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

GarnetFaith and ConstancyBirthstones Chart
AmethystHappiness and Sincerity
AquamarineCourage and Hope
DiamondInnocence and Joy
EmeraldPeace and Tranquility
PearlPurity and Wisdom
RubyNobility and Passion
PeridotJoy and Power
SapphireTruth and Hope
OpalTender love and Confidence
TopazFidelity and Friendship
TurquoiseSuccess and Understanding