Symbolism of precious stones for the months, weeks, days and hours

The symbolism of precious stones has always played a very important role in many cultures and was not confined to the niche of magic. Several books were published on the subject. One of the most complete and interesting is still The curious lore of precious stones by George Frederick Kunz, first published in 1913. The text below is an adaptation for blog of the chaper Birth-stones dealing especially with the symbolism of precious stones for the months, weeks, days and hours. 

magical meaning of gemstones

 

The origin of the belief that to each month of the year a special stone was dedicated, and that the stone of the month was endowed with a peculiar virtue for those born in that month and was their natal stone, may be traced back to the writings of Josephus, in the first century of our era, and to those of St. Jerome, in the early part of the fifth century. Both these authors distinctly proclaim the connection between the twelve stones of the high-priest’s breastplate and the twelve months of the year, as well as the twelve zodiacal signs. Strange to say, however, in spite of this early testimony, we have no instance of the usage of wearing such stones as natal stones until a comparatively late date; indeed, it appears that this custom originated in Poland some time during the eighteenth century.

The reason for this seems to have been that the virtues attributed to each particular stone, more especially the therapeutic virtues, rendered it necessary to recommend the wearing of one or the other, according to the disease from which the person was suffering, for his natal stone might not have the power to cure his particular ailment, or might not bring about the fulfilment of his dearest wish. In other words, the belief in the special virtues of the stone was paramount, and it was long before the mystic bond between the stone of the month and the person born in that month was fully realized.

A Lapidary of Sacred Stones

Birth-Stones or natal stones

The order in which the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem are given in the book of Revelation determined the succession of natal stones for the months. The first stone was assigned to St. Peter and to the month of March, to the leader of the apostles and to the month of the spring equinox; the second to the month of April; the third to May, etc. When, however, many centuries later,—probably in Poland, as we have stated,—with the aid of the rabbis or the Hebrew gem traders, the wearing of natal stones became usual, certain changes had been made in this order and some stones not mentioned among those of the breastplate, or of the New Jerusalem, were substituted for certain of these,—notably the turquoise for the month of December, the ruby for July, and the diamond for April. In modern times the turquoise has become the stone for July while the ruby has been assigned to December.

There is some evidence in favor of the theory that at the outset all twelve stones were acquired by the same person and worn in turn, each one during the respective month to which it was assigned, or during the ascendancy of its zodiacal sign. The stone of the month was believed to exercise its therapeutic or talismanic virtue to the fullest extent at that period. Perhaps the fact that this entailed a monthly change of ornaments may rather have been a recommendation of the usage than the reverse.

It seems highly probable that the development of the belief in natal stones that took place in Poland was due to the influence of the Jews who settled in that country shortly before we have historic notice of the use of the twelve stones for those born in the respective months. The lively interest always felt by the Jews regarding the gems of the breastplate, the many and various commentaries their learned men have written upon this subject, and the fact that the well-to-do among the chosen people have always carried with them in their wanderings many precious stones, all this seems to make it likely that to the Jews should be attributed the fashion of wearing natal stones.

However, whether this conjecture be correct or erroneous, the fashion once started became soon quite general and has as many votaries to-day as ever before. There can be no doubt that the owner of a ring or ornament set with a natal stone is impressed with the idea of possessing something more intimately associated with his or her personality than any other stone, however beautiful or costly it may be. If it be objected that this is nothing but imagination due to sentiment, we must bear in mind that imagination is one of the most potent factors in our life; indeed, the great Napoleon is quoted as saying that it ruled the world.

Probably the very earliest text we have in which the stones of the breastplate are positively associated with the months of the year is to be found in the “Antiquities of the Jews,” by Flavius Josephus. This runs as follows:

Moreover, the vestments of the high-priest being made of linen signifies the earth, the blue denotes the sky, being like lightning in its pomegranates, and resembling thunder in the noise of the bells. And as for the ephod, it showed that God had made the universe of four elements, and as for the gold interwoven in it, I suppose it related to the splendor by which all things are to be enlightened. He also appointed the breastplate to be placed in the middle of the ephod to resemble the earth, for that occupies the middle place in the world; and the girdle, which encompassed the high priest about, signifies the ocean, for that goes about everything. And the two sardonyxes that were in the clasps on the high-priest’s shoulders, indicate to us the sun and the moon. And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or the twelve signs of what the Greeks call the zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning. And for the cap, which was of a blue color, it seems to me to mean heaven, for otherwise the name of God would not have been inscribed upon it. That it was also adorned with a crown, and that of gold also, is because of the splendor with which God is pleased.

