c o n t e m p l a t i o n s a n d i n s p i r a t i o n s o f a n a r t i s a n j e w e l r y d e s i g n e r

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birthstones Rock!

By Intern and Guest Blogger, Jenny Kaplan

I have always loved birthstones. I love the idea that a specific stone is attached to my identity. It feels really personal when someone gives me a gift with my birthstone (aquamarine!) in it. The gift-giver clearly paid special attention, and what’s better than receiving a well thought-out gift? Birthstones are so special and rich in tradition that for the next year, each month we will post a blog entry about that month’s birthstone!

Before we begin, however, here’s some background info on the tradition of birthstones. The Jewish Roman historian Josephus wrote that there was a connection between the stones in Aaron’s breastplate (Moses’ brother), the twelve months of the year, and the twelve signs of the zodiac. Ancient Jewish people wore one of these twelve stones according to their tribe. The connection with the zodiac came soon after that followed by a connection to the twelve-month calendar.

Birthstones regained popularity in Poland in the 15th century, where everyone wore the birthstone for each month. The power of each gem was said to be greater during its month. In 1912, the Jewelers of America officially adopted a list of modern birthstones and since that date have added less expensive stones to each month.

Most people have heard of traditional and modern birthstones but there are even more stones attached to your personal identity! There are Mystical Birthstones, Ayurvedic Birthstones, and different stones according to the signs of the zodiac. Mystical Birthstones come from Tibetan beliefs from over 1000 years ago. Ayurvedic Birthstones come from traditional Indian spiritual and medicinal beliefs dating back to 1500 BCE. Zodiac birthstones date back to before the creation of the 12-month calendar. During each sign its birthstone was said to have special power. Wearing that stone was supposed to help move the planets in helpful ways for the wearer.

June birthdays get ready! Maybe you’ll get a thoughtful gift with your birthstone this year! Regardless, you’ll be sure to find new exciting information about your birthstone (and every birthstone) on this blog in the month(s) to come!

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