The concept of twelve different gemstones was found displayed on a breastplate of a High Priest in Ancient Egypt that was excavated from a tomb dating from circa 4000 BCE. Thereafter the Hebrews adopted the concept, assigning a stone to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The tradition evolved from there with gemstones being assigned to the twelve angels, then the twelve Apostles and finally the twelve months. Birthstones came into fashion sometime in the eighteenth century. These colored gemstones and crystals were thought to offer predictions for the future, to protect the wearer from harm and to aid healing.
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Birthstones Traditional & Modern
Traditional Birthstones were society based, containing popular stones that may have correlated to the stone of the Zodiac sign or the Planetary sign. The Gregorian Calendar has a poem (below) matching the monthly birthstones. These are the generally stones associated with English speaking society; the poem was first published in 1867 by Tiffany & Co.
Modern Birthstones came about around 1912 in an effort to standardize the list. The American portion of the National Association of Jewelers met and officially adopted a list; the Jewelry Industry Council of America updated that list in 1952; adding Citrine and Alexandrite, specifying pink Tourmaline for October (not reflected here), replacing December’s Lapis with Zircon and switching the primary and alternative gems for March. The most recent change occurred in 2002 with the addition of Tanzanite as a December birthstone (not reflected here). Britain’s National Association of Goldsmiths created their own different standardized list in 1967. No wonder there is so much confusion!
Planetary & Talismanic Stones
Planetary Stones As the zodiac is organized, there are specific planets (and thus gemstones) associated with the time of one’s birth. Creations with these gemstones are told to bring the wear good fortune, and offer positive effects in all aspects of one’s life.
Talismanic Stones Talisman (from the Greek talein meaning “to initiate into the mysteries” consisted of any object intended to bring about good luck and/or for protection to it’s bearer. Gemstone Talismans are sometimes cut or engraves as an amulet to be worn as jewelry. When associated with the zodiac, they are told to be more powerful within magic.
The Chart below offers you options so that you may decide on your own what your true Birthstone is:
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Traditional Anniversary Stones
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Gregorian Birthstone Poem
By her who in this month (January) is born
No gem save garnets should be worn;
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship, and fidelity.
The February-born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they an amethyst will wear.
Who in this world of ours their eyes
In March first open shall be wise,
In days of peril firm and brave,
And wear a bloodstone to their grave.
She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone,
Emblem of innocence, is known.
Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet flowery month of May
And wears an emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and happy wife.
Who comes with summer to this earth,
And owes to June her hour of birth,
With ring of agate on her hand
Can health, wealth, and long life command
The glowing ruby shall adorn,
Those who in July are born;
Then they’ll be exempt and free
From love’s doubts and anxiety.
Wear a sardonyx or for thee,
No conjugal felicity;
The August-born without this stone,
`Tis said, must live unloved and lone.
A maiden born when September leaves
Are rustling in September’s breeze,
A sapphire on her brow should bind
`Twill cure diseases of the mind.
October’s child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know,
But lay an opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.
Who first comes to this world below
With drear November’s fog and snow,
Should prize the topaz’s amber hue,
Emblem of friends and lovers true.
If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate’er you do.