What if we told you that each month of the year is associated with a stone? That each stone echoes a symbol, a virtue or a character trait?
Stones, precious or fine, have attracted attention since the dawn of time; it is said that they give jewelry its soul through their color, their shine or their reflections.
Intimately linked to our personal stories, birthstones offer a great opportunity to inscribe our most beautiful moments of life in time... and to associate a memory or a person with the symbolism of this precious talisman.
Can't wait to find out which birthstone is right for you? Or which stone could match your child or a loved one? Follow our guide :)
Before we get to the heart of the matter, let's go over some definitions.
—— What is a birthstone?
A birthstone, also called a month stone, is a stone associated with a specific month of the year.
We all have a stone associated with our birth month and this stone is itself associated with a certain number of virtues. In the end, it's quite similar to astrology :)
How is the stone associated with each month determined?
Well, this is not by chance but by a precise list elaborated in 1912 by the American Gem Society.
—— A little history
Published by the American Gem Society, the list of birthstones as we know it dates back to 1912, although some changes are made up to 2016.
In 1913, in a book entitled The Curious History of Precious Stones, Georges Frederick Kunz - a famous mineralogist and mineral collector - undertook the review of the history of this thousand-year-old tradition. Yes, a thousand years! Let's explain.
Although there is no explicit mention of birthstones, the texts of the Old and New Testaments provide the first elements of an answer.
The first text mentions an armor - that of the high priest Aaron - made of 4 rows of stones engraved with the names of the 12 sons of Israel.
The second text describes 12 stones decorated with the 12 names of the apostles as the foundations of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem.
In ancient times, two authors, Flavius Josephus and Saint Jerome, established an analogy between the 12 stones mentioned in the sacred texts and their correspondence with the 12 months of the year. Did men and women of that time already wear birthstones or - as the jeweler, Jean-Henri-Prosper Poujet and Georges Frédérick Kunz said - did this custom originate later, between the 17th and 18th centuries?
One thing is certain: the belief in the virtues of gems goes back to antiquity. As evidenced by the numerous treatises on mineralogy that were in fashion up to the beginning of the Renaissance.
Commonly known as "lapidaries", these treatises not only describe the physical qualities of stones, such as their provenance, but also their therapeutic and potential symbolic properties.
Now that we have discussed the history of birthstones, we must talk in more detail about the symbolism around the stones.
—— The symbolism of stones
Stones are highly symbolic and - as we have just seen - this is not new.
The importance of stones in history and in different cultures can be seen in the famous English crown jewels as a symbol of power, in jade as a symbol of eternal life in Chinese culture or in the sapphire revered by the Egyptians as a symbol of justice.
Since the dawn of time, man has naturally associated a stone with a specific meaning, a symbol or a protective power for the person wearing it.
From these beliefs, lithotherapy was born in the 1970s. From the Greek word lithos meaning stone, and therapeia meaning to heal, lithotherapy is literally the healing of stones. It is considered an alternative medicine.
This belief is based on the fact that stones have certain healing and beneficial properties, as the natural energies they give off can, for example, ease tension, build confidence or strengthen a relationship.
a. A reflection of your uniqueness
Creativity, serenity, strength, wisdom... the expected benefits of a birthstone are numerous.
In this belief - more than any other associated with jewelry - the stone is at the center of all attention and justifies the entire piece of jewelry it's set in.
Associated with the 12 months of the year, birthstones evoke the past: that of the formation of precious stones, the queens and kings who wore them or even the magical powers with which they are associated.
b. A jewelry with meaning
At this point, it is impossible not to draw a parallel with astrology. All the beliefs about the powers of stones remain beliefs, and we are obviously all free to believe or not.
We have all surprised ourselves by approaching the window of a great Maison to marvel at it... even for a few moments.
Stones are undoubtedly a source of fantasy, imagination and dreams, they symbolize wealth and power, and have captivated mankind since the first civilizations. We have always been attracted to what glitters, and precious metals are also sincere proof of this.
Is this attraction for stones only linked to their value? Certainly, but not only.
Even though to some they may seem absurd, we must admit that these beliefs bring a certain art and poetry to a piece of jewelry.
The stones evoke something very personal and signify what a piece of jewelry means to us: an object that carries our history.
Now that you know all about birthstones, we can discover them together through a calendar!
If you prefer a video format, (re)discover our live video on this subject by clicking here.
