The Secret Meaning Behind Your Birthstone
You’re well aware that your DOB makes you sympathetic by nature (and moody as all hell when Mercury is in retrograde). But do you have the faintest clue what your birthstone actually means? Here, a quick and dirty history of every birthday gemstone.
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You’re a child of the night. Garnets were most famously used as a medicinal way to prevent nightmares and terrors, and also as a pocket-sized support system for finding your way in the dark. As legend has it, these deep-red pretties also keep their wearer safe in transit. So stash your birthstone in your jewelry case to ward off hotel snafus, lost luggage and terrifying turbulence.
Ahne Jewelry ($37)
The most regal of all the birthstones, these purple sparklers were once worn exclusively by those of royal blood. (They’re both a marker of class and a symbol of courage). Yet another fun amethyst fact: The Greek-derived word “amethystos” means “sober,” and back in the day these gems were worn to ward off drunkenness. So try sporting your birthstone to your college reunion for the best (read: least embarrassing) results.
Tiny Roses ($18)
Feel perfectly at ease on open water or at the seashore? It might have something to do with your birthday, lady. Many early sailors carried ocean-toned aquamarine to keep them safe from rough seas and ocean perils. Another amusing FYI: Aquamarine-infused drinks (basically water with aquamarines in the bottom of the cup) were used medicinally to protect from liver disease and promote good heart health.
Tiffany & Co. ($425)
These days, diamonds are equated with everlasting love. (But that concept was drawn up by a bunch of ad execs to sell stones in the 1930s, folks.) In ancient times, the diamond’s primary association was warding off insanity with its karat-charged powers. The word diamond translates to “vajra,” or “lightning” in Sanskrit (lightning being the choice weapon of the Gods). The reason you feel extra powerful when you rock your diamond studs runs deep.
Glorious green emeralds have been coveted for their healing properties (and stunning beauty) since the ancient Roman Empire. Emerald-obsessed Queen Cleopatra even went so far as to claim all ownership of emerald mines during her time on the throne. A universal symbol of rebirth and renewal, the superstitious among us believe emeralds increase fertility. Happy baby making, May birthday girls.
Jennifer Meyer ($975)
Think oversize white baubles are only for the country club set? Think again. A long time ago in a land far away, the ancient Greeks believed milky pearls to be the tears of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Simple, clean and timelessly lovely, these ocean gems have been a symbol of purity and modesty ever since.
Lulu Frost ($110)
Referred to by ancient Hindus as the “king of gems,” vibrant red rubies are widely believed to protect their wearer from evil, as well as to attract good fortune and romantic interest. Translation: Those ruby studs Nana gave you for your 18th birthday might be worth revisiting on date night.
Annette Ferdinandsen ($1,025)
You know how seeing green leaves appear on the trees after a long winter makes you happy? The same philosophy goes for twinkly green peridots. As legend has it, these cheerful gems are the tears of the volcano goddess, Pele, and have the power to ward off depression and unpleasant thoughts. Maybe sport your peppy peridot ring to chase away the Sunday scaries next weekend? It’s worth a shot.
Theresa Pytell ($148)
These deep-blue stunners are so powerful that in the olden days, poisonous snakes were placed in sapphire containers in an effort to kill them. Thus, the use of this gem for warding off evils and maladies was born. Widely coveted for their wisdom and safety properties, sapphires remained a favored jewel of priests and nobles for centuries. (Too bad no one told Rose Dawson that before she chucked that behemoth into the Atlantic.)
Bianca Pratt ($480)
Deriving their name from the Latin “Opalus,” these iridescent beauties literally translate to “precious jewels,” and symbolize self-assurance, innocence and creativity. Mirroring the metallic flecks of human eyeballs, these guys are also said to increase clarity of vision and protect your eyesight. (So maybe wear your opal ring in addition to your sunglasses and sun hat on the next beach day.)
During the middle ages, topaz was worn by the clergy to promote clarity of thought and foster goodwill to the people. Today, its meaning has expanded into a symbol of friendship. These rust-hued gems are said to be especially useful in bringing helpful connections into their wearer’s life. So consider pulling your old topaz gems out of hiding when it comes time for job hunting, eh? Certainly can’t hurt.
Lori McLean ($875)
Equally beloved by the Aztecs and the Egyptians, speckled turquoise is a relaxed, fuss-free stone, and it’s believed that anyone who wears it adopts these qualities, too. Many ancient cultures also say it protects from the evil eye (aka people who don’t wish you well). So slip your turquoise ring on the next time you’re feeling stressed out (or the next time Sally in accounting shoots you a glare).
Melissa Joy Manning ($690)