Brief History of Birthstone Pendants

Everyone has a birthstone pendant. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this. Where did birthstones come from? Why were they assigned the properties and characteristics they were? Do they actually have healing properties? These are all legitimate questions I will be attempting to answer in this blog post, so stick around!

We collect gemstones and shiny, sparkling things because they’re beautiful. They become priceless when we attach meaning to them or mark them as “sacred” or special. That is, beauty, in combination with a lovely meaning, is what makes birthstones so incredibly popular. There is a special legend of symbolism behind each individual birthstone, with supposed healing properties applied to each. I will take a few unrelated stones and give some back-story behind them.

Garnet: It is believed that garnet came from Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine who was captured by Hades, god of the underworld. Persephone was released with garnet gemstones that looked very similar to pomegranate, which makes sense seeing as the word garnet comes from the Latin word ‘granatus’, meaning seed.

Emerald: Perhaps the most difficult of conditions, emerald has been mined since the ancient Egyptians. The emerald was a favorite stone of Cleopatra herself, who claimed the mines as her own property. She often gave portraits of herself carved in emerald to important visitors. This stone is associated with Venus, the goddess of love. With that being said, emeralds are associated with love, beauty, and fertility; all characteristics Venus exemplified. It also explains why these properties are still associated with emeralds; they have nearly always been considered the stones of fertility.

Peridot: From the French word peridot, meaning ‘gold’ is the birthstone of August and the stone given to a married couple of 16 years of marriage. A peridot birthstone pendant was originally used as a carved talisman of the ancient papyri, even found in the Pharaoh’s treasury. Europeans often used peridot to decorate church plates and robes. They attached various meanings to the stone including happiness, aiding friendship, keeping away envious thought, protect against the ‘evil eye’, etc.

All in all, a lot of attributes that gemstones are said to have come from a lengthy history, most often associated with gods and goddesses of religions old. As for healing qualities, there is little to no proof that these stones have any sort of medicinal properties. However, there is no harm in treating birthstone pendants as if they have they healing attributes as long as you understand that gemstones will never replace the care you will receive from a licensed, trained professional.

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