The wearing of birthstones dates back to ancient times, being found in religion and astrology across the centuries. One of the earliest stories about the wearing birthstones, comes from the book of Exodus. It was said that the Breastplate of Aaron was decorated with twelve precious stones. Each one to represent the twelve tribes of the Hebrews. These stones were ruby, topaz, beryl, turquoise, sapphire, emerald, jacinth, agate, amethyst, chrysolite, onyx and jasper.
In other ancient cultures, the Hellenics and the Babylonians in particular, have associated certain precious stones with their gods and goddesses. Later on they were associated with the planets and the stars represented in astrological signs. These stones were given attributes pertaining to the astrological signs they are linked with, as well as supernatural, protective powers. To wear the particular gemstone associated with a particular month on that given month is to invoke the protection offered by the power of the stone.
Over time and as Christianity came to rise, the Church tried to downplay astrology and so, instead, the wearing of gemstones came to represent guardian angels and the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The idea that gemstones have the power to protect its wearer was nonetheless retained. Also, as only wealthy people, in those days, could afford to own and wear a different gemstone for each month, most people adopted the practice of wearing just the gemstone that represents the month of their birth. Which is how these gemstones became referred to as birthstones.
The Myths & Meanings Behind The Stones
Below. each month of the Georgian Calendar (January to December) has its own birthstone.
January – Garnet
If you were born in the month of January, then garnet is your birthstone. Being bright red in colour, the garnet is associated with blood and was thought to bring good health to its wearer, along with great patience and the capacity to endure hardships.
The Romans named this deep-red stone granatum, or pomegranate, because of its resemblance to the fruit’s rare, jewel-like seeds. Symbolizing faith and courage, garnets are believed to intensify affection and nurture the imagination.
February – Amethyst
If you were born in the month of February, then amethyst is your birthstone. It is purple in colour. The amethyst is said to give its wearer peace and clarity of the mind. Bringing them a heightened sense of self-awareness and intuition.
The amethyst has been a symbol of peace since ancient times and was, at one time, used to decorate the British crown jewels. The stones are revered for their soothing characteristics.
March – Aquamarine
If you were born in the month of March, then aquamarine is your birthstone. It is a sea-blue colour. Aquamarine is said to give its wearer protection when they go swimming or travelling by water.
It is so called from the Latin words for water (aqua) and sea (mare), aquamarines were once worn by sailors to protect against seasickness. Today, the translucent blue stone is a symbol of courage and everlasting youth.
April – Diamond
If you were born in the month of April, then diamond is your birthstone. The diamond is said to give its wearer strength, longevity and innocence. Because it is also the hardest gemstone, it symbolizes success and excellence, and is believed to bring good fortune.
During the Italian Renaissance, diamonds came to represent divine love from the translation dio (God) and amante (love). Today, diamonds remain the ultimate symbol of everlasting love.
May – Emerald
If you were born in the month of May, then emerald is your birthstone. It is a green colour. Emerald is the gemstone of peace and healing. Good health and protection against illness are granted to its wearers.
Due to its rich green hue, the ancients equated emeralds with spring and prized them as symbols of rebirth.
June – Pearl
If you were born in the month of June, then pearl is your birthstone. Did you know that pearls are produced by oysters and so, are the only gemstones that come from a living creature? June is the month of weddings in the Western world, and so the pearl has come to be associated with successful marriages, as well as with faith, loyalty and tranquillity in life.
According to Arabic legend, pearls are formed when dewdrops fill with moonlight and fall into the ocean. The world’s oldest known gem, pearls are believed to promote prosperity and long life.
July – Ruby
If you were born in the month of July, then ruby is your birthstone. It is a dark blood-red colour. The ruby is the gemstone associated with courage, strength and vitality.
The ruby is not only the world’s rarest gemstone, but it is also the one many consider to be the most passionate.
August – Peridot/Sardonyx
If you were born in August, then peridot is your birthstone. It isThe peridot is said to bestow a heightened sense of dignity upon its wearer, and to bring upon him or her good fortune. It is also believed to provide its wearer protection against evil intentions
Ancient Romans called peridot the “evening emerald”, since its vivid green color does not darken at night. Once believed to drive away evil spirits, the stone is still considered a symbol of good luck.
September – Sapphire
If you were born in the month of September, then sapphire is your birthstone. It is a gemstone associated with wisdom and truth.
The ancients believed the earth rested on a giant sapphire, and its reflection colored the sky. Once worn by kings to protect against harm, today sapphires are believed to promote inner peace.
October – Opal/Tourmaline
If you were born in the month of October, then opal is your birthstone. The opal, with its varying colours, is associated with depth in emotions.
Shakespeare once used opals as his muse, their luminous surfaces mirroring the wonder of the skies, rainbows, fireworks and lightening at once. Today, the stone is a symbol of both intuition and joy.
November –Citrine/Yellow Topaz
If you were born in the month of November, then citrine is your birthstone. Citrine is the gemstone that is associated with health and wellbeing.
Derived from the French word citron, meaning lemon, citrine is also known as the jewel of the sun. The golden stone has been aptly linked with light-heartedness, happiness and joy.
December – Turquoise/Blue Topaz
If you were born in the month of December, then turquoise is your birthstone. Turquoise is the gemstone believed to bring luck and prosperity to its wearer in time for the coming New Year.
The ancient Greeks believed topaz had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible. Still considered a powerful stone, today this dazzling gem is also a symbol of rejuvenation and joy.