Commonly given as birthday gifts or celebrations of a newborn, birthstone jewelry has much associated lore and legend. The first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus proclaimed a connection between the twelve stones in the breastplate worn by Aaron in the book of Exodus (representing the twelve tribes of Israel), the twelve months of the year, and the twelve signs of the zodiac. The idea was that each of the gemstones had special powers associated with the corresponding astrological sign and wearing the stones at the right time would bestow the wearer with therapeutic or talismanic benefits. The idea of wearing the gemstone corresponding to one's birth month is a very modern idea that scholars trace to 18th century Poland. The modern list of birthstones was defined in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers.
Awareness, commitment, regeneration, order, insight.
The name "garnet" comes from the Latin word "Garanatus," meaning "seedlike," in reference to the bright red seeds of the pomegranate. In Greek mythology, a pomegranate is seen as a gift of eternal love. Since Hades had given a pomegranate to Persephone before she left him to ensure her speedy return, garnet may be given to a beloved before embarking on a trip. It is also believed to heal the broken bonds of lovers. However, the powers of a garnet lie dormant until it is polished.
Contentment, spirituality, dreams, healing, peace, happiness, love, intuition.
Amethyst is said to promote the highest, purest aspirations of human kind. The stone encourages calm, bravery, and contemplation. Historically, the stone was believed to assist prophecy and visions and to bring riches and powers to its owners. At the highest level, amethyst bestows the spiritual understanding required to reach the state of bliss.
Courage, purification, peace, intuition, self-expression, balance, preparedness.
Since early times, aquamarine has been believed to endow the wearer with foresight, courage, and happiness. It is said to increase intelligence and promote youthfulness. The Romans believed that aquamarine absorbs the atmosphere of young love and in medieval times, the stone was thought to reawaken the love of long married couples.
Courage, strength, healing, protection, spirituality, mental abilities.
The Romans believed diamonds gave the wearer strength, invincibility, bravery, and courage during battle. Considered in olden times as 'tears of the Gods' or 'splinters from falling stars' and the idea that Cupid's arrows were tipped with them may be why diamonds are considered the ultimate symbol of love today.
Love, domestic bliss, sensitivity, loyalty, harmony, focus.
Prized by Cleopatra above all gems and representing spring, new birth and fertility, folklore suggests that these stones will improve memory and intelligence, while enhancing clairvoyance. They are also worn to boost love and contentment. The Egyptians buried emeralds with their Pharos because they believed they had the power of eternal youth. A gift of emeralds represents love and fidelity.
Moonstone: Reflection, beginnings, insight, tenderness, harmony.
A bringer of good fortune and a passion enhancer, moonstones are said to protect women and children and balance the yin and the yang. Legend has it that holding a moonstone in your mouth during a full moon would allow you to see into the future. Moonstone's healing properties are said to promote digestion, and calm emotions, among many other physical and mental health-giving attributes.
Pearl: Integrity, focus, wisdom, spirituality, sincerity, fertility.
Arabian legend describes pearls as drops of the moon that the oyster has fallen in love with. They are symbols of purity, faith, charity and innocence and they are said to promote wisdom and contentment into old age. Pearls have a tendency to heighten the emotions, thus making them easier to appreciate or change. They are also said to enhance personal integrity and help clear the mind so that it can be a clear channel for wisdom and spiritual guidance.
Nurturing, spiritual wisdom, passion, protection from distress.
Representative of devotion, desire and passion, Ruby promotes good luck in love and encourages sensitivity in relationships. It is said to be an antidote to poison, and was a stone of prophecy, darkening when danger was near. When rubbed on the skin a ruby is thought to restore youth and vitality.
Warmth, friendliness, understanding, openness in love and relationships.
Peridot is considered a tonic for the whole being warding off many physical ailments. It is also considered a 'feel good' stone that nourishes the ego, promoting good mental health. The stone enhances confidence and assertion without aggression. It helps a person see their own light and recognize that they are deserving of love. Ancient Egyptians used peridot to clean and heal the heart.
Joy, peace, beauty, intuition, prosperity, fulfillment of dreams.
The deepest blue sapphires led to the belief that the world sat on a giant sapphire and the color of the sky was merely a reflection of this gem. Sapphire was used to protect against envy and mental illness, and was said to strengthen eyesight. Given as a gift, sapphire represents sincerity and faithfulness, loyalty and friendship.
Opal: Introspection, beginnings, insight, peace, travel.
Asian cultures believe opals to be a gem of hope. Australian Aborigines believe their ancestors left behind opals as a sign of their enduring presence. They also believe that fire sprang forth from opals. Given as a gift, opal is said to mean faithfulness and confidence. Opals are said to stimulate psychic abilities and inspire creativity, inspiration and imagination.
Tourmaline: Energizing, soul-searching, releasing.
Tourmaline symbolizes love, friendship and wealth. It is used to calm nerves and induce rest and tranquility. The name Tourmaline comes from the Singhalese (Sri Lanka) word tura mali which translates as the stone of mixed colors. Ancient legend says that tourmaline is found in all colors having gathered them as it traveled along a rainbow's arc. It is believed to strengthen the body and spirit and inspire creativity. Artists and writers used it extensively as a talisman.
Topaz: True love, understanding of interrelationships, expression of ideas, trust, personal expansion and growth.
Topaz is a symbol of love and affection. The stone has also been thought to bring fidelity and friendship if constantly worn without being set aside. The Egyptians said that the golden glow of the sun gave topaz its color. Legend also has it that topaz dispels all enchantment, sharpens the wit and has been said to be an aid to ones sweetness and disposition.
Citrine: Intuition, comfort, protection, creativity, physical energy, wealth, mental awakening.
Citrine is believed to promote creativity, help personal clarity and eliminate self-destructive tendencies. It is believed to balance the yin and yang energies, boost self-esteem, and quell anxiety These stones are believed to help people in handling negative attitudes in a better way and also deal with pressure while dealing with finances, decision making and problem solving.
Tanzanite: Communication, intuition, protection, symmetry, decision-making, spirituality.
African folklore tells us that tanzanite helps to relax and slow down intense individuals, allowing them to lead less stressful, more productive, healthier lives. This keeps them more organized and sensitive to others around them. Tanzanite acts as an elixir to the soul elevating one's mood and freeing one from negative habits. Possessing a tanzanite is said to bring luck and fortune to its bearer.
Turquoise: Spiritual attunement, cleansing, healing, protection, valor, soothing, peace of mind, guidance through the unknown, romantic spontaneity.
Turquoise promotes mental and spiritual clarity, enhanced wisdom, trust, kindness and understanding. In the East, turquoise was said to ward off all evil things. It is believed to help relax the mind and relieve mental tensions, calming the emotions and easing stress.