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By Cynthia Kirkeby
May 25, 2012, 2:29pm


Did you know that there are traditional, modern, and mystical birthstones? Find out what your stones are with this breakdown by month and link to some cool sites to learn more about their significance.

The Modern birthstone list is from the American National Association of Jewelers, which later evolved into the Jewelers of America. The Traditional birthstone list is an older version of the Modern birthstone list recommended by the American National Association of Jewelers. It is based on societal birthstone traditions spanning from the 15th to the 20th Century. The Mystical birthstone list is based loosely on a list of Tibetan origin from over 1,000 years ago. To learn more about a particular stone, click on the name or check out the learning links below.

The following list has a modern, a traditional, and a mystical birthstone listed in that exact order, after each corresponding birth month.

Modern, Traditional, and Mystical Birthstones

January -
Garnet, Garnet, Emerald

February -
Amethyst, Amethyst, Bloodstone

March -
Aquamarine, Bloodstone, Jade

April -
Diamond, Diamond, Opal

May -
Emerald, Emerald, Sapphire

June -
Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone

July -
Ruby, Carnelian, Ruby

August -
Peridot, Sardonyx, Diamond

September -
Sapphire, Sapphire, Agate

October -
Opal, Tourmaline, Jasper

November -
Topaz, Citrine, Pearl

December -
Zircon, Turquoise, Onyx

Symbolic Stones

This gemstone is often found as a round nodule with bands similar to the rings of a tree trunk. It is white with gold and yellow tiger stripes and was said to quench thirst and protect people from fevers. Collecting Agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance period.

This gem changes color from green in daylight to red in incandescent light. It is very rare and as a result it’s expensive and in high demand. Alexandrite was discovered in Czarist Russia in 1830 and was well loved by the Russian master jewelers.

This grape colored gem should be set in silver or gold for the strongest effect. It is most often associated with the god Bacchus who supposedly created it. Amethyst is said to prevent intoxication, expell poison, quicken the wits, protect soldiers, and cure gout.

This minty colored gem has an extensive history as a curative substance. Wearing it is said to prevent spasms, convulsions, and liver ailments. Travelers of the sea carried it to protect themselves from storms and people with the hiccups drank water that had an Aquamarine dipped into it as a cure.

A green gem flecked with red, the Bloodstone is said to have many religious and curative properties. The red often represented the blood of Christ and warriors carried it with them to stop bleeding and inspire courage. Bloodstone supposedly causes thunder, lightning, and rain.

This orange gem is said to protect against fear, envy, and rage, and helps to get rid of sadness. It can assist one in drama and pursuits related to theatrical presentations. Carnelian looks best when set in silver.

This lemony gem is named for the French word for lemon. Citrine can be yellow, gold, orange, or brown, and looks best when set in polished gold. It protects against snake venom and evil thoughts and is sometimes called Madeira Citrine after the color of the wine.

The Diamond is believed to be a symbol of innocence, justice, faith, and strength. It used to be worn to ward off poison, yet people believed it to be deadly when swallowed. Diamonds are most powerful when set in steel.

This bright green gem was worn to protect against disease and venomous bites. It was used to cure eye ailments, gout, liver complaints, jaundice, hemorrhaging, and dysentery. When placed under the tongue, an Emerald helps predict the future. This gem looks best when set in gold.

Garnets come in many colors, such as red, yellow, orange, brown, and green. They have been used in the past to staunch bleeding, cure blood ailments, dissolve tartar in the body, and to ward off the plague. It is said that the wearer will enjoy riches, good health, and happiness.

This light green stone known as the kidney stone was powdered and mixed with gold and silver to prolong life and strengthen the lungs, vocal organs, and heart. It was believed to protect the body from decay and was used for embalming. The Chinese referred to Jade as the musical stone because of the melodic tones it makes when struck.

This is an ornamental rock with colorful bands and patterns. It ranges from yellow to green and is named according to its patterns such as landscape jasper, ribbon jasper, picture jasper, or orbicular jasper. It is found in numerous countries.

Luminous in appearance, this stone is obviously linked with the moon. It arouses tender passions, wards off cancers, and is said to make one invisible. When placed in the mouth during a full moon, the Moonstone is believed to enable lovers to fortell the future of their relationship.

Mostly black in color, the Onyx sometimes has white bands or ribbons in the background. The name comes from the Greek word onux, meaning fingernail, after the nails of Venus were cut off by Cupid in an old tale. Onyx that is reddish brown or white is called Sardonyx.

The Opal resembles bits of rainbow and was used to cure eye disease, infections, heart disease, and malignancies. It is also said to reflect its owner’s moods and health, glowing brightly to indicate joy and darkening during times of death. Opals are a symbol of hope and Black Opals have always been considered particularly lucky.

Lustrous in its beauty, the pearl is a longtime symbol of purity and virtue. Pearls were used to cure ulcers and headaches, and pearl oil fortified the nerves. They also were used to clean the face and teeth, and to cure impotence. Defective pearls were believed to cause discomfort, disgrace, and misfortune.

The traditional way to wear a Peridot is on the left side and set in gold. This green gem was used to banish nightmares and protect against evil spirits. The wearer of this birthstone is gracious and loving.

The deep, rich glow of a red Ruby has been said to hold youth-giving properties. It also has been used to ward off plagues, boil water, drive away sadness, restrain lust, and to bring good harvests. Rubies were used to guard against the harsh elements.

These deep blue gems have many religious connotations and were thought to be a symbol of purity. They were used to cure eye ailments, purify the blood, and fortify the heart. The wearer is thought to be wise, virtuous, and strong.

This gem with red-brown, sand, and white onyx was often used for carving cameos. It was thought to be a cure for snakebites and other poisons, and symbolizes marital happiness. The wearer of Sardonyx is said to be eloquent.

A warm, golden gem, this particular birthstone is a symbol of friendship and is thought to calm anger and guard against envy. Mixed with rose water, topaz prevented bleeding and the wearer of it will gain a long life, beauty, and intelligence.

This gem was used to strengthen teeth and bones, and to shrink varicose veins. It is found in almost every color including pink, green, yellow, blue, brown, and various combinations of these colors. It has been thought that Toumaline enables sleep and calms nerves.

This is one of the oldest known curative gems and is prized by many civilizations and cultures. The Turquoise stone symbolizes success and good fortune, and was often worn as a love charm. It was thought to predict weather and indicate illness. According to legend, Turquoise is found in the wet earth at the end of the rainbow.

The amber version of Zircon was worn over the chest in a cloth bag to cure insomnia. It also protected against plague and wounds. Holding the stone in one’s mouth was believed to cheer the heart and mind. Farmers counted on it to bring a good harvest and to guard against lightning.

  Rebecca Saady Bingham, Jewelers of America, International Colored Gemstone Association

Additional Learning Links for Birthstones

The World of Gemstones
The world of gemstones today has an extensive selection of colors which span the entire rainbow. Browse this gem library by name, variety, or color.
Source:       International Colored Gemstone Association

Birthstone History and Lore
Did you know that sapphires are the guardians of love? Click on your particular birthstone for some quick facts about its history.
Source:       Midnight Sun Online

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