Birth Stones Essay, Research Paper
From prehistoric shamans to modern consumerism birth stones have been a part of human life. Beginning as magical talismans, they have been used for thousands of years to cure the sick, strengthen the weak, and decorate the rich. Birth stones are a modern fad powered by the wisdom of history.
In prehistoric times, every village had a shaman, or witch. The shaman would cast spells to do all sorts of things within the village. After time, shamans discovered that different rocks and minerals did different things. Gold would give energy and strength, while silver would grant love. The same thing worked with gems. Each was presented with a different quality in life that the stone could affect. Thus, birth stones were born.
Every civilization from the Babylonians and Sumerians of Mesopotamia and the Greeks and Romans used birth stones. In Greece, rich men would adorn their wives with his own birth stone to show off his wealth. Especially during the age of Alchemy, science of turning minerals into gold, birth stones were studied and organized. Originally related to a zodiac sign and not a month, they were recently changed with the decline of occult belief.
Garnet–Legend holds that Noah hung a large garnet in the ark for illumination. It reportedly give its wearer guidance in the night, protection from nightmares. Garnets are found in the U.S., Africa, Sri Lanka, Brazil and India. (January)
Amethyst–The Greeks believed that it would prevent intoxication when worn. The amethyst has also symbolized peace, protection and tranquillity. It is mainly found in Brazil, Uruguay and Zambia. (February)
Aquamarine–In ancient times, the stone was said to aid seafarers. To dream of an aquamarine signifies the making of new friends; to wear aquamarine earrings brings love and affection. It is the universal symbol of youth, hope and health. The aquamarine is mainly found in Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia and Ukraine. (March)
Diamond–Discovered about 2,500 years ago in India, the ancients believed they were splinters from the stars, or maybe crystallized lightening or hardened dew drops. (April)
Emerald–The emerald was thought to cure a wide range of ailments, including low IQ, poor eyesight and infertility, it also enabled the wearer to predict the future. They are characterized by a garden of included crystals trapped within, known as the “jardin”, because under magnification, you will see lovely patterns resembling foliage in a garden. Emeralds are found mainly in Columbia, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Zambia. (May)
Pearl–Pearls have been recognized as the symbol of modesty, chastity and purity. They symbolize a happy marriage. Moonstone is sometimes used as an alternative since it physically resembles some pearls. (June)
Ruby–Known as the “Lord of the Gems”, the ruby is said to protect their owners from all kinds of misfortune. A fine ruby assured its owner that he would live in harmony with his neighbors. Many ancients believed the ruby possessed an inner flame that burned eternally. Rubies are found in Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan and India. (July)
Peridot–Peridots formed as the result of volcanic action. Tiny peridot crystals are sometimes found in the black sands of Hawaii. They were considered powerful amulets against all evil and said to be favored by pirates. The peridot is found in Burma, China and the U.S. (August)
Sapphire–The sapphire was honored by ancient priests and sorcerers for it was said to enable them to foretell the future. Ancients believed the Ten Commandments were written on a sapphire tablet. Sapphire is found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Kasmir, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China and the US. (September)
Opal–Opal has symbolized hope, innocence and purity throughout the ages. Medieval writers believed opal could render its wearer invisible when the need arose. It is though to banish evil spirits and favor children, the theater and friends. Opals are found in Australia, Mexico and the US. Tourmaline is used sometimes as a birth stone for October by those who prefer a faceted stone. (October)
Topaz–The Topaz hold the distinction of being the gemstone with the widest range of curative powers. It has been know to change colors in the presence of poison. The Greeks felt it gave them strength. Topaz is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China. Citrine is sometimes substituted for Topaz because it readily available and less expensive. (November)
Turquoise–In the 16th century, turquoise was used as currency by the Southwest Indians. They believed the gemstone bring everyone good fortune. It has also been used in the preparation of cosmetics. Blue Topaz is a popular alternative for those who prefer faceted stones. (December)