, and energy healing. No matter the use, it’s undeniable that citrine is a gemstone that evokes happiness and brightens the lives of those who wear it.

4. Amethyst Meaning

An Amethyst ring

Amethyst was one of the most prized gemstones in ancient civilizations and it can be traced as far back as 2000 BC. Its name comes from the Greek word "amethystos," which means "not drunken”. For Greeks and Romans, amethyst gemstone meanings were derived from the same lore.

They believed that this stone could protect its wearers from the influence of the God of Wine—known as Dionysus of Bacchus—and keep them clear-headed. The legend says that Amethyst was a woman who refused the advances of a drunken Bacchus and was turned into Quartz by Diana for protection. Bacchus, overcome with grief and regret, poured wine over the Quartz, turning it into the purple amethyst we know now.

In the Old Testament, amethyst is one of the twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. This gemstone’s meaning was significant for the high priest who wore it on his breastplate. But it was also significant for royalty, nobility, and clergy who fashioned the stone into stunning amethyst rings that both men and women could wear.

Amethyst is the birthstone of those born in February and it is believed that those wearing these types of gemstones have higher emotional cognition as well as a deep sense of spirituality and intuition. Creativity and compassion are some other amethyst meanings. It’s a stone loved by those who wish to connect with their inner self and something even higher. It’s also the most popular stone for celebrating the 6th wedding anniversary.

5. Ruby Meaning

A Ruby ring

Ruby was regarded as one of the most precious gemstones in many kingdoms across ancient China and India, as well as medieval Europe. It’s known as “ratnaraj” or “king of precious stones” in Sanskrit. The primary ruby gemstone meanings include passion, vitality, and love.

The Greeks believed that warriors wearing rubies would be blessed by Ares, the God of War, and exhibit unyielding strength and courage on the battlefield. In fact, Burmese warriors would embed rubies onto their skin before going to war.

In many cultures, ruby gemstones were considered among the protective types of gemstones that could shield the wearer from harm, and bring good fortune and health. For European royalty, the gemstone meanings associated with ruby were to attract health, wealth, love, and wisdom. Whereas in Christianity, it is seen as a symbol of sacrifice and redemption and is associated with the blood of Christ.

Ruby meanings have always ranged from intense desire and love to anger. It represents blazing emotions and is the birthstone for those born in July. Ruby rings are a popular choice for couples who wish to express their deep affection toward each other. This crimson-red stone is also associated with youthful vigor and confidence and can fill the wearer with courage.

6. Emerald Meaning

A round Emerald gemstone

A gem admired by royalty and commoners alike, the Emerald continues to enthrall everyone with its vibrant green hue and varying gemstone meanings. Aristotle famously wrote in one of his musings that owning an emerald helps the wearer achieve success in matters of business and litigation.

There were many beliefs surrounding this beautiful gem, from being able to make one rich and powerful to curing diseases. Protecting one from poison and possession were some other emerald meanings. Ancient Egyptians would often bury their rulers with emeralds for protection.

This luscious green May stone has deep gemstone meanings pervading it. It represents growth, fertility, wit, and eloquence, which is why these types of gemstones are often gifted during momentous 20th and 25th wedding anniversaries.

In metaphysics, emerald is believed to make one wiser and promote healthier relationships. It’s a popular stone among nature lovers who are drawn to its rich history and symbolism and believe it brings them closer to nature. If you’re interested in owning this luxurious stone, we recommend looking at white-gold metal rings that feature an emerald center stone with diamond accents to add more depth and make the green shine brighter.

7. Pink Tourmaline Meaning

Pink Tourmaline Cufflinks

Pink Tourmaline is only one of the several colors that encompass the tourmaline gemstone family. The name is derived from the Sinhalese word "t?ramalli", which means “stone with mixed colors”.

Due to the varying colors tourmaline can be found in, it was often mistaken for other gemstones. In fact, Caesar’s Ruby which was once a part of the Russian, Swedish, and French crown jewels was actually revealed to be rubellite tourmaline in 1922. Rubellite tourmaline is simply a name given to highly saturated pink tourmalines that are often mistaken for rubies.

Different cultures throughout history have held varying gemstone meanings and beliefs about tourmalines. These types of gemstones were highly valued by alchemists and used during ceremonies in Africa and India to expel illusions and bring insight. They were also used as protective talismans in many tribes.

Some popular pink tourmaline meanings include love, compassion, and healing. It’s believed that wearing a pink tourmaline ring can help you connect with and understand your fellow humans better and make you a more forgiving and positive person.

The metaphysical communities believed in different gemstone meanings for this October birthstone such as cleansing the heart chakra, removing negativity, and promoting healing. A combination of rubellite with other pink or red stones like rose quartz is said to help those dealing with fear or anxiety.

8. Peridot Meaning

A Peridot ring

Peridot is the national gem of Egypt and was one of the most treasured stones of ancient times that held profound meaning for the civilization. So much so that the location of Topazo Island, the primary peridot mine in ancient Egypt, was kept closely guarded at all times.

Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun” whereas the Romans dubbed it “evening’s emerald” because it emits a bright green glow even under artificial light. Peridots were used for jewelry, carved talismans, decorating church plates and robes, and even embedded in cathedrals.

