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What is the origin of birthstones?

Precious stones and gemstones have fascinated mankind since the dawn of time. The beauty and permanence of coloured stones are real puzzles. Often discovered by chance as they magically appeared on the surface of the Earth, our ancestors, long before us, made them into amulets and talismans supposed to influence the course of our lives.  They are still attributed healing and energetic powers even today, even though this cannot be scientifically proven. But what is the origin of birthstones?

Aaron's bib

The biblical story tells that Moses' brother, the high priest Aaron, the great protector of the Ark of the Covenant, had a breastplate of 12 precious stones representing the 12 tribes of the future Israel. Topaz, sapphire, emerald, diamond, etc.; all these coloured stones were for the first time associated with a specific symbol and number; the 12. Flavius Josephus, a Roman historiographer from Jerusalem in 1er century A.D., were the first to establish links between the twelve pectoral stones and the signs of the zodiac. Saint-Jérôme, one of the fathers of the Latin Church, also mentions it in his writings dated 5e century. According to them, the wearing of these stones at specific times would have a therapeutic effect.

Image of the 12-stone breastplate of the high priest Aaron, brother of Moses
Image of an engraving of a monk such as St-Jérôme
Picture illustrating the breastplate with 12 stones of the high priest Aaron, brother of Moses
Profile image of the Roman historiographer Flavius Josephus
Image of an engraving of a monk such as St-Jérôme

Birth of the Stone of the Month

Highly controversial, the official entry into force in 1752 of the Gregorian calendar (of Pope Gregory XIII) to replace the Julian calendar (of Julius Caesar) gave rise to the creation of the concept of the birthstones for the 12 months of the year. It's the same concept we know today. For example, the month of January belongs to the red garnet. Aquamarine is the stone of the month of March. The sapphire, blue in color, corresponds to the month of September. Sometimes, two stones are associated with the same month, such as June and October. This table was defined in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers of America and has not changed since then despite some attempts.  Very fashionable, lithotherapy associates virtues to each of these stones.

  • BIRTHSTONES

MONTH

PIERRE

VERTUS

January

Garnet

red garnet oval size

  • Joie
  • Vitality
  • Energy

February

Amethyst

amethyst purple waistline

  • Wisdom
  • Serenity
  • Creativity

Mars

Aquamarine

round-cut aquamarine

  • Courage
  • Douceur
  • Dialogue

April

Diamond

diamond cut round cut diamond

  • Purity
  • Love
  • Complicity

May

Emerald

Emerald cut

  • Benevolence
  • Opening
  • Lucidity

June

Pearl, alexandrite

White and purple alexandrite pearl round cut

  • Compassion
  • Wellness
  • Altruism

July

Ruby

round cut ruby

  • Bonheur
  • Courage
  • Loyalty

August

Péridot

green peridot round cut

  • Confidence
  • Self-esteem
  • Apaisement

September

Sapphire

round cut sapphire

  • Calm
  • Regulation
  • Perseverance

October

Opal, tourmaline

white opal and red tourmaline and transparent emerald cut opal

  • Awakening
  • Protection
  • Solidity

November

Citrine

oval citrine

  • Équilibre
  • Joie de vivre
  • Abundance

December

Blue topaz

blue topaz oval size

  • Hope
  • Amitié
  • Dialogue

  • Birth Stones


MONTH

PIERRE

VERTUS

January

Garnet

red garnet oval size
  • Joie
  • Vitality
  • Energy
  • February

    Amethyst

    purple amethyst oval size
  • Wisdom
  • Serenity
  • Creativity
  • Mars

    Aquamarine

    round-cut aquamarine
  • Courage
  • Douceur
  • Dialogue
  • April

    Diamond

    diamond cut round cut diamond
  • Purity
  • Love
  • Complicity
  • May

    Emerald

    emerald cut
  • Benevolence
  • Opening
  • Lucidity
  • June

    Pearl, alexandrite

    White and purple and blue alexandrite pearl round cut
  • Compassion
  • Wellness
  • Altruism
  • July

