A birthstone is a gift of a precious material (jewelry, mainly gemstones; themselves traditionally associated with various qualities) that symbolizes the month of birth (in the Gregorian Calendar).
It is sometimes also called birthday stone (cf. infra; but that word is, confusingly, sometimes used as a synonym for an anniversary gift, which is related to the recipient's age, that is, year of birth).
There have been many different sets of birthstones used throughout history and in different cultures. In 1912, efforts to standardize them started.
The birthstone seems to originate from Biblical times.
The Breastplate of Aaron, referred to in Exodus 39:10-14:
- 10 -Then they mounted four rows of precious stones on it. In the first row there was a ruby, a topaz and a beryl;
- 11 - in the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald;
- 12- in the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst;
- 13- in the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. They were mounted in gold filigree settings.
- 14 -There were twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.
The precise list of birthstones however can be found in Revelation 21:19-20- where the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem are listed, in the order of the Roman calendar:
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
While this word has also been used as synonym of Birth stone (see above), there is a separate list of assignment according to the day of the week of the recipient's birth:
Monday : Pearl
Tuesday : Garnet
Wednesday : Cat's eye (Chatoyant Chrysoberyl)
Thursday : Emerald
Friday : Topaz
Saturday : Sapphire
Sunday : Ruby
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