The History of Birthstones

Have you ever wondered who decided that emeralds are the official birthstone for May? The assignment of precious gemstones to specific months dates all the way back to the first century, and you may be surprised to learn that people used to collect all 12 gemstones instead of the stone for the month of their individual birth.

Precious gemstones have been worn to adorn crowns and signify wealth all over the world for centuries. In some cultures precious gems were also tied to religion and religious figures.

The most popular - and interesting - usage of gemstones comes from Polish culture in the 15th and 16th centuries. Gemstones were thought to possess special powers, with each stone possessing certain powers that would grow stronger during a particular month. It was believed that if a person wore a gemstone they would receive a transfer of the stones powers. With that in mind, people sought to collect gemstone jewelry for each and every month and wore this jewelry during the assigned month for optimal powers.

Tibetan culture also believes in the different powers of precious gemstones. The astrological assignments for birthstones that we are familiar with today originate from these Tibetan beliefs.

In 1912, the Jewelers Association of America created and published an official list of birthstones assigned to months. It quickly gained approval from jewelers worldwide, although it has been amended twice since (in 1952 and 2002).

Here are the official birthstones by month:

BillyTheTree has a wide selection of birthstone and gemstone jewelry, including birthstone rings, gemstone stud earrings, and gemstone pendants.