why do some months have 2 birthstones
For ages, people have purchased jewelry with month
as a way to express their individuality and to display their solidarity with others born during the same calendar month. But being born in August, and having peridot as my birthstone, has always made me a little envious of people with other birthstones. DonБt get me wrong, peridot is a wonderful marker for those who like the yellowish green color. ItБs just not a color for manly jewelry and itБs not my cup of tea. A nice September blue or a July red would have been nice. Just a matter of taste, I guess. So, how lucky are the people whose months have a second choice, or third? Take June, for instance. People lucky enough to be born in that summer month can choose between three accepted birthstones: lustrous pearls, intriguing alexandrite, or dreamy moonstone. My wife, a June baby, has suits of all three. A choice of what to wear for various occasions or moods is at her disposal. Children of December can pick from turquoise or zircon. The former is fashioned as cabochons (domes) or beads, the latter a faceted gem with brilliance to rival that of a diamond (AprilБs birthstone, by the way) and available in multiple colors. There have even been a couple of attempts to add tanzanite to the list of December offeringsБas if they didn t enough choices. But, wait you say, how are they going to add birthstones? HavenБt these stones been historically or astrologically predetermined? A little is in order. Some of the confusion is that the term БbirthstoneБ may refer to a different set of stones, history, and cultural context depending on what the particular person is referencing. However, it is generally accepted that the original concept of birthstones came from a breastplate worn by Aaron, a high priest of the Israelites from biblical times. It contained twelve stones, each of a different color. The original stones in the breastplate were not the same ones we recognize today. They were made from stones available to the people of that era. For example, the dark blue for September was probably a highly regarded stone available at that time called lapis lazuli.
Today we use sapphire to represent that blue. The twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel morphed into the twelve signs of the zodiac, which morphed into the twelve months of the Julian calendar, and then to the twelve apostles. A lot of twelves! So initially it was the colors that were of importance. The stones themselves changed over the years from region to region, probably depending on what stones were most available at that time and place. Fast forward to the early 1900Бs and a testament to marketing. In 1912, in an effort to standardize using birthstone months for jewelry, the National Association of Jewelers (US) met and officially. Over the ensuing years, it was tweaked by jewelers and gem societies to reflect changing tastes and supplies so the stones could be marketed. In 1952 the Jewelry Industry Council added more gemstone options to some months, specified the color of another, and completely replaced a few gemstones. But the limitation was always the number twelve. Couldn t add months, so letБs add stones. The months that had БpreciousБ stones like ruby, emerald, diamond, and sapphire, were generally left as the only birthstone to the corresponding month, along with amethyst and garnet (although sapphires and garnets come in a variety of colors). Tanzanite was only discovered in the early 1900Бs. It is a popular color, bluish-purple, and as recently as 2002, different organizations have been trying to push it as an alternate December birthstone to enhance its marketability. So increasing sales was the major deciding factor. October has opal, but with its durability issues and feminine appearance, got tourmaline as an alternative. With NovemberБs topaz being too costly for most, citrine with its orange/brown color was chosen as an inexpensive alternative. Just to add confusion, scientists learned some years ago how to produce a blue colored topaz, not available in nature. However, itБs not used or marketed as a November birthstone but rather as a light blue color alternative to MarchБs aquamarine.
If you search online, it is easy to find lists of popular birthstones with different of health, wealth, and fortune applied to each. For example, even in Feng Shui, the use of certain stones and colors help you live in harmony with your surroundings. If that helps you gain enjoyment from your particular birthstones, good for you. When it comes to jewelry and month birthstones, my advice has always been Бbuy what stones you like,Б not what you are told is yours from a list. This brings me back to my August choices. Did I mention that sardonyx was added as an August alternative? Look it up. Bleeech! The birthstones we associate with certain months now are not necessarily the same ones as in ancient times. Birthstone colors werePonce thePmost important feature of a stone, which meant that ancients did not distinguish between aPruby and a garnet, forPexample. The names used in history may not relate to the stone we think of with that name today,Ptoo. For example, a sapphire in the Bible was probably what we know today asPlapis. Diamonds were probably a white sapphire or whitePtopaz. The stones originally assigned to each month related to the stones appearing on the breastplate of a Jewish highPpriest. The wearing ofPbirthstonesPis thought to bring good luck and good health. Astrologers long ago attributed supernatural powers to certainPgemstones. , garnet, is thought to keep the wearer safe duringPtravel. , amethyst, is said to strengthen relationships and give its wearer courage. At one time, only royalty could wear the gem. Ancient Greeks thought that the amethyst guarded against intoxication. In fact, amethyst comes from amethystos, a Greek word meaningPsober. , aquamarine, was thought to cure heart, liver, and stomach diseasesall one had to do was drink the water in which the gem had been soaking. Early sailors believed that aquamarine talismans, etched with the likeness of the sea god Neptune, protected them against oceanPdangers. , diamond, in addition to being a symbol of everlasting love, was once thought to bring courage.
In Sanskrit, the diamond is called vajra, which also means lightning; in Hindu mythology, vajra was the weapon of Indra, the king ofPgods. , emerald, was one of Cleopatras favorite gems. It has long been associated with fertility, rebirth, and love. Ancient Romans went so far as to dedicate this stone to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Today, it is thought that emeralds signify wisdom, growth, andPpatience. , pearl, has long been a symbol of purity. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the hardened tears of joy from Aphrodite, the goddess ofPlove. , ruby, was regarded by ancient Hindus as the king of gems. It was believed to protect its wearer from evil. Today, the rubys deep-red color signifies love andPpassion. , peridot, symbolizes strength. It is sometimes called the evening emerald for its light green color. It was once believed that the green peridot crystals found in volcanic ashes were the tears of the volcano goddess, Pele. When set in gold, this gem was said to protect the wearer fromPnightmares. , sapphire, was once thought to guard against evil and poisoning. It was believed that a venomous snake would die if placed in a vessel made of sapphire. Traditionally a favorite stone of priests and kings, the sapphire symbolizes purity andPwisdom. , opal, symbolizes faithfulness and confidence. The word comes from the Latin opalus, meaning precious jewel. Necklaces with opals set in them were worn to repel evil and to protectPeyesight. , topaz, symbolizes love and affection. It is believed to give the wearer increased strength andPintellect. , turquoise, is regarded as a love charm. It is also a symbol of good fortune and success, and it is believed to relax the mind and to protect its wearer from harm. Turquoise rings, in particular, are thought to keep away evilPspirits. Do you know your birth flower? See ourP! And have fun on ourP with birthday facts, birthday history, folklore, andPmore!
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