meaning of gemstones

This passage was adapted by St. Jerome, three hundred years later, in his letter to Fabiola, and undoubtedly laid the foundation for the later custom of wearing one of these stones as a natal or birth-stone for a person born in a given month, or for an astral or zodiacal stone for one born under a given zodiacal sign. As we see, both uses are indicated by the passage of Josephus. In the later centuries, as the book of Revelation, which was generally less favored at the outset than the other parts of the New Testament, became a subject of devout study, and a mine of mystical suggestions, the twelve foundation stones (Rev. xxi, 19) of the New Jerusalem largely took the place of the stones of the breastplate. While this list of foundation stones is unquestionably based upon the much earlier list of the stones adorning Aaron’s breastplate, the ordering differs considerably and there are some changes in the material; possibly many, if not all, of these differences may be due to textual errors or to a transcription from memory.

That the foundation stones were inscribed with the names of the apostles is expressly stated (Rev. xxi, 14), but it was not until the eighth or ninth century that the commentators on Revelation busied themselves with finding analogies between these stones and the apostles. At the outset, the symbolism of the stones was looked upon from a purely religious standpoint. Few of the early fathers—we may except Epiphanius—thought or cared much for the stones themselves, or knew much of them; but, in time, their natural beauty became more and more highly developed as the lapidarian art demanded better cut and choicer material, their supposed virtues came to the fore, and the symbolism was strengthened and emphasized by a reference to their innate qualities and also to their peculiar powers. The fact that this part of the tradition was rather of pagan than of Christian origin probably contributed to render it less attractive to the early Christians, so that it was not until Christianity had become practically universal in the Greek and Roman world and the opposition to pagan traditions, as such, was weakened and, indeed, largely forgotten, that the virtues of the stones were made prominent, and certain parts of these superstitions were retained, as were some of the pagan ceremonies in the Christian religion.

One of the earliest writers to associate directly with the apostles the symbolism of the gems given as foundation stones of the New Jerusalem by St. John in Revelation xxi, 19, is Andreas, bishop of Cæsarea. This author was at one time assigned by critics to the fifth century a.d., but more recent investigation has shown that he probably belonged to the last half of the tenth century. His exposition reads as follows:

The Book of Oberon

Symbolism of precious stones according to Andreas, bishop of Cæsarea

JASPER: The jasper, which like the emerald is of a greenish hue, probably signifies St. Peter, chief of the apostles, as one who so bore Christ’s death in his inmost nature that his love for Him was always vigorous and fresh. By his fervent faith he has become our shepherd and leader.

SAPPHIRE: As the sapphire is likened to the heavens (from this stone is made a color popularly called lazur), I conceive it to mean St. Paul, since he was caught up to the third heaven, where his soul was firmly fixed. Thither he seeks to draw all those who may be obedient to him.

CHALCEDONY: The chalcedony was not inserted in the high-priest’s breastplate, but instead the carbuncle, of which no mention is made here. It may well be, however, that the author designated the carbuncle by the name chalcedony. Andrew, then, can be likened to the carbuncle, since he was splendidly illumined by the fire of the Spirit.

EMERALD: The emerald, which is of a green color, is nourished with oil, that its transparency and beauty may not change; we conceive this stone to signify John the Evangelist. He, indeed, soothed the souls dejected by sin with a divine oil, and by the grace of his excellent doctrine lends constant strength to our faith.

SARDONYX: By the sardonyx, showing with a certain transparency and purity the color of the human nail, we believe that James is denoted, seeing that he bore death for Christ before all others. This the nail by its color indicates, for it may be cut off without any sensible pain.

SARDIUS (red carneole): The sardius with its tawny and translucent coloring suggests fire, and it possesses the virtue of healing tumors and wounds inflicted by iron; hence I consider that it designates the beauty of virtue characterizing the apostle Philip, for his virtue, animated by the fire of the Holy Spirit, cured the soul of the wounds inflicted by the wiles of the devil, and revived it.

CHRYSOLITE: The chrysolite, gleaming with the splendor of gold, may symbolize Bartholomew, since he was illustrious for his divine preaching and his store of virtues.

