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Birthstones - More Lists than you Thought !

posted on 6 January 2016 | posted in Articles

We know that lots of people are interested in finding out what their birthstone is, and we also know that there seems to be a lot of confusing information out there. So Steve & Mo here at He Hi She Lo, decided that we would put together a simple easy to understand list for everyone.

Dear oh dear, did we have trouble !

It seems like there are about a million lists (well, hundreds anyway) that link specific crystals with specific star signs of the zodiac and/or month.

A bit of history is probably called for here so that we can understand why there are so many lists.

Many thousands of years ago, people from various cultures worldwide were performing healing with chants, herbs, spells, plants, crystals and many other forms of "natural" healing. Leaving aside the lists of herbs and plants, crystals began to be thought of as having specific healing properties and certain crystals were considered to be the bringers of good luck whilst others were thought to be more useful in warding off evil. Still others were useful for bestowing strength and many others were seen to help in other, different, ways.

As and when Gemstones themselves were discovered (Rubies, Diamonds, Emeralds, Sapphires etc) and became more widely spread around the world, these were thought to be even more powerful healing stones because of their clarity and rarity. We're still talking about ancient times here.

Things carried on in this way until around 1,300 BC when some of the stones seemed to have acquired a religious significance. How this came about, probably no one is really sure, but it is usually assumed that around this time in our past history, the twelve tribes of Israel, as mentioned in the book of Exodus, each became associated with a specific stone.

So here is one of the first, or at least earliest lists, linking gemstones to specific tribes. In the list below, the modern names of the stones are given.

1) The Twelve Tribes of Israel

Reuben - Carnelian
Simeon- Peridot
Levi - Emerald
Judah - Garnet
Issachar - Lapis Lazuli
Zebulun - Rock Crystal
Joseph - Zircon
Benjamin - Agate
Dan - Amethyst
Naphtali - Citrine
Gad - Onyx
Assher - Jasper

Astrology, as we know it in modern Europe, was developed about 3,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians and later, "borrowed" from them by the ancient Greeks. The Egyptians originally developed the zodiac signs that we know today based upon their observations of the night skies and the observations of their repetitive lifestyles. They could see that each group of stars, that they likened to an animal (with the exception of Libra, the weighing-scales) took around 30 days to pass across the skies and therefore they devised a system of 12 "sky segments" each of 30 days length (total = 360 days) and each represented by its own sign.

This was thousands of years before we had our modern 12 month calendar !

Exactly when these zodiac signs became associated with crystals, and whether this was before or after 1,300 BC and the twelve tribes of Israel, no one is really sure. However, shown below is another ancient list linking birthstones to zodiac signs.

2) Early Zodiac Signs and Birthstones

Aries - Bloodstone
Taurus - Sapphire
Gemini - Agate
Cancer - Emerald
Leo - Onyx
Virgo - Carnelian
Libra - Peridot
Scorpio - Aquamarine
Sagittarius - Topaz
Capricorn - Ruby
Aquarius - Garnet
Pisces - Amethyst

Also around the same timescale, 1,300 BC - 1,500 BC the great Indian tradition of Vedic astrology also became associated with crystals and gemstones that were linked to Ayurvedic Indian medicine. Shown below is a listing of these Ayurvedic birthstones.

3) Ayurvedic Birthstones

January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Bloodstone
April - Diamond
May - Agate
June - Pearl
July - Ruby
August - Sapphire
September - Moonstone
October - Opal
November - Topaz
December - Ruby

Things stayed pretty much the same way until the 18th Century came along (i.e. the 1700's) when there was somewhat of a revival of interest in star signs and their associated birthstones amongst the general public. The jewellery trade, which at this time was extremely well established, was quick to pick up on this and many "alternative" birthstones found their way into jewellery.

Come the 20th Century, and in 1912 the American National Association of Jewellers adopted an official list of birthstones by calendar month, which is still in use in America today. This list is shown below.

4) The 1912 American National Association of Jewellers List

January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Aquamarine
April - Diamond
May - Emerald
June - Pearl or Moonstone
July - Ruby
August - Peridot
September - Sapphire
October - Opal or Tourmaline
November - Yellow Topaz or Citrine
December - Blue Topaz or Turquoise

In 1937 the British National Association of Goldsmiths followed the American idea and adopted their own official list of birthstones, also by calendar month, which is still in use in the UK today. Their list is shown below.

5) The 1937 British National Association of Goldsmiths List

January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Aquamarine or Bloodstone
April - Diamond or Rock Crystal
May - Emerald or Chrysoprase
June - Pearl or Moonstone
July - Ruby or Carnelian or Onyx
August - Peridot or Sardonyx
September - Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
October - Opal or Tourmaline
November - Topaz or Citrine
December - Turquoise

Of course the more cynical among you may believe that the above two lists, i.e. the American list and the UK list, represent only the interests of the jewellery trade and are designed to ensure that something is sold all year round !

Even if we leave aside Chinese astrology and North American Indian astrology, there are still many other lists out there. Two that particularly caught our attention were birthstones by day of the week and by hour of birth !

6) Birthstones by Day of the Week

Sunday - Topaz
Monday - Pearl
Tuesday - Ruby
Wednesday - Amethyst
Thursday - Sapphire
Friday - Carnelian
Saturday - Turquoise

7) Birthstones by your Hour of Birth

1am - Quartz
2am - Hematite
3am - Malachite
4am - Lapis Lazuli
5am - Turquoise
6am - Tourmaline
7am - Peridot
8am - Amethyst
9am - Kunzite
10am - Sapphire
11am - Garnet
12 Noon - Diamond
1pm - Zircon
2pm - Emerald
3pm - Beryl
4pm - Topaz
5pm - Ruby
6pm - Opal
7pm - Sardonyx
8pm - Chalcedony
9pm - Jade
10pm - Jasper
11pm - Lodestone
12 Midnight - Onyx

Just to complete the record, a more or less "standard" UK modern star sign crystal chart nowadays looks like this. But there's probably a different standardised chart if you live in the USA, or India, or China, or Russia or .... ?

8) Standardised UK Star Chart

Aquarius - Garnet
Pisces - Amethyst
Aries - Bloodstone
Taurus - Sapphire
Gemini - Agate
Cancer - Emerald
Leo - Onyx
Virgo - Carnelian
Libra - Peridot
Scorpio - Beryl
Sagittarius - Topaz
Capricorn - Ruby

So where does all this leave us when we want to know what our "real" or our "true" birthstone is ?

Sadly, the answer is usually .... lost and confused !

And we haven't even yet touched upon choosing a birthstone by colour, by synthetic stone, by association with the planets, by sun sign, by moon sign, by precious stones, by semi-precious stones and by many other crystal associations - the lists are endless !

All that we would say is that no matter what all the charts and all the lists in the world may tell you, go with the crystal that really calls to you, the stone that really speaks to you, that piece that you are really drawn to - for that crystal is trying to tell you something and you may find endless possibilities open up for you by choosing the crystal that is truly "meant" for you ...

... and not just the one that is "supposed" to be meant for you !

Enjoy your crystals, but enjoy the ones you have truly connected with, even more.


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