Birthstones are probably one of the first ways in which people are introduced to the idea of the metaphysical properties of gemstones and crystals. The tradition is said by some to have originated in Europe or at least the list of stones as we know them today in the western world seem to have been formulated here. Associating different stones with the stars or planets was popular for medieval Astrologers and Alchemists but exists in other ancient cultures such as Egypt and India for example. Nobody is really sure of the origins but we know they seem to have been chosen based on the month of birth originaly but I wonder if this was simply because people in the past did not know the exact date specifics of their astrological Sun Sign, so to make things easier for jewelers and people, months were chosen.
There are said to be two main Birthstone lists in circulation today but if you look more into it you can see that they often dont agree on certain months. Ive noticed differences between the European charts and one which is popular in the US. This does not matter to much and ill get to this later.
What really shocked me was a couple of years ago I was at a crafts fare with my sister and we were looking at a stand someone had which had various types of jewellery. There were some bracelets for sale which were displayed with a 'Birthstone' chart of the months and their associated 'crystal'. I knew the moment I saw the arteficial colours of the faceted stones incorperated into the bracelets that they were just glass!
I had to read the chart several times, confused how they could use terms such as the month of birth plus 'Emerald' and then sell you green glass beads. I thought this was a one off event but now im seeing this in many places online. Some are putting in the item description that they are various types of high quality glass or faceted 'crystal glass'... Now this is another thing ive noticed, the term crystal to me always meant a natural crystal or gemstone but many jewelry designers now use the term 'crystal' and 'crystal beads' to mean jewellery created from glass... Confused? I think that might be the purpose!
I can totaly understand why most people wont be able to afford a gem quality Ruby just because its their birthstone but believing a 'ruby red' piece of glass will have the same effect is a strange idea. I personaly think many people buy these items believeing "its my birthstone" or as gifts and dont read the small print (if there is any). So be very very careful with this type of misleading marketing. As far as im concerned any coloured glass is not a true birthstone.
You can get low grade non gem quality versions of many well known 'gems' such as Emerald and Ruby, they wont be clear or flawless but they will be the real thing and the properties are still the same. Also contary to popular belief there is actually many stones associated with your time of birth. If you look into the stones associated with your astrological birth sign you will have allot more choice and not the focus on precious gemstones but lots of semi precious stones which are much more afordable and easy to find. There is usually a good reason for why these stones are good for different signs, either enhancing positive qualities or balancing less desirable traits from the birth chart.
I will get into this more at a later date and I am definatly considering doing a range of astrological birthstone jewellery possibly personaly customised in the future with this knowledge. Please feel free to share the link to this article with friends via email, facebook or twitter so that they can also be aware of this.
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