Gemstone Review – A History of Birthstones and Their Meanings – agate gemstone properties
agate gemstone properties –
Throughout the ages Birthstones have been referenced in a wide range of cultures and races with many ancient civilizations believing these gemstones possessed mythical, medicinal and astrological powers. These can be sectioned into Mythical from Tibetian culture, Biblical from the Old Testament, Ayurvedic from Indian culture, Astrological from each sign of the zodiac and modern day culture from 1912 which was introduced by the Jewellers of America in an attempt at standardizing these birthstones into one list.
It is thought that the origin of birthstones – a gemstone assigned to each month of the year – can be traced back to the Bible where Moses instructs directions for making the Breastplate of Aarron, a special religious garment for the High Priest of the Hebrews. This breastplate contained twelve gemstones which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. These Gemstones were in 4 sets of 3 and it is thought to include Red Jasper, Light Green Serpentine, Green Feldspar, Garnet, Lapis Lazuli, onyx, Brown Agate, Banded Agate, Amethyst, Yellow Jasper, Malachite, and Green Jade although this is not a definitive list as there are many different opinions and interpretations of which gems were used due to the fact that they were described by colour rather than the gemstone used. The writings of Flavius Josephus (1st century AD) and St. Jerome (5th century AD) then interpreted the 12 stones in the Breastplate and the 12 signs of the zodiac which proposed the gemstones had special powers associated with each corresponding astrological sign.
Today birthstones are traditionally worn to represent your month of birth and you would wear this one gemstone, however according to these ancient writings you should collect all twelve gemstones and wear them for each month they represent. This is when they are at their most powerful and would then transfer their healing or mythical powers to the wearer.
January – Garnet
Sometimes also represented by Onyx, Ruby, Turquoise, Blue Topaz and, Lapis Lazuli.
Garnet is the traditional stone for this birthday and is found in every colour except blue. Garnet is derived from the word granatum which means seed due to the resemblance of a pomegranate seed. Records to the gemstone date back to the Egyptians using garnet inlays in their jewellery in 3100 B.C
The garnet is thought to be connected with the planet Mars and believed to prevent nightmares and provide directional guidance in darkness. The garnet is associated with love, luck, wealth, healing and constancy. Signifies eternal friendship and trust and is also the perfect gift for a friend. Wearers may see an increase in their self-image, willpower and energy levels, and nervous people may feel calmer. Chakra – associated with the first chakra or root chakra at the base of the spine. Garnets are also believed to heal health problems related to blood, heart and lungs. According to Hindu gemology, ruby is the traditional January birthstone. The Garnet is also the gemstone that celebrates the second and eighteenth marriage anniversary.
February – Purple Amethyst
Also linked to Garnets and Jasper. Believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, also is said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted. Amethyst brings peace, temperance, serenity and represents royalty, English regalia wore amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize their royal status. Symbolic in religion as the Pope wears an amethyst ring. The magical properties of this purple stone are thought to heal headaches, insomnia, arthritis, circulatory issues and overall health.
March – Pale Blue Aquamarine and Bloodstone
These stones are associated with good health, youth, love and hope. Wearing this gem may build your courage and increase your happiness.
A calming soft green-blue gemstone which is associated with faithfulness, courage, and friendship and known to work for throat and stress related problems.
The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage. It is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Another more ancient birthstone for March is bloodstone, a dark-green jasper flecked with vivid red spots of iron oxide. It is also known as the martyr’s stone which was created when drops of Christ’s blood stained some jasper at the foot of the cross. It was used by the Babylonians to make amulets and was believed to have healing powers.
April – Diamonds
Diamond is the traditional stone of April which come in several colours, but they share the same association with eternal love and invincibility. Anciently believed that they could also ward off insanity. Diamonds are associated with good luck, protection, increasing inner strength, clarity of thought, balance, and abundance.
May – Green Emeralds
Emerald, derived from the word smaragdus, meaning green in Greek, was mined in Egypt as early as 330 B.C. This enchanting green stone is associated with loyalty, faithfulness, and friendship and legends speak of health, faithfulness, fertility and improved eyesight. The wearer of this stone is blessed with qualities of good memory, clairvoyance, foresight and is the symbol of rebirth.