BERYL: The beryl, imitating the colors of the sea and of the air, and not unlike the jacinth, seems to suggest the admirable Thomas, especially as he made a long journey by sea, and even reached the Indies, sent by God to preach salvation to the peoples of that region.

TOPAZ: The topaz, which is of a ruddy color, resembling somewhat the carbuncle, stops the discharge of the milky fluid with which those having eye-disease suffer. This seems to denote Matthew, for he was animated by a divine zeal, and, his blood being fired because of Christ, he was found worthy to enlighten by his Gospel those whose heart was blinded, that they might like new-born children drink of the milk of the faith.

CHRYSOPRASE: The chrysoprase, more brightly tinged with a golden hue than gold itself, symbolizes St. Thaddæus; the gold (chrysos) symbolizing the kingdom of Christ, and the prassius, Christ’s death, both of which he preached to Abgar, King of Edessa.

JACINTH: The jacinth, which is of a celestial hue, signifies Simon Zelotes, zealous for the gifts and grace of Christ and endowed with a celestial prudence.

AMETHYST: By the amethyst, which shows to the onlooker a fiery aspect, is signified Matthias, who in the gift of tongues was so filled with celestial fire and with fervent zeal to serve and please God, who had chosen him, that he was found worthy to take the place of the apostate Judas.

Some theologians were opposed to the assignment of the foundation stones to the apostles, for they held that only Christ himself could be regarded as the foundation of his Church. Hence the symbolism of these stones was made to apply to Christ alone, the color of the stone often guiding the commentator in his choice of ideas denoted by the different gems. Thus, one writer, applying all the meanings to Christ, finds that the greenish Jasper denotes satisfaction; the sky-blue Sapphire, the soul; the bright-red Chalcedony, zeal for truth; the transparent green Emerald, kindness and goodness; the nail-colored Sardonyx, the strength of spiritual life; the red Sardius, readiness to shed His blood for the Church; the yellow Chrysolite, the excellence of His divine nature; the sea-green Beryl, moderation and the control of the passions; the glass-green Topaz (chrysolite?), uprightness; the harsh-colored Chrysoprase, sternness towards sinners; the violet or purple Jacinth, royal dignity, and, lastly, the purple Amethyst, with a touch of red, perfection.

gemstones in wicca

Symbolism of precious stones connected to tribes and zodiak according to the Jews of medieval times

Andreas of Cæsarea freely recognizes his indebtedness to the much more ancient source, St. Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, who died in 402 a.d., and who wrote a short but very valuable treatise on the stones of the breastplate, noting in several cases the therapeutic and talismanic virtues of these stones and giving his opinion as to the order in which the names of the tribes were inscribed upon them. As the foundation stones of Revelation are rightly called “apostolic stones,” so those of the breastplate merit the designation of “tribal stones,” as well as that of astral stones; indeed, the Jews of medieval times definitely associated the tribes with the zodiacal signs in the following order:

Judah – Aries
Issachar – Taurus
Zebulun – Gemini
Reuben – Cancer
Simeon – Leo
Gad – Virgo
Ephraim – Libra
Manasseh – Scorpio
Benjamin – Sagittarius
Dan – Capricorn
Naphtali – Aquarius
Asher – Pisces

For Rabanus Maurus the nine gems of the king of Tyre named in Ezekiel xxxviii, 13, are types of the nine orders of angels, just as the twelve foundation stones of Revelation signify the twelve apostles.

It is evident, from early and later usage, that, at the place and time where and when these stones were first utilized for birth-stones, the year must have begun with the month of March. This will be apparent when we compare the following eight lists, carefully gathered from various sources:

 

Month

JewsRomans Isidore, Bishop of Seville Arabians
JanuariGarnet Garnet
Hyacinth
Garnet
FebruariAmethystAmethystAmethystAmethyst
MarchJasperBloodstoneJasperBloodstone
AprilSapphire Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire
MayChalcedony, Carnelian, AgateAgateAgateEmerald
JuneEmeraldEmeraldEmeraldAgate, Chalcedony, Pearl
JulyOnyxOnyxOnyxCarnelian
AugustCarnelian Carnelian Carnelian Sardonyx
SeptemberChrysolite SardonyxChrysolite Chrysolite
OctoberAquamarine Aquamarine Aquamarine Aquamarine
NovemberTopaz Topaz Topaz Topaz
DecemberRuby Ruby Ruby Ruby

The table has been divided at this point.

