Making Our Month: Traditional Birthstones in Modern Times

by Lorna
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March birthstone aquamarine

Birthstone jewelry has always been popular, especially for holidays or as a fall-back gift on female birthdays.  In modern times, the stones themselves have changed, but has their traditional meaning changed too?

Here are the traditional birthstones:

January – garnet, February – amethyst, March – bloodstone, April – diamond, May – emerald, June – cat’s eye, July – turquoise, August – sardonyx, September – sapphire, October – opal, November – topaz, December – ruby

You saw a few surprises in there, right?  Although there’s disagreement on exactly when the wearing of specific birthstones came into being, it’s believed that it happened some time in the mid to late 1500s, and those listed above are traditionally accepted birthstones from that era.  The modern birthstones are not only different, but there are many more of them.  By and large the ones we use today are primarily based on America’s first “official” standardized list which was established early in the 1900s.  This list has received updates and subtle changes a few times since, but here are most of the basic birthstones and their accepted alternates:

beautiful birthstone body jewelry

January – garnet, rose quartz

February – amethyst, onyx

March – aquamarine, bloodstone

April – diamond, sapphire, cubic zirconia, quartz

May – emerald, chrysoprase

June – pearl, moonstone, alexandrite

July – ruby, carnelian, amethyst

August – peridot, sardonyx

September – sapphire, lapis lazuli

October – opal, tourmaline, coral

November – topaz, citrine

December – turquoise, blue zircon, tanzanite

Many of these stones retain a meaning spiritually as well, and are often used in alternative medicine, mysticism, divination, and healing.  This month’s birthstone, aquamarine, is associated with beauty, happiness, and even temperedness.  Its color is believed to impart calm and quell foul tempers, and in nautical tradition the stone was believed to protect those who took to the sea for long periods of time.

aqua crystal body jewelry

by Lorna

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