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Birthstones and their history

Updated on September 30, 2013


Gemstones, is there a more fun and valuable gift? A long time gemstones are used as jewelry but not only that. Gemstones are used in amulets for extra luck and to avert the misfortune or an illness to cure. Some stones were going to hear to a particular month, a zodiac sign or date of birth. It's nice to see the history behind the stone to know and to find out which stone belongs to which month and what characteristics are attributed to the stone.

There are different lists, the list that is used beow is drawn up in 1937 by the English National Association of Goldsmiths.

Month, zodiac and birthstones

To gemstones have long been attributed magical powers, they are not only jewellery but they are often used in powerful amulets and talismans. Many stones have healing powers according to ancient societies or the stones bring luck and fortune to the wearer. The stone is not only beautiful, the stone also improves the life or protects the life of the wearer.

Even a passage from the Bible is about gemstones. In Exodus (28:15.30), the breastplate of the high priest Aaron is discussed in detail:

Put four rows of stones: the first row is formed by a ruby​​, a topaz and a beryl; the second row by a grenade, a sapphire and aquamarine, the third by a succinic, an agate, and an amethyst, and the fourth by the beryl, an onyx, and a jasper, all encased in gold filigree. There should be twelve stones, as there are twelve names of the sons of Israel.

Although there is debate about the stones and the translation of the text, the foundation of the twelve stones shall be placed here.

The origin of the month stones, birth stones, and stones of the zodiac is likely to be found in this breastplate. Through the centuries the stones have become annexed to the zodiac signs and the months of the year.

There are several lists known and whether they merge months or zodiac signs with gemstones, they all look a lot like each other, but they are also different.

Why was it considered important to attribute a gemstone to a zodiac sign or a month? This was because these special stones were seen as important and powerful amulets. You chose the stone belonging to your birth month or zodiac, then the effect of the stone was even more powerful.

Do you choose a month stone, a stone belonging to your zodiac sign, or the stone of your date of birth

In the Middle Ages some smart guys found a solution, you just made a piece of jewelry with the stones belonging to every month of the year in it. The month stone of the month of your birth created extra happiness and other precious stones gave you protection in the other months. Whatever you think about the powers of gemstones, the supposed magical and protective powers make the birth, month and zodiac stones special!

Beautiful garnet!
Beautiful garnet!

January: Garnet

A special stone that the path of Noah with his ark would have alleviated. In the Greek mythology the stone is associated with the poor Persephone. Hades had the corn goddess kidnapped into his netherworld and had given her pomegranate seeds to eat. Who once has eaten something within the dark realm of Hades could not turn back.

The name of the stone would be derived from the Latin 'granatus' which means seed. It is the stone for knights and warriors, including the Crusaders, who wore the stone as an amulet. Swords and armor were decorated with this stone. The garnet is hard and has in the past been used by Asian tribes for bullets.

Although the garnet can be found in different colors, most popular remains red pyrope. Pyrope is derived from the Greek 'pyropos' fiery. Given the history as "hero stone", it is not hard to figure out where this stone primarily stands for: courage, power, authority, faith and grace.

Violet amethyst!
Violet amethyst!

February: Amethyst

The name of the stone is derived from the Greek 'amethystos', meaning not under the influence or not intoxicating.

The stone gets its name from a Greek myth. The Roman god of wine Bacchus had his eye on a beautiful nymph, Amethis. Amethis saw nothing in the savage god but he didn´t accept that. Amethis asks the goddess Diana for help. This changes the nymph into a stone when Bacchus touches her. The impetuous god gives the stone the color of his favorite wine, violet.

The amethyst is a beautiful violet stone. It seems to have been the favorite of St. Valentine, his feast day falls also on 14 February. However, the significance of this sacred stone has little to do with this.

The stone would protect the wearer against drunkenness and also support in piety and celibacy. The stone therefore became popular in the church. But it was not just the church who liked the stone, various dynasties have set amethysts in their state jewels. Catherine the Great (Russia) even sent hundreds of troops to Siberia to search for the amethyst. It was not only to protect the lady against drunkenness. The stone would also do wonders for the skin.


March: Aquamarine

This beautiful stone was named after the sea water. The Latin words 'aqua' (water) and 'mare' (sea) were pooled. The finest stones are bright blue but the color can vary from pale blue to blue-green.

In Roman times it was told that the aquamarines were fallen from the jewelery boxes of the sirens. The sirens were a kind of malicious demigoddesses who left ships to sink.

The stone was worn primarily as an amulet by sailors, sometimes with a picture of Neptune in the stone engraved. With an aquamarine on a chain around your neck you could handle all dangers at sea.

The stone is also seen as the symbol of love, hope and security. An aquamarine would do wonders for a marriage who needs to be boosted. But to the stone also healing powers were attributed. The stone would be good to use against belly and throat pain.

A rough diamond
A rough diamond

April: Diamond

The hardest of all gemstones and the most discussed.

The almost mythical stories around the stone are countless and "diamonds are a girls best friend"!

The "Star of Africa" makes for almost a century part of the British crown jewels, as well as, perhaps most famous, Kohinoor.

