Why are birthstones a thing?

Why are birthstones a thing?

Why are birthstones a thing? This question comes to mind every time I see this word -birthstone- on a magazine.

It is difficult to determine with any certainty where the origin of this cultural practice but seems to point at a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron's breastplate (signifying the tribes of Israel, as described in the Book of Exodus), the twelve months of the year, and twelve signs of the zodiac. On the breastplate, there were four rows of jewels. Unfortunately, the meanings of the names for the minerals are unclear, and several have changed meaning between the classical era and modern times.

Throughout the centuries, the theories that each gem had a connection to a specific month or astrological alignment, were many.

George Frederick Kunz was an American mineralogist and mineral collector and the vice president of Tiffany and Co from 1879 to 1932. In his book, The Curious Lore of Precious Stones in 1913, Kunz wrote of Catherine de' Medici's habit in the sixteenth century that wore a girdle set with twelve stones with engravements of talismanic nature.

Some confusion over which stone should represent a calendar month took its course through the centuries and possibly because of the notion that it's difficult to attribute a single quality or virtue to just one stone. In 1912, to make this issue clearer and minimize confusion, the (American) National Association of Jewelers launched the modern list of birthstones. In Kunz book, is a description of this list and the reference that it was different than the traditional, there were some changes in the birthstones months and several added stones.

According to popular believe Birthstones have attributes and mysteries and lore that are unique to each gemstone. You can find countless myths and legends related to these attributes and power of each birthstone.

The allure of this lore around birthstones is very present in the XX century and XXI century. We can find a variety of literature around the subject of the magic and power of the gemstones. Magic and power are compelling and fun arguments that feed this culture. That's why the birthstone culture is very much alive!

Find your birthstone here:


January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone
July: Ruby, Carnelia
August: Peridot, sardonyx, Spinel
September: Sapphire
October: Opal, Tourmaline
November: Topaz, Citrine
December: Turquoise, Tanzanite