There is a lot to say about gemstones, but let us start with birthstones, which are widely used in jewellery.
Did you know that each month of the year is associated with a gemstone? That each type of gemstone echoes a symbol, virtue or character trait?
October birthstone – OpalThe history of birthstones
First published by the American Gem Society, the list of birthstones dates back to 1912.
In 1913, in a book entitled 'The Curious History of Precious Stones', Georges Frédérick Kunz, a famous mineralogist and mineral collector, revisited the history of this age-old tradition.
Although no specific mention was made of birthstones, the texts of the Old and New Testaments provide the first clues. The first mentions a breastplate, belonging to the high priest Aaron, made up of 4 rows of stones engraved with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. The second describes 12 decorated stones as the foundations of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem.
In ancient times, two authors, Flavius Josephus and Saint Jerome - drew an analogy between the 12 stones mentioned in the sacred texts and their correspondence with the 12 months of the year.
Did men and women of that era already wear birthstones or, as jeweller Jean-Henri-Prosper Poujet and Georges Frédérick Kunz assert, did this custom originate later, between the 17th and 18th centuries?
Many ancient treatises on mineralogy describe not only the physical qualities of stones and their provenance, but also their therapeutic properties and symbolism.
Whether or not you believe these legends, learning about birthstones can be an exciting and interesting experience.
Birthstones by month
Find out what makes your birthstone a symbol of your best qualities by clicking on the month of your birth below.
January : Garnet
February : Amethyst
March : Aquamarine
April : Diamond
May : Emerald
June : Moonstone
July : Ruby
August : Peridot
September : Sapphire
December : Turquoise & Tanzanite & Zircon