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History of Birthstones

Sarah Reuangrith Birthstones Earrings History

This month SJS is launching the first few pairs of her birthstone earring collection.  These simple beautiful earrings are very pretty but also hold some added significance as they contain your birthstone.  Birthstones have been long thought to contain special properties when worn.  If you are unfamiliar with birthstones there are twelve of them, one for each month of the year.  The list of birthstones for each month that we are familiar with today were created in 1912 by The Jeweler's of America and contains the following birthstones:

January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Aquamarine
April - Diamond
May - Green Emerald
June - Pearl, Moonstone, Alexandrite
July - Ruby
August - Peridot, Spinel
September - Sapphire
October - Opal, Tourmaline
November - Yellow Topaz, Citrine
December - Turquoise, Blue Topaz, Tanzanite, Blue Zircon


This may be the list we are familiar with today but where did birthstones come from?

Very Brief History of Birthstones

The origin of birthstones is thought to have come from the breastplate of Aaron which is referenced in the book of Exodus in the bible.  The breastplate was a religious item that contained twelve stones, each one representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  

In writings by Flavius Josephus (1st century AD) and St. Jerome (5th century AD) the connection was made between the twelve stones in the breastplate to the twelve signs of the zodiac.  It was thought that wearing the stone associated with the astrological sign at certain times would bring good luck or healing power.

Here is the list of stones and how they fit into the zodiac.  You can see from the list of birthstones above that many of the stones are similar.

Sign Dates[21] Stone[22]
Aquarius 21 January – 18 February garnet
Pisces 19 February – 21 March amethyst
Aries 22 March – 20 April bloodstone
Taurus 21 April – 21 May sapphire
Gemini 22 May – 21 June agate
Cancer 21 June – 22 July emerald
Leo 23 July – 22 August onyx
Virgo 23 August – 22 September carnelian
Libra 23 September – 23 October chrysolite
Scorpio 24 October – 21 November beryl
Sagittarius 22 November – 21 December topaz

22 December – 21 January



Eventually the idea of one stone per month came about.  It has been traced to the 18th century when the Jewish gem traders first started taking their wares to Poland.  The stones on the list changed several times over the years until 1912 and the list we are familiar with today.

What do the stones mean?

Each gemstone is said to contain special properties.  Here is a brief explanation of them (list has been copied from here)

Birthstone and Zodiac Sign Information

January Birthstone - Garnet
January Birthstone - Garnet
The zodiac stone for Aquarius (Jan 21 - Feb 18): Garnet
Garnets are attributed with the power of protecting wearers from nightmares and snakebites, and are also thought to provide guidance in the dark. Tradition connects the stone with blood. They are a popular choice as presents for second wedding anniversaries.

February Birthstone - Amethyst
February Birthstone - Amethyst
The zodiac stone for Pisces (Feb 19 - Mar 20): Amethyst
The amethyst is believed to induce peace, serenity and temperance. Additionally, it is thought to restrict sensual and alcoholic intoxication, which may be good or bad. Also, amethyst is believed to improve skin and hair, and prevent baldness. It is said to protect its wearer from deceit. Its purple shade is linked to royalty and makes an ideal gift for the sixth wedding anniversary.

March Birthstone - Aquamarine
March Birthstone - Aquamarine
The zodiac stone for Aries (Mar 21- Apr 20): Bloodstone
Aquamarine is associated with attributes of good health, love, youthfulness and hope. Sailors believe in its protection. Generally chosen as a 19th anniversary gift, this stone is in the beryl family, the same as emerald. Bloodstone is the astrological alternative.

April Birthstone - Diamond
April Birthstone -Diamond
The zodiac stone for Taurus (Apr 21 - May 21): Sapphire
Diamonds are traditionally linked to love, and eternal endurance because of diamond's superior hardness. The name diamond is derived from the Greek 'adamas', which means invincible. Traditionally diamond is accepted as the 10th and 60th wedding anniversary presents. Sapphire is the astrological stone for Taurus.

May Birthstone - Green Emerald
May Birthstone - Emerald
The zodiac stone for Gemini (May 22 - Jun 21): Agate
Emeralds are said to cure people of bad health, healing a variety of illnesses and insuring good health for wearers. Also, it is believed that the wearer of emerald will be able to see into the future. The astrological alternative is agate.

June Birthstone - Pearl, Mother-of-Pearl, Moonstone, Alexandrite
June Birthstone - Pearl, Mother-of-Pearl and Moonstone
The zodiac stone for Cancer (Jun 22 - Jul 22): Emerald
The romantic pearl is associated with chastity and modesty. Stable marriages are said to be the result of pearls. Mother-of-pearl is made of the same material as pearl (nacre) and is therefore an alternative to pearl. Mother-of-pearl is said to be a good gemstone for children. The astrological stone is emerald. An additional birthstone for June is alexandrite, a rare variety of color change chrysoberyl.

July Birthstone - Ruby
July Birthstone - Ruby
The zodiac stone for Leo (Jul 23 - Aug 23): Onyx
Rubies are believed to bring harmony of life to the wearer, so one can expect a peaceful life when wearing this stone. The astrological stone is onyx.

August Birthstone - Peridot, Spinel
August Birthstone - Peridot
The zodiac stone for Virgo (Aug 24 - Sep 22): Carnelian
Peridot is believed to protect the wearer from evil, particularly from the forces of darkness. It can also increase the healing power of medicinal drugs. Spinel is a recent addition to the August birthstones. It is thought to have a calming effect. The astrological choice is carnelian.

September Birthstone - Sapphire
September Birthstone - Sapphire
The zodiac stone for Libra (Sep 23 - Oct 23): Chrysolite
Faith and purity will come to the wearer of this stone. Common belief says the brighter the glitter of the stone, the stronger the positive virtues, whilst giving the lucky person useful foresight into the future. The astrological stone is chrysolite.

October Birthstone - Opal, Tourmaline
October Birthstone - Opal and Tourmaline
The zodiac stone for Scorpio (Oct 24 - Nov 22): Beryl
Opals are said to be stones of hope and bringers of the virtues of innocence and purity. Opals stimulate healing and increase friendship and healthy emotions. Beryl is the astrological stone.

November Birthstone - Yellow Topaz, Citrine
November Birthstone - Yellow Topaz and Citrine
The zodiac stone for Sagittarius (Nov 23 - Dec 21): Citrine
Cool topaz is said to hold the power of healing and preserving one's sanity. The stone is associated with life and strength of body and mind. It was once thought that the wearer would become invisible when danger was near. The astrological stone is citrine.

December Birthstone - Turquoise, Blue Topaz, Tanzanite, Blue Zircon
December Birthstone - Turquoise, Blue Topaz and Tanzanite

The zodiac stone for Capricorn (Dec 22 - Jan 20): Ruby
Turquoise is believed to bring good fortune, good luck, and a happy life, things that everyone would like to have. Rubyis the astrological stone.


Hopefully you learned something new.  Be sure to check out SJS's items for sale.

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