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What is Birthstone Jewelry?

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  • Written By: Deborah Ng
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Birthstone jewelry contains stones representing the month of one's birth. For instance, if one was born in July, one would wear a ruby, which is the stone corresponding to that month. Birthstones can be worn for any occasion. If you're unsure of your birthstone, a listing is provided below.

The first stone listed for each month is the traditional birthstone. This list dates back to the 15th century. A more modern entry follows each traditional birthstone. The modern birthstones were officially adopted in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers.

  • January — Garnet or Rose Quartz
  • February — Amethyst or Onyx
  • March — Aquamarine or Bloodstone
  • April — Diamond or Rock Crystal
  • May — Emerald or Chrysoprase
  • June — Alexandrite or Pearl
  • July — Ruby or Carnelion
  • August — Periodot or Sardonyx
  • September — Sapphire or Lapis
  • October — Opal or Tourmaline
  • November — Topaz or Citrine
  • December — Tanzanite or Turquoise

Birthstone jewelry evolved from astrologers associating certain stones and their colors with the signs of the Zodiac. It was believed that different gemstones possessed healing qualities and were worn for protection, good luck or to ward off illness. It was the gemstone's color that was believed to give it its power. Birthstone jewelry is rooted in the Bible as well. It is believed that Aaron's breastplate, encrusted with twelve different gems, held the original set of birthstones.

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As the years went by, birthstones began to be associated with their respective months, rather than with the signs of the zodiac. These days, the birthstone's use is more ornamental than medicinal. People wear birthstone jewelry to represent their birthday as well as their personality.

There are styles of birthstone jewelry to fit all lifestyles and price ranges. One does not have to be rich to wear her respective birthstone. In addition to purchasing pricey birthstone jewelry, one can purchase the inexpensive costume variety as well.

The newest form of birthstone jewelry is "mother" or "grandmother" birthstone jewelry. This style of jewelry uses stones representing the birth month of each child or grandchild, usually in the order of birth. This birthstone jewelry most commonly takes the form of rings or necklaces, though it's becoming more common to wear a charm bracelet with charms representing the birthstone of each child.

Whether you choose to wear a birthstone for its healing qualities or just because you like the way it looks, it's always nice to wear jewelry representing one's birth.

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clintflint
Post 5

@Ana1234 - It's the same as any holiday or tradition that was started for commercial reasons. It can be as real and meaningful as you want it to be.

I personally really love the idea of family birthstone jewelry made for a mother or grandmother, where they have a stone for each child of the family. Particularly since there isn't really a traditional significance attached to stones these days, so very few people could assign someone a jewel color based on personality or vibrations or whatever. This is a way to have a universal symbol without giving it unwelcome spiritual significance.

Ana1234
Post 4

@bythewell - I guess that's one advantage of having assigned birthstones, even though I've always thought the idea of it was a bit silly. Modern birthstones aren't even based on any kind of mystical significance, they are just the random stones that were chosen by a jeweler's association as a marketing gimmick.

bythewell
Post 3

My grandmother had a tradition of commissioning the first letter of every grandchild's name, inlaid with their birthstone, as a pendant right after they were born, with the intention of giving it to them when they were old enough to appreciate it.

Unfortunately, since she didn't give them out or specify who they were for, when she passed away there was a big fight over her will and the pendants got lost in it which I've always thought was a real shame. I didn't care about the pendant in terms of monetary value, but personalized birthstone jewelry would have been a beautiful heirloom and since the birthstones and names of the grandchildren were all different it was pretty obvious which one was supposed to go to which child.

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