Birthstones

Amy Cunningham

Everyone knows what their birthstone is and many wear them, but have you ever wondered why? The history of birthstones is tied to the history of astrology fairly tightly. In ancient times, gemstones were believed to have magical powers and assumed that they came from the heavens.

Each zodiac sign carries a set of traits or characteristics that people born under those signs are believe to possess. These traits are believed to be dominated by the position of the sun, moon, and ruling planets at the time of their birth. Early astrologers linked gemstones with the ruling planets and their positions based on color system thought to unleash the forces that were identified with the various zodiac signs.

It is believed that the tradition of birthstones actually came about from Breastplate of Aaron, which was a ceremonial and religious garment that contained twelve gemstones. These gemstones represented the twelve tribes of Israel, but also corresponded with the twelve signs of the zodiac and the twelve months of the year.

Because it was interpreted in different ways, many different birthstone lists came about. The one that we traditionally use today is the modern birthstone list, adopted in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers, but others still exist. Generally birthstones are based on the month that you were born, but some cultures instead follow the zodiac chart for birthstones.

Birthstones and their Meanings

January
Garnet Faith and Constancy Birthstones Chart
February
Amethyst Happiness and Sincerity
March
Aquamarine Courage and Hope
April
Diamond Innocence and Joy
May
Emerald Peace and Tranquility
June
Pearl Purity and Wisdom
July
Ruby Nobility and Passion
August
Peridot Joy and Power
September
Sapphire Truth and Hope
October
Opal Tender love and Confidence
November
Topaz Fidelity and Friendship
December
Turquoise Success and Understanding