Birthstones are precious or semi-precious gems that are associated with a particular month of the year. The origins of birthstones can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. They believed that birthstones had powerful healing properties and would often incorporate them into their jewellery, talismans, and amulets. The tradition of assigning birthstones to specific months of the year also has roots in ancient history. The Breastplate of Aaron, a religious garment worn by the High Priest of the Israelites, is believed to have featured 12 precious stones, one for each tribe of Israel. This concept was later adopted by early Christians, who associated the 12 stones with the 12 apostles. Birthstones have a rich history and are steeped in folklore, tradition, and superstition. In this article, we will explore the different types of birthstones, what they represent, their history, and how they are mined.
The first birthstone list was created by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912, and it included a gemstone for each month of the year. Today, the most widely recognized birthstone list is that of the American Gem Trade Association, which includes the following birthstones:
June: Pearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite
October: Opal and Tourmaline
November: Topaz and Citrine
December: Turquoise, Zircon, and Tanzanite
Each birthstone has its own unique characteristics and is said to represent different qualities. For example, garnets are said to symbolize friendship and trust, while amethysts are believed to promote calm and balance. Aquamarine is said to represent courage, while diamonds are the symbol of eternal love. Emeralds are said to represent wisdom, while pearls are the symbol of purity and innocence.
Birthstones are mined in different parts of the world. For example, garnets are found in Africa, India, and Russia, while amethysts are found in Brazil, Uruguay, and Zambia. Aquamarine is found in Brazil, Colombia, and Mozambique, and diamonds are found in countries such as Angola, Botswana, and Canada. Emeralds are mostly found in Colombia, Zambia, and Brazil, while pearls are harvested from oysters and mussels in the ocean. Some are mined from underground mines, while others are found in rivers or even on the surface. For example, diamonds are mined from kimberlite and lamproite mines, while sapphires are mined from alluvial deposits in rivers. Birthstones such as turquoise and lapis lazuli can be found in surface mines, while others such as opals are mined underground.
In modern times, birthstones have become a popular choice for jewellery, with many people choosing to wear or give birthstones as gifts to commemorate a special occasion or to express affection. Birthstones are also used in many different forms of jewellery such as rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
In conclusion, birthstones are a fascinating and ancient tradition that has been passed down through the centuries. Each birthstone has its own unique characteristics and is said to represent different qualities. They are mined in different parts of the world and have a rich history and folklore. Whether you believe in their supposed healing powers or just enjoy the beauty of these precious gems, birthstones make a wonderful addition to any jewellery collection.