Throughout history, innumerable traditional birthstones have been used, corresponding to the Zodiac signs as opposed to the calendar months, historically used as amulets and charms, believed to possess special powers and mystical properties.
The commonly accepted history of birthstones dates back to the Breastplate of Aaron, a ceremonial religious garment from Biblical times. The twelve gemstones on the plate represented the twelve tribes of Israel, and corresponded with the 12 signs of the zodiac and the twelve months of the year.
The gemstones representing each month of the year have varied throughout centuries, and even today we can find the commonly accepted birthstones according to Hebrew, Roman, Arabic, Italian, Russian, Hindu and Polish traditions.
In some cases, birthstones from each age and region are similar in color while in others, little relationship exists between the ancient historic stones and today’s modern birthstones, adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912.
On the current list of modern birthstones adopted in 1912, some calendar months possess ‘alternate birthstones’, such as the month of June, represented by Moonstone as the month’s birthstone and Alexandrite and Pearl as ‘alternate birthstones’ which facilitate the design of coordinated jewelry with multiple gemstones to allow for different taste preferences.