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Birthstones Healing Powers: Facts, Legends And Myths About Birthstones And Birthstone Jewelry

By Sergio Goldman

Birthstones – The Mystery and the Myths Explained

What is a birthstone?

Birthstones are precious gemstones that are considered to represent human beings based on the month they were born in. Due to the belief that these gemstones have a special power during the month that they represent, birthstones have always had a mysterious and mythical air about them. Several properties and abilities have been connected to them, and due to the different beliefs, most are confused about what birthstones can really do. Nevertheless, a lot of people like to wear them as jewelry, such as birthstone pendants, rings, and bracelets. Birthstone jewelry have become quite popular, and are known as great gift choices because they are very personal but are very easy to buy since you already know which stone to buy for the recipient.

How It All Began

The use and belief in birthstones started when a Jewish historian named Josephus in the first century linked the different stones found in the breastplate of Aaron, the biblical character in the book of Exodus, to the twelve months of the year. Astrologists later connected this with the twelve signs of the zodiac as well.

The stones that were mentioned in Exodus include ruby, topaz, beryl, turquoise, sapphire, emerald, jacinth, agate, amethyst, chrysolite, onyx, and jasper. Another enumeration of stones occurred in the latter part of the Bible, in the book of Revelations. The list was symbolically called, in Biblical terms, as the “foundations of the wall of the city.”

Afterwards, in the 15th century, people took to wearing the birthstones and various legendary and mythical powers were attributed to them.

Birthstone Fact or Birthstone Myth?

People have different beliefs about birthstones.

What is fact? The belief that birthstones have healing powers is actually true. After all, the birthstones are all minerals. It is a proven fact that minerals bring positive effects to a person’s health. Thus, it is a fact that the birthstones can impact a person’s health in a positive way.

Legends: Some birthstone legends/beliefs are backed by science. Science tells us that minerals help metabolize and balance our bodily functions, which is why it is possible that contact with mineral can lead to its absorption, and this can help bring about such supposed benefits of birthstones.

Myth: The supernatural powers attributed to birthstones in their respective months were attributed only by astrologers. The question of whether the power of these stones are real or not also depends on whether a person believes astrology or not.

Birthstone Lists by Type

There are different birthstone lists; whatever your purpose in using birthstones, make sure you know which specific list you are using. Despite the differences across lists, the colors of the birthstones are more or less retained or kept very close. The different lists of birthstones have varying histories. The modern list was adopted in 1912, while the traditional list can be dated back to the 15th century.

* Modern

The official list adopted in the USA for general purposes and jewelry making purposes is the Modern list. This is also the only list followed by the American National Association of Jewelers.

* Traditional – the ancient list

Before the modern list, the Traditional list reigned supreme. This list was the original list followed when belief in birthstones sprang up back in the 15th century. However, due to the fact that the list contained some ancient stones, it had to eventually be replaced.

* Mystical – the Tibetan list

The Tibetans of the past use another list, which was known as the Mythical Birthstone List. This list is now considered as extinct, although in its glory days, the Tibetans followed it for thousands of years.

* The Ayurvedic Birthstone List

The Indians also had their own birthstone list, which they used for thousands of years. The Indian list is known as the Ayurvedic Birthstone List. The Indians used this list for medicinal purposes. The Indians’ belief in the birthstones is mostly founded on the healing properties of the stones.

* The Zodiac Birthstone List

The Zodiac Birthstone List, which is a creation of Indian and Babylonian astrologers, is a very unique list. This list stands out among the other lists because, instead of the stones being assigned to each month, the Zodiac list assigns the stones to each sign of the zodiac. This list is used for astrological purposes.

What are the cultural birthstone lists?

Different cultures also have different birthstone lists. These are all considered as sub-groups of the traditional birthstone list.

* Arabic

The Arabs considered these birthstones (Garnet, Amethyst, Bloodstone, Sapphire, Emerald, Agate/Chalcedony/Pearl, Carnelian, Sardonyx, Chrysolite, Aquamarine, Topaz, and Ruby) as representative of each month of the year.

* Hebrew

The Hebrew birthstone list is closely similar to the Arabic list, save for some minor rearranging.

* Birthstones in Hindu

The Hindu list stands out from the other cultural lists because it contains some unique stones not found in the other lists. These stones, which include the Serpent Stone, Chandrakanta, and the Gold Siva-linga, are special stones in the Hindu religion and were considered to have sacred powers.

* Birthstones in Italian and Roman

One of the history’s most powerful empires, Rome, naturally had its own special list. This list was actually different from the list adopted by the rest of the countries in Italy, which just shows that due to the power of the Roman Empire in the past, Rome was usually considered as self-governing.

Learn more about Birthstones. Stop by Unique Birthstone Jewelry’s site where you can find out all about Birthstones and what it can do for you.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Goldman, Sergio "Birthstones Healing Powers: Facts, Legends And Myths About Birthstones And Birthstone Jewelry." Birthstones Healing Powers: Facts, Legends And Myths About Birthstones And Birthstone Jewelry. 7 Aug. 2010. 23 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Goldman, S (2010, August 7). Birthstones Healing Powers: Facts, Legends And Myths About Birthstones And Birthstone Jewelry. Retrieved August 23, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Goldman, Sergio "Birthstones Healing Powers: Facts, Legends And Myths About Birthstones And Birthstone Jewelry"

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