Story of the Stones: 13 Birthstones' History and Meanings of Ancient Lore
They glisten, shine and add beauty to our lives, but did you know birthstone gems each hold a unique history and symbolism? Birthstones were the inspirations for South Paw Studios' newest collection, “Coronation”. Because they convey much meaning, these gems are the perfect gifts for any occasion, from Mother’s Day to Christmas Day. So what lore and symbolism do yours and your loved ones' birthstones hold? Read on to find out...
JANUARY - Our journey into gemstone symbolism and lore begins with my own gem, the moody red Garnet. This stone symbolizes romantic love, passion and intimacy. Early explorers believed it would protect them from evil and disaster on dry land or as they sailed the high seas. It’s said that Noah carried a Garnet lantern to steer the ark at night as it drudged the flooded earth.
Gifting Garnet: It is customary to gift this gemstone on the 2nd and 40th wedding anniversary.
FEBRUARY – The peaceful purple Amethyst is a stone for the zen in all of us. It is said to have a sobering, cleansing effect, as it promotes peace and inner strength. And, for all of you night owls, it is also reported to reduce insomnia. Eagles reputedly drop Amethyst stones into their nests to protect their young from danger.
Gifting Amethyst: Bestow this gemstone on the 6th and 33rd wedding anniversary.
MARCH – Resembling clear, cool ocean water, the Aquamarine is said to bring mental clarity, wealth and a happy marriage. And when it comes to cruising the ocean blue, forget the Dramamine! Mariners once believed Aquamarine would reduce seasickness and keep them safe at sea.
Gifting Aquamarine: This gem is a customary gift for the 16th and 19th wedding anniversary.
APRIL – They may be a girl's best friend, but Diamonds are also known for other stellar qualities. In days gone by, Diamonds were believed to bring victory and courage when bound to the left arm. Perhaps that lent the bright idea to kings who wore Diamond studded armor in battle. Strangely, Plato believed Diamonds were the embodiment of living celestial spirits, and Hindus believed they were formed from lightening that struck stone.
Gifting the Diamond: It's customary to gift this rock on the 10th, 30th, 60th and 80th wedding anniversary.
MAY –The glistening Emerald symbolizes luck in love and life, bringing fidelity and peaceful dreams. The ancient Incas and Aztecs regarded it as a “holy stone.” And, not one to lack self-confidence, Cleopatra was so dazzled by the Emerald that she was known to give visiting dignitaries Emeralds carved with her likeness.
Gifting Emerald: Bestow this gemstone on the 20th and 50th wedding anniversary.
JUNE – If diamonds are a girl's best friend, the lustrous Pearl might be a close runner up. Cultured pearl production began in the early 1900s, making these baubles the quintessential accessory for fashionable ladies. But beforehand, they were so rare and expensive that only royalty and the extremely rich donned them. To underscore this point, a Roman general once financed an entire military campaign by selling just one of his mother's pearl earrings.
Gifting Pearl: This gem is a customary gift for the 3rd, 12th, 30th and 80th wedding anniversary.
JULY – The lion may be “king of the jungle,” but the Ruby is “king of the gemstones.” As with any proud and reigning king, power is inherent. Ruby holds court in matters of the heart, symbolizing powerful and passionate love. Do you plan to build a home or commercial property? Bury a Ruby within the foundation to bring good luck.
Gifting Ruby: This is a customary gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversary.
AUGUST – Many of us are looking for the fountain of youth. Who knew it could be found in the likes of a pretty green gem, the Peridot? This stone is also said to bring good luck, abundance, love and prosperity. And where there’s trouble in paradise, Peridot might be counted on to ease tension, as it’s said to diminish anger and jealousy. If you happen to have a Peridot goblet lying around, take your medicines from it for an extra potent dose of what the doctor ordered.
Gifting Peridot: Give the Peridot on the 16th wedding anniversary.
SEPTEMBER – While the Ruby has its own air of royalty, the Sapphire is the stone past and present monarchs prefer most. It is said to symbolize truth and faithfulness, and some believe it represents divine favor. In that light, the Ten Commandments were said to have been carved on tablets of this moody blue gem so befitting of royals.
Gifting Sapphire: This is the suggested gift for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversary.
OCTOBER – Resembling a fiery crystal ball, it’s no wonder the Opal was once thought to bestow the gift of prophecy. Have you ever heard Opals bring bad luck? This tall tale was spread long ago by fearful diamond merchants whose livelihoods were threatened by the growing popularity of the mystical stone. It is said that gifting the Opal symbolizes hope, fidelity and assurance.
Gifting Opal: Bestow the Opal on the 14th or 34th wedding anniversary.
NOVEMBER – November’s stone, the Topaz is another mystical stone, once believed in Renaissance Europe to break magic spells and lift a heavy veil of anger. The ancient Greeks believed Topaz gave them strength. In India, the centuries-old belief is that the golden stone imparts long life, beauty and intelligence. When gifted to another, Topaz symbolizes faithfulness, loyalty and friendship.
Gifting Topaz: Topaz is a customary gift for the 4th and 19th wedding anniversary
DECEMBER – The month of December boasts two very special gemstones – Turquoise and Swiss Topaz. The Swiss Topaz is said to gift its wearers with the arts of smooth communication during disputes, as well as finesse in fine artistic expression. On another note, the gift of Turquoise symbolizes friendship and luck. This stone is believed to help hunters aim true and protect them from falling. Ancient Mexicans believed Turquoise was to be worn only by the gods, and not mere mortals.
Gifting Swiss Topaz and Turquoise: Swiss Topaz is a suggested gift for the 4th wedding anniversary. Turquoise is suggested for the 11th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
Choosing a Stone
And so ends our fascinating Story of the Stones. As you can see, these stones make the most perfectly personalized gifts. When choosing a stone for yourself or for others, you might find one to represent the birth month or, on the flip side, you can pick one that holds special meaning for the recipient.
Which gems hold your favorite lore and history? And which stone holds parallel meaning in your life? Share in the comments below. If you liked this be sure to stay in touch by signing up below for my "Tuesday Trends". Click here to RE-PIN a niffy birthstone chart made just for you :)
For me, I was born in January; therefore I am always drawn to deep garnets. However my husband and I were married in July, so Ruby holds a special place in my heart.