Birthstone Beads: Astounding Long History & Global Traditions

birthstone beads

Birthstone beads are a popular choice for those looking to create personalized and meaningful pieces of jewelry. Birthstones themselves have been an important part of human culture for thousands of years.

In ancient times, people believed that gemstones had mystical properties and that wearing them could bring good luck, health, and prosperity. Over time, birthstones have evolved and changed, and today, there are many different traditions and beliefs associated with them.

Ancient Gemstones and Birthstone Beads

The concept of birthstones can be traced back to ancient Babylon, where people believed that gemstones had special powers that could protect and benefit the wearer. The first known list of birthstones dates back to the 1st century CE, and it was created by a Jewish historian named Josephus. He assigned a specific gemstone to each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and these gemstones eventually became associated with the twelve months of the year. The Bible even describes them on the Breastplate of Aaron in the book of Exodus. 

In ancient India, birthstones were also highly valued, and they were often used in religious and spiritual practices. The ancient Hindu text, the Garuda Purana, describes the importance of gemstones for health and well-being, and it provides detailed instructions for selecting and wearing gemstones based on one’s birth date and astrological sign.

Traditional Birthstones

The modern concept of birthstones can be traced back to the 18th century, when jewelers in Poland began creating jewelry that featured a different gemstone for each month of the year. This practice spread throughout Europe and eventually became popular in the United States as well.

In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers created a standardized list of birthstones that is still in use today. This list assigns a specific gemstone to each month of the year, and it has become widely recognized and accepted around the world. 

Modern Birthstone Beads

While traditional birthstone beads are still widely recognized and used, there are also many modern variations and interpretations of birthstones. Some jewelers and gemologists have created their own lists of birthstones based on different criteria, such as rarity, color, or cultural significance.

For example, some modern birthstone beads include:

  • Tanzanite for December
  • Zircon for December
  • Onyx for July
  • Carnelian for July
  • Labradorite for February
  • Blue Lace Agate for February

In addition to these variations, there are also gemstones that are associated with certain zodiac signs or astrological charts. These gemstones are believed to bring specific benefits or energies to the wearer based on their astrological profile.

Birthstone beads and zodiac gemstones, while often used interchangeably, are indeed different in their origins and associations. Both types of gemstones have rich histories and symbolic meanings, but they are assigned to individuals based on distinct criteria. Let’s explore the differences between birthstones and zodiac gemstones.

Birthstone beads are gemstones associated with a specific month of the year. Each month has at least one, sometimes more, gemstones assigned to it. These stones are believed to bring good luck, health, and prosperity to those born in their respective months.

Zodiac gemstones, also known as astral stones or planetary stones, are associated with the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac. These gemstones are believed to have a stronger connection to the specific energies of their corresponding zodiac sign, thus influencing the person wearing them.

birthstone calendar of gemstone beads

The history of birthstone beads is rich and diverse, spanning thousands of years and many different cultures and traditions. Whether you prefer the ancient beliefs and practices surrounding birthstones or the modern interpretations and variations, there’s no denying that birthstones hold a special place in our hearts and minds. Birthstone beads are also a beautiful and personal way for mothers and grandmothers to show their love for their children and grandchildren. 

So whether you’re celebrating your own birthstone or giving a gift to someone special, take some time to learn about the history and significance of birthstones and discover the unique beauty and power of these precious gemstones.