Calendar of birthstones
Formerly known as carbuncles, a name derived from the Latin meaning "little ember", garnet and tsavorite are an ideal gift for Valentine's Day or your wedding anniversary. They are the birthstones of the month of January and give strength and serenity to those who wear them.
Virtues : Joy, vitality, passion.
—— The month of February - Amethyst
As its etymology suggests, amethyst, from the Greek a, privative and methustês, inebriation, prevents the wearer from getting drunk. A stone of balance and fulfilment, it also favors your determination. Associated with the month of February, this birthstone with grape tones reveals your elegant singularity.
Virtues : Creativity, clairvoyance, serenity.
—— The month of March - Aquamarine
No other stone lives up to its name like aquamarine. Aquamarine is an aquatic blue-green stone that is said to bring happiness to those who wear it. A symbol of fidelity, it accompanies lovers throughout their life together. Aquamarine is the perfect gemstone for an engagement ring.
Virtues : Fidelity, softness, protection.
—— The month of April - Diamond
The birthstone of the month of April, the diamond is the strongest and purest of minerals. In Greek, diamond means indomitable strength. A symbol of perfection, it enhances the most important moments in your life. The diamond gives you strength and wisdom, always!
Virtues : Purity, strength, commitment.
—— The month of May - Emerald
In his Natural History, Pliny the Elder suggests that the joy one experiences when observing an emerald is comparable to that felt when observing nature itself. A favorite stone of Queen Cleopatra, the emerald reveals the beauty of its wearer and ensures that this quality never fades. A birthstone symbol of eternal spring, for all the happy events of May.
Virtues : benevolence, protection, honesty.
—— The month of June - Pearl
In ancient times, pearls were called Aphrodite's tears, after the goddess of love. The birthstone of June, the pearl is a perfect declaration of love without being considered a commitment. Did you know that Roman families gave their daughters two pearls each year so that they would have a complete necklace when they came of age?
Virtues : Wisdom, selflessness, relaxation.
—— The month of July - Ruby
Stone of the month of July, the ruby immediately shows its color: the color of fire! A symbol of passion, it is an ideal gift for an engagement ring or a wedding anniversary. This birthstone is perfect for strong personalities.
Virtues : Happiness, courage, love.
—— The month of August - Peridot
—— The month of September - Sapphire
—— The month of October - Tourmaline
—— The month of November - Citrine
—— The month of December - Tanzanite
Lovers of beautiful gems, tanzanite is made for you! The birthstone of the month of December is known for its rarity, only one deposit exists, in Tanzania, and the intensity of its reflections both blue and purple. An exceptional stone, it brings good luck to your life. The celebration of an important event can be a unique occasion to appreciate its most beautiful effects.
Virtues : Imagination, accomplishment, soothing.
—— "Is a birthstone only given to celebrate a birth?"
The term birthstone is not exclusively linked to the birth of a child, you can of course give it any meaning you wish.
For example, a birthday, the celebration of a particular day to remember in a precise month: these are all events in our lives that can be symbolized by a birthstone.
“ Did you know?
Just as a birthstone symbolizes each month of the year, wedding anniversaries also have their own stone!
Here are some examples (which may vary from country to country):
—— "I don't like the stone that matches my birth month. What can I do?"
Please note that there is obviously no obligation to follow this list!
Think of this list as a general guide if you are looking for inspiration when choosing a stone for your jewelry and want to make sense of it.
For those born in the month of January, you even have
—— "Can I choose any piece of jewelry as my birth jewelry?"
In fact, even though most requests are for rings, we are finding that pendants are increasingly in demand. A definite advantage - if you wish to symbolize a birth and pass on on your jewelry later on - size will not be a problem :)
—— "Is it possible to buy only the stone?
At Gemmyo, we do not offer the stones alone for sale.
Why is that?
Well, it's simply not our business :)
We work in a closed circuit with our suppliers and our workshops. This way, our production process forms a whole from beginning to end. Thanks to this, we manage to maintain the fairest price, notably for our stone purchases from our partners. It would be difficult to offer stones individually, as this is another profession, that of a lapidary (or stone merchant).
At Gemmyo, we believe that each piece of jewelry has a special meaning for our customers and generally connects us to an emotion or an important moment in our lives.
In this sense, this belief of being able to associate a virtue with a stone is meaningful and accompanies the story you wish to give to your jewelry.
Just like astrology, the symbolism of stones remains a belief, so we are of course all free to believe or not.
Let us point out that even if you are not informed of the properties and virtues that a stone is said to possess, all these qualities are beneficial. Rather good news, isn't it? :)