Sources for baby names are everywhere; from newspapers, literature and sports figures, to singers, scientists and even things found on earth. Such is the case with names based on jewels, gems and minerals. Many of the rocks, some rather fancy ones, were widely used as names in the past but fell to the wayside in more modern days. However, today there's been a resurgence of old-fashioned names that you'd have once only found in a nursing home roster. Everything goes in cycles after all. Besides some old-fashioned rock and gem names, there are some newer ones, since some stones are newly discovered themselves.
When looking at names from things in nature or from the earth, parents can think of using gems attached to their child's birth month, or the special appearance of the gems. Another factor in choosing a name from gemstones is the special meaning, or historical accounts of special traits or powers supposedly offered by the stones. For instance, fluorite is supposed to be a stone of discernment, meaning its power gives the wearer or bearer the ability to find concealed truths, thereby giving order to chaos, and strengthening relations. Or with quartz, the person will have focused energy and will have their spiritual power aided.
An old-fashioned name for certain, Opal is not in the top 100, or 1000 for that matter, but it has been rising over the last couple years along with many other older names. Call me a little biased, but it was the name of my grandmother. Opals are attached to those with October birthdays, and also to the 14th wedding anniversary. In Greek "Opallios" means to see a color change, which is apt for this stone with widely varying color and luster. The stone had a bit of bad public relations in the 19th century, and was considered bad luck, but that is mostly poo-poohed by those who study such things. Opals are strongly associated with love and fidelity, as well as helping achieve clarity of thought. Believed to calm troubled minds, opals are said to bring pleasant dreams and ward off nightmares. They are also supposed to bring deep inner calm and peace.
Lovely red rubies have long been associated with royalty, as well as love and wisdom. While the height of the name's popularity was in the late 19th and early 20th century, Ruby has been darting up the charts, landing at #74 in 2016, along with some other older names. Ruby as a gemstone is supposed to help the wearer have wisdom to lead, the ability to set a strong value system, and some people believe owning a ruby will protect their wealth. Rubies are also supposed to have some protective abilities, which is most likely why they are often seen in breastplates and shields from times gone by. Rubies have enduring appeal as stones, remaining one of the most popular gems of all time. Ruby is a sweet name for a little girl, and certainly a fan of the inimitable Ruby Dee, an actress, writer and civil rights activist, will not mind naming a daughter this.
Once considered the most valuable gem in the world, and known as the "Queen of Gems," pearls hold a special place in history. Their origin has been linked to goddess tears, the tears of the moon and a creation by angels flying through clouds. Unique from actual gemstones and minerals, pearls are organic matter formed from oysters and mollusks. While it's traditionally held that it's the birthstone of June, in total five months have claimed the pearl as their own; February, April, July and November. It's become so associated with the ideal of purity that it's often part of a bridal dress or adornments at weddings.
Another oldie but goodie, Pearl has seen a resurgence in recent years, especially as celebs have dubbed their daughters with is, like Jack Osborne, Maya Rudolph and Busy Philipps. Still a long way from an overused name, Pearl in 2015 hit the name list at #545. Pearl is also a big literary name, as in the Scarlett Letter, Hester Prynne names her illegitimate daughter Pearl. Famous Pearls include the legendary singer, Pearl Bailey, and the famed writer, Pearl S. Buck.
The sapphire is another long-revered stone, key to many religions going back nearly as far in history as any gemstone. The gem is associated with the heavens with its divine blue coloration, and is also September's birthstone. Its associations are with pure qualities such as virtue, wisdom, joy and truth. It has been believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the wearer, as well as heal many ailments of the owner. Sapphire however has not been a particularly often used name, although one notable exception in recent history is the poet and writer, Sapphire, whose book went on to become the acclaimed movie, "Precious." Sapphire is a sparkling-sounding girly name that would fit for a child of someone who loves classical type names. If too much out of the box as a first name, it would make a fitting middle name when paired with a simpler first one.
The name "Garnet" was never what you'd call a household name, but its height of popularity was in the early 1900s Victorian era, and has been bestowed primarily upon girls, but also boys in lesser numbers. Garnet is also an occupation name for those in the trade of making, fitting or selling garnets or a type of hinge, and is also a surname. Garnet gems are dark red stones that were named for their similar appearance to the fruit pomegranate. Garnets are associated with a second (though some say 6th or 19th!) wedding anniversary and are the birthstones for January.
