Birthstones are the specific gemstones that have been assigned to each month of the year. Each has its own special meaning and history. Traditionally, each month is associated with one stone, but a few months have multiple stones attached to them.
The history of birthstones dates back to Biblical times. The book of Exodus describes the Breastplate of Aaron, a religious garment, which contained 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The ancient scholar Josephus later determined that the 12 stones correlated to the 12 signs of the zodiac.
It became popular belief that each stone had powers of luck, healing and prosperity if worn during its assigned month. In order to take full advantage of this idea, a person would have to possess all twelve gemstones and switch them out at the beginning of each month.
In today’s society, we generally gravitate toward the gemstone that correlates to our birth month. This idea is a modern adaptation of the original intent. The current list of birthstones was actually created in 1912 by the Jewelers of America and has remained the standard since that time.
The following is a list of each birthstone by month and the meaning behind each.
January—Garnet: symbolizes eternal friendship and trust and was named after its likeness to a pomegranate seed.
February—Amethyst: a symbol of royalty and believed to give its wearer a level head and quick wit.
March—Aquamarine: symbolizes calm and was originally believed to protect sailors on sea voyages.
April—Diamond: symbolizes invincibility and eternal love.
May—Emerald: a symbol of rebirth and said to give the wearer youth and good fortune.
June—Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone: pearl symbolizes purity, alexandrite symbolizes good luck and creativity and moonstone symbolizes longevity.
July—Ruby: a symbol of love and said to bring wisdom, health and wealth to its wearer.
August—Peridot: symbolizes the tears of Pele (goddess of fire and volcanoes) and believed to give the wearer influence and power.
September—Sapphire: symbolizes purity and wisdom and said to provide protection for loved ones.
October—Tourmaline and Opal: tourmaline is called the “peace stone,” and opal symbolizes faith and confidence.
November—Topaz and Citrine: topaz symbolizes passion and intensity, while Citrine is a symbol of peace and loyalty.
December—Turquoise, Zircon and Tanzanite: turquoise symbolizes prosperity, zircon symbolizes purity and dignity and tanzanite symbolizes truth and integrity.
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