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April 23, 2020
The most popular baby girl names in the U.S. are Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella and Sophia, according to the Social Security Administration’s latest statistics.
With traditional names all the rage, expectant parents may consider taking a closer look at the symbolic and beautiful baby names associated with precious stones.
It was not unusual in the early 1900s to have a schoolhouse filled with youngsters named Pearl, Opal, Coral and Beryl. Parents at the time believed that children named for precious stones would be anointed with luck and prosperity.
Now, more than 100 years later, six gem-inspired names are ranked in the Social Security Administration’s official list of the Top 1000 Baby Names (The latest stats cover the years 1900 through 2018).
Here we rate the names in descending order along with comparative stats from yesteryear…
820. Opal. A gem associated with love, Opal returned to the Top 1000 list in 2017 after being gone for 57 years. While it ranked #820 in 2018, it’s important to note that Opal reached its all-time high position of #81 in 1911 and remained in the Top 200 until 1934.
647. Pearl. Said to symbolize the purity, generosity, integrity and loyalty of its wearer, Pearl was one of the most popular girl’s names in 1900. In that year, it attained its highest ranking of #24, and the name remained in the Top 50 through 1911. It slowly faded from favor over the next 60-plus years, bottoming out at #1000 in 1979. The name Pearl has seen a resurgence recently, ranking #647 in 2018. Perla, a variation of Pearl, also made the Top 1000 at #921.
471. Amber. A beautiful deep yellow gemstone made from fossilized tree resin. Amber was the 13th most popular girl’s name in 1986 and was a Top 20 performer from 1981 through 1993. Amber fell out of the Top 100 in 2005 and slid to #471 in 2018.
377. Esmeralda. The Spanish word for emerald, Esmeralda ranked #377 in 2018, down from its peak position of #133 in 1998. The name has been on the Top 1000 list since 1951, when it entered at #958. This gem symbolizes growth, reflection, peace and balance. (See the Emerald listing below in the section called “Off the Charts.”)
111. Jade. This deep green gemstone, which is revered in the Orient for its mystical and healing properties, arrived on the U.S. top names chart in 1975 (#900) and has been in the Top 200 since 1992. In 2018, it ranked #111, up slightly from #130 in 2008. Jada and Jayda, two variations of the name, also made the list at #396 and #577, respectively.
74. Ruby. Fiery and captivating, the rich red ruby is known as the stone of nobility and is considered a symbol of passion and power. Back in 1911, Ruby ranked at the 22nd most popular girl’s name and remained a Top 50 name for the next 24 years. The name hit its low point of #401 in 1986 and has been on a rapid ascent ever since. Now ranked at #74, Ruby is the most popular gemstone-inspired name.
Off the charts…
Here are a few gemstone names that failed make the Top 1000 list…
Diamond. Famous for its strength, clarity and brilliance, diamond is the hardest substance known to man and the birthstone for the month of April. As a girl’s name, Diamond dropped off the Top 1000 chart in 2015 after ranking #887 in 2014. As a girl’s name, Diamond’s popularity peaked in 1999 at #150.
Emerald. Often referred to as one of the four main precious stones, Emerald made the Top 1000 list in 2017 after a 15-year hiatus and then fell off again. The name had been consistently ranked in the Top 1000 from 1991 through 2002.
Beryl. Representative of a mineral family that includes emerald and aquamarine, beryl was a marginally popular name in the early 1900s. It ranked as high as #374 in 1920 and fell off the Top 1000 list in 1958.
Coral. A symbol of modesty, wisdom, happiness and immortality, Coral briefly reentered Top 1000 in 1991 and fell off again in 1993. The name had its longest run in popularity from 1902 through 1911, ranking between #739 and #995.
Check out the SSA’s informative and fun-to-use baby name website at this link.
Credit: Baby photo by BigstockPhoto.com.