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What is The Origin of Birthstones?

The idea of a birthstone, a gemstone that corresponds to a person's birth month, is a relatively modern creation. However, its origin dates back to biblical times. Historians believe the twelve gemstones of the breastplate of Aaron corresponded originally to the twelve tribes of Israel. However, Josephus and St. Jerome, in the 1st and 5th centuries CE, respectively, began linking these gems with the signs of the zodiac. Presumably, each stone offered wearers special powers during the corresponding astrological period. Therefore, people tried to collect and wear all twelve gems throughout the year as talismans or for therapeutic benefits. The modern association of one gem to each month and the practice of wearing just the stone connected to your birth month arose between the 16th and 18th centuries. The list of so-called ancient or "traditional birthstones" originated in Poland during this time. In the United States in 1912, the National Association of Jewelers released a list of so-called "modern birthstones."

How do Traditional and Modern Birthstone Jewelry Differ?

Although the lists differ somewhat, romantic gem enthusiasts in Western cultures today commonly choose birthstones from both selections. While most contemporary consumers don't typically attribute unusual powers to these stones, the gems do have popular meanings and associations.

While traditional birthstones include a mix of transparent and opaque gems, such as opal, pearl, and turquoise, the current list features only transparent gems. Practically speaking, this makes it easier to mix different gems into one piece of modern birthstone jewelry. However, if you prefer the traditional look to the current alternative, choose one of the ancient stones for your jewelry.

By International Gem Society

Whatever method you use to find the gemstone or stones that are right for you, the gift of these beautiful stones in your life may very well surprise you!