Why Are Stones Associated With Months?

By | March 7, 2024

Ever wondered about the connection between stones and the months of the year? In “Why Are Stones Associated With Months?”, you’ll uncover the fascinating history and cultural significance of birthstones. The article explores the reasons behind these charming traditions, revealing a worldview that intertwines nature, time and spirituality. You’ll learn about the meaningful significance each stone holds, and why it’s designated to a particular month. This journey will lead you to a deeper understanding of this enduring custom, enhancing the way you view your own birthstone or even influence your next jewelry purchase.

Why Are Stones Associated With Months?

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History of Birthstones

Birthstones are a familiar concept to most people, yet few realize just how far back this tradition really goes. The idea of associating specific gemstones with months of the year has long-held cultural, religious, and metaphysical significance.

Biblical origins

The roots of birthstones trace back to biblical times, specifically the Book of Exodus. In it, there’s a description of the Breastplate of Aaron. This ancient priestly garment was decorated with twelve different precious stones, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. These stones were also thought to correspond with the twelve months of the year and the zodiac signs.

Ancient cultural practices

The actual practice of wearing a stone associated with the month of one’s birth, however, didn’t start until much later in history. The Greeks and Romans carried amulets with their own patron gods, and some believe these traditions later evolved into the association of certain stones with birth months.

Modern adaptation

The modern list of birthstones as we know it today in the Western world was standardized in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers. This list has been largely accepted globally with minor variations. These birthstones now represent each month and dressing yourself with the respective stone is believed to provide certain benefits and protection.

Significance of Birthstones

Birthstones are more than just sparkling adornments. They carry significance that ranges from symbolic meanings, personal connections, to cultural beliefs.

Symbolic meanings

Each birthstone is believed to symbolize certain characteristics. For example, garnet, the birthstone of January, is said to symbolize trust and enduring friendship. These symbolism are often taken from ancient myths, beliefs, and collectively held understandings of the stones’ qualities.

Personal connection

For many, their birthstone is a representation of their identity. It serves as a gentle reminder of their personal traits, milestones or as a connection to their birth month. It becomes more of a personal emblem rather than just a piece of jewelry.

Cultural beliefs

Cultural beliefs play a significant role in the understanding of birthstones. Different cultures attribute different meanings and powers to their respective stones. It’s a fascinating mix of folklore, mythology, and spiritual beliefs that shapes the narrative of each birthstone.

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List of Birthstones

Here is a compilation of the commonly accepted list of birthstones for each month in the English-speaking world:

January – Garnet

The deep red garnet is the birthstone of individuals born in January. A symbol of friendship and trust, it’s perfect for the start of the new year.

February – Amethyst

February boasts the beautiful purple amethyst. This stone was believed to protect its wearer from intoxication in ancient times and now it is seen as expressing peace, temperance, and serenity.

March – Aquamarine

March’s birthstone, the aquamarine, gleams with a cool, tranquil blue. It’s a symbol of youth, health, and hope.

April – Diamond

The most coveted of stones, the diamond, represents April babies. Known for its clarity and hardness, the diamond symbolizes everlasting love and strength.

May – Emerald

May gets the vibrant green emerald which is often associated with fertility, rebirth, and love.

June – Pearl, Alexandrite

June has two beautiful options: the elegant pearl and the color-changing alexandrite. While pearls symbolize innocence and purity, alexandrite stones are believed to bring luck and joy.

July – Ruby

The fiery red ruby, symbolic of passion, love, and courage is the stone of July.

August – Peridot, Sardonyx

August born individuals get to choose between the peridot and the sardonyx. Peridot is said to ward off evil, while sardonyx symbolizes courage and victory.

September – Sapphire

The calming and deep blue sapphire is the stone for September. It is seen as a symbol of wisdom and virtue.

October – Opal, Tourmaline

October features the magical opal and the pink-green tourmaline. Both stones are associated with hope, innocence, and creativity.

November – Topaz, Citrine

Yellowish-golden topaz and citrine represent November. The stones are believed to bring warmth and energy, much like the autumn sun.

December – Turquoise, Zircon, Tanzanite

People born in December get to choose from turquoise, zircon, or tanzanite, all encompassing shades of soothing blue. These stones are said to bring luck and success.

Attributes of Birthstones

Every birthstone comes with a set of physical properties, lore, and healing properties that add to its value and charm.

Physical properties

Birthstones, like all gemstones, have unique physical properties including color, crystal structure, hardness, and luster. These characteristics play a significant role in their appeal and value.

Lore and legends

Each birthstone comes with a trove of lore and legends, often associated with their supposed magical or healing powers. These old tales add to the mystique and allure surrounding these beautiful stones.

Healing and spiritual properties

Many people believe in the healing and spiritual properties of gemstones, including birthstones. From enhancing clarity and focus (clear quartz) to inducing calm and reducing stress (amethyst), birthstones are often used as tools for physical and emotional healing.