 

MonthPolesRussiansItalians15th to 20th Century
JanuariGarnetGarnet, HyacinthJacinth, GarnetGarnet
FebruariAmethistAmethistAmethistAmethist, Hyacinth, Pearl
MarchBloodstoneJasperJasperJasper, Bloodstone
AprilDiamondSapphireSapphireDiamond, Sapphire
MayEmeraldEmeraldAgateEmerald, Agate
JuneAgate, ChalcedonyAgate, ChalcedonyEmeraldCat’s Eye, Turquoise, Agate
JulyRubyRuby, SardonyxOnyxTurquoise, Onyx
AugustSardonyxAlexandriteCarnelianSardonys, Carnelean, Moonstone, Topaz
SeptemberSardonyxChrysoliteChrysoliteChrysolite
OctoberAquamarineBerylBerylBeryl, Opale
NovemberTopazTopazTopazTopaz, Pearl
DecemberTurquoiseTurquoise, ChrysopraseRubyRuby, Bloodstone

Centaurs, Damocloids & Scattered Disc Objects

It may be interesting to show in these eight lists the stones which are most favored in each month in the following way, the numerals indicating the number of lists in which the stones appear (including the alternate stones):

January – Garnet 7, hyacinth 2.
February – Amethyst 8, hyacinth 1, pearl 1.
March – Jasper 5, bloodstone 4.
April – Sapphire 7, diamond 2.
May – Agate 5, emerald 4, chalcedony 1, carnelian 1.
June – Emerald 4, agate 4, chalcedony 3, turquoise 1, pearl 1, cat’s-eye 1.
July – Onyx 5, sardonyx 1, carnelian 1, ruby 1, turquoise 1.
August – Carnelian 5, sardonyx 3, moonstone 1, topaz 1, alexandrite1.
September – Chrysolite 6, sardonyx 2.
October – Beryl, 8, aquamarine 5, opal 1.
November – Topaz 8, pearl 1.
December – Ruby 6, turquoise 2, chrysoprase 1, bloodstone 1.

With the exception of January, where we have the garnet instead of the jacinth, and of December, which gives us the ruby instead of the chrysoprase, the first choices are practically identical with the foundation stones, bearing in mind that the eleventh stone is that for January, the twelfth that for February, the first that for March and so on.

Of the assignment of the natal stones to the different months of the year or to the zodiacal signs, Poujet fils, writing in 1762, states that in his opinion this fashion started in Germany—others say in Poland—some two centuries before his time, and he adds that, though this arrangement was purely imaginary, and unknown to ancient writers, it soon became popular, and many, more especially of the fair sex, seeing in it an element of mystery, wished to wear rings set with the stone appropriate to the month of their birth, the stone being engraved with the appropriate zodiacal sign. However correct Poujet may be regarding the period at which the fashion of wearing natal rings was introduced, he is, as we have already shown, quite wrong in believing that the serial arrangement of the stones and their assignment to months or signs was purely imaginary, for it is unquestionably based on the list in Revelation, which in its turn goes back to the twelve stones of the high-priest’s breastplate.

symbolism of precious stones

FACSIMILE OF THE BETROTHAL RING OF THE VIRGIN IN THE CATHEDRAL OF PERUGIA. – The original ring, which is of chalcedony, is shown on St. Agatha’s Day, July 29, to cure ailments of mothers. This cord and facsimile of ring acquired by the author at Perugia, May 6, 1902.

The fashion of wearing a series of twelve stones denoting (or bearing) the zodiacal signs seems to have existed in the sixteenth century, for Catherine de’ Medici is said to have worn a girdle set with twelve stones, among which were certain onyxes as large as crownpieces, upon which talismanic designs had been engraved. Two hundred years later this girdle is stated to have been in the possession of a M. d’Ennery, whose collection of antique medals was regarded as the finest in Paris at the time. It is not, however, certain that the twelve stones of Catherine’s girdle were those attributed to the zodiacal signs both at an earlier and later period.