Garnets have enduring qualities, as evidenced in their discovery in the grave of a man dating to 3000 BC. They are mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible, in the Koran and there's a portrait of Plato engraved upon a garnet. Some cultures thought the stone represented the sun, while Christians saw the gem as a symbol of Christ's sacrificial blood. They have been touted as cures for depression, protection from drowning for children and general health and protection from evil spirits. Garnet is a unisex name that has a simple sound and appeal to it, making it work in combination with other names quite easily.
Topaz is typically colorless or amber toned. It's associated with religion and royalty, as being mentioned in the Old Testament as a stone in Aaron's breastplate, the symbol of the Egyptian sun god Ra, and linked to the god Apollo. It's also one of the stones of Hindu's Kalpa tree, as well as a sacred stone for African shamans in healing rituals. It's associated with love and good fortune and thought to ward off depression and a catalogue of physical ailments. As a name, Topaz has never been widely given to children, but for parents looking for a strong sounding, but short name, Topaz could be perfect. The lingering 'z' sound at the end makes the short name seem even longer. It's one of the gems assigned as November's birthstone, so parents of near-Thanksgiving babies may want to consider this gem of a name, as it is also thought to bring warmth and calmness; lovely traits in children!
Both my daughters were born in February, and love the color purple, so amethyst is a perfect fit. It was once considered solely for royalty, no commoners allowed. However, it is also believed to ward off drunkenness, and amethyst comes from the Greek word for sober. It is also said to embolden its wearer with courage, as well as having the gift of strengthening relationships. Certainly not a choice for those who like plain names, amethyst doesn't even quite crack the top 1500 names for girls. One of the few famous folks with the name Amethyst is the rapper dubbed Iggy Azalea. I guess Amethyst wasn't unique enough? Amethyst lends itself easily to simple nicknames, should a girl grow up and inexplicably not appreciate her special handle. Ame, Amy, Ameth are all potential nicknames. As a gem, amethyst is known to help those trying to escape addictions, is believed to aid calmness and serenity, and helps provide inner strength and flexibility.
Sometimes beautiful things have some less than romantic origins. The meaning of the word jade is traced in French and Spanish to a word meaning flank, because jade was thought to heal kidney ailments. However, jade has been highly valued in Asian culture since prehistoric times, in China, India and Korea, as well as other nations in Southeast Asia. It also plays an important role in Maori culture in New Zealand. Jade is said to bring balance and function to difficult relationships, promotes physical healing and serenity. Jade however has not been long used as a name, and when it is, it's typically a girl's name. While it hasn't quite cracked the top 100 in the US, it's hugely popular in France, and not far behind in Belgium. Jade is definitely a simple name that can be used in conjunction with a wide variety of different sounding names. It has an exotic quality, as well.
If you really want to go off the beaten track and look for a truly unusual name, Ametrine should fill the bill. An ametrine is a rare type of quartz, made up of amethyst and citrine, is only found naturally in Bolivia, and more recently Brazil. Ametrine is traced back to a gift given to a Spanish conquistador when he wed a princess from the Ayoreos tribe. The conquistador carried the stone back to his Spanish queen as a present. Commercial mining of ametrine only began in the 1980s in Bolivia, however. Ametrine is also known as Trystine, which would also make a fine feminine name. Ametrine is banded in pale violet and golden shades. Ametrine is thought to unite female and male energies, aid in peacefulness, and to relieve stress. Ametrine lends itself to simple nicknames such as Amy, Ame, or Trine.
Jet is just a plain, cool-sounding name. Few probably realize it's not just a modern, fast plane; it's also a mineral. To be precise, jet is fossilized driftwood that has metamorphosed into coal. The jet mined in England is traced back to the Jurassic Period, so is about 180 million years old. It's very lightweight and can become charged electrically when rubbed with silk or wool. In Victorian England it was used as mourning jewelry, and it's also been purposed for rosaries. Jet is well suited for mourning since it supposedly aids in healing grief, provides calm and protects from evil and violence. Jet sounds like a more masculine than feminine name, but today the gender-bending of names is a given choice for parents.
