Oh, hi there….. 😛 Sorry for being absent for almost 2 months. I’ve been kinda busy. In March, one of my cats had to be put to sleep 😦 Well, it wasn’t a surprise… he was 17 years old, diabetic, and also had cancer. He suddenly stopped eating, and after 2 days of no food, he could no longer move around on his own – not even to go the bathroom. So, my parents took him to the vet and did what had to be done…. 😦 RIP Maximilian.
Also I had to sort out my taxes. This is the first year I filed taxes by myself. To make it complicated, I have to do self-employment taxes since I’m technically an independent consultant when it comes to my job. On top of that, one of my former employers (from my time at the university) sent my W-2 to the wrong address, so I had to request another be sent.
Enough excuses… lets get down to business.
Today I want to write a little about gemstones. Attributing meaning to rocks and minerals is an age old practice. The most common place we see this in the modern era is birthstones. Birthstones are commonly used in jewelry. If you make jewelry, designing birthstone-themed pieces can be a good starting point when you are lacking design ideas, or if you’re making a gift for a friend. One thing about birthstones that I find interesting are the wide variety stones you can choose from for each month. Yep – that’s right – there are actually a lot more birth stones assigned to each month than just one….. But the one that you are likely familiar with comes from the English traditions – which was “standardized” in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers.
What’s Your Birthstone?
Wikipedia has a great chart which lists the birthstones according the month of birth, and there’s also a poem from the middle ages about birthstones. However, its missing some of the Eastern and Ancient birthstones.
Here’s a list combining both ancient and modern birthstones (US standard / popular listed first):
January — Garnet … and: Onyx, Quartz, Beryl, Jet, and Obsidian
February — Amethyst … and: Blue Sapphire, Hyacinth (yellow zircon), Lapis, Aquamarine,
March — Aquamarine & Bloodstone …and: Diamond, Turquoise, Jade, Jasper, Tourmaline,
April — Diamond … and: Ruby, Red Jasper, Rock Crystal, Carnelian, Coral
May — Emerald … and: Chrysoprase, Golden Topaz, Lapis, Azurite, Agate
June — Pearl, Alexandrite, & Moonstone … and: Cat’s Eye, Crystal, Agate, Aquamarine, Beryl, Turquoise
July — Ruby …and: Cornelian, Moonstone, Pearl, Green Turquoise, Sapphire
August — Peridot … and: Amber, Sardonyx, Ruby, Jacinth, Topaz, Moonstone
September — Sapphire …and: Pink Jasper, Rhodochrosite, Azurite, Star Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli, Zircon
October — Opal… and: Fire Agate, Agate, Tourmaline, Coral
November — Topaz … and: Cat’s Eye, Citrine, Coral, Garnet, Ruby, Zircon
December — Turquoise … and: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Malachite, Ruby, Tanzanite, Topaz
Gemstone Powers – Uses and Meanings
Remember those power bead bracelets? Different colors of stones / beads were attributed specific benefits that they were supposed to grant the wearer. You could often buy them up near the cash register in bookstores or novelty stores… I’m sure you can still find them in some shops (although, it seems to me that the height of their popularity was back in about 1998-2000). The only problem with such bracelets was that there wasn’t always a consistent pattern in regards to which stone bracelet represented what. Sometimes the meaning was based more on the color of the stone than anything else.
I have an entire book on the subject of gemstones’ beneficial properties and effects. Its called Stone Power, by Dorothee L. Mella…. published back in the 1980s. In it she lists some 48 stones with their uses and meanings. Needless to say, that some of it overlaps and some contradict…. I’m generally of the opinion that things mean / represent whatever you want them to represent. But here are just a few of the more popular associations:
Lapis Lazuli – A spiritual stone, it was associated with power, love, and Universal Truth (Ancient Egypt)
Opal – Commonly believed to open one’s mind to visions, used for prophecy and divination (Greece)… also considered a stone of romance and love
Pearls – Associated with femininity and beauty.
Peridot – Believed to contain the power of the sun, and the ability to cure liver disease, as well as jealous thoughts (Ancient Egypt)
Obsidian – A stone of protection, often found in ancient South American amulets and lucky charms.
Malachite – Thought to ward off negative energies (additionally thought to be able to warn owner of impending danger by breaking in half)
Moonstone – Associated with moon magic… but also used to promote love. Romans associated the stone with Diana.
Emerald – Represents security in love… also thought to strengthen memory and increase intelligence.
Garnet – A protective stone thought to help heal emotional issues and also clear the body of toxins. Increases positivity.
Coral – Thought to destroy negative energy. It was used by the Romans to protect children. Also used to by newlyweds to protect against sterility.
Well, that’s all for now, since this post has gotten rather long! Hopefully this has been of some use to someone out there :)… Of course, you can find lots of additional information by looking up specific stones, or by looking into specific traditions (Modern vs. Ancient, Western vs. Eastern). I’m sure there are newer books out there than the one I have (which, btw, was kind of a random handout from my grandmother, lol).