    Ruby

    round cut ruby
  • Bonheur
  • Courage
  • Loyalty
  • August

    Péridot

    round cut peridot
  • Confidence
  • Self-esteem
  • Apaisement
  • September

    Sapphire

    round cut sapphire
  • Calm
  • Regulation
  • Perseverance
  • October

    Opal, tourmaline

    white opal and red tourmaline and transparent emerald cut opal
  • Awakening
  • Protection
  • Solidity
  • November

    Citrine

    oval citrine
  • Équilibre
  • Joie de vivre
  • Abundance
  • December

    Blue topaz

    blue topaz oval size
  • Hope
  • Amitié
  • Dialogue
    • Birth Stones

    red garnet oval size

    January : Garnet

    Virtues: Joy, vitality, energy

    purple amethyst oval size

    February: Amethyst

    Virtues: Wisdom, serenity, creativity

    round-cut aquamarine

    March: Aquamarine

    Virtues: Courage, gentleness, dialogue

    round cut diamond

    April: Diamond

    Virtues: Purity, love, complicity

    emerald cut

    May: Emerald

    Virtues: benevolence, openness, lucidity

    white pearl and alexandrite round cut

    June: Pearl and Alexandrite

    Virtues: Compassion, well-being, altruism

    round cut ruby

    July : Ruby

    Virtues: Happiness, courage, loyalty

    green peridot round cut

    August: Peridot

    Virtues: Confidence, self esteem, appeasement

    round cut sapphire

    September: Sapphire

    Virtues: Calm, regulation, perseverance

    White opal and tourmaline two colors red and white emerald cut

    October: Opal and Tourmaline

    Virtues: Awakening, protection, solidity

    yellow citrine oval size

    November: Citrine

    Virtues: Balance, joie de vivre, abundance

    blue topaz oval size

    December: Blue Topaz

    Virtues: Hope, friendship, dialogue

    • Birth Stones

    red garnet oval size

    January : Garnet

    Virtues: Joy, vitality, energy

    purple amethyst oval size

    February: Amethyst

    Virtues: Wisdom, serenity, creativity

    round-cut aquamarine

    March: Aquamarine

    Virtues: Courage, gentleness, dialogue

    round cut diamond

    April: Diamond

    Virtues: Purity, love, complicity

    emerald cut

    May: Emerald

    Virtues: Benevolence, openness, Lucidity

    Cultured pearl and alexandrite round cut

    June: Pearl and Alexandrite

    Virtues: Compassion, well-being, altruism

    round cut ruby

    July : Ruby

    Virtues: Happiness, courage, loyalty

    green peridot round cut

    August: Peridot

    Virtues: Confidence, self esteem, appeasement

    round cut sapphire

    September: Sapphire

    Virtues: Calm, regulation, perseverance

    White opal and tourmaline two colors red and white emerald cut

    October: Opal and Tourmaline

    Virtues: Awakening, protection, solidity

    yellow citrine oval size

    November: Citrine

    Virtues: Balance, joie de vivre, abundance

    blue topaz oval size

    December: Blue Topaz

    Virtues: Hope, friendship, dialogue

    My birthstone

    The practice of wearing one's own birthstone dates back to the 18th century.century in Europe, precisely in Poland with the arrival of Jewish gemstone traders who promoted them to boost their sales.  "Anything that helps retailers sell more jewellery is a good thing," according to the National Jewellers Association. It is now commonplace for jewellers to respond to demand by offering all kinds of jewellery from various month of the year.

    Yellow gold jewelry Flamme en rose ring with diamonds on ring body and large pear cut amethyst
    Pink and white gold jewelry Flamme en rose ring with green tourmaline, yellow sapphire and ruby and emerald in closed settings on the ring body
    Yellow gold jewelry Flamme en rose ring with diamonds on ring body and large pear cut amethyst
    Pink and white gold jewelry Flamme en rose ring with green tourmaline, yellow sapphire and ruby and emerald in closed settings on the ring body

    An upward trend

    Whether it is for a baptism, a wedding or an anniversary, year after year, jewellers Flamme en rose notice that requests for jewellery with birthstones keep increasing. "More and more people are coming to meet us to create jewellery with gems they own and that have great significance for them," according to Michèle Côté, chief designer and co-owner of the jewellery store specializing in the bespoke design. "We also encourage people to purchase colored gemstones created in laboratories as it is an eco-friendly option causing less damage to our planet." She advises to arrange a meeting for any creative project.

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