Kyanite comes from the Greek word, "kyanos" meaning a deep blue. Kyanite is a metamorphic rock that has both gem quality and industrial purpose. It is considered a source to help the wearer into meditative states and calms one's energy. Kyanite is certainly not a well-known gemstone to an average American, so will be a highly rare name. It could be feminine or masculine, and could be easily shortened to Kya, Ky, or Kyan for a truly modern sounding moniker. The traits of the gem, beauty, strength and usefulness, are wonderful characteristics to wish upon a child.
Speaking from a geological point of view, beryl is a mineral whose name depends on the color of the stone. For instance green beryl is emerald; blue is aquamarine, and pink is morganite. Yellow is heliodor and red beryl is simply red beryl. Utah is the main source for this mineral, and of those listed, red beryl is most rare and quite valuable. As a name Beryl has really only ever caught on in Britain, and it has some history as a unisex name. Some associate it with a regular, old-fashioned gem name along the lines of Opal and Ruby, but it has a sweet, soft sound to it, and if desired, could make a lovely middle name.
Agate, pronounced typically as 'agit,' is a translucent type of quartz that produces semiprecious stones. They come in variable shades from browns and golds to pinks, whites and grays, as well as blacks. They frequently have banded patterns that are striking. Agate was seen in France as a girls' name long ago, but is rare today in most countries. Agate is an unusual name that some people may be unsure of pronouncing, so if parents don't want to be pestered into teaching everyone how to say their daughter's name, they may relegate it to a middle name. Agates are said to increase intelligence and creativity as well as maintain harmony. It's also considered a protective stone, particularly for children. Additionally, it's supposed to instill its wearer with courage and confidence. Agate is also considered as a name to be somewhat related to Agatha, a none too popular name in modern times.
Amber really isn't a mineral at all, rather it's fossilized tree resin. While there are other color variations, most amber falls into the reddish, yellowish-orange category. In 2016 it ranked #341 in the US as a girl's name, but it's been popular here in America since the late 1970s. An ancient treasure dubbed, "Gold of the Sea," amber was said to be the tears of the gods, drops of sun, honey that hardened or sunlight in mineral form. Amber has been associated strongly with physical healing powers, and that may stem from the source of the ancient trees from which it was born. Amber is believed to draw negativity from a person, whether emotional or physical. Amber can be shortened to Amby, or Amy if desired.
Onyx is not the average baby name, and only rises to about the top 1600-1700 names in the US. Onyx is related to agate, as both are types of chalcedony. Onyx comes in different hues, but black onyx is the most well-known and has been used for millennia as cameos. It is mentioned in the Bible, and was used by ancient Egyptians, as well as by Romans and Greeks. It's been used to help in childbirth, and to protect warriors in battle in ancient Rome. Onyx as a name has been consistently rising in popularity, and is used for either boys or girls. Onyx is believed to strengthen one's energy and stamina, as well as provide the user wisdom. Onyx is the birthstone for the zodiac sign of Leo, so for babies born between the 23 of July and the 22 of August, it would be a very fitting name.
No gem rises above the diamond in lore and in perceived value. It's nickname is King of Gems, but has also been known as the stone of invincibility for its hard and enduring quality. It is the most common gem set in American engagement rings, and that trend is catching on worldwide. Diamonds are the hardest known natural substance and have industrial as well as jewel value. As a baby name, Diamond reached its zenith during the 1990s and has fallen off considerably. It has been used for both genders and according to the Social Security Administration, Diamond was given as a baby name to less than 300 children in 2015.
The blue variety of beryl varies in richness of blues, but is reminiscent of the sea, hence the name of the gem. It's considered calming, soothing and to promote truth and trust. Sailors used aquamarine as a good luck charm, and it is thought to be a protector of those traveling by water. Aquamarine was once thought to be a stone of eternal youth, and is used by some crystal-gazers to predict the future. For those wanting a lovely, peaceful name with ancient lore attached to it this would make a good girl's name, most likely. It is so rare it's not ranking anywhere. Nicknames could be Mari, Marine or some other variant.
Coral of course is from a living organism of the sea, found in warm, often shallow waters, and grows into colonies or reefs. Coral has long been used in jewelry making, in fact going back thousands of years. It was once thought to be a plant and coral was called "the garden of the sea." Coral can be red, pink, white, black and yellow. Red is the favored color, however. Coral is believed to aid in imagination, ease depression and increase peace. As a name Coral ranked #1226 in the US for 2016. It's never had a real heyday as an American name. Corie and Cora are possible diminutives for Coral. Mars was once thought to be made of red coral!
