Some months have gotten away from what was considered the “traditional” gemstone, and have additional stones for a certain month, and the reason is the popularity or particular color of the stone or its unusual qualities. Although I have a bit of difficulty with bloodstone being added to March, then again I found some beautiful pieces that surpass the name bloodstone.
It is thought that the stones relating to tribes, were also linked to Zodiac birthstones and signs, which were picked by astrologers before our yearly calendar existed. There are also gemstone calendars.
This eventually became associated with the 12 months of the calendar year, thought to have become a popular tradition in the western world in the 15th Century, but was updated to a modern birthstone list in 1912!
The gemstones of the breastplate of Aaron are not the same as what we see today. Some are still with us as birthstones, but other stones are not found anywhere on a birthstone list.
The original stones were Sardius, Topaz, Carbuncle, Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond, Ligure, Agate, Amethyst, Beryl, Onyx, and Jasper. These stones represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Confused, I am.
As we moved into modern times, modern gemstones were used. There is also a lot of material out there about the confusion between what we know a gemstone to be today.
During the Middle Ages, what was called Sapphire was actually Lapis Lazuli, a very nice gemstone indeed. Lapis has a blue like no other as does the Kashmir Sapphire that is a breathtaking blue. Alexander the Great thought Lapis was the most beautiful stone he had ever seen. Then there is the more than likely confusion between Emerald and Peridot. Cleopatra loved Emeralds, but it is possible that “Emeralds” she wore were Peridot. And Peridot is referred to as the night Emerald because of the green and the incredible shine and luster it has and at night you can’t miss it.
There are so many tales and folklore about gemstones. If you stand 10 people in a row and whisper a quote in their ear, by the time it gets to person number 10 it barely resembles the original quote, same holds true for gemstones, as they have fascinated people literally since the beginning of time, and over time the stories get embellished here and there and before you know it you have quite a tale to tell. And with the new deposits being discovered we have even more gorgeous stones, and those discoveries have a story behind them.
The Alexandrite, a rare stone indeed, has a romantic tale about its discovery in the Ural Mountains in Russia. It was the first color change gemstone discovered. It is referred to as emerald by day and ruby by night. When discovered Czar Nicholas named it for his son Alexander. And the red and green are the colors of the Russian Army. There are so few natural Alexandrites from Russia on the market that one would be a fool to not check it out before purchase. A high grade Alexandrite with excellent color change and clear with few if any inclusions can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and this is not for a large stone, maybe 1/2 carat. If someone is trying to tell you that they have a 2 carat or 3 carat natural Russian Alexandrite for sale, run to the nearest board certified gemologist preferably with GIA and get a report done on the stone. And this glorious stone has been added to June as a birthstone.
I am October and the birthstone is Opal. There is the belief if you are not an October baby then you should not wear an opal. Throughout history, there are tales of what has happened to those who did, fact or fiction. Then all the stories of the Hope Diamond and the bad luck it brought every owner. Actually, it was just a series of everyday happenings, death, loss of money, illness, and the like that happen today. I find it hard to believe that such an exquisite blue diamond could bring anyone bad lock, this is a stone of immeasurable beauty.
It would seem behind every gemstone there is a tale to tell. It makes for very good reading if gemstones fascinate you as they do me. The featured image is that of ligure gemstone.