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Zodiac Birthstones - are they for real?


#1

I was asked the other day about birthstones, and while I have my
own opinion on the matter which is unlikely to change in the
near future :wink: I thought I’d ask here. What are they all
about?

My enquirer asks:

You might be able to give me some expert help. I’ve got lists of
things which are associated with each Zodiac sign; one of these
is the gem, commonly known as ‘birthstone’, but I’ve got three
sources for the astrological gems:

  1. Phenomenon Book of Calendars (1979);

  2. The Magus (1801);

  3. Old Moore’s Almanac (1999).

    PBOC TM OMA
    Aries: ruby; sardonyx; diamond
    Taurus: topaz; cornelian; emerald
    Gemini: tourmaline; topaz; agate
    Cancer: amber, moonstone; chalcedony; ruby
    Leo: cat’s eye; jasper; sapphire
    Virgo: peridot; emerald; sardonyx
    Libra: emerald; beryl; opal
    Scorpio: snakestone; amethyst; topaz
    Sagittarius: jacinth; hyacinth; turquoise
    Capricorn: black diamond; chrysoprase; garnet
    Aquarius: glass, chalcedony; crystal; amethyst
    Pisces: pearl; sapphire; bloodstone

As you can see, they’re quite different. Can you give me any
help on this?

Brian
B r i a n = A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r
@Brian_Adam1 ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND
http://www.adam.co.nz


#2

Gee, Brian, If your clients really believe, they had better use
ALL the variants of birthstones. It sure would help increase
profits. Best wishes and lots of luck, Rex from Oz


#3

Dear Brian.

I have so many lists of “birthstones” I can prove that almost
any stone fits any month! Many lists seem to have been produced
by folks with vested interests in what they say. We tell our
customers that if they find that a certain stone appeals to them
more than their “official” birthstone, we can probably show them
a list to “prove” that the one they like is just as official as
the other.

Jan MacLellan
Mountain Gems
Burnaby BC Canada


#4

see “Illustrated Guide to Jewelry Appraising” by Anna M. Miller.
on page 161 it has a chart of 11 different schools of thought
and the birth stones associated. take your pick!
birth stones are the “christianized” version of “zodiac” stones
since the church (in it’s infinite wisdom) declared astrology to
be null and void as well as sinful.


#5
   I have so many lists of "birthstones" I can prove that
almost any stone fits any month!  Many lists seem to have been
produced by  folks with vested interests in what they say.  We
tell our customers that if they find that a certain stone
appeals to them more than their "official" birthstone, we can
probably show them a list to "prove" that the one they like is
just as official as the other. 

while the often claimed origins of birthstones is with either
the breastplate of Aaron or the Pillers of the city of Jerusalem
(I think, maybe some other city… been a while) in the old
testament, those stones are the subject of considerable
conjecture as to identity, and many of the stones now accepted
as birthstones were either not known in biblical times or not
found in that part of the world. As is, the current birthstone
list bears little resemblence to those claimed historical origins
of the practice. The supposedly “official” one was pretty much
decided on commercial grounds in the early part of this century
by jewelers organizations who simply assigned stones they wanted
to sell. The inclusion of diamonds and alexandrites, for example
are both stones not found in biblical times and areas, who’s
inclusion in the official list is exclusively a marketing
decision with no attempt at historical authenticity of any kind.
Other lists, such as stones assigned to astrological signs, may
have older origins, but even then, it’s all pretty arbitrary.
Add this to the fact that a great deal of birthstone jewelry
actually uses glass foilbacks or various colors of synthetic
sapphire and spinel, and you’re left with a nice, but pretty
meaningless symbolism in most cases, which serves mostly to help
jewelers sell more gemstone jewelery…

Peter Rowe


#6

There’s a book by George Frederick Kunz, of Kunzite fame, called
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Fabulous reading, chocked
full of interesting fact and esoterica. It covers all kinds of
(pre-1913) birthstone lists - some of which are no longer used.
And any “magickal” encyclopedia you care to delve into will list
more. The whole idea is the basis of sympathetic magic, that the
color and composition, or sometimes just the area the stone is
mined in, has a profound influence on the wearer. It’s a
streamlined version of the carved stone or metal talisman taht
was so popular with Gnostics, Romans, Egyptians, et al.