What is a birthstone?
The link between heavenly bodies and gemstones is continued in the concept of birthstones in our western system of astrology.
Each of the 12 signs of the zodiac has long been associated with a gem, which is thought to strike a chord with the character of someone born under this sign. So it brings the person good luck.
Later, the gemstones were linked to months rather than astrological signs.
Birthstone lists may vary greatly because some are arranged according to the zodiac (2nd column) and some by calendar months (3rd column).
The major stones occur in most cultures, though how they are assigned.
Other stone associated to January: Smoky Quartz
Other stone associated to February: Celestite, Morganite
Other stone associated to Blue Lace Agate, Kunzite
Other stone associated to Abalone, Jade, Kyanite, Rubellite
Other stone associated to Amazonite, Rhodocrosite
Other stone associated to Lapis Lazuli
Other stone associated to Rutile Quartz
Other stone associated to Topaz, Labradorite, Obsidian
Other stone associated to Lapis Lazuli, Tanzanite, Azurite, Sodalite
What is the birthstone origin?
The first century Jewish historian Josephus believed there was a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron's breastplate, the twelve months of the year, and the twelve signs of the zodiac.
In the eighth and ninth century, religious treatises associating a particular stone with an apostle were written, so that "their name would be inscribed on the Foundation Stones, and his virtue."Practice became to keep twelve stones and wear one a month.The custom of wearing a single birthstone is only a few centuries old, though modern authorities differ on dates.
In 1912, in an effort to standardize birthstones, the (American) National Association of Jewelers (now called Jewelers of America) met in Kansas and officially adopted a list.
The Jewelry Industry Council of America updated the list in 1952 by adding Alexandrite for June, citrine for November and pink tourmaline for October. They also replaced December's lapis with zircon and switched the primary/alternative gems for March.
The American Gem Trade Association added tanzanite as a December birthstone in 2002.
In 2016, the American Gem Trade Association and Jewelers of America added spinel as an additional birthstone for August.
Britain's National Association of Goldsmiths created their own standardized list of birthstones in 1937.
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