A birthstone is a gemstone associated with the date of one's birth, the wearing of which is commonly thought to bring good luck or health. Supernatural powers have long been attributed by astrologers to certain gemstones. These often have to do with the actual mineral compositions of the stones; however the luck properties can usually be mimicked through the use of crystals in the appropriate color, giving everyone the chance to take their own destiny into their hands by owning birthstone jewelry.
This section outlines some of the background and history of the natural gems, including their symbolism, in order to help you select crystals that carry the same meanings for your projects, without the hefty prices of real gemstones.
January - Garnet
One glance at the deep red seeds nestled inside of a pomegranate fruit explains why the word "garnet" comes from the Latin word "granatus," meaning "grain" or "seed." This name was given to the garnet because of its close resemblance to the succulent pomegranate seed.
There are many myths and legends surrounding the garnet. One Biblical legend is that Noah hung this gem on the ark to light his way through the dark and stormy nights of God's wrath. A Greek myth linked to the garnet is the story of the young goddess of sunshine, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. Hades eventually released Persephone, but not before he tricked her into eating some pomegranate seeds, which guaranteed her return to him for three months out of every year. During these three months that Persephone spent in the underworld, the sun became weak, plants died, and the world became cold, leading to what humans experience as winter.
The garnet is also known to be protective of journeyers. A gift of garnet is thought to be symbolic of love and the desire for a loved one's safe travel and speedy homecoming.
February - Amethyst
If gazing into the sparkling purple depths of an Amethyst suffuses you with a sense of powerful well-being, this is only to be expected. The ancient Greeks believed that Amethyst held many powers, among them protection against intoxication. In fact, the word Amethyst comes from the Greek word "amethystos," meaning sober. This stone was associated with, Dionysus, the god of wine, and it was common practice to serve this beverage from Amethyst goblets in the belief that this would prevent overindulgence. Even today, Amethyst is considered a stabilizing force for those struggling to overcome addictive behaviors.
February's purple birthstone has been found among the possessions of royalty throughout the ages. The intense violet hue of Amethyst appealed to early monarchs, perhaps because they often wore this color. Purple dye was scarce and expensive at one time, and so it was reserved for the garments of kings and queens. Amethyst is also symbolic of spirituality and piety. It has been used to ornament churches and crosses used in religious ceremony, and worn in rings and on rosaries by bishops and priests.
The gift of Amethyst is symbolic of protection and the power to overcome difficulty. It is said to strengthen the bond in a love relationship. Whether or not Amethyst holds such power, its stunning beauty will certainly make anyone who wears it feel like royalty!
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