Most of us know what our birthstone is but have you ever wondered where the idea came from or what your stone means?
The bible refers to a sacred object known as the Breastplate of Aaron. Said to be worn by high priests as a way to communicate with God, the breastplate was adorned with 12 gemstones. Over the centuries, religious scholars connected the gems to the 12 months of the year and 12 signs of the zodiac. Eventually, each gem was assigned to a certain month, during which time the power of that gem was amplified.
At first, people wore the gems that corresponded to the current month but later starting wearing only the gem connected to their birth month. There has been much debate throughout the years surrounding which gems appeared on the actual breastplate, but modern jewellers came to agree — mostly — on a standard list.
Regardless of your birth month, these 12 gemstones offer beauty and benefits that can be reaped by anyone, all year-round.
January | Garnet
This deep red stone gets its name from the Latin word Granatum, meaning “pomegranate”, for its similarity to the fruit seeds. Glistening garnet was renowned for it appeared to emit light. This made it a popular stone for travelers and explorers who carried it to keep evil at bay and provide light in the dark. Garnet is said help us feel stable, connected and energized.
February | Amethyst
In Greek myth, Dionysus, the god of wine, took his anger against mortals out on a young woman named Amethystos. She prayed to Artemis for help, who turned her into a white statue. Feeling remorseful, Dionysus poured his cup of wine upon the statue, which turned it a dark shade of purple. This gave amethyst its connection to sobriety. This gemstone is popular among healers and their patients. It can clear negative energy and bring courage.
March | Aquamarine
With its blue-green color, aquamarine has long evoked the image and spirit of the ocean. It was a common talisman among sailors, said to promote a good night’s sleep and prevent illness. Aquamarine shares the calming properties of water, able to ease stress and anxiety. It is said to promote harmony in the home and can be an especially lucky stone for pregnant women.
April | Diamond
Some ancient cultures believed diamonds to be tears of the gods. They remain a symbol of innocence, purity and everlasting love. Diamonds are said to amplify energy. They can boost the properties of other crystals, but can also increase any negative energy that may be present. Wearing a diamond can have a purifying or detoxifying effect on the body.
May | Emerald
The beautiful emerald has been long held in high regard. It was apparently a favorite gem of Cleopatra while the Ancient Romans dedicated it to Venus, goddess of beauty and love. Its shimmery green color serves as a reminder of spring and rebirth, making emerald a symbol of fertility, growth and patience. Use emerald when you’re seeking love, wisdom and change or starting something new.
June | Pearl
According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite cried tears of joy and the love goddess’ tears hardened into beautiful pearls. They have since become symbolic of modesty and purity. Pearls are said to encourage stability in a marriage, perhaps because they’re thought to calm the mind and help control emotions.
July | Ruby
Ancient Hindus called rubies the “king of gems”. These bright red stones have long been worn to ward off evil. Their blood-like color has linked them to vitality and good health. Some ancient cultures adorned drinking cups with rubies to imbue their beverages with the gem’s powers.
August | Peridot
Aphrodite wasn’t the only goddess to shed beautiful tears. Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, cried glimmering green peridot, giving it properties of healing and abundance. Many cultures revered peridot, particularly impressed by its ability to give off a glistening green glow in both natural and artificial light.
September | Sapphire
With a royal blue hue, sapphire has long been a favorite stone of kings as well as priests, symbolizing loyalty, wisdom and faith. It’s said to bring clarity to the mind and aid in focus and learning. Sapphire is also known for its protective abilities. It was once believed that sapphire was so effective against poison that a vessel made of the gemstone would kill the venomous snake within it.
October | Opal
Mysterious opal offers a rainbow of intrigue. Its unique multi-colored hue was thought to combine the beauty and powers of other treasured stones, making it especially lucky. Opal inspires hope, faithfulness, confidence and love. Wearing opal is believed to open the mind, soothe the body and protect eyesight, in particular.
November | Topaz
While topaz comes in a variety of colors, it was the traditional yellow shade of the gem that first gained attention for its sun-soaked appearance. It was thought to exhibit the same abilities as the sun to stimulate and recharge those who soaked up its rays. Topaz is a symbol for wisdom, courage, love and peace. It offers protection for travelers, supports a happy mind and encourages intellectual growth.
December | Turquoise
This beautiful blue-green stone has been an important part of many ancient cultures, from Egypt to Argentina and beyond. Each considered it a prized stone that encouraged wisdom and strength and connected one to the greater universe. Turquoise offers protection, good fortune, and peace of mind. In Turkish tradition, it’s said that to receive the gift of turquoise from a friend will help you make more friends.