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Birthstones
Michael Schweska
Physical Geology
Spring 2005
 

                                          Ancient Birthstones

 
Cat's EyeMany believe that the Breastplate of Aaron is the basis for the origin of birthstones (also known as natal stones). The instructions for fabricating the Breastplate are in Exodus 28: 15-30, and call for the twelve stones of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (shown with this page's title) to be set in four rows. These gemstones corresponded to the zodiac signs of the time. Our present calendar month system was not known at the time of Exodus and today birthstones have come to be more commonly associated with the calendar month of birth although many people prefer using stones from astrological charts to represent their birth or natal stone.

Myths and superstitions gradually grew up regarding the stones, and symbolic meanings or virtues were ascribed to them. Different nations around the world have developed different charts for birthstones. Today, five months of the year have alternate birthstones.

 

Month Arabic Birthstones Hebrew Birthstones Hindu Birthstones Italian Birthstones Polish Birthstones Roman Birthstones Russian Birthstones
January Garnet Garnet Garnet Garnet Serpent Stone* ?Serpent Stone? Jacinth,

Garnet
Jacinth
Garnet
Garnet Garnet Garnet Garnet Garnet,

Hyacinth
Garnet
Hyacinth(Jacinth)
February Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Chandrakanta* ?Chandrakanta? Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst
March Bloodstone Bloodstone Bloodstone,

Jasper
Bloodstone
Jasper
The Gold Siva-linga* ?Gold Siva-linga? Jasper Jasper Bloodstone Bloodstone Bloodstone Bloodstone Jasper Jasper
April Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire Diamond Diamond Sapphire Sapphire Diamond Diamond Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire
May Emerald Emerald Agate,

Carnelian,

Chalcedony
Blue Agate
Carnelian
Chalcedony
Emerald Emerald Agate Blue Agate Emerald Emerald Agate Blue Agate Emerald Emerald
June Agate,

Chalcedony,

Pearl
Agate
Chalcedony
Pearl
Emerald Emerald Pearl Pearl Emerald Emerald Agate,

Chalcedony
Agate
Chalcedony
Emerald Emerald Agate,

Chalcedony
Agate
Chalcedony
July Carnelian Carnelian Onyx Onyx Sapphire Sapphire Onyx Onyx Ruby Ruby Onyx Onyx Ruby

Sardonyx
Ruby
Sardonyx
August Sardonyx Sardonyx Carnelian Carnelian Ruby Ruby Carnelian Carnelian Sardonyx Sardonyx Carnelian Carnelian Alexandrite Alexandrite
September Chrysolite Peridot Chrysolite Peridot Zircon Zircon Chrysolite Peridot Sardonyx Sardonyx Sardonyx Sardonyx Chrysolite Peridot
October Aquamarine Aquamarine Aquamarine Aquamarine Coral Coral Beryl Beryl Aquamarine Aquamarine Aquamarine Aquamarine Beryl Beryl
November Topaz Yellow Topaz Topaz Yellow Topaz Cat's-eye See photo in intro Topaz Yellow Topaz Topaz Yellow Topaz Topaz Yellow Topaz Topaz Yellow Topaz
December Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby Topaz Blue Topaz Ruby Ruby Turquoise Turquoise Ruby Ruby Turquoise

Chrysoprase
Turquoise
Chrysoprase
* The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz (1913) lists Serpent stone as the Hindu birthstone for January, Chandrakanta as the Hindu birthstone for February, and The gold Siva-linga as the Hindu birthstone for March.


 



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