BRM 2017 September 2017 - Page 49

WHY BIRTHSTONES?

By DeGrey

Throughout the ages, people have had the desire to adorn themselves with items of beauty and significance, and birthstone jewelry has long been a preferred choice. Civilizations including the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, Incas and Aztecs strongly believed that gemstones possessed many attributes, including curative powers and even the power to convey the soul to peace in the afterlife. While the value of gemstones is consistent across history, the story of their integration as birthstones is less clear. Interestingly, there is no definitive source for the assignment of gemstones as individual birthstones by the world's peoples. However, there are a number of legends and lists that document differing groups of birthstones.

They include:

*Ayurvedic birthstones  date back to ancient Indian culture and those who believed that specific stones have medicinal

effects.

*Mythical birthstones  are said to come from the ancient Tibetan culture and date back thousands of years.

*Biblical birthstones  were mentioned in the Bible's Old Testament and suggests that the twelve birthstones can be

traced to the twelve tribes of Israel.

*Modern (traditional) birthstones  came into existence 1912, when the American National Association of Jewelers

developed the list in an effort to settle on a standard. This list of traditional birthstones is still in

use today.

*Zodiac birthstones  have evolved over thousands of years as astrologers have assigned gems of certain colors to the

twelve signs of the zodiac. These gems are thought to help people influence the planets in their

favor.

Giving a gift of birthstone jewelry is both thoughtful and meaningful. And birthstone jewelry is perfect for most any occasion. Typically, birthstone jewelry is given on a special birthday, graduation day or even an anniversary. Birthstones are also used in personalized jewelry, including couple's rings, mother's rings and family rings and pendants. Clearly, birthstone jewelry continues to be a favorite for a wide range of reasons. It is attractive, meaningful, and offers the potential of positive mental and physical effects. Often, a person's birthstone is chosen as the center of their high school or even college class ring. So…that is “WHY?” birthstones.