The History and Allure of Birthstones

Once upon a time, the people of the Earth believe that gemstones have mystical powers. For at least 40,000 years, humans make jewelry from colored stones because of this belief. The idea of birthstones -that every month of the year is associated with a special gem, and that your special gem is the one of your birth month- is first described by the Jewish historian Josephus in the first century A.D. From then on, certain precious and semi-precious jewels become connected to the number 12, the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 months of the year and the 12 signs the Greek zodiac.

Wow, that’s some magic!

The allure of colored gemstones continues through the early 7th century in Europe, when the 12 gems associated with signs of the zodiac are written about by Isidore, the Bishop of Seville. These 12 gems become charms used for casting spells, healing diseases and conjuring good luck by cultures in Europe and the Middle East – for the next thousand years.

An American Invention

In the late 19th century, immigrants bring sets of zodiacal gems with them to America. The gems hold sway over a man named George Frederick Kunz. In 1913, he writes the definitive book on gemstones and their folklore.

At the time, George is a vice president of Tiffany & Co. His history of “natal stones” and people’s beliefs in their mystical powers inspires the renowned jeweler to publish a pamphlet about the gems. George even writes the publication describing the qualities they transfer to the wearer, such as:

“Who first beholds the light of day, in spring’s sweet flowery month of May, and wears an Emerald all her life, shall be a loved and happy wife.”

Shortly after its publication, the National Association of Jewelers creates an official list of 12 birthstones – one for every month of the year, of course. An American invention or a jeweler’s marketing opportunity? You decide.

Colorful, Meaningful Adornment

Either way, today’s list of 12 birthstones -and their allure- has stayed consistent for more than 2,000 years. Color is the primary characteristic of determining the value and quality of birthstones. Gemologists divide gemstone color into three categories: hue, tone and intensity. Gemstones can be chemically enhanced or treated to improve their color and appearance, and this must always be disclosed to a customer so they can make an informed decision about purchasing the gem. Regardless, the popularity of birthstones also endures.

Indy Facets – Everyone’s Private Jeweler

Indy Facets seamlessly blends the expertise and full service of a traditional jewelry store with the value and convenience of a personal jeweler experience. We give you the face-to-face interaction with an expert that you deserve, in a private setting where you can relax and feel comfortable. Owner/Designer Shaun Goodyear and his team have earned an excellent reputation as Indiana’s private jeweler for engagement rings, custom design, investment grade diamonds, luxury Swiss timepieces, estate jewelry, jewelry repair and the highest level of customer service, available to you from an onsite, state-of-the-art Custom Design Studio and Gemological Laboratory by private appointment only. You are guaranteed a unique, fun and exciting experience without the hype, pressure, judgment or uncertainty associated with other jewelry shopping options. We schedule appointments at your convenience, and are usually available evenings and weekends, too. Call (317) 296-6273 or schedule online, www.indyfacets.com/schedule.

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