While the concept of the birthstones does trace back to the Old
Testament in the form of the High Priest's Breastplate Jewel with
stones representing the 12 tribes, birthstones do not have any
The -Official- list of birthstones we have is less than 100 years
old and was created by a committee of the North American Retail
Jewelers Association. In my opinion, right from the get-go, they
made mistakes in creating the list. For example, at the time the
committee was considering the issue, Alexandrite was not even 80
years old among known gems. If you take as a premise that the
birthstones should represent a link to our historical past when
people used the gems as charms or amulets or, at least, symbols of
ancient strengths and protection from evils, then a -modern- gem
should not be on the list.
The gem for December was Turquoise. Later, Blue Zircon was added. I
have no problem with either of these or both together. Within the
last 30 years, Blue Topaz came on the market. Wonderful! At last we
had an alternative for those people born in November who only had
yellow gem choices. (On a good day, I can almost give away a Citrine
or yellow Topaz in my area.) So I started suggesting Blue Topaz.
Well, there isn't nearly enough Blue Zircon to satisfy the 'demand'
for birthstones. Since the color is close, many companies started
using Blue Topaz as a substitute.
So at this point, December had Turquoise, Blue Zircon, and de facto
Blue Topaz. Two years ago, the Powers-That-Be decided that Tanzanite
needed to be a birthstone !! Guess which month they put it in.
I make no appologies for my felling about Tanzanite. It is a
beautiful gem to the eye (in good grades anyway). However, I do not
like the gem because of it's fragile nature and I am insulted by the
idea that a 10 year old gem should join the list of ancient taslimans
that the birthstones should be. In my store, we continue to mention
only Blue Zircon and Turquoise although we allow the Blue Topaz
When designing birthstone items, I always tell my clients to know
what the birthstones are and then to ignore that and
choose gems that they feel represent the people by their
personality. Few people take that advice but it does make them more
open to alternatives.
I bid you all Peace,