Most of us are familiar with the concept of the “birthstone”; a precious or semiprecious stone traditionally associated with a particular month and believed to attract good fortune.
While it is open to speculation as to how specific gemstones became associated with the individual months, there are those scholars who surmise that the tradition dates back to biblical times. Reportedly, an ancient clerical vestment was found adorned with twelve assorted gemstones. Over time, these stones, first thought to represent the twelve tribes of Israel, became further associated with the zodiac. Valued for more than just rarity and beauty, potent cosmological powers were attributed to each of the twelve stones.
Wearing the ascribed stone each month was said bond the individual to these powerful astrophysical forces. The wealthy would collect all twelve stones to ensure they were protected and empowered throughout the year. Those less affluent, drew on the specific “magic” of their birth month, and would wear their “birth stone” throughout the corresponding month. The concept of a person continually wearing their birthstone is a relatively modern idea that historians trace back to 18th century Poland, with the arrival of Jewish gem merchants into the region.
Still to this day, many of us wear jewellery set with our birthstone, and not just for the sake of adornment. Often, we remain intrigued by historical associations and the metaphysical properties of “our” stone.