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GEMSTONES BIRTHSTONES

A Modern Navaratna Jewel

A Modern Navaratna Jewel

Birthstones have always been a fascinating aspect of the coloured gemstone and jewellery world. They derive from man’s early belief regarding the relationship between the time of birth to the position of the planets.

Wearing a specific gemstone for good luck or as protection against illness eventually developed into the modern birthstone system that we are familiar with today.

The modern birthstone system in the west originates from the early 1st century writings of Josephus and later of St. Jerome in the 5th century AD. Both trace the custom to the gemstones found in the Breastplate of the Hebrew High Priest. Over time the custom died out but was revived again in Poland in the 1700s.

 Month 20th & 21st Centuries 18th to 19th Centuries
January Garnet Garnet
February Amethyst Amethyst or hyacinth
March Aquamarine or bloodstone Jasper or bloodstone
April Diamond Diamond or sapphire
May Emerald Emerald or agate
June Pearl, moonstone or alexandrite Pearl, moonstone or alexandrite
July Ruby Turquoise or onyx
August Peridot or sardonyx Sardonyx
September Sapphire Peridot
October Opal or tourmaline Beryl or opal
November Topaz or citrine Topaz or pearl
December Tanzanite, turquoise, zircon, lapis lazuli or blue topaz Ruby

Zodiac Gems

Before the modern 12-month calendar was invented, astrologers assigned various coloured gemstones to the 12 signs of the astral zodiac based on their symbolism and alleged metaphysical powers that each gemstone was believed to possess.

 Sign Sign Zodiac Stone Sign Sign Zodiac Stone
Capricorn
Dec. 22–Jan. 20
Ruby Cancer
June 22–July 22
Emerald
Aquarius
Jan. 21–Feb. 21
Garnet Leo
July 23–August 22
Onyx
Pisces
Feb. 22–March 21
Amethyst Virgo
August 23–Sept. 22
Carnelian
Aries
March 22–April 20
Bloodstone Libra
Sept. 23–Oct. 23
Peridot
Taurus
April 21–May 21
Sapphire Scorpio
Oct. 24–Nov. 21
Beryl
Gemini
May 22–June 21
Agate Sagittarius
Nov. 22–Dec. 21
Topaz

Indian Planetary Gemmology

Ancient beliefs in India regarding the planets and their relationships with various coloured gemstones is also found. This has developed into “planetary gemmology.” In such birthstone systems there are nine planets and nine different gemstones. Sometimes jewellery is made using one each of these gems. These are termed navaratnajewels (nava = nine; ratna = jewel).

 Sign Planet Hindu Planetary Stone Sign Planet Hindu Planetary Stone
Sun Ruby Venus Diamond
Moon Pearl Saturn Blue Sapphire
Mars Coral Rahu
(moon’s north node)
Hessonite Garnet
Mercury Emerald Ketu
(moon’s south node)
Cat’s Eye
Jupiter Yellow Sapphire

A Gem for all seasons

One can also select gemstones according to the season, as listed below:

 Season Gem
Spring Emerald
Summer Ruby
Fall Sapphire
Winter Diamond

Choosing a Birthstone

There are clearly a large variety of birthstone choices, depending on religion, culture and nationality etc. But which one is right for you? We suggest that, if none of the above birthstones strikes your fancy then simply choose a personal gemstone that is special to you such as your zodiac sign.