Pretty much everyone has heard of a “birthstone.” Most people might even know what their birthstone is and the meaning. But do you know how birthstones came about and were even referenced in the bible? Read more to find out.
Who Invented Birthstones?
According Wonderopolis, “Experts believe that birthstones can be traced back to the Bible. In Exodus 28, Moses sets forth directions for making special garments for Aaron, the High Priest of the Hebrews. Specifically, the breastplate was to contain twelve precious gemstones, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Later, these twelve stones were likely also linked to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Eventually, they also became associated with the twelve months of the calendar year.
“Throughout history, there have been many myths and legends associated with birthstones. Many cultures have believed that birthstones have magical healing powers or bring good luck. Not all cultures have agreed on which stones correspond to which months, though, so you can find different lists of birthstones over the course of time. Today, most jewelers agree on a basic set of birthstones.”
The current recognized birthstone list dates back to the early 20th century when the American professional organization National Association of Jewelers created a formalized list. Over the years gemstones have been added and replaced to give us the current list. Of course, different cultures have different lists and the zodiac list varies as well. The list is meant to be lighthearted and fun and by no means a limit to the gemstones you may enjoy wearing.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains that “the birthstones we associate with certain months now are not necessarily the same ones as in ancient times. Birthstone colors were once the most important feature of a stone, which meant that ancients did not distinguish between a ruby and a garnet, for example. The names used in history may not relate to the stone we think of with that name today, too. For example, a sapphire in the Bible was probably what we know today as lapis. Diamonds were probably a white sapphire or white topaz. The stones originally assigned to each month related to the stones appearing on the breastplate of a Jewish high priest. The wearing of birthstones is thought to bring good luck and good health. Astrologers long ago attributed supernatural powers to certain gemstones.”
Here is a look through the calendar months to learn a bit more about each of these birthstones as described by the American Gem Society.
January – Garnet
For babies born in January, the garnet is the perfect gem to represent their birthstone. This beautiful stone, which is most commonly red but can be found in a range of other colors, symbolizes peace, prosperity and good health. Some say it even has the power to give the wearer eternal happiness, health and wealth.
February – Amethyst
For individuals with February birthdays, the amethyst makes for a cheerful birthstone. This month is often cold, dark and short for many people around the world, so the amethyst—which is often associated with qualities of peace, courage and stability—is the right gem for individuals who need a little extra warmth and strength this time of year.
March – Aquamarine and Bloodstone
For the lucky individuals born in March, two birthstones are associated with this early spring month: aquamarine and the more ancient choice of bloodstone. Both stones are very different from one another in appearance, but each share a similar symbolism of preserving or enhancing the health of the wearer.
April – Diamond
For those in April, the most prized gemstone of all is their birthstone. For this month, diamonds truly are a girl’s (or a boy’s) best friend.
May – Emerald
May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring, and the emerald is the perfect gem to symbolize and celebrate this month. Prized for its brilliant and beautiful green color, the emerald is often favored by the rich and famous to wear as statement pieces for big events. But this beautiful gem is just at home in an unassuming pendant as it is in an ornate tiara.
June is one of only three months that has three birthstones associated with it, giving the lucky people born in June a choice of gemstones between pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. June’s birthstones range from creamy-colored opalescent pearl and moonstone to the rare color-changing alexandrite—one of the most valuable gems on earth. With this spectrum of price points and color options, people with June birthdays can choose a beautiful gemstone to fit any mood or budget.
July – Ruby
Ruby, the king of precious gems, is the birthstone for fortunate folks born in July. Symbolic of the passion and energy associated with the color red, the vibrant ruby is said to bring love and success.
August – Sardonyx, Peridot and Spinel
In 2016, August joined June and December as one of the three birth months represented by three gems. The original birthstone for August was Sardonyx, and then peridot was added, becoming August’s primary gem. The addition of spinel, which can be found in a variety of colors, gives August babies a plethora of options!
September – Sapphire
September’s birthstone is the sapphire—a precious gem of wisdom, loyalty and nobility. This stone is said to focus the mind, encourage self-discipline and channel higher powers. When people say “sapphire,” they’re usually referring to the royal blue variety of this gem, although it can occur in all colors of the rainbow (except red, which is classified as ruby instead). This lovely gem gives September-born babies a full spectrum of options when choosing the shade of birthstone that best represents them.
October – Tourmaline and Opal
Individuals born in October get to choose between two birthstones—tourmaline and opal. Each gem then unveils nearly limitless possibilities, as each one comes in a rainbow of shades and color combinations. In fact, both of October’s birthstones came to earth through a journey involving rainbows, according to legend. Between tourmaline (whose color depends on trace elements in its chemical makeup) and opal (which diffracts light to show a play of multiple colors), October’s birthstones offer a full spectrum of gems to suit anyone’s personal tastes.
November – Topaz and Citrine
Individuals born in November can choose between two sunny gemstones to brighten up this chilly month. November’s birthstones, topaz and citrine, are both known for their calming energies, bringing warmth and fortune to those who wear them. Topaz and citrine look so similar, in fact, that they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history. They are actually unrelated minerals, and topaz occurs in a wide spectrum of colors far beyond yellow. Both of November’s birthstones are fairly abundant and affordably priced, even in large sizes, which means everyone can find a way to fit topaz and citrine into their budget.
December – Tanzanite, Zircon and Turquoise
December’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise – all of them, appropriately, best known for beautiful shades of blue. These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon), to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite). All of these stones are relatively inexpensive, but their beauty rivals even precious gems. Colorless zircon is a convincing replacement for diamond, tanzanite often substitutes sapphire, and turquoise is unmatched in its hue of robin’s egg blue. Whatever your style preference or budget, one of December’s three birthstones will match your true-blue desires.
Stop by one of Albert’s four locations to find the perfect birthstone that you are looking for!
Albert’s has been family owned and operated since 1927. No matter what part of the Tri-Cities you’re in we have a location to serve you. With two locations in Johnson City (Albert’s downtown and North Johnson City), Albert’s in Bristol and Albert’s Pawn in Kingsport – getting top dollar for your items for pawn loans and finding that item you’ve been looking for at an unbeatable price has never been easier!