Birthstone is a gem associated with a month of the year. According to tradition, a birthstone brings good luck to a person born in its month. Each birthstone also corresponds to a sign of the zodiac. However, the birth dates for each sign do not match the beginning and end of each month.
The belief in birthstones may have come from a Bible story about Aaron, the first high priest of the Israelites. The story describes Aaron’s breastplate, which was decorated with 12 precious stones. Early writers linked these stones with the 12 months of the year and the 12 signs of the zodiac.
The custom of wearing a stone that represented a person’s zodiac sign probably originated in Germany or Poland in the 1700’s. It quickly became widespread. Through the years, jewelers and gem dealers have added new gemstones, such as tanzanite for December, to the traditional birthstone list.
Christie Romero, Director, Center for Jewelry Studies, Santiago Canyon College.