Each month has had a precious or semi-precious gem allocated to it, which is considered our birthstone, but this is a relatively modern practice.
The notion of ‘birthstones’ actually ties back to the time when astronomy and astrology had significant cross-over and the regular patterns made by the stars in the skies were set into zodiac calendars. Astrologers linked particular gemstones to the key personality traits exhibited by people born within each zodiac calendar month.
From ancient times gemstones have been assumed to have mystical properties – the Greeks believed that wearing amethyst would prevent you from getting drunk for example and aquamarine would protect you from accidents at sea. Emeralds are associated with love and fertility and rubies offered power and protection from threat. People would wear gems (if they could afford to do do) that bolstered their personal need for support from a higher power.
In 1912, in an effort to standardise birthstones, the American National Association of Jewelers established a list to be used by all jewellers. This was updated in 1952 and again in 2002 and 2016. In the UK, the National Association of Goldsmiths created their own list of birthstones in 1937 and updated it in 2013.
As you can see, there is considerable cross-over with the ancient Zodiac birthstone list.
|Zodiac sign||Dates||Gemstone||Birth Month||UK List 2013|
|Aries||March 21 – April 19||Diamond||April||DiamondRock Crystal|
|Taurus||April 20 – May 20||Emerald||May||EmeraldChrysophase|
|Gemini||May 21 – June 21||Pearl||June||PearlMoonstone|
|Cancer||June 22 – July 22||Ruby||July||RubyCarnelian|
|Leo||July 23 –August 22||Peridot||August||PeridotSardonyx|
|Virgo||August 23 – September 22||Sapphire||September||SapphireLapis Lazuli|
|Libra||September 23 – October 22||Opal||October||Opal|
|Scorpio||October 23 – November 21||Topaz||November||TopazCitrine|
|Sagittarius||November 22 – December 21||Turquoise||December||TurquoiseTanzanite|
|Capricorn||December 22 – January 19||Garnet||January||Garnet|
|Aquarius||January 20 – February 18||Amethyst||February||Amethyst|
|Pisces||February 19 – March 20||Aquamarine||March||AquamarineBloodstone|
If you are believer in astrology then you might be a little alarmed if you’ve given gifted a birthstone for your month, rather than your zodiac sign – Aries of course completes its cycle on 19 April, meaning those born towards the end of the month might prefer an emerald. Never fear, we’ve looked into this and are reliably informed you needn’t fret!
Experts say that even though wearing your own zodiac birthstone imbues you with the best energy for your personal potential, the birthstone attributed to the zodiac sign before yours is known as your ‘twelfth house gem’ and while wearing this gemstone may not give off the energy of who you are, it will help you tune into and respond to the positive energy of those around you.
Whatever your thoughts or beliefs, the gift of a birthstone is always a special thing, showing your thought and care for the lucky recipient, whenever their birthday falls.