This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

The Secret History of Birthstones

The Secret History of Birthstones

Birthstones are an assortment of precious gems that correspond to someone’s given birth month. There are some months that have multiple birthstones assigned to them that have varying connotations and histories. In some cases, given your perspective, birthstones are a way to represent your personality.

From the vast array of colors to the different meanings they hold for the wearer, birthstones have always been steeped in mysticism and marvel. But there is a deeper, secret history behind birthstones that some may find interesting. Let’s explore!

The Secret History of Birthstones

Birthstones were first used in ancient times, dating back to the Breastplate of Aaron as described in the book of Exodus. The breastplate had twelve stones that represented the different tribes of Israel. There were four rows made up of three stones each. The first row was comprised of sardius (Sardes), topaz (Tigris), and carbuncle. The second row was embedded with emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds. Ligure, agate, and amethyst are next in line. Followed by the last sequence of birthstones, beryl, onyx, and jasper.

As the ancient world began to change, so did people's understanding of birthstones. It was believed by some, according to the writings of Flavius Josephus (1st century AD) and St. Jerome (fifth century AD), and then adopted by present-day culture, that each different stone held a special meaning depending on its placement on the Zodiac astrological chart.

These gemstones were thought to have great power and healing properties. For example, a diamond, the April birthstone, was used as an alternative cure-all for people who found it difficult to speak telepathically to their Gods. Rubies were said to protect one from illness during travels abroad, while sapphires kept women safe during childbirth. The ancients also foretold that these gems could predict a child's future occupation all depending on which astrological sign his mother wore around her neck. The idea of wearing a gemstone corresponding to your zodiac sign is not just for astrology buffs. Scholars trace its roots back centuries, when Jewish traders from Poland brought this custom with them and began passing it along during Europe’s Age of Enlightenment period in the early 18th Century.

Birthstones in Modern Culture

Fast forward to today, where our concept of the birthstone has evolved. Instead of owning or procuring twelve different gemstones to wear during the corresponding month of the zodiac, we now buy and wear birthstones that correlate to our birth month.

The modern birthstone list has gone largely unchanged since 1912. In a curious departure from centuries past, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) announced that they would be adding tanzanite as the birthstone of December. Even though December already had two birthstones attached to it, turquoise and zircon. This was a move considered by some to be intentional and designed to help jewelry stores and retailers increase sales instead of adhering to the mystic beliefs of the past.

Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that birthstones are eternally thought-provoking and retain their value. Whether you want to wear a particular birthstone to pay homage to a certain sign of the Zodiac or you would rather don a single stone to signify your given birth month, these glowing pieces of history are sure to bring you happiness for years to come.

Contact Jeweler’s Touch for Custom Birthstone Jewelry

Whether you’re shopping for a custom birthstone engagement ring, necklace, bracelet, or earrings, our talented jewelers can help you create the perfect piece. Clients in Yorba Linda, Brea, Anaheim, Fullerton, and La Habra rely on Jeweler’s Touch for our exceptional customer service, diverse inventory, and custom design services. To learn more about what we offer, our custom design and repair services, and financing options, continue browsing or call 714-579-1616.

← Older Post Newer Post →