Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Traditional and Modern Birthstones

Birthstones are gems that have historically been associated with one of the 12 months in the Gregorian calendar. Wearing birthstone jewelry during the month that the stone represents first became popular in 15th century Poland and was thought to enhance magical and healing properties of the stone.



Traditionally, the birthstones assigned to each month are below:

Traditional Birthstones

January | Garnet
February | Amethyst
March | Bloodstone/Jasper
April | Diamond/Sapphire
May | Emerald/Agate
June | Alexandrite/Emerald
July | Ruby/Onyx
August | Sardonyx/Carnelian
September | Sapphire/Peridot
October | Tourmaline/Aquamarine
November | Citrine/Topaz
December | Zircon/Ruby

However, in the 1930s the American Gem Society released a revised list of Birthstones, which designated the Modern birthstones assigned to each month with which more people are familiar.

Modern Birthstones

January | Garnet
February | Amethyst
March | Aquamarine/Bloodstone
April | Diamond
May | Emerald
June | Pearl/Alexandrite/Moonstone
July | Ruby
August | Peridot/Sardonyx
September | Sapphire
October | Tourmaline/Opal
November | Topaz/Citrine
December | Turquoise/Zircon/Blue Topaz/Tanzanite


(image via the American Gem Society)

January
By her who in this month is born,
No gems save Garnets should be worn;
They will insure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.
February
The February born will find
Sincerity and peace of mind;
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they the Amethyst will wear.
March
Who in this world of ours their eyes
In March first open shall be wise;
In days of peril firm and brave,
And wear a Bloodstone to their grave.
April
She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone,
Emblem of innocence is known.
May
Who first beholds the light of day
In Spring's sweet, flower month of May
And wears an Emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and a loving wife.
June
Who comes with Summer to this earth
And owes to June her day of birth,
With ring of Agate on her hand,
Can health, wealth and long life command.
July
The glowing Ruby should adorn
Those who in warm July are born,
Then will they be exempt and free
From love's doubt and anxiety.
August
Wear a Sardonyx of for thee
No conjugal felicity.
The August-born without this stone
'Tis said must live unloved and lone.
September
A maiden born when autumn leaves
Are rustling in September's breeze,
A Sapphire on her brow should bind,
'Twill cure diseases of the mind.
October
October's child is born for woe,
And life's vicissitudes must know;
But lay an Opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.
November
Who first comes to this world below
With drear November's fog and snow
Should prize the Topaz' amber hue --
Emblem of friends and lovers true.
December
If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a Turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate'er you do.

- Gregorian birthstone poem printed in Notes and Queries, May 11, 1889.


Isn't it fascinating to learn of the protective and curative powers of birthstones that were commonly believed in centuries past? Before reading this post did you know both your Modern and Traditional birthstones?

xxKP


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