A History of Birthstones

by Rekha on October 12, 2015

Birthstones are a tradition with a surprisingly long history. The earliest writings assigning certain gems to birth months come from the first century AD, when the scholar Flavius Josephus assigned a different stone to each sign of the zodiac. In addition to looking pretty, each birthstone was said to be imbued with certain powers that had positive influence on the mind and body.

Modern Birthstones

Though the birthstone tradition dates back centuries, the modern list of stones and their associated months is relatively new. The first modern list of birthstones was developed at the beginning of the 20th century and revised in the 1950s. These stones are associated with a birth month rather than signs of the zodiac, but the principle is essentially the same: each month is assigned a stone, and the stones are said to have certain effects on their wearer. Even if you don’t believe that a stone can have an impact on an individual’s mind and body, the birthstone tradition still provides great gift ideas for people born throughout the year.

Monthly Stones

The most recent list of birthstones dates to 1957. The stones assigned to each month are as follows:

– January – Garnet
– February – Amethyst
– March – Aquamarine
– April – Diamond
– May – Green emerald
– June – Pearl or mother-of-pearl
– July – Ruby
– August – Peridot
– September – Sapphire
– October – Opal
– November – Citrine (also called yellow topaz)
– December – Blue Topaz or turquoise

Opal earrings by ShopMilano.com
Created Opal Earrings from shopmilano.com

Spotlight on October

The mesmerizing opal is the sole birthstone for the month of October. Though it doesn’t have the glamorous reputation of diamond or pearl, and it doesn’t cost as much as a ruby or emerald, opal is a unique and beautiful gem. It comes in a variety of shades, but the most common is opaque and white with a surface that reflects a rainbow of colors. This stone is said to make the wearer feel hopeful and fight negative emotions like depression. In addition, the opal is associated with friendship and strong interpersonal relationships.

Opals were quite rare until the middle of the 19th century, when a huge surplus of them was found in Australia. Today, about 95 percent of the world’s opals come from Australian mines.

The next time you are looking for a unique gift for someone special in your life, consider a piece of birthstone jewelry or other item decorated with the recipient’s birthstone.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: