Your Birthstone Book

Unearth the Secrets of Your Birthday Gem


By Sarah Glenn Marsh

Illustrated by Hallye Webb

Formats and Prices




$19.99 CAD



  1. Hardcover $14.99 $19.99 CAD
  2. ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 6, 2022. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Learn the amazing (and sometimes magical) history of gemstones from around the world through the corresponding birthstones that represent each month of the year.

Gemstones are among Earth’s rarest and most beautiful creations. They are history’s preeminent symbols of wealth and power. They are valued because they are beautiful and rare, but also because their beauty is undiminished with time. The stone that once adorned a king or maharaja, might today be set in a ring or necklace, and if not destroyed, will continue to sparkle thousands of years from now. This history only increases the value of these stones.

What better way to teach young readers about gemstones than by focusing on the different birthstones that correspond to each month of the year? Everyone (mostly) knows their birthstone. But do they know the full history of these stones–where they were mined, how/why they were popular, or how to best harness a stone's energy to help deal with matters of friendship, family, and life? Your Birthstone Book will give readers insight into the powers assigned different bithstones while exploring their fascinating uses over the course of history.



Those born in January have the birthstone garnet, a stone that has long been connected to strong, intense feelings. The name garnet comes from the Latin word granatus, meaning “pomegranate,” because the gem’s color resembles the rich red insides of this fruit. The stones range in their natural state from the size of a grain of sand to gems as large as an apple.

However, while we most often associate garnet with the color red, these stones are available in a rainbow of other colors like orange, yellow, purple, and green. Some garnets even change color from blue to purple in different lighting! Part of the reason for this color variation is that garnet isn’t just one stone—it’s actually a group of several minerals. Some varieties of garnet that are worn as gems include pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, andradite, and tsavorite, with grossular having the widest color range among garnets.

Garnets can be found throughout the world. While Africa supplies most of the garnets available today, they are also mined in California, Russia, Eastern Europe, Myanmar, Brazil, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and more. Garnets are used not only in jewelry-making; they also have industrial uses such as making watch gears and are found in sandpaper and other abrasives.

History and Lore

Garnets have played an important role throughout history and across cultures and religions. Red garnets were popular in jewelry worn by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt (even into the afterlife, where they have been found on mummies!), used in signet rings in ancient Rome to help stamp the wax that sealed important letters and documents, and fawned over by the clergy and nobility of the Middle Ages.

From A.D. 23–79, red garnets were among the most widely traded gems in the world, though they often went by another name back then: carbuncle, which could be used to describe a number of red gems.

In medieval times, garnets were believed to cure inflammatory diseases and help heal ailing hearts.

Ancient Greeks and Romans often wore garnets as protective talismans. The Greeks called it “the lamp stone” and said that if a garnet was hung around the neck, it could give its wearer the power to see in the dark.

Some Asiatic peoples used garnets as weapons, launching them from sling bows at their enemies; they later used them in place of bullets in their firearms. They believed the blood-colored stone would inflict more deadly wounds than leaden bullets could.

Pyrope garnets were especially beloved in Victorian times for their rich, deep red color. This variety of garnet came from Bohemia, the westernmost region of the Czech Republic, and was mined there for over three hundred years beginning in the 1500s. The Pyrope Hair Comb is a beautiful, tiara-shaped example of a surviving piece created from this Victorian garnet craze.


Those born in February have the popular purple quartz known as amethyst for their birthstone. Amethyst is often considered the most valued quartz variety, and it’s no wonder, as a single amethyst crystal can grow to amazing proportions: the Gemological Institute of America once displayed an amethyst weighing 164 pounds! Amethysts (the ones that don’t weigh as much as a person, that is) need some extra care to maintain their beauty, however; their rich color has been known to fade when left too long in sunlight.

Amethyst ranges in color from soft lilac to deep purple and can be cut into many shapes and sizes. In addition to being mined in nature, it can also be created in a laboratory or factory—this is called synthetic amethyst. Amethyst is sometimes treated with heat to turn it a vivid yellow color, which is then marketed as another gem, citrine (which also happens to be one of the two November birthstones), in jewelry and other decorations. In Bolivia, amethyst and citrine can sometimes occur within the same crystal. This creates a half-purple, half-yellow gem that’s totally unique, called ametrine.

Gem-quality amethyst used to be found mostly in Russia, and back then, it was as scarce as rubies and emeralds. Then, in the nineteenth century, large deposits of amethyst were discovered in Brazil, where it formed in hollow geodes (a stone that has a cavity lined with crystals) big enough for a person to stand in! Today, amethyst is mined in parts of Africa such as Madagascar and Rwanda, and in South America, particularly in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul and Bolivia’s Anahí mines. Amethyst can also be found in several parts of the United States.

History and Lore

According to Greek legends, amethyst is associated with Bacchus, the god of wine, because of the gem’s wine-like color.

Amethyst has been popular with royalty throughout Europe and Asia since the days of Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.); many royals believed the stone protected its wearer from disease and infection. Catherine the Great (Empress Catherine II of Russia, 1729–1796) was known for wearing layers of amethyst earrings, necklaces, and other jewelry. Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (England, 1896–1986) was also a fan of amethyst and often wore it to make a statement.

Ancient Egyptians knew amethyst as hemag, a stone listed in their Book of the Dead as one that should be carved into heart-shaped amulets to accompany a body in burial ceremonies.

Renaissance-era (1300s–1600s) Europeans used to believe that wearing amethyst calmed people overrun by passion and could keep the wearer clearheaded both in battle and in business matters.

Amethyst was sometimes equal in value to diamonds—that is, until Brazil’s large deposits of the purple crystal were discovered in the nineteenth century.

Saint Valentine, a figure often associated with romantic love and the February 14 holiday, supposedly wore an amethyst ring that had been carved with an image of Cupid.

Astrologer Camillo Leonardi (1451–1550) believed that amethyst could make you smarter and get rid of evil thoughts; it was considered to be powerful psychic protection from witchcraft as well.

Travelers in ancient times wore amethyst in the hope of preventing betrayal and surprise attacks while on the road, while soldiers believed it kept them from harm and promised them victory over their enemies.


On Sale
Dec 6, 2022
Page Count
128 pages
Running Press Kids

Sarah Glenn Marsh

About the Author

Sarah Glenn Marsh is an author of several young adult novels and over half a dozen picture books. When she's not writing, she loves creating pottery and painting it in exciting new colors. She lives with her husband and many pets, including four dogs and three birds, in Richmond, Virginia.

Hallye Webb is an illustrator and designer based in New York City. Drawing inspiration from the Wisconsin farm where she grew up, her Mexican heritage, and the art of storytelling, she hopes her work inspires readers to love and care for their communities and our planet. She lives near Central Park with her husband Stephen and their dog Moss.

Learn more about this author