Why Are Stones Associated With Months?

Wearing Birthstones

While the most common way to enjoy your birthstone is to wear it as a piece of jewelry, there’s more than one way to incorporate these beautiful stones into your life.

As jewelry

Birthstones are often worn as jewelry. From simple pendants and bracelets to ornate rings and earrings, they add a vibrant splash of color while being a constant reminder of the wearers identity.

As amulets or talismans

Historically, birthstones were worn as amulets or talismans believed to ward off evil spirits or bring luck. These practices are still followed in many cultures around the world today.

Personal expression

Wearing your birthstone is a wonderful form of self-expression. It creates a unique, personal token that you can carry around with you every day.

Buying Birthstones

When it comes to buying birthstones, it’s important to keep in mind the quality, authenticity, and cost of the stones.

Considerations when purchasing

When buying a birthstone, consider its quality (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight), its setting, and overall design. Choose a stone and setting that resonates with you personally and suits your style.

Authenticity and quality

Ensure you’re buying from a reputable source. Genuine stones come with certification of authenticity and quality. Always ask for this when buying a birthstone.

Cost and value

Birthstones range dramatically in cost and value. While some, like diamonds, are expensive, others, like garnet or citrine, are more affordable. Keep your budget in mind while shopping, but remember that the sentimental value of a birthstone is priceless.

Why Are Stones Associated With Months?

Caring for Birthstones

Proper care for birthstones extends their beauty. This involves cleaning, storage, and ongoing maintenance.

Cleaning and maintenance

Each type of gemstone requires a different cleaning method. Some stones can be soaked in warm soapy water and lightly brushed, while others require special cleaning solutions. Do a bit of research or consult a professional for your specific birthstone.

Storage and handling

Store your birthstones properly to avoid scratches and other damage. A fabric-lined jewelry box works well. Also, remember to handle your birthstones with clean hands to avoid the transfer of oils and grime.

Preservation of value and sentiment

Regular maintenance and care can preserve the value and sentimental meaning of your birthstone. This includes both routine cleaning and professional check-ups, especially for pronged settings that may loosen over time.

Differences in Birthstone Lists

While the modern list of birthstones is widely accepted, variations occur based on different cultural traditions and historical interpretations.

Western and Eastern variations

There is noticeable variation between Western and Eastern traditions. For example, while January is represented by garnet in the West, it is associated with emerald in the Hindu tradition.

Traditional and modern lists

Even within a specific tradition, there can be differences between the traditional and modern birthstone lists. These changes can be influenced by availability, new gem discoveries, or changes in cultural preferences.

Different gemstones for the same month

In certain cases, you can find multiple gems associated with a single month. Take June for example, where pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone are all acceptable birthstones.

Why Are Stones Associated With Months?

Alternative Birthstones

Not set on following the conventional list? There are also alternative stones related to other aspects of time, such as the Zodiac, weekdays, and even hours.

Zodiac stones

Zodiac stones are linked to the position of celestial bodies at the time of your birth, adding an extra personal touch to your gemstone choice.

Weekday stones

Weekday stones are less common, but for those who like the concept, these gemstones are linked to the day of the week you were born on.

Hour stones

The least common of the alternatives are hour stones. These are assigned based on the hour of your birth.

Controversies and Criticisms of Birthstones

Despite their popularity, birthstones are not without controversies and criticisms. These range from their commercialization to issues of affordability and accessibility.


Some critics argue that the association of specific gemstones with birth months is simply a marketing strategy created to sell more gems. The commercialization of birthstones is often viewed as undermining their historical and cultural significance.

Lack of scientific basis

As with any holistic or spiritual practices, the healing properties and powers associated with birthstones lack scientific basis. However, many individuals choose to believe in their power based on personal experiences or spiritual beliefs.

Issues of affordability and accessibility

Some birthstones, such as diamonds and emeralds, can be quite expensive, raising issues of accessibility. Alternatives like colored glass or synthetic stones are available, but they do not hold the same value or appeal for many people.

In conclusion, birthstones, no matter their origin, tradition, or value, remain a cherished part of our personal narratives and identities. Whether worn for their beauty, meaning, or alleged powers, these gems add color and significance to our lives.

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Author: marklsmithms1

Hi, I'm Mark, the author of Maura Gems and Jewellery. As a team of qualified gemmologists and goldsmiths, we bring you world-class jewellery at Bangkok prices. With offices in both Bangkok and the UK, we ethically source the finest gemstones directly, eliminating any middlemen. We offer a wide range of stunning ready-made jewellery items in our new online store, available for retail or wholesale. Additionally, we specialize in custom-made jewellery where we can bring any design to life. Whether you're a trade professional or an individual customer, we cater to all. Feel free to email me at mark@mauragemsandjewellery.com or call/WhatsApp me at 07470547636 or +66949355718. Discover our incredible collection by visiting our online store. I guarantee you'll love what you find there!

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