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Gemstone Dictionary
of gemstone meanings and healing magic


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Traditional Birthstone Chart

All birthstone charts have their origins in the remnants of ancient belief systems where it was believed, even thousands of years ago that gemstones held special powers within them.

Each culture had its own birthstone chart and as the small societies scattered across the lands then slowly came together and form cities, many of the traditions of these smaller societies mixed, taking parts of each society and combing them to make a workable whole.

This included their birthstone charts which is one of the reasons why we see so many similarities between birthstone charts from completely different parts of the world. Of course part of the reason for these similarities is also because the people, no matter where they were from, were drawn to specific gemstones, instinctively choosing the ones that best fit each situation. Stones talk to us and even when we can not hear the words we can instinctively pick up on what they are telling us.

It was not until modern times when our society started being ran by big business, that the traditional birthstone chart started being changed into what we now call the modern birthstone chart.

In many cases, this change to the modern birthstone chart was made without regard to the actual powers within each stone. The deciding factor being when there were two stones of similar color that could be used for a specific month, which one was the most profitable for the store owner to sell. This is why I personally do not follow the modern birthstones chart and prefer to use the traditional birthstone chart. It is rooted in history and based upon ancient beliefs many still hold true today.

History of the birthstone chart.

All the various birthstone charts you find these days are believed to have their beginnings from the Breastplate of Aaron that you can read about in the bible. The breastplate which was more of a religious garments rather than a breastplate worn as armor, had 4 rows of 3 stones upon it, one for each of the tribes of Israel.

By about the first century A.D. it is also thought that there was a connection to the 12 signs of the Zodiac and one could take advantage of the mystical powers of the Zodiac by wearing each Zodiac signs stone at the proper time of the year and thus was born the first birthstone chart.

Our idea of each person having a specific stone is a much more modern construct having began in Poland during the 18th century when Jewish gem traders began trading in the area. This also points to the modern birthstone chart being based more on profits than any sort of mystical powers the stones have.

If there was any doubt whether the modern birthstone chart was heavily influenced by business rather than tradition, it was put to rest in 2002 when the American Gem Trade Association added the gemstone Tanzanite to the list of December birthstones. When making the announcement of this change they stated, "JA (jewelers association, sees the addition of tanzanite for December as a way to build business. Any step that helps retailers sell more jewelry is a good one."

So which birthstone chart should you go by. That is up to you. I believe a good choice would be to base your choice on what your reason for purchasing the stone is. If you hope to extend the mystical powers of the stones to whomever is receiving the stone, then by all means use the traditional birthstone chart as it is rooted in historical use of stones. If on the other hand it is just a gift and you do not care about any powers it may have, the modern birthstone chart would be perfectly fine.

You can find a birthstone chart which contains list from many cultures by visiting ourBirthstones by Month charts.