The Origins of the Birthstones and Their Impact on You


Those involved in earth-based spirituality have long believed in the power of rocks and crystals to influence or reveal one's fate. While the rational, scientific approach to life may dismiss the metaphysical appreciation of gemstone and gem lore, the popularity of birthstones attests to the fact that many people remain intrigued by the connection between gems, the zodiac and their own nature. The belief in the power of gems stretches back to some of the earliest written stories. The historical origin of birthstones points to the story of Exodus as mentioned in the Bible. Aaron, a high priest during the time of Moses, wore a breast plate with twelve jewels, each of which was magically engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Though we do not list all birthstones as options for many designs we make, it is very often possible for us to accommodate special gemstone requests. Please contact us if you have a specific design and stone in mind and we will do our best to make you exactly what you want. Sizes & Settings Ruby, emerald, sapphire, alexandrite, aquamarine, and diamond are set in 18K gold. Garnet, amethyst, peridot, pink tourmaline, citrine, and blue zircon are set in sterling silver. Our birthstones are either 2mm or 2.5mm, except for diamonds which are always 2mm. Birthstones by Month

The jewels themselves were said to have been chipped off the throne of God. In fact, the breastplate, according to the Jewish historian, Josephus, (37-95AD) had miraculous powers. "From the stones which the high priest wore… there emanated a light… a radiance sufficient to give light even to those far away." As to what the actual twelve stones were is disputed because any list relies upon translations of archaic term that are often specific as to color more than pointing to an actual gemstone. That said, Bruce Kunth, in his definitive book entitled, Gems in Myth, Legion and Lore gives the twelve original gems as: red jasper, light green serpentine, green feldspar, almandine garnet, lapis lazuli, onyx, brown agate, banded agate, amethyst, yellow jasper, malachite, and green jasper/jade. This original breast plate was lost when the first temple was burned down. With the second temple, a new breastplate was made which is dated to about the 6th century BC. In those early times, there's evidence that all twelve stones were kept by a particular guardian or priest who wore a particular stone every month. The first recorded reference between birthstones and months, or zodiac, was from the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, first century, AD. John, in Revelations 21, 9 discussed the Foundation Stones of New Jerusalem which scholars believed was based on the earlier breast plate of Aaron. It was natural to connect the number twelve tribes with the twelve apostles and the twelve signs in the zodiac. The custom of a month associated with a particular birth date continued and was adopted by the early Christians, even though the pagan belief of gems having a particular power was scorned. John, in Revelations, lists twelve different stones, which represented qualities and were eventually tied to the Julian Calendar which has twelve months. . The church has a longstanding tradition of honoring the metaphysical nature of gemstones. This can be traced back to writings of some of the early fathers and the mixing of pagan traditions with those of the early Christians. According to the Gemological Institute of America, the actual modern custom of wearing gems associated with particular months is traced back to sixteen century Germany, though George Kunz in his authoritative text on the lore of gemstones traces it back to Jewish 18th century Poland. Over the years, attempts have been made to standardize gemstones, but even now there is variation between stones and their months; especially since astrological signs cross month borders. Different cultures, Vedic, Arab, Russian, etc, have naturally adopted stones associated with months according to what was regionally available. The ancient connection of gem to month has also been influenced by commercialism. The National Association of Jewelers set up a definitive birthstone list in 1912, which bore little resemblance to Aaron's breastplate. Just three gemstones remain from the original foundation stones: amethyst, onyx and topaz. This list was again modified in the thirties. Recently, the tanzanite industry has attempted to make tanzanite a new birthstone without much success. Given the long and storied history of birthstones, which is so disconnected from the modern list, one might indeed ask why they remain so popular. Without question, people are captivated by the idea that their personality or even spiritual life might be deeply connected to a particular gemstone. If you are a Cartesian, you may argue that this belief is merely the fancy of the imagination. But if so, imagination is certainly one of the most powerful influences in life. William Blake and the romantic poets came after Descartes and set the record straight! No wonder so many feel a profound relationship that is beyond the imagination to one's birthstone. If you do not feel that connected to your birthstone, choose another stone. After providing exhaustive lists, Bruce Kunth states that after consulting numerous texts, "one will find nearly any gem or gem color may be connected to any zodiacal sign…. If one is in search of a natal stone to serve as a talisman, it would seem advisable to choose a stone of personal preference or one that "feels right."" (p. 329.) Those who practice crystal or study the metaphysical elements of rocks and crystals have found that a relationship can be cultivated with any gem with some effort. You might try, for example, taking a gemstone and putting it in your hand and feeling what it does to your energy. Then take another gem and do the same thing, noting what might be learned from the differences. Over time, just as a piece of jewelry can hold an energy, intention or commitment, so a particular gemstone actually seems like alliance which can guide you or even help you with your healing, prosperity or wisdom. References: Much of the historical content of this article came from two books: Bruce Knuth's Gems in Myth, Legion and Lore and George Frederick Kunz's, The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Both works are in print and available online.

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