Birthstones are a fascinating creation. Not only are they beautiful gems that lighten up your life, they’re highly symbolic of who you are as a person.
Birthstones are connected to the month and year we’re born in. Sometimes they even line up with the zodiac! While every culture has their own unique spin on these stones, there are a few commonalities between gems. When it comes to creating a meaningful and unique wardrobe, birthstones are a prime place for inspiration.
What’s the history of birthstones and how can you incorporate them into your outfits? We have fashion tips and fun facts below.
Breaking Down the History of Birthstones
The birthstone is a staple of humanity that dates back several thousand years. No, seriously! The earliest known recording of birthstones go all the way back to the ancient Egyptians.
Why did gemstones capture the imaginations of so many civilizations? There are many proposed reasons. Some historians found that some societies believed in spiritual powers, assigning particular attributes to specific gemstones. Other historians suggested an artistic affinity for gems, particularly for celebrations or royalty.
Whether you view birthstones as a divine creation or a lovely accessory, there’s a lot to love here. Choosing the appropriate birthstones for your wardrobe will bring an extra layer of complexity to your self-expression.
THE BIRTHSTONE BACKGROUND
Gemstones are gorgeous gems you can find on necklaces, rings, and even earrings. While they have been long used to represent months of the year, did you know that the history of these colored gems goes back thousands of years?
THE BIBLICAL HISTORY OF THE BIRTHSTONE
The Book of Exodus records several interpretations of how the birthstone came to be. This describes the Hebrew high priest, Aaron, as God ordered him to create a breastplate with twelve gems. Each of these twelve gems was meant to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Plus, it's said that these stones have possessed great power, such as being able to tell a person's fate. The story goes that the twelve stones were named after the sons of Israel. These gems were set up in a row; it was believed to appear as this:
- First row: chrysolite, carnelian, and beryl
- Second row: Amethyst, agate, and jacinth
- Third row: jasper, topaz, and onyx
The naming of the gemstones was based on their color rather than the chemical composition of the gem. Even outside the Book of Exodus, more records of these gemstones were being used in the New Testament, as Christians assigned these stones to the twelve apostles.
Hindu Traditions for Birthstones
According to the Hindu text, the first recorded history of these gemstones would be in the fifth century. These were linked to certain qualities, gods, days of the week, and months. The Hindu practices associated nine different gemstones with their divine force known as "navaratna". These gems always center on rubies, spinel, and other red gemstones. It's believed they were considered a status symbol and would grant cosmic harmony.
16th Century Europe
In 16th Century Europe, wearing a birthstone to represent the month you were born began making a spike in popularity in countries such as Poland and Germany. At the time, there weren't charts or a general agreement on what stone represents what month. Instead, it would be based on the region or country. But, within time, songs, poems, and even books began to dictate gems and the specified months they represent.
Tiffany & Co
The famous high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co also impacted the birthstones' history. The company published a pamphlet of birthstone poems. Each talked about the association of specific colors and how they coordinated with months.
Jewelers of America Association
In 1912, there were some changes to the birthstones and what month would complement which stone. Even after the Tiffany & Co pamphlet was produced, there were still variations about which gemstones would represent which month. Finally, the Jewelers of America Association decided to make a change and formalize the birthstone lists. While some leaders in the jewelry industry did step in and make some changes in 1952, the list is similar to what you'd see today.
21st Century Changes in Birthstones
Since the last significant change to the birthstone list was in 1952, other changes were in 2002 and 2016. These changes are primarily due to marketing campaigns that surround new gemstones. For instance, the jewelry industry added tanzanite as the birthstone in December 2002. In August of 2016, the spinel stone was added to the list. So while there aren't any significant changes, you can still count on some happening from time to time.
Which Birthstone Do You Have?
As stated above, birthstones are usually connected to the month and year. While some overlap with specific times of day or the zodiac, we’re going to focus on birthdays.
