is a gift of a precious material
(jewelry, mainly gemstones
traditionally associated with various qualities) that symbolizes
of birth in the Gregorian Calendar
. It is sometimes also
called birthday stone
(cf. infra; but that word is,
confusingly, sometimes used as a synonym for an anniversary
gift, which is related to the
recipient's age, that is, year of birth).
Often combined with modern birthstone lists, traditional
birthstones are older society-based birthstones. Since many
different cultures had their own list, jewelers' lists are often
inconsistent over what constitutes a traditional birthstone.
below contains many stones which are popular choices, often
The Gregorian calendar has poems matching each month with its
birthstone. These are traditionally the stones in English-speaking
societies. It is not known whether these verses below are of the
originally Gregorian calendar or not. In fact Tiffany & Co.
published these poems
"of unknown author" for the first time in a pamphlet in 1870.
Three of the verses are repeats,
, in an effort to standardize them, the
American national association of jewelers, Jewelers of America
, officially adopted
a list, shown in the "Modern" column in the table below.
currently the most widely used list in the United States and many other locations, including Australia and
Some alternates have been adopted to be a less
expensive substitute for a cut stone. Tanzanite
was added to December by the American
Gem Trade Association in 2002. Most organizations do not recognize
tanzanite as a December birthstone, however, as lists of
birthstones continue to be published that do not list it. AGTA's
move to make it a December birthstone has generally been viewed as
a marketing technique. This hasn't been limited to tanzanite,
however -- some birthstone lists incorrectly give blue topaz as
being a birthstone for December. Some stores will simply list a
blue stone for December, as a substitute, or a pink stone for
October and call it "rose zircon". Still others give May's
birthstone as the "shamrock spinel", when in reality, spinel does
not occur green naturally.
Mystical Birthstones are of Tibetan
date back over a thousand years.
birthstone list is from the
ancient Indian medicine and philosophy dating back to ancient India
List of birthstones
By signs of zodiac
civilizations such as India and Babylon have
attributed gemstones with magical properties.
astrologers assigned gems of certain colors to the twelve signs of
to help people influence the
planets in their favor.
By culture of times
History of birthstones
The first century Jewish historian Josephus
proclaimed a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron's
breastplate, the twelve months of the year and
the twelve signs of the zodiac. The Breastplate of Aaron, referred
to in Exodus 28:17-20:
- 10 Then they mounted four rows of precious stones on it. In the
first row there was a ruby, a topaz and a beryl;
- 11 in the second row a turquoise, a
sapphire and an emerald;
- 12 in the third row a jacinth, an
agate and an amethyst;
- 13 in the fourth row a chrysolite, an
onyx and a jasper. They
were mounted in gold filigree settings.
- 14 There were twelve stones, one for each of the names of the
sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of
the twelve tribes.
The precise list of birthstones however can be found in Revelation
21:19-20 where the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem are
listed, in the order of the Roman calendar:
- 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them
the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. . .
- 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished
with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was
jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
- 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth,
sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl;
the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
The custom of actually wearing birthstones first gained popularity
in Poland in the fifteenth century. Tradition suggested everyone
wear the birthstone for each month, since the powers of the
gemstone were heightened during its month. For the fullest effect,
individuals needed to own an entire set of twelve gemstones and
rotate them monthly.
While this word has also been used as synonym of Birth stone (see
above), there is a separate list of assignment according to the day
of the week of the recipient's birth:
Just as there are alternatives with birthstones, there are also
alternatives with birth flowers. For example, October is often
listed as calendula
, but is also
occasionally noted as being rose
- Oliver Cummings was the Curator Geology of the Field (Nat.
His.) Museum in Chicago
- http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/famousdiamonds.html List of
standard birthstones, blue topaz and tanzanite not given
- http://astrologerandpalmist.com/ Spinel incorrectly listed as
September's birthstone, "shamrock spinel" incorrectly as May's,
etc. (Spinel does not naturally occur in green, for one thing)
- Jewelers of America Leaflet with modern
- Chapter 8 of Kunz is completely dedicated to the High Priest