The birthstones that we associate with some months now are not necessarily the same as those used centuries ago. Previously, they were related to the 12 gemstones that appeared on the breastplate of the Isrealite High Priest described in the Book of Exodus.
Color was once the most important feature of a stone, which meant that there was no significant difference in meaning between a ruby and a garnet, for example.
The names used in the past might not also relate to the stone that we recognize today with that name: Sapphire was probably what we know as lapis today. Most likely, diamonds were white sapphires or white topaz.
Birthstone wear is believed to bring good luck, good health and safety. Astrologers long ago credited such gemstones with supernatural powers.
The birthstone of January, a garnet, is intended to keep the wearer safe during travel. The word "garnet" stems from a word meaning "seed," because the gem resembles the color and shape of a seed of pomegranate.
Amethyst, the February birthstone is said to strengthen ties and give courage to its wearer. During one time the gem could only be worn by royalty. Ancient Greeks believed the amethyst was protecting against poisoning. In reality, "amethyst" derives from amethystos, a Greek word which means "sober."
The March birthstone, aquamarine, was assumed to cure diseases of the heart, liver, and stomach — all one had to do was drink the water the gem had soaked in. Early sailors believed that aquamarine talismans, etched in the likeness of Neptune, the god of the sea, protected them from ocean danger.
Apart from being a symbol of eternal love, the April birthstone, diamond was once thought to bring courage. The diamond in Sanskrit is called vajra, which also means lightning; in Hindu mythology vajra was Indra's weapon, the king of gods.
The May birthstone, an emerald, was one of the favorite gems of Cleopatra. Fertility, regeneration, and love have long been associated with it. Ancient Romans went as far as dedicating this stone to the goddess of love and beauty, Venus. Today, Emeralds are thought to mean wisdom, prosperity, and patience.
The June birthstone, pearl, has been a symbol of purity for a long time. The ancient Greeks believed that the pearls were Aphrodite, the goddess of love, ' hardened tears of joy.
The July birthstone, ruby, was considered the "king of gems" by ancient Hindus. It was thought to shield the wearer from harm. Today the deep-red color of the ruby stands for love and passion.
The birthstone of August, a peridot, symbolizes power. For its light green hue, it is sometimes referred to as the "evening emerald." It was once believed that the tears of the volcano goddess Pele, were the green peridot crystals found in volcanic ashes. The gem was said to shield the wearer from hallucinations when set in gold.
The birthstone of September, sapphire, has once been thought to protect against evil and poison. A venomous snake was suspected to die if put in a vessel made of sapphire. The sapphire is historically a favorite stone of priests and kings and symbolizes purity and wisdom.
Opal, the October birthstone symbolizes loyalty and confidence. The word comes from the Latin opalus, meaning "precious stone." Necklaces were worn to repel evil and secure eyesight with opals embedded in them.
Birthstone, topaz, from November, symbolizes love and affection. It is believed to add strength and wisdom to the wearer.
The birthstone of December, turquoise, is considered a love charm. It is also a sign of good fortune and prosperity and it is believed that the mind should be relaxed and its wearer protected against damage. In particular turquoise rings are thought to keep evil spirits away.
Who knew all these incredible birthstones/gemstones had such meaning and history!!!