The Three Kings Shrine inside the Cologne Cathedral located in Germany was believed to be adorned with emeralds but it was later proven to be peridots. In fact, it’s also a contested theory that Cleopatra’s famous emerald jewels were not actually emeralds but peridots because Egypt and Burma were the only places where these types of gemstones with hues as deep as emeralds could be found.

Peridot is the August birthstone and carries gemstone meanings of joy, light, and abundance. Protection against nightmares, healing the heart chakra, and bringing good fortune are some other beliefs and peridot meanings. This stone is often recommended to be worn by those who want to invite new experiences and opportunities into their life. We suggest going for either yellow or white gold peridot rings which have diamonds as secondary stones so it really catches the eye.

9. Garnet Meaning

A Garnet ring

Small garnets have a striking resemblance to pomegranate seeds, so it’s no wonder that the name garnet comes from the Latin word "granatum," which means “seed” or “grain”. Garnet with all its symbolic gemstone meaning is believed to have been used as far back as the Bronze Age.

In Ancient Egypt, garnet was used for carvings and engravings. Garnet gemstones were also used for burying the dead because Egyptians believed they would provide safe passage through the nether world. These types of gemstones were favored by Ancient Romans too who associated them with the god of war—Mars or Ares—and wore it into battles. They also used them in signet rings to stamp important documents.

In medieval Europe, garnets were used to decorate chalices and crosses and were fashioned into a variety of jewelry including tiaras and crowns. Healing is another one of the gemstone meanings associated with garnet. It was used to heal wounds, fight the Black Plague, as well as treat ailments of the heart, liver, and lungs. It was believed that garnet gemstones could also repel nightmares and misfortune.

Today, some garnet meanings are creativity, passion, and energy. Being the January birthstone, these types of gemstones are also a symbol of faith and friendship. It’s believed that people drawn to garnet are good at expressing themselves through art and share a good connection with their inner selves. So if you know someone with a creative bone in their body or want to tap into your own inner artist with this gemstone's meanings, a garnet ring can be the most thoughtful gift.

10. Diamond Meaning

A Diamond ring

The most coveted stone today and in times past, the diamond is a marvel of nature. Its name is derived from the Greek word "adamas," which means "unconquerable", a reference to the stone’s hardness and durability.

Greeks believed that the stones were tears of the gods or fallen stars. Diamond was first discovered in India and was referred to as “vajra” in Sanskrit which means “lightning”. In Hindu mythology, “Vajra” is the indestructible weapon wielded by God Indra, so one popular diamond meaning was protection from being struck by lightning.

Due to its limited quantity, only the richest aristocrats and royalty could possess these rare types of gemstones. Other gemstone meanings surrounding diamonds included protection from the plague, warding off envy and ill-intent, and curing heart ailments.

Ever wonder why engagement rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand? It was called the “vena amoris”—or the “vein of love—and it’s because Ancient Romans believed that people had a vein that led directly to the heart. Unfortunately, it turns out there is no single special vein that leads directly to the heart that is any different from your other fingers—but it’s still a fun tradition.

In medieval Europe, two-stone diamond rings, also known as "Toi et Moi" rings, were widely popular as a symbol of unity between two lovers. Today, they hold the same gemstone meanings and are often used to mark anniversaries and relationship milestones—you can even see them being used as a unique spin on an engagement ring.

Similarly, three-stone diamond rings were thought to represent the past, present, and future of a couple’s relationship—a promise that their love will endure for eternity. Solitaire diamond rings are now one of the most popular designs today because of their simplicity and elegance.

11. Aquamarine Meaning

An Aquamarine ring

Aquamarine, the birthstone of March, was highly valued by the Greeks and Romans who called it the “water of the sea” and believed that it would bless fishermen at sea and keep sailors safe from harm.

Romans believed aquamarine promotes trust, harmony, and fidelity in relationships and they considered these gemstone meanings an appropriate gift for newlyweds. The day after the wedding, the groom would gift the bride an aquamarine ring or necklace as a token of his love and a symbol of their new journey. These types of gemstones were also used for crafting oracles and were thought to possess healing properties for ailments of the digestive system, liver, eyes, and throat.

Metaphysical communities associate aquamarine with the throat chakra and believe that the gemstone’s meanings include peace, tranquility, and clarity. People who are drawn to this stone are often deep thinkers who love quiet and solitude. They have a gentle disposition and are good communicators. They value trustworthiness and meaningful relationships.

Much of aquamarine’s meaning and metaphysical abilities are attributed to its soothing color which fills people with a sense of serenity. If you’re a zodiac enthusiast then it would interest you to know that aquamarine rings are a suitable choice for Aries, Gemini, Virgo, Aquarius, Taurus, and Capricorn. But truly, it’s a breathtaking stone that will look good on anyone.

Discover Gemstone Meanings Through Jewelry

Whether you believe in their metaphysical properties, rich history, and deep symbolism, or are simply appreciative of their aesthetic value, jewelry is the perfect way to explore and display all types of gemstones while also elevating your daily style.

At AZEERA, we’re passionate about creating high-quality gemstone rings and cufflinks. We use high-grade, conflict-free gemstones that are hand-selected and individually inspected for quality. Our rings and cufflinks are customizable and come with a lifetime warranty on craftsmanship.

You can also request a custom design to get your one-of-a-kind dream ring crafted by our experts. Explore our collection to discover beautiful gemstone rings for everyday wear and gifting for special occasions, milestones, or your own personal celebration.

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