January Birthstones: Garnet and Emerald
January is a month of crisp weather and new beginnings. What better way to represent those sensations than with the bold garnet and the soothing emerald?
Garnets are famous for coming in rich red colorations, though they can come in warm browns or honey yellows. The garnet represents passion and love, which lines up nicely with New Year’s resolutions!
The emerald is better known for its deep green coloration. This stone symbolizes honesty and hope, first discovered in ancient Egyptian mines all the way back to 330 BC.
Related: What Do Ankle Bracelets Mean?
February Birthstones: Jasper and Amethyst
February is a whimsical month of romance and fresh starts. Jasper and amethyst are the birthstones of February, both with their own unique strengths.
The amethyst is best known for its smoky purple hue, representing calm energy and serenity. Jasper is a great complement, symbolizing perseverance and inner strength.
March Birthstones: Aquamarine and Jade
What are the birthstones of March? Look no further than aquamarine and jade. These stones are trendy among young women for their bright coloration.
Aquamarine stones are bold, sunny blues, bringing back fond memories of the ocean or clear sky. They represent clarity and harmony, while the classically green jade symbolizes good fortune and wealth.
Jade is significantly associated with China and has been found in ancient Chinese artifacts, statues, and jewelry.
April Birthstones: Diamond and Topaz
The legendary diamond is associated with the month of April, though topaz is also quite popular. Both of these stones are dense, bold, and absolutely beautiful.
The diamond represents strength and commitment, while topaz symbolizes calm.
May Birthstones: Emerald and Agate
Yes, emerald is also associated with May! Agate is a rather unique stone for its swirling, subtle coloration and curling patterns.
Agate symbolizes harmony, balance, and courage. These stones make brilliant necklace pendants.
June Birthstones: Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
Wait…three birthstones? That’s right: June is well-known for its association with pearl, alexandrite, and moonstones.
Pearls are associated with wisdom and patience, while moonstones represent femininity and mystery. Alexandrite is a fascinating stone that changes colors depending on the light, representing intellect and good fortune.
Expressing yourself in your jewelry is a fulfilling process. We empower women to choose long-lasting, meaningful accessories that show off their inner world.
July Birthstones: Ruby and Turquoise
July is full of contradictions! Ruby and turquoise are the stones of this month, often on the opposite ends of the color spectrums.
Rubies are best known for their rosy red coloration, symbolizing passion and deep love. Turquoise comes in ocean-like greens and blues, representing tranquility and divine protection.
August Birthstones: Peridot and Sardonyx
If you’re a fan of chartreuse, you’ll love peridot. These stones are frequently a striking yellow-green color, while sardonyx is often orange.
Peridot represents spirituality and creativity, while sardonyx represents courage and joy.
September Birthstones: Sapphire
The single best-known stone for the month of September is the sapphire. This blue beauty has captured the minds of millions for a long time.
Sapphires represent truth and inner peace. These stones are great choices for halo-style rings.
October Birthstones: Opal
What do you think of when you think of October? Likely changing leaves and changing skies. It's a small wonder why the colorful opal is the birthstone for this month.
The opal represents faith, truth, and eternal hope.
November Birthstones: Citrine
The citrine stone matches the autumn months perfectly with rich yellow and orange coloration.
Citrine represents friendship and happiness. These stones make lovely gifts for close friends.
December Birthstones: Tanzanite
This lesser-known stone still has quite the fanbase. Tanzanite comes in husky purples, bold blues, and delicate lavenders.
Tanzanite represents mysticism, magic, and healing.
The history of birthstones is a profound source of study. When you learn about gemstones and their cultural influence throughout humanity’s development, you learn about yourself.
Every month comes with its associated gemstones. If you’re looking for a wardrobe upgrade, consider focusing on your birth month and incorporating a few of its related stones. You may be surprised by the creative paths you go down!
What stones should you add to your jewelry cabinet? Contact us today to order hand-crafted, customizable rings, bracelets, necklaces, bangles, and charms.