Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What Is Your Birthstone?

Do you know what your birthstone is? I thought I did until I looked further into it, and discovered that birthstones can be determined by the day of the week you were born on, the calendar month you were born, the Zodiac sign for the month you were born, the time and place of your birth, Chakras and even Lunar calendars. Almost every country or region traditionally had their own list of birthstones!

The picture shown right is the birthstone chart many of us are most familiar with - it is the most-widely used list of birthstones across the world today and is the one standardised by what is now Jewelers of America in 1912. These gemstones are listed in the Modern Birthstones column in the chart below.

But what are birthstones? They are precious or semi-precious gemstones that symbolise the month we were born, and have been popular since the 15th or 16th century - the birthstones listed in the Traditional Birthstones column below all date from this period.

In most cases only one Traditional Birthstone is listed, and this means that the most commonly recognised birthstone was the one shown. But occasionally you'll see a second Traditional Birthstone listed, such as for April which lists both diamond and sapphire - what this means is that the birthstone traditionally used in Hebrew society was not the diamond, but the sapphire. The birthstones in the Mystical list are of Tibetan origin, while the Ayurvedic list is taken from Ayurvedic Indian Medicine, and both of these date back over a thousand years

In addition to the Tibetans and Ayurvedics, many cultures have believed in the healing and protecting powers of gemstones, and since ancient times natural stones have been used in medicines and to cure a range of diseases. Almost all Asian countries, regardless of religious and cultural differences, share a belief that wearing the Navaratnas (the nine gemstones of the Hindu Astrological chart) in a ring will lessen the negative influences and strengthen the positive influences of the movement of planets. And practices such as Crystal healing place certain gemstones at the seven Chakras of the body to cure diseases

But I digress! As I was born in May, the table above shows that both my Modern and Traditional birthstone is the Emerald,  although if I had lived in Hebrew times or had practised Ayurvedic Indian medicine, it would have been an Agate. And my Mystical Tibetan birthstone is a Sapphire, which is jolly nice, as I adore sapphires!

Alternatively, you might choose a birthstone for your Zodiac sign. I'm a Taurus so, according the the table, my Zodiac gemstone is a Citrine  - although I'm not certain whether this may have changed after the dates for each Zodiac sign were officially changed earlier this year

Things become a bit more confusing when you discover that not all modern contemporary lists are the same. For instance, the Swarovski list shown below, has Rose crystal as the birthstone for October, and Blue Zircon as the birthstone for December

And that's not all! As if things weren't already complicated, there is also a gemstone for the day of the week you were born. I was born on a Sunday, and according to some charts my Birthday gemstone is a ruby - but depending which chart you look at it could also be a Pearl, Yellow Diamond, Zircon, Topaz, or Rock Crystal

While I was researching this
article I discovered that not only could you choose gemstones by the hour, week day, lunar day, month or lunar month of your birth, or by your Zodiac or Chinese Zodiac sign - you can also choose according to your personal blood group, eye colour or profession, by earth, fire, air or water element, by planet, by numerology, by Chakra, by anniversary, and by season

With such a bewildering choice available, it would seem that you could choose just about any stone you like as your birthstone. But for my birthday on 19th May, I'd like an emerald, a sapphire, a citrine or a ruby please!!!

© Erika Price . All rights reserved.