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.