Birthstones: A Mysterious, Yet Fascinating, Tradition

A woman holds six polished gemstones of different colors to symbolize the variety of birthstones for the article on the history and meaning of birthstones.

If you’ve ever been given a piece of jewelry with a birthstone, you may have wondered about the meaning and history behind these unique gemstones.

Birthstones are steeped in tradition and symbolism, and vary from culture to culture around the world. In this post, we will explore the meaning and history of birthstones, as well as some of the unique characteristics associated with them. We’ll also take a look at which set of birthstone lists is considered to be the most accurate.

If you’re interested in learning more about specific birthstones by month, be sure to check out our links at the end of this post!

History of birthstones

So, why do we have birthstones? The tradition of birthstones is thought to date back to the Breastplate of Aaron, a ceremonial garment worn by the High Priest of Israel in biblical times.

This breastplate was adorned with 12 gemstones, each representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel.

The wearing of birthstones eventually became a custom among royalty and nobility, as it was believed that these precious stones held mystical powers and could protect their wearer from harm.

Meanings behind different birthstones

The meaning and symbolism associated with birthstones also varies from culture to culture.

In some cultures, birthstones are believed to bring good luck or fortune to their wearer. In others, they are seen as talismans that offer protection from evil spirits or negative energy.

Birthstones are also thought to possess healing properties in some cultures, and are believed to be helpful for a variety of ailments.

Which birthstone list is the correct one?

So, which set of birthstone lists is the most accurate? The answer may surprise you – there is no one “correct” set of birthstones.

Different cultures around the world have their own unique traditions and beliefs about these special gemstones. For example, in the United States, the most commonly referenced set of birthstones is that which was published by jeweler George Frederick Kunz in 1912.

However, this list does not include all of the birthstones that are used in other parts of the world.


Birthstones by month