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Saturday, 2 April 2011


Gemstone picture from
Birthstone jewelry is always a popular gift, especially for people who happen to like their birthstone gem. For people with the unenviable responsibility of finding a gift for someone they don't really know, birthstone jewelry is a fairly safe option but one that does indicate at least some level of thought has gone into choosing (unless it is a birthday present!)

I imagine most women could tell you their birthstone if you asked, they could probably also tell you the stone for some of their friends and relatives birth months. If they have an expensive birthstone (looking at you, April!) they would probably also be able to list an accepted alternative as well.
What I expect most women don't know is that there are actually several accepted birthstone lists from different cultures and times in history. There are also stones assigned to different signs of the zodiac and different days of the week, great news if you aren't too keen on the stone for your month.

Bloodstone beads from Ozmay Designs
Ancient Tibetan culture has provided us with one list of stones, usually known as the Mystical set. Little more is known about them.

Ancient Indian medicine also lists a series of birthstones - the Ayurvedic list - in which each stone was believed to promote certain types of healing

There are also Biblical references to birthstones - a complete list of stones in Roman calendar order is listed in Revelations.

Apparently the tradition of wearing birthstones originated in Poland, where it was believed each stone's power was heightened during its month and therefore you were supposed to own all twelve and wear each during the correct month.

Garnet beads from SevenColorBeads

Garnet is almost universally listed as the stone for January and also for Aquarius, the exception being the Mystical list which lists Emerald instead. Rose Quartz can also be used.
Garnet is said to promote strength, perseverance, prosperity and health, whereas Rose Quartz is for love and forgiveness

Garnet is also the stone for Tuesday.

Amethyst beads from BackGard


Again, there is a strong consensus for Amethyst being the stone for Feburary and also for Pisces. The Mystical system lists Bloodstone instead but Onyx, Hyacinth, Pearl and Moonstone are acceptable alternatives from some sources.
Amethyst is said to promote wisdom, spirituality and security and Onyx, relaxation and comfort.

Aquamarine beads from Piratcha

Aquamarine is the modern birthstone for March but Ayurvedic medicine lists Bloodstone, the Mystical system lists Jade and the Bible lists Jasper. Bloodstone is also the stone for Aries.
Aquamarine is for beauty, honesty, loyalty and happiness, Bloodstone for endurance.

Quartz crystal from BitsofBrilliance

Diamond is the modern stone for April, with natural Quartz as a cheaper alternative, but Sapphire is considered equally under the Ayurvedic system and is the stone listed in Revelations as well. The Mystical list (different, as always) gives Opal as the appropriate stone.
Sapphire is also the stone for Taurus.
Diamond and Quartz have similar powers - Diamond for invincibility, clarity, purity and eternal love, Quartz for balance, clarity and energy.

Diamond is also the stone for Friday and Sapphire 
the stone for Saturday.

Emerald beads by phelsuma

Emerald is the modern stone for May, other traditions list Agate, Sapphire, Chrysoprase and Beryl.
Emerald is said to promote patience, understanding and foresight, Chrysoprase promotes fertility and secrecy

Emerald is also the stone for Wednesday and for star-sign Cancer

Moonstone beads by Love of Jewelry


Even the modern list can't decide on a single stone for June, listing both Moonstone and Pearl, both of which are equally represented in traditional lists as well. Alexandrite, Opal and Agate are also accepted in some traditions.
Alexandrite and Moonstone are both to promote balance, Alexandrite is also for confidence and joy, whereas Moonstone is also for luck. Pearl is said to be for modesty, purity, beauty and happiness.

Agate is also the stone for Gemini and Pearl is the stone for Monday.

Ruby beads from Sapphire Garden Beads

Ruby is almost universally accepted as the birthstone for July, with Carnelian being listed as a cheaper alternative. Turquoise and Onyx are also mentioned.
Ruby is said to encourage love, success and integrity, Carnelian is for luck and safety.

Ruby is also the stone for Sunday and Capricorn. Onyx is the stone for Leo.

Peridot beads from Acorn Alley

Peridot is the modern birthstone for August  but it seems each culture has a different stone for this month - Sardonyx, Carnelian, Moonstone, Topaz, Diamond, Sapphire and Jade are all listed.
Peridot is said to be for fame, dignity, protection and success.

Peridot is also the stone for Libra, with Carnelian the stone for Virgo.

Sapphire beads from DesignsByDevlin

Another contentious month - Sapphire is the modern stone and Lapis the cheaper alternative for it but Chrysolite, Agate and Moonstone are listed by traditional sources.
Sapphire is for truth, sincerity, commitment and loyalty. Lapis is for understanding and protection.

Sapphire is also the stone for Saturday.

Tourmaline beads from Love of Jewelry

Most sources list Opal as the stone for October, though the modern list gives equal precedence to Tourmaline. Jasper and Aquamarine are also listed in some sources.
Opal is said to promote hope, faith and confidence, Tourmaline is for balance, endurance and safety.

Beryl is the stone for Scorpio.

Citrine beads from sandykidd

Topaz is the most widely accepted stone for November and also for Sagittarius, though the modern list includes Citrine and some traditional lists say Pearl.
Topaz is for strength, wisdom and courage. Citrine is for hope, cheerfulness, youth and fidelity.

Topaz is also the stone for Thursday.

Turquoise beads by BackGard


Turquoise and blue Topaz are the modern stones for this month but traditional lists say Ruby, Onyx, Bloodstone and Tanzanite.
Turquoise is said to encourage new possibilities and happiness.

Ruby is the stone for Capricorn

My birthstone is Emerald and green has never been my favourite colour. Blue, on the other hand, has always been high on my choice of colours so I was happy to find out that Sapphire is not only an alternative but also the stone for my star-sign and birthday! What do you think about birthstones? Are you happy with yours? Have you found an alternative you like in this post? Or do you just not bother about your stone, instead sticking with the stones you like best?

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