Emeralds are green-hued beryls, and have been mined in Egypt since 1500 BC, and in Austria and India since the 14th century AD. Now emeralds are found primarily in Columbia and Africa. As a birthstone, emeralds are assigned to the month of May, as well as the astrological signs of Taurus and Gemini. Emerald is associated with Venus, and Cleopatra was partial to them as well. Emeralds are believed to be connected to unconditional love, inspiration, domestic happiness and loyalty. Emerald is a girl's name, and rose to #941 in 2016 in America. While emeralds are May's birthstone, they are also the stone of the astrological sign, Cancer. Emerald can be shortened to Ema, Emma, Emer, or Emie.
This gem is an opaque type of chalcedony, and uniquely multicolored and patterned. It is one of the oldest known gemstones, is mentioned in the Bible, and was used in ancient Egypt. As a gem it is supposed to be lucky for actors, and gives its wearer confidence and emotional balance. Jasper is one of the few mineral names for boys. In the last few years, Jasper has only ranked in the top 200 names, but is more popular in the Netherlands where it ranked #78, and is pronounced YASpar. Probably the most illustrious example of famous people with the name is one of the Magi, or the Three Wise Men, to visit the infant Jesus - he was supposedly said to be named Jasper. It is said to mean "treasurer" in Persian.
Citrine is a yellowish gold type of quartz that is thought to increase wealth, balance and creativity, and decrease negativity. Citrine as a name is quite rare, occurring about 3 in every million American babies. Citrine as a natural mineral is also quite rare. Along with topaz, citrine is a birthstone for November. It was used as adornment in ancient Greece, and the name is likely traced to the French word, "citron," meaning lemon. Citrine was very popular in Art Deco art. Citrine will be a name to set a little girl apart from her classmates, if that's something to be desired by her parents. Trine would be an obvious nickname. It'd work well as a middle name, as well, especially for a November daughter.
Galena is a mineral made up primarily of lead, but sometimes silver can be found in it as well. An interesting fact about the mineral, scientists believe on Venus it rains galena. Galena isn't a gemstone but rather a useful source of lead for industries, as well as for the significant silver production. Galena as a name is given to baby girls in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Galena as a baby name is attributed to the Spanish and means "little intelligent one." Galena is also a place name for several US cities, where of course, lead mining has been prominent. Galena would be shortened to Lena or Gale.
Turquoise has a long history of being mined, going back to the first dynasty of Egypt, was popular in Mesopotamia, and with the Aztecs and Mesoamericans. The name of the stone became synonymous with the color of the stone, in the English language. It's a December birthstone and believed to attract love, soothe the mind and help creativity. As a name it's definitely not common; in fact you'd be pretty accurate in saying it's one in a million. Turquoise is a French word meaning, "Turkish stone," due to where it was mined and traded. Turquoise is also the name of Dr. J, Julius Erving's ex-wife. This would make a nice name for baby girls born in December, whose parents love the stone or color, and wish their baby to have an unusual feminine name.
Chalcedony is a form of quartz and was mentioned in the Bible. It was used during the Bronze Age, at the Minoan Palace of Knossos. It is believed to promote brotherhood and goodwill, as well as being a stone of harmony and generosity. It's supposed to enable the wearer's sadness to turn to joy. Chalcedony can be pronounced with an initial 'k' sound or 'ch' sound, and may be shortened to Chalce, Chal, Dony, or Chally. It's a truly unique name that doesn't even show up on the name charts, ensuring parents that their child would be the only student answering to that name in the entire school. Chalcedony was supposedly used in Aaron's breastplate, according to the Old Testament of the Bible.
Tourmaline's history is that it was brought to Europe by the East India Company from Sri Lanka. It's an alternative to October's typical birthstone of October. Generally, tourmaline is black or pink, and some pink ones are so vivid they have been confused with rubies. Tourmaline has been used for carved figures in China since ancient times, and was used in India for ceremonies. It's been used by tribes in Australia, Africa, and by Native Americans as talismans. It's thought to be helpful to creative types, such as writers, actors, artists and is thought to provide enlightenment. Tourmaline could have nicknames such as Toury, Mali, or Lina. Tourmaline has an old fashioned sound to it, and would also work as a middle name for a daughter.