The illustrations that follow are courtesy of ArtsyBee on Pixabay. I love the simplicity of the designs and just had to use them. Note that in some cases, the gemstones associated with the birthstone for the month may not be the one you are used to seeing. That is okay. Many gemstones share characteristics, and in the case of birthstones, several are used for each month.
Birthstones go all the way back to antiquity. In the Bible, book of Exodus, there is a reference to 12 stones and a breastplate. A breastplate was a religious garment. This one was decorated with 12 stones. Back then, the stones represented the 12 Tribes of Israel. Some of those stones included the Diamond, the Emerald, and the Sapphire. We use these three as birthstones today.
The evolution of the birthstone continued when the stones on this breastplate were connected to the Zodiac signs. In the 5th century, St. Jerome connected the 12 stones in the Breastplate to the 12 signs of the zodiac. According to his writings, each gemstone had unique and special attributes which were connected to the zodiac sign. If the person wore the stone at the right time, they would benefit from the stones special qualities. This idea doesn’t quite explain our system of birthstones, but it is the closest connection.
There are many explanations out there. Search the internet for birthstones and you will have more information than you can digest. Most, however cannot pinpoint exactly when specific stones became birthstones. It really doesn’t matter. What attracts us most about our birthstones is the lore, the mythology. And, in many instances the truth behind their therapeutic value.
I follow the list from the American Gem Society . In some cases, they too have more than one gemstone for some months.
We give birthstones to show that we care about a person and that they are special to us. Throughout history, gemstones have accumulated many stories, myths, and special attributes. Giving one as a gift gives the person a little piece of this history.