Though the substitution of a new schedule for the time-honored list of birth-stones has received the approval of the National Association of Jewellers at the meeting in Kansas City August, 1912, it can scarcely be said to offer a satisfactory solution of the question, which has its importance not only from a commercial point of view, but also because the idea that birth-stones possess a certain indefinable, but none the less real significance, has long been present and still exercises a spell over the minds of all who are gifted with a touch of imagination, or romance, if you will. The longing for something that appeals to this sense is much more general than is commonly supposed, and is a not unnatural reaction against the progress of materialism, against the assertion that there is nothing in heaven or earth but what we can definitely apprehend through our senses.

It is this persuasion that should be chiefly considered in any attempt to tamper with the traditional attribution of the stones to particular months or to the zodiacal signs. Once we allow the spirit of commercialism pure and simple to dictate the choice of such stones, according to the momentary interest of dealers, there is grave danger that the only true incentive to acquire birth-stones will be weakened and people will lose interest in them. Sentiment, true sentiment, is one of the best things in human nature. While if darkened by fear it may lead to pessimism, with all the evils which such a state of mind implies, if illumined by hope it gives to humanity a brighter forecast of the future, an optimism that helps people over difficult passages in their lives. Thus, sentiment must not be neglected, and nothing is more likely to destroy it than the conviction that it is being constantly exploited for purposes of commercialism. For this reason, the interest as well as the inclination of all who are concerned in this question of birth-stones should induce a very careful handling of the subject.

Quite true it is that there are now, and have been in the past, several lists of these stones, differing slightly from one another, but all are based essentially either upon the list of foundation stones given in Revelation (xxi, 19) or upon that of the gems adorning the breastplate of Aaron and enumerated in Exodus (xxxix, 10-13). For convenient reference, we give the latter according to the Authorized Version of the Scriptures, and also as corrected by later research, and the former according to the Authorized Version.

BreastplateFoundation stones
Authorized versionLater correctionAuthorized version
I. SardiusCarneleanJasper
II. TopazChrysoliteSapphire
III. CarbuncleEmerald Chalcedony
IV. EmeraldRuby Emerald
V. SapphireLapis-lazuli Sardonyx
VI DiamondOnyx Sardius
VII LigureSapphire Chrysolite
VIII AgateAgateBeryl
IX AmethystAmethyst Topaz
X Beryl Topaz Chrysoprasus
XI OnyxBeryl Jacinth
XII JasperJasper Amethyst

 

While the arrangement differs in Revelation, the stones are nearly identical. For chalcedonius, we should probably read carchedonius, a name of the ruby; sardonyx is the onyx of Exodus; the jacinth (sapphire) is probably the “ligure”; the sapphire was the lapis-lazuli, and sardius is equivalent to carnelian. There thus remains only the chrysoprase, which for some reason has substituted the agate. In the eventual association of the foundation stones with the months, the first, the jasper, was assigned to March, with which month the year was reckoned to begin.

The list suggested and adopted in Kansas City reads as follows:

MonthBirth-stoneAlternate stone
JanuaryGarnet
FebruariAmethist
MarchBloodstoneAquamarine
AprilDiamond
MayEmerald
JunePearlMoonstone
JulyRuby
AugustSardonyxPeridot
SeptemberSapphire
OctoberOpalTourmaline
NovemberTopaz
DecemberTurquoiseLapis-lazuli

 

Among the many changes in this list from that habitually followed, it will be noted that the ruby is transferred from December to July, changing places with the turquoise, which became the gem of December. This has been favored on the ground that the warmer-colored gem was best adapted for a July birth-stone, while the paler turquoise was best suited to a winter month, when the sun’s rays are feeble. The contrary, however, is true; for it is in winter that we seek for warmth, while in the heat of summer nothing is more grateful than coolness. This transposition is, in effect, simply a return to the ordering of these stones in the Polish list, which may perhaps have become popular in Europe in the eighteenth century through Marie Leczinska, the queen of Louis XV. Another undesirable change takes the chrysolite (peridot) from the place it has always occupied as the gem of September, and makes of it an alternate for August, with the sardonyx, while the sapphire, properly the gem for April, is made the birth-stone for September. For October neither the tourmaline nor the opal is as appropriate as the beryl, while for June we should prefer the asteria to the moonstone as a substitute for the pearl.

This suggested radical change or violation cannot be permitted. The time-honored ordering is familiar now to all who are interested in the matter, and any change, even if one apparently for the better, is liable to disturb the popular confidence in those who are supposed to be familiar with the subject. Above all, there should be no duplication or triplication of birth-stones for any given month, the choice between a birth-stone or an astral or zodiacal stone or the combination of these affording all the variety that is necessary or should be desired.