The most discussed diamond was the Taylor-Burton diamond. Richard Burton bought it for Elizabeth to their (first) wedding for $ 1000, 000. With the divorce Elizabeth sold this stone to the fivefold, the proceeds went to charity.

The name of the stone is derived from the Greek adamas, meaning "invincible" or "untamed". Both qualifications relate to the stone, not to the wearer. The stone would cure diseases if you would wear it through the night and possession of a diamond would bring the owner wealth.

Emerald used in jewelry!
Emerald used in jewelry!

May: emerald

The spring stone is the green emerald.

Cleopatra could not get enough of the stone. The oldest stones are therefore found in Egypt. The Incas and Aztecs saw it as a sacred stone and the Indians gave the emerald healing power.

The stone is also associated with clairvoyance. When you keep the stone for a while under the tongue you could see the future.

But the stone can do more. The stone gives the wearer wisdom and patience, it strengthens the love and it could be a remedy against visual impairment.

June: Pearl

Pearls grow in oysters. A pearl is formed by an impurity in the oyster. Pearls are therefore organic jewelry and used to be fairly rare. You had to dive a thousand times before you found the perfect pearl. Today many pearls are formed because people put small stones in oysters.

There is an old story in which Cleopatra bewitched 'her' Mark Antony with a handful of pearls, he then was lost for good. The Romans believed that a pearl would gave the wearer wisdom and strength. In addition, pearls bring happiness and success.


July: ruby

The king of the stones is called ruby. Since ages, the ruby is considered the most precious stone on earth. The stone is strong, has a beautiful red color and is fairly rare. The beautiful red color made ​​the stone a symbol of love and passion.

But a ruby can be more. The stone could discover the devil! Previously it was thought that the stone became darker when evil was nearby and lighter when the evil disappeared. To do this, the stone had to be hung around the neck of the rightful owner.

The ruby ​​also protects against misfortune and gives courage and authority. The most famous ruby is the DeLong Star Ruby. The stone was donated to the "American Museum of Natural History in New York and stolen in 1964. After payment of a ransom of $ 25,000 the ruby ​​was found in a telephone booth.


August: peridot

The stone of the sun called the Egyptians peridot. (Often the term "olivine" or "chrysolite" is used.)

The peridot could bring a marriage happiness, could give self-confidence and physical strength. The stone would also slow the aging process, making it perhaps the most favorite stone of Cleopatra, but she had many favorites.

The color of the peridot, yellow-green, makes him look like an emerald. Probably there have been put many peridoten in royal jewels.


September: Sapphire

This 'heavenly' stone is found in many different colors but the real sapphire is blue.

At sapphires protective powers were attributed through the centuries. The stone would protect against poisoning, even against poisonous snakes. In addition, the stone can heal many physical complaints. The stone could cure colic, blindness and rheumatism. The stone also belongs to witches because using this stone could predict the future.

And last, the best property of the stone, the stone recognizes honesty. When the stone is worn by someone who is not honest, or cheating his (or her) partner, the stone loses its brilliance.

October: Opal

There are several legends around this colorful stone and its origins, but the best is perhaps that of the Aboriginals in Australia.

One fine day the 'creator' came on a rainbow to the earth. He came with a message of peace to all people on earth. Where his feet touched the ground opals were formed. This way the first opals were 'born'. The story shows two important characteristics of the stone, he is as colorful as the month of October, and the stone is a symbol of peace and hope.

November: Topaz

The topaz would make men attractive and intelligent and women fertile and happy, at least that is the popular belief around this stone. The stone would prevent depression, would be a remedy against anxiety, work against intoxication and protect against sudden death.

The Greeks and Romans associated the stone with the supreme gods Zeus and Jupiter and the stone would make the wearer especially strong.

Beautiful turquoise
Beautiful turquoise

December: Turquoise

The sacred stone, he is also called. Throughout history, mainly magical powers were attributed to this stone. The stone was used by medicine men around the world to heal ailments and to give wisdom. The stone has been important as a talisman or amulet. The stone warns against danger when he changes color.

The latter is true, the stone can change color. Whether this is the effect of sunlight, cosmetics, the effect of the skin or imminent danger, that's up to the wearer to decide. The turquoise protects against the "Evil Eye" and brings the owner wealth.

The heavenly blue color says perhaps the most, "a little piece of heaven on earth."

The gemstones belonging to your birthday

It is a list that is circulating for years and probably drawn up somewhere during the middle ages. With the gems of Aaron this list has little to do.

• Monday: pearl

• Tuesday: grenade

• Wednesday: chrysoberyl (The only stone that has not been mentioned before. It is quite expensive and certainly a special stone. A famous variant of this stone is alexandrite, thecolor of the stone in daylight is almost green blue and in artificial light red. The stone is seen as a powerful protector through the centuries. The stone stands also for tolerance and harmony. The stone belongs to Wednesday and the star sign Leo.)

• Thursday: emerald

• Friday: topaz

• Saturday: sapphire

• Sunday: ruby


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love to read about the history of gemstones. Thanks for sharing!


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