The origin of birthstones and the meaning of fall’s gems


We all love hearing about our special birthday month’s birthstone. But did you ever wonder how the stone became associated with the month? And why they have special traits and healing qualities? Here’s some backstory on birthstones.

Origin of monthly birthstones

The origin of birthstones seems to stem from the bible, namely the twelve stones of the High Priest’s breastplate, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. These stones later took on a connection to the 12 signs of the zodiac. Roman oracles believed that each stone had healing powers and that if they were worn at the right time (corresponding to the zodiac sign) they could help heal the wearer. Wealthy patrons would have a set of all 12 stones, so they could wear them as their specific healing qualities were needed.

This belief lasted until 18th century Poland, when jewelers promoted the idea of dedicating one stone per month. Then, in 1912, the National Association of Jewelers developed what we now know as the 12 birthstones of the year. The list developed in 1912 hasn’t changed much, though a couple of new stones (tanzanite, spinel) have been added.

Fall birthstones

While I write in detail about every birthstone throughout the year, here’s the skinny on fall birthstones and the qualities that tradition gives them:

  • Sapphire

    September: Sapphire
    Used by ancient Greeks, Hindus, and Buddhists to enhance wisdom and enlightenment. Healing qualities: purity, wisdom, focus, fidelity, generosity; believed to help with depression and to bring prosperity.


  • October: Opal and tourmaline
    Believed to have protective powers, especially against evil. Healing qualities: opals—hope and prophecy, inspiration and creativity; tourmaline—energy and cleansing.
  • November: Topaz and citrine
    Used by African shamans; embodies love and affection. Healing qualities: topaz—prosperity and abundance, courage and wisdom; citrine—happiness, calming.


Of course, healing properties aren’t scientific. But there is something compelling about having a beautiful piece of birthstone jewelry that feels personal and special.

Caring for your birthstone jewelry

When you have a piece of birthstone jewelry, it’s important to protect its value. While most gemstones are relatively strong, they can all break or chip. And accidents happen…stones can be lost. The answer? To have good insurance on your valuables. And the best way to make sure that you can get the right valuation for your jewelry is to start with an up-to-date appraisal. I’m happy to discuss the right appraisal for your needs, so call me to set up an appointment at (617) 304-0174.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee

, , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply