Jewel Names for Your Little Gem

Back in the Gay Nineties–the 1890s, that is–there was a major craze for flower names, with Rose, Daisy and Lillie high on the popularity lists. Concurrent with that, there was a mini-fad for jewel names, as in Ruby, Pearl and Opal. Today, history does seem to be repeating itself. Not only are we seeing a name garden blooming with Roses, Lilys and Daisys, but also more exotic blossom names like Jasmine, Violet, Lilac, Poppy, Azalea, Lotus, Aster, and Zinnia. And there are signs of a jewel name revival as well, more colorful than the dated Crystal and Diamond: Ruby is a hot hipster name, Pearl was picked by SNLer Maya Rudolph, and Opal is the name of kid characters in several recent movies.

In the jewelry case, there’s a wide variety of both common (Coral, Amber) and unusual names. First, there are the modern birthstone names (others were used in the past), which could be tied to the baby’s birth month:

GARNET for January
AMETHYST for February
AQUAMARINE for March
DIAMOND for April
EMERALD for May
PEARL for June
RUBY for July
PERIDOT for August
SAPPHIRE for September
OPAL for October
TOPAZ (yellow) or CITRINE for November
TOPAZ (blue) or TURQUOISE for December

And here are some others that might be up for consideration:

ADULAIA
ALAMANDINE/ALMANDINE
AMBER
BERYL
CARNELIAN
CORAL
GEUDA (pronounced gay-oo-la)
HYACINTH ( a flower AND a gem name)
IRIDOT (an old name for opal)
JACINTH
JADE
JASPER
LAPIS LAZULI
LARIMAR
MATARA
ONYX
QUARTZ
VIOLANE
ZIRCON

And then there are some interesting foreign variations. Bear in mind that since Margaret means “pearl,” any one of its many offshoots could be considered a gem name–I’ve just included a couple..

AMBRA (Italian for amber)
BIJOU (French for jewel)
BIYU (Chinese for jasper)
EMERAUDE (French for emerald)
ESME (Persian for emerald)
ESMERALDA (Spanish for emerald)
FAIRUZ/FAIRUZA (Arabic for turquoise)
GEMMA (Italian for gem)
GIADA (Italian for jade)
GRETEL (German for pearl)
GRIET (Dutch for pearl)
JUMANA (Arabic for pearl)
MARIT (Scandinavian for pearl)
PENINA (Henrew for pearl)
PERLA (Spanish and Italian for pearl)
PERLE (French for pearl)
PHAILIN (Thai for sapphire)
RURI (Japanese for emerald
SAPPHIRA (Greek for sapphire–in Hebrew it’s spelled with one ‘p’)
SHINJI (Japanese for pearl)
ULA (Celtic for gem of the sea)

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12 Responses to “Jewel Names for Your Little Gem”

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theballetnamer Says:

February 6th, 2009 at 9:39 am

My name is Margot, a French variation of Margaret, which means pearl. This is really cool. I love gem names!

Mary Says:

February 6th, 2009 at 10:53 am

Zircon?!

susan Says:

February 6th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

We know a girl whose middle name is Gem. Since her first and last names are each three syllables, Gem is refreshingly short in the middle. Of all the names listed above, my faves are Jasper and Ruby. I love Pearl as a middle name.

Esme Says:

February 6th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I love Opal; I would quite likely give any parent a big hug if the bestowed such a gorgeous name on their child!

Lola Says:

February 6th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

I’d use Ruby for me, Esmeralda/Esme (for a G. Auntie) and Peridot, Jasper, Garnet & Violane just because I really like them! Fairuza/Fairuz feels very “one name” to me, I immediately associate Fairuza with Balk, and as such I’d feel to “Fan crazy” to use it. But I do like it!

Emmy Jo Says:

February 8th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Opal is one of my favorites — it’s actually my 90-year-old great-grandmother’s name.

I’m drawn to Sapphira, though I’m a bit put off by the biblical namesake. (The New Testament Sapphira was struck dead after stealing from the church and lying about it.) Still, it has a lovely sound.

Elizabeth at “You Can’t Call It It” once suggested Olivine. as a girls’ name. (That’s the mineral peridot is made out of.) I think Olivine would be a lovely Olivia alternative, and I love its simple, sweet feel (a tad less frilly than Olivia).

peach Says:

February 11th, 2009 at 12:09 am

Ruby is adorable but I’m sad it is becoming so popular. Garnet is a new idea that I really like. I didn’t realize Beryl is a gem name. Giada, Marit, Gretel, Griet are all nice underused names that are ethnic without being difficult.

Toni Vitanza Says:

July 5th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Topaz lacks the dignity of a Pearl or Opal.

Natalie Says:

March 1st, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Topaz makes me think way back to when I was eleven and named my hamster Topaz.
Benny, Honey, Topaz, Pumpkin, Daisy… I think my name obsession must have started with my hamsters.

fuzzycub Says:

November 6th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

In Spanish Matara is one way of saying “she killed.”

penprince Says:

January 1st, 2012 at 6:09 am

Actually, Ruri (Japanese) means ‘Lapis Lazuli.’ The word for pearl is also ShinJU not ShinJI.

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