Birthstones, also known as “birthday stones,” are an array of specific minerals traditionally associated with the 12-month Gregorian calendar. Diverse legends and myths surround the perceived spirituality of birthstones, ranging from healing powers to physically therapeutic effects to granting the bearer good luck. Per these stories, wearing a gemstone on one’s person will heighten these effects, especially if the birthstone matches the wearer’s birth month. Believers in the power of birthstones view the most effective scenario as owning all twelve birthstones and switching them out monthly.
According to the American Gem Society, these are the gems associated with each month, along with their purported “powers”:
• January - Garnet (happiness, health, wealth)
• February - Amethyst (peace, courage, stability)
• March - Aquamarine, Bloodstone (preservation of health)
• April - Diamond (love, prosperity)
• May - Emerald (mental health, passion)
• June - Pearl (purity), Alexandrite (intuition), Moonstone (good fortune)
• July - Ruby (love, success)
• August - Peridot (prosperity), Sardonyx (confidence), Spinel (energy)
• September - Sapphire (wisdom)
• October - Tourmaline (happiness), Opal (inspiration)
• November - Topaz, Citrine (calm, good fortune)
• December - Tanzanite (psychic powers), Zircon (virtue), Turquoise (love, success)
Birthstone month attributions and their symbolism vary greatly among different cultures. Indeed, even gemstone power attributes are much broader across cultures than what has been noted above. Throughout the centuries, various entities have attempted to standardize birthstones, furthering the use of and belief in birthstones.
While the Bible does not mention birthstones, their widely accepted origin story has roots in biblical history. Exodus 28 contains instructions for making the sacred, priestly garments. Exodus 28:15–30 describes Aaron’s high priestly breastplate, upon which 12 stones were used to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. A first-century Jewish historian made a connection between these 12 stones, the 12 months of the year, and the 12 signs of the Zodiac—although no such connection exists in the Bible. Tastes and customs regarding symbolism have changed over time, and modern birthstone lists have no reference to Exodus 28’s description of priestly garments.
Wearing a birthstone is not sinful; an object, in and of itself, cannot be sinful. To wear a birthstone for fun or fashion is not sinful. We sin in our hearts and minds when we choose to reject God or God’s will. The superstitious belief that a birthstone or any other object has spiritual powers is akin to idolatry. Believers know that wearing a gemstone of any kind will not change the circumstances of their lives. The Bible teaches that all things are under God’s sovereign control, unaffected by people’s plans or the natural world, including the created objects within it. The Lord either causes or allows all things in keeping with His divine plan (Acts 4:28; Ephesians 1:10). Birthstones have no spiritual power. To believe that a gemstone might circumvent God’s will is to reject His sovereignty.