Worn as jewelry or a pendant, birthstones are gemstones associated with an individual’s birth month. Each month of the year has a different birthstone associated with it.
It is speculated the origin of birthstones may date back to biblical times, when priests wore a breastplate decorated with 12 gems.
Eventually, people associated the gems to the zodiac and would wear a different colored stone each month for good luck. At some point prior to the Victorian period, birthstones became associated with the months of the year rather than the zodiac signs. People started believing each gem held various powers for individuals born in a certain month, and wore the gem associated with their birth month throughout the year.
The American National Association of Jewelers published a list associated gems with birth months in 1912, which was updated in 1952 by the Jewelry Industry Council of America. Today it is recognized as the definitive guide to birthstones.