Many believe that the idea of associating a gemstone to a month dates back to biblical times, and more specifically, to the breastplate of Aaron, high priest of the Israelites. The breastplate was adorned with stones — believed to be carnelian, topaz, emerald, turquoise, sapphire, diamond, jacinth, agate, amethyst, lapis lazuli, beryl and jasper — which were said to each represent one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
It wasn’t until 1752, the year the Gregorian calendar was adopted by England, that each month was associated with a precious or semi-precious stone. In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers — now called Jewelers of America — established the list of birthstones that we’re familiar with today. Some months have more than one type of gem associated with it. In recent years, other stones have been added, notably tanzanite in 2002 and spinel in 2016.
Beautiful, personal and symbolic, these gems make lovely gifts for the birth of a baby or to celebrate a birthday and can be used to create many types of pieces including pendants, earrings and bracelets.