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A Novel By Fran Doyle

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Birthstones, Modern and Traditional

 

 

Numerous cultures have traditionally associated gems with birth dates, and many people have, and still do, consider it good luck to display their birthstone.

While we recognize today that many gems occur in more than one color, the stones specified as birthstones are traditionally associated with a specific color, for example the January birthstone is red garnet and the September birthstone is blue sapphire. However, you should feel free to wear your birthstone in your favorite color variation.

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These traditions are now utilized by the jewelry industry to promote jewelry sales. In 1912 the organization now known as Jewelers of America (JA) adopted a Modern Birthstone List. In the US, this is still the accepted list. Note: Tanzanite was added to this list a few years ago by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).

Other groups and publications have tinkered with the JA's Modern Birthstone List and published their own versions. Why? To include or substitute more affordable choices. I call this the Modified Birthstone List. This list offers consumers alternatives, and consumers do want alternatives... even in birthstones.

Appropriately colored natural gems or synthetic stones are often substituted for the gems on the Modern Birthstone list. These jewelry items will, of course, be clearly labeled in accordance with Federal regulations..

In other places around the world, traditional, religious or ethnic lists of birthstones are still in use. These lists may be hundreds, or even thousands of years old.

While the Modern Birthstone List and the Modified Birthstone List were devised by trade groups for purposes of commerce, some of the traditional lists are derived from religious texts and oral traditions.

Here are a few selected birthstone lists as I know them.

Modern Birthstones

January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Aquamarine
April Diamond
May Emerald
June Pearl
July Ruby
August Peridot
September Sapphire
October Opal
November Topaz
December Turquoise or Tanzanite


We carry natural gem birthstone earrings. Use this link to learn more.

 

Modified Birthstone List

January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Aquamarine
April Diamond or
White Topaz
May Emerald
June Pearl or Alexanderite
July Ruby
August Peridot
September Sapphire
October Opal or Tourmaline
November Citrine or
Yellow Topaz
December Turquoise, Blue Topaz, or Tanzanite

 

Hebrew Birthstones

January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Bloodstone (now called Jasper)
April Sapphire
May Agate, Carnelian, or Chalcedony
June Emerald
July Onyx
August Carnelian
September Chrysolite
October Aquamarine
November Topaz
December Ruby

 

Arabic Birthstones

January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Bloodstone
April Sapphire
May Emerald
June Agate, Carnelian, or Chalcedony
July Carnelian
August Sardonyx
September Chrysolite
October Aquamarine
November Topaz
December Ruby

 

Spanish Birthstones

January Hyacinth (Zircon in yellow, honey, brown)
February Amethyst
March Jasper
April Sapphire
May Agate
June Emerald
July Onyx
August Carnelian
September Chrysolite
October Aquamarine
November Topaz
December Ruby

 

Zodiac Birthstones

Aquarius Garnet
Pisces Amethyst
Aries Bloodstone
Taurus Sapphire
Gemini Agate
Cancer Emerald
Leo Onyx
Virgo Carnelian
Libra Peridot
Scorpio Beryl
Sagittarius Topaz
Capricorn Ruby

 

Birthstones are fun, and birthstone jewelry makes a great gift. Some people collect examples of their birthstone in all the popular shapes, or color variations.

Carolyn Doyle

 

 

 

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