BIRTHSTONES BY MONTH
What are the origins of birthstones?
Spoiler alert: The exact origins remain unknown. However one of the longest-held beliefs is that the tradition of birthstones originated from the time of Moses.
Earliest Recorded Beginnings
It is said that 12 gemstones decorated the Jewish High Priest’s breastplate of Aaron, at the time of Moses. The plate was a ceremonial religious garment set with twelve gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel, and are first described in the Book of Exodus.
“..and thou shall set in it, settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle; this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst”.
Furthermore, birthstones roughly fall into traditional gemstones used to represent the month, and modern birthstones, which is a modern take on gemstones for each month- a set of stones believed to have been invented and popularised in the victorian era. Perhaps due to being easier to get hold of/ priced better for consumption? Or for another unknown reason.
What can be said though that the use of birthstones in jewellery is both a celebration of the birth month of a persona and one of many ways to tell the story of a person. It tells the world something about them and helps make them stand out from the crowd as a person born in that month. If one believes in the characteristics given to those born in a given month then the birthstone may also give others another clue about the virtues of the person wearing the birthstone and their personality.
Its up to you what you believe to be true about birthstones and the virtues attached with them and whether they apply to you, but what can definitively be said about them is that birthstones are beautiful gemstones that have been treasured through time and make wonderful gifts.
Your own birthstone can be worn, or the ones of important people in your life such as a spouse or children, grandchildren, or even a beloved pet. Some even say it’s lucky to wear the birthstone of your birth month. Whatever you believe, have fun with them, and if you feel they relate to the person you are then all the better.
Below you will find the modern list of birthstones most widely used today and most are readily available to buy in jewellery.
Modern Birthstones by Month
Latin name: Granatum – seed, due to resembling a pomegranate seed.
About: official birthstone for January since 2012 (adopted by the ANAJ- American National Association of Jewellers). Also zodiac stone for Aquarius.
Folklore: Said to have powers of healing, strength and protection and is often worn to relieve inflammations of the skin. Said to regulate heart and blood flow, as well as easing depression.
About: Deep purple gemstone with a long history both worn in jewellery and used to adorn metalwork including cups and dinnerwear.
Folklore: Most famously believed by the ancient Romans to cure drunkenness.
About: Pale blue sparkly gemstone, whose colour is likened to the colour of the ocean.
About: Available in an array of colours, though most desired in blue tones including the London blue, Swiss blue and Sky blue.
About: Sparkling gemstone available in several colours such as white, brown and yellow. But most commonly seen in semi-transparent white.
About: Available in an array of colours, though most desired in blue tones including the London blue and Swiss Blue, with White Topaz as a popular runner up.
About: A milky white shiny organic gem that comes from inside the shells of sea molluscs.
“The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens,”- author unknown.
About: Bright blood red gemstone.
Folklore: Linked with love from the earliest times, also health and wisdom.
- Mining of this gemstone is believed to pre-date
Folklore:health, protection, and sleep. Attract love and calm anger while also soothing nerves and dispelling negative emotions.
- One of the stones for the Zodiac signs of Pisces, Taurus, Virgo and Sagittarius.
- Available in an incredible range of colours and tones, such as blue, pink, yellow, orange, green and
- For centuries they have adorned royalty and the robes of the clergy.
- The ancient elite of Greece and Rome believed that blue sapphires protected their owners from harm and envy.
- Clerics of the Middle Ages wore sapphires as a symbol of heaven.
- Ancient Persians believed the earth rested on a giant sapphire, which made the sky blue.
About: milky blue-white gemstone with an unusual and eyecatching opalescent sheen.
About: Also the gemstone for the Zodiac sign of Leo.
Folklore: Ancient lore says that Tourmaline is found in all colours because it travelled along a rainbow and gathered all of the rainbow’s colours as it went by
- .Believed to strengthen body and spirit, especially the nervous system, blood, and lymph.
- Thought to inspire creativity and was used extensively as a talisman by artists and writers.
About: Vibrant golden yellow gemstone.
Folklore: Linked to courage and bravery.
About: Beautiful purplish-blue gemstone originally found in Tanzania.
About: Bright and eye-catching opaque blue/green gemstone. Featured often in Native American jewellery and bohemian style designs.