Birthstones by month: which data to believe

blue sapphire ring set in white goldWith so many lists of gemstones by month and so many birthstone lists – many of them with contradictory information – it’s not surprising that many of us get confused as to which ones are correct.  Well, quite simply – they are all correct in one way or another.  

The history of birthstones goes back many years to various points in history – and to different cultures. In ancient times, gemstones were ascribed specific qualities that related to beliefs about health, healing, astronomy and astrology.  Some of these cultures include: Hindu, Hebrew, Roman, Arabic, Polish and European pagan civilisations – all with different beliefs about the qualities and meanings of the different gemstones that they were familiar with.  As a result, we now have an abundance of information about many of the gemstones currently used for jewelry today – much of which is paradoxical .

In the early part of the last century, an attempt to produce an official list of birthstones by month was made by the American Gem Trade Association – in 1912 to be precise. This list has now become known as the “Modern” gemstone list to differentiate it from all the previous ones. 

However, the rationale that the American Gem Trade Association used for designating a gemstone for each month is unclear – and if anything has only served to confuse people even further.  The more cynical gemstone experts consider that the “Modern” list was constructed purely in order to promote certain gemstones on a commercial basis and bears no relationship to any of the underlying belief systems, customs or traditions of the different ancient cultures.

We therefore have a choice when trying to determine someone’s personal birthstone.  Either we accept the “official” American Gem Trade Association’s Birthstone by Month list – with no apparent meaning or connection with ancient belief systems – or choose a gemstone from any one of the other conflicting lists.   In which case, it also means that you have to decide whether to select from a list specific to a Month Birthstones chart or to a Zodiac chart based on ancient astrological beliefs.

blue sapphire stones

It is generally accepted by astrologers and other gemstone therapists that a personal birthstone can only be accurately assessed by charting the individual’s astrological profile.  However, we don’t all have the time, money – or indeed enough belief in the accuracy of such systems – to be bothered with it all.

Yet the fascination and the interest in knowing our personal birthstone continues. This is understandable too; whilst we may or may not care about any of the ancient beliefs relating to gemstones and birth stones, some gemstones certainly seem to hold some element of “magic” in the way light reflects and bounces off them.

The fact remains that, whichever birthstone chart you choose to look at, there are some wonderful gemstones that you can select from.  Much of the original logic that went into making up the ancient cultural birthstone charts has been lost in the distant past, so if a gemstone feels right for you or your partner, then that’s probably as good a reason as any to choose that gem.

See our own Birthstone Chart, which combines information from a number of different sources: Rings With Love Birthstone Chart. 

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