The perfect piece of jewelry does more than complete your outfit—it also captures the essence of who you are. That’s what makes birthstone jewelry so special. It’s a beautiful expression of your month of birth, and you can express your personality with something as simple as a set of pearl earrings or a turquoise brooch. To learn more about their popularity today, here is a brief look at the history of birthstone jewelry in Western history.
Where Did Birthstone Jewelry Come From?
In the Christian Bible, the Book of Exodus describes twelve stones set in Aaron’s breastplate. Aaron was the head of the Israelite priesthood, and his breastplate was a religious garment set with gems to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
The connection between the Book of Exodus and our modern understanding of birthstones is more difficult to trace. In 1st century AD, Romano-Jewish scholar Flavius Josephus connected Aaron’s stones with the twelve signs of the zodiac. In the 8th and 9th centuries, religious treatises associated specific stones with certain apostles of Jesus Christ. According to Bruce G. Knuth’s “Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore,” it became custom to keep twelve gems and wear the appropriate one each month.
The practice of wearing a single birthstone is a more recent advancement. Knuth notes that the Gemological Institute of America marks the beginning of the custom in Germany in the 1560s. The list of birthstones you’re familiar with today wasn’t put in place until 1912, when the Jewelers of America adopted a standardized list.
This standard list has seen a limited number of updates over the past century. Most recently, in 2016, spinel was added as an additional August gem. In a press release, Jewelers of America president David Bonaparte attributed the decision to a strong call from gem enthusiasts to include this historical stone.
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed gem enthusiast or you want to expand your personal collection, birthstone jewelry boasts a rich history. If you’re looking for the perfect piece of jewelry, look no further than Enchanted Opals Boutique. This online jewelry store offers a range of high-quality rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, as well as handbags, purses, wallets, and other accessories. To learn more about their inventory, visit their online store.