Know Your Birthstones ~ A Fun Month-by-Month Guide!
Why do we have birthstones? The simple answer nowadays would be so jewellers can sell more jewellery, but that hasn't always been the case.
For millennia people have believed certain gemstones and minerals to be possessed of magical properties such as healing, protection, and good or bad fortune, and these superstitions continue to endure. Traditionally birthstones were thought to endow the wearer with certain strengths, intuitions, and qualities, with those wealthy enough to own all twelve stones wearing alternating stones according to the month when they were at their most powerful,
While some people still hold true to these superstitions, gradually sentiment took over and people would hold to their own birthstone all year round, and for many nowadays birthstone jewellery is simply something beautiful and symbolic.
How did they originate? We can't really know for sure where the idea of birthstones came from, but it's thought they may represent the twelve tribes of Israel. In Biblical times – don't ask me when: it was a long time ago (Book of Exodus if you want to look it up!) – the High Priest Aaron wore a breastplate adorned with twelve stones, each representing one of the tribes of Israel. The gemstones in Aaron's breastplate were emerald, sapphire, diamond, topaz, carbuncle, sardius, agate, ligure, amethyst, onyx, jasper, and beryl - a lot different to the birthstones we know today!
So why don't we still wear the same twelve stones as the High Priest today? Well, there have been a number of changes and variations over the centuries including assigning twelve stones to zodiac signs instead of by calendar month, but the most influential changes were introduced by jewellers' guilds to raise the popularity of different gems and increase sales. Why do some months have multiple birthstones?
Birthstones weren't really standardised until the early twentieth century when the American National Association of Jewellers created a list in 1912, followed by the UK's own version from the Britain's National Association of Goldsmiths in 1937. Before then, because of cost and regional scarcity, it was the colour of the stone that was important rather than what it was, so if your birthstone happened to be sapphire then any blue stone would do! Jewellers wanted to create a more consistent (and financially rewarding!) sales calendar and so for commercial purposes the modern birthstone calendar was created. What's my birthstone?
You can find your birthstone under your birth month below. Learn more about your traditional stone, modern stone, and their secret superpowers.
Note: Any reference to healing and superpowers is mythical only and included purely for historical interest and entertainment– please don't use this guide to assist with any medical conditions. Always seek the help of a professional medical practitioner for any health concerns.
Traditional: Garnet Modern: Garnet
Colour: Dark Red
Symbolises: January's garnet symbolises peace, good health, friendship and prosperity.
Superstitions and superpowers: Keeps the traveller safe during travel, brings courage. Healing: Balances energy, can calm or stimulate as appropriate, removes inhibitions.
Garnet is the stone of passion!
Symbolises: February's amethyst symbolises faithfulness, creativity and spirituality.
Superstitions and superpowers: Protects the wearer from intoxication, poison and witchcraft, sharpens the mind. Healing: Purifies negative energy, calms and soothes, strengthens the digestive system.
Amethyst is the stone of the soul!
Traditional: Bloodstone Modern: Aquamarine Alternative: None Colour: Pale Blue Symbolises: Bloodstone symbolises justice. Aquamarine symbolises honesty and loyalty.
Superstitions and superpowers: Bloodstone ensures a long life full of riches, respect and happiness and protects against threats and bullying. Aquamarine protects sailors from ocean dangers and bestows the wearer with a calm confidence.
Healing: Bloodstone purifies the blood, wards off colds and influenza, and eases childbirth. Aquamarine cures jaw, liver, and stomach diseases as well as assisting with eyesight issues.
Bloodstone is the stone of strength. Aquamarine is the stone of everlasting youth.
Alternative: White Spinel, white topaz - any clear and affordable gemstone! Colour: Clear/White
Symbolises: April's diamond symbolises purity and strength.
Superstitions and superpowers: Diamond strengthens the muscles of warriors and makes them invincible.
Healing: Diamond improves energy and endurance, and reduces pain and mental anguish.
Diamond is the stone of power.
Colour: Bright Green
Symbolises: May's emerald symbolises faithfulness, wisdom, and domestic harmony. Agate symbolises harmony.
Superstitions and superpowers: Wards off evil, enhances psychic abilities. Agate planted in with crops ensures an abundant harvest. Agate also reduces the pain of childbirth.
Healing: Emerald has been thought to cure epilepsy, and heal problems of the eyes. Emerald also aids the immune system. Agate can aid recovery from illness and assist with overcoming addictions.
Emerald is the stone of fidelity. Agate is the stone of physical and spiritual growth.
Modern: Pearl, Moonstone
Alternative: Alexandrite Colour: Cream
Symbolises: June's pearl symbolises purity and innocence. Moonstone symbolises hope. Alexandrite symbolises confidence and change.
Superstitions and superpowers: Ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the hardened tears of the goddess Aphrodite. Moonstone sparks passion between lovers and increases fertility. Alexandrite sparks the imagination.
Healing: Moonstone aids restful sleep, curing insomnia and keeping nightmares at bay. Ground pearls can aid with indigestion - probably because of their calcium carbonate content, just like your regular over-the-counter antacid! Pearl is the gemstone of purity. Moonstone is the stone of motherhood. Alexandrite is the stone of tran