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 transition.
Alternative: Carnelian, Onyx
Symbolises: July's ruby symbolises love and passion. Carnelian symbolises happiness. Onyx symbolises the ego.
Superstitions and superpowers: Ruby attracts good luck and provides protection from evil and the plague. Carnelian protects the dead on their journey to the afterlife. Onyx can be used as a charm to end negative relationships.
Healing: Ruby increases energy and focus and strengthens the blood systems within the body. Carnelian increases happy energy and protects against diseases of the skin. Onyx can help in overcoming grief. Ruby is the stone of nobility. Carnelian is the stone of sensuality. Onyx is the stone of recovery.
Alternative: Sapphire (see September)
Colour: Pale Green
Symbolises: Peridot symbolises strength. Sardonyx symbolises courage.
Superstitions and superpowers: Peridot protects against nightmares, and can help you meditate to find lost items. Place sardonyx in your home to guard against evil.
Healing: Peridot can aid in breaking habits and addictions. Sardonyx can help heal bones.
Peridot is the stone of transformation. Sardonyx is the stone of integrity.
Traditional: Moonstone (see June)
Alternative: Lapis Lazuli Colour: Deep Blue Symbolises: Sapphire symbolises integrity and loyalty. Lapis lazuli symbolises wisdom and truth.
Superstition and superpowers: Sapphire protects the wearer from envy and witchcraft, and kills snakes before they can strike. Sapphire connects the wearer to psychic realms and invokes a positive mindset. Lapis lazuli helps you connect with your guardian angel.
Healing: Sapphire has been believed to cure mental disorders and reduce fever, and heals ulcers and nosebleeds. Lapis Lazuli helps with migraines and can aid communication.
Sapphire is the stone of royalty. Lapis Lazuli is the stone of truth.
Symbolises: Opal symbolises hope and innocence. Tourmaline symbolises vitality.
Superstitions and superpowers: Burying an opal under a fruit tree can aid conception. Tourmaline enhances psychic abilities. If you warm tourmaline up it becomes mildly magnetic.
Healing: Opal soothes and strengthens the eyes and focuses the mind. Tourmaline aids in healing the digestive tract.
Opal is the stone of healing. Tourmaline is the stone of spirituality.
Alternative: Citrine Colour: Smoky Amber/Rainbow
Symbolises: Topaz symbolises consistency and faithfulness. Citrine symbolises success and wealth.
Superstitions and superpowers: Topaz can soothe and calm anger. Citrine can protect the wearer from snakebites and psychic attacks.
Healing: Topaz can help with breathing disorders and stimulates the metabolism. Citrine can negate negative feelings and encourage positivity. Topaz is the stone of empathy. Citrine is the stone of good fortune.
Traditional: Ruby (see July)
Alternative: Blue Topaz, Lapis Lazuli (see September), any bright blue stone!
Colour: Sky Blue
Symbolises: Turquoise symbolises wisdom and good fortune. Blue Topaz symbolises peacefulness.
Superstitions and superpowers: Turquoise protects the wearer from falls and guards against attack. Blue Topaz takes on the properties of its wearer, reflecting and intensifying emotions.
Healing: Turquoise is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying. BlueTopaz can aid in the treatment of stress disorders, such as headaches and tightness of the jaw.
Turquoise is the stone of protection. Blue Topaz is the stone of reflection.
We hope you've enjoyed this look at your birthstones. Keep checking back for our month-by-month guide for a more in-depth view of the meanings, superstitions and healing powers of your special stone! Don't forget! Any reference to healing and cures is purely mythical and unproven. Please refer to your medical practitioner if you have any medical concerns and don't rely on the information contained in this guide. Sources:
Next week: "Acrostic Jewellery, The Secret Language of Love" Jewellery can be full of hidden meanings and secret codes. Send a secret message to your lover with a piece of Acrostic Jewellery!