Style & Beauty
The Myths and Meanings Behind Birthstones
10/2/2018 12:54:29 PM

The idea of associating a particular gemstone with a month has been around for centuries, but the intrigue continues today. 

Birthstones have been traced to Biblical times, when Aaron wore a breastplate set with twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel, as described in the book of Exodus. Writings found in the first centuries made a connection between the 12 stones and the 12 signs of the zodiac. At the time, it was believed that when people wore their birthstone they would obtain special powers. 

In the Middle Ages, potions were mixed to combat virtually any ailment, but potions weren’t the only thing in a well-stocked cabinet. Gems were seen as tools to enhance health, ward off evil spirits, and promote desired characteristics such as loyalty or friendliness. People were prescribed certain gems to wear, but gems were also ground into a powder or distilled in fruit juice to form a liquid. 

Gemstone lore flourished in the Middle Ages, making it difficult to know how entrenched gemstone beliefs actually were, but many ancient writings agree that gemstones were held in high regard not only for their beauty but for their power. 

Jewelry adorned with birthstones make unique, personalized gifts. The National Association of Jewelers defined the modern list of birthstones in 1912. According to the International Gemological Institute, characteristics are associated with particular gemstones. Ancient stories and folklore have added to the charms:

A symbol of loyalty, love and chastity. Strong enough for everyday wear, a garnet is said to protect its wearer with a shield against negative energy. It promotes passion and love.

A symbol of honesty and peace. The addition of manganese to this quartz stone gives amethyst its purple hue. When held or worn close to the heart, the amethyst is said to aid in meditation by balancing mental energies. 

A symbol of calm and courage. It is said to protect travelers while flying or sailing. It guards against storms and has a calming affect against phobias. 

A symbol of pure perfection.

The symbol of luck and happiness. It’s been attributed to promoting love and success. It’s said to be most effective if worn on a pendant over the heart, worn on the little finger, or as a bracelet on the dominant hand. 

A symbol of health, wealth, and longevity. It’s believed that wearing a pearl will aid anger issues and increase creativity. 

A symbol of passion and love. Its power is said to be strongest during a full moon. It supposedly enhances love, making the wearer more attractive to others. It also gives courage and contentment. 

Symbol of harmony and happiness. It was believed to promote calmness and regeneration of the body. If worn over the chest, it can supposedly release emotional tension. 

A symbol of love, loyalty, and constancy. This stone protects against negative energy and thoughts. It has a calming affect that allows the mind to experience peace, joy, and clear thinking. 

A symbol of happiness and desire. Opals are said to give courage, hope, and freedom and protect wearers from the wrath of others. 

A symbol of friendship and love. Courage, wisdom, and serenity are the characteristics of the topaz. They supposedly give mental clarity and reduce mood swings. 

The symbol of success. This stone is said to represent happiness, peace, and patience. Wearing it will bring understanding and promote kindness.

Posted by: Christine Fisher | Submit comment | Tell a friend


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