June – Pearls or Moonstones
For Centuries pearls have been used as jewellery and were a favourite of the Roman Empire. Tudor England dating around the 1500s were known as the pearl age. Available in a multitude of shades, sophisticated black, grey, brown and the classic pale white colours.
Pearls are thought to bring good luck and protection to the wearer. They are associated with loyalty, faithfulness, and friendship. When used to combat health problems Pearls were used for problems related to heart, stomach and intestinal illness. The only gems from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing. Culturing of round saltwater pearls began in the early 1900’s and for a long time now cultured pearls have almost replaced natural pearls.
Also representing June is the moonstone part of the family of minerals called feldspar, found in igneous and metamorphic rocks in a variety of colours such as green, blue, peach, and champagne. Moonstone was named by the Roman historian Pliny. It was believed at that time, that the moonstone’s appearance altered with the phases of the moon and sometimes reflect either a multi-rayed star or a cat’s eye. A Sacred stone in India moonstones are usually displayed on a background of yellow and it is thought to hold a spirit within it who brings good fortune.
July – Ruby
Ruby is a variety of the gems corundum. It is harder than any natural gemstone except a Diamond. Tokens of harmony and peace wearers may attract both good luck and good friends. Ruby is associated with devotion, integrity, courage, and happiness. Also believed to enhance energy, generosity, bring success and prosperity prosperity. Health wise Rubies are also thought to help in blood purification and inducing positive thoughts.
August – Peridot
Forming deep inside the earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele the goddess of fire and volcanoes. Peridot is thought to have magical powers and healing properties protecting against nightmares and helps bring the wearer power and influence love, truth, faithfulness, loyalty, fame, dignity, and protection. Also believed to bring about prosperity, growth and openness. Traditionally used to ward off evil, enchantments and depression. The Peridot stone is thought to cure sinus, lungs, lymph health problems.
September – Sapphires
Sapphires are commonly thought of as a blue shade. These are also available in a variety of colours. Popular since the Middle Ages and according to folklore from that time they will protect your loved ones from envy and harm. Symbolizing Heaven they were worn by Medieval Clergy and thought to attract heavenly blessings. Bringing dignity, loyalty, serenity, faith, purity and wisdom, Sapphires are thought to bring constancy, insight, and clear thinking. Health-wise it is believed to lower fevers, inflammations and aid with hearing ailments.
October – Opals
The name opal derives from the Greek Opallos meaning to see a change of colour. Opals range in colour from milky white to black with splashes of iridescent brilliance. The Roman historian, Pliny described opalus – the Opal, as a precious stone containing the fiery flame of the carbuncle (Garnet), the resplendent purple of the Amethyst, and the sea-green glory of the Emerald. Opal is a stone of protection, shielding the wearer from absorbing other people’s negative thoughts and energies and bestowed with happiness and confidence. Historically the Opal is thought to enhance imagination, dreams, and healing. Opal is also thought to aid with health problems related to eyes.
November – Yellow Topaz and Citrine
These Gemstones are found in shades of yellow and brown, Topaz is thought to bless the wearer with loyalty, faithfulness, friendship, strength, and the healing of both body and mind and protecting travellers. Traditionally for health they are associated with asthma and insomnia while promoting vitality and energy. Citrine appears most frequently in Jewellery from the Art Deco era. Topaz symbolizes love and affection, and is said to bestow strength and intelligence on the person who wears it,
December – Turquoise, Blue Topaz and Tanzanite
Dating back to the 15th Century Turquoise is traditionally the birthstone for December. A very popular gem in Victorian jewellery. Social and Biblical symbolism were all reflected in the colour turquoise. The meaning of the colour turquoise represents the life cycle of birth, old age and death, due to its ability to change colour with ageing and believed to represent happiness and good fortune. Turquoise is thought to help the wearer with communication, and protection against all diseases and regeneration. It also enhances creativity, serenity, and spiritual bonding.
All of the references used here are symbolic of ancient and some more modern spiritual beliefs and as such should not be used in place of medical advice.
– A History of Birthstones and Their Meanings
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