 

the symbolism of precious stones gemstones

As the diamond does not appear to have been known to the ancients and is not given in any of the lists of birth-stones before the last century, and as diamonds, like gold and platinum, may easily be used as accessories to other stones, would it not perhaps be better to omit the diamond from the list of the stones of the months, and rather use these gems as a bordering or other ornate addition to the stone of the month? The pearl, which is not a stone in any sense of the word, should not appear in the list at all; but it can be worn in some device suggesting a sentiment, as, for instance, an emblem of purity, etc.

The tourmaline, as a gem only known in modern times or since the eighteenth century, seems out of place in the list of birth-stones, which ought only to comprise precious or semi-precious stones which have been known and worn from ancient times.

“Astral stones” or “zodiacal stones” are terms used to designate those gems which were believed to be peculiarly and mystically related to the zodiacal signs. While these signs constitute a twelve-fold division of the year just as do the months, they do not exactly coincide with the latter as now reckoned, but overlap them, so that the sign Aquarius, for instance, covers the period from January 21 to February 20, that of Pisces from February 21 to March 20, that of Aries, the spring sign, from March 21 to April 20, and so on down to Capricornus, which begins at the winter solstice. Thus, every necessary opportunity is afforded for enlarging the selection of natal stones while preserving the traditional order of those appropriate to the months, an order which in its origin dates back to the early Christian centuries and which, from the close relation with the sacred gems of the Scriptures, it seems almost sacrilegious to violate by arbitrary changes.

 

the symbolic meaning of precious stones

CARNELIAN, ENGRAVED WITH THE ZODIACAL SIGNS, TAURUS, LEO AND CAPRICORN; IN THE CENTRE A SIX-RAYED STAR, THE FORM OF ONE OF THESE RAYS DENOTING A COMET.
Referred to the nativity of Augustus and to a comet which appeared shortly after the assassination of Julius Cæsar. From De Mairan’s “Lettres au R. P. Parrenin,” Paris, 1770.

Then, in addition, we have the “talismanic gems,” or the stones of the twelve guardian angels, one set over all those born in each month. Here we have another time-honored list, differing from either of those mentioned above, so that, in almost if not quite every case, each person has the choice between three different stones as “birth-stones,” or can have them combined in an artistic jewel so as to profit by all the favorable influences promised by the old authorities Thus, there is absolutely no excuse for playing fast and loose with an ancient, popular, and quasi-religious belief in the special virtue of one particular stone for each month, and that one the gem long prescribed by usage

As it might seem appropriate that one born in the United States should wear a gem from among those which our country furnishes, the following list was some time since prepared by the writer, not in any sense as a substitute for the real birth-stones, but as possible accessory gems (when they were not identical), gems which might be worn from a spirit of patriotism Of course where the stone in question is really that traditionally recommended, the fact that it is at the same time an American gem-stone is an added argument in its favor

 

Gems of the seasons

The year is divided into four seasons or cycles,—spring, summer, fall, and winter,—and each season has its particular gem The emerald is the gem of the spring, the ruby the gem of summer, the sapphire the gem of autumn, and the diamond the gem of winter.

For spring, no precious stone is more appropriate than the emerald. Its beautiful color is that of Nature, for Nature clothes herself with green when she awakens from her long rest of winter. Having decked herself with green of the various tints and colors, she has selected a background by which a contrast is made for the flowers that come in the spring and summer and ripen into fruit and seeds of autumn. To be a seasonable gem it must be rare, and the emerald is rare. Whether found in the mines of Bogotá, whether mined in ancient times at Zabarah in Egypt, or in the past century in the Ural Mountains, it has never been found in abundance. It is softer in color than the ruby and less hard in structure.

The ruby, although as a natal stone it belongs to December, is the gem of summer. It is born in the hot climates,—the pigeon’s-blood ruby in Burma, the pomegranate-red in Ceylon, and the more garnet-hued type in Siam,—these three equatorial countries produce the ruby. Those of large size are always rare, and this is the gem which Job valued more highly than any other, although “garnet” may perhaps be a better rendering. It is on an equal plane in hardness, in composition, in crystalline structure, and in every way, with the sapphire. These are sister gems, structurally alike, yet varying in complexion, due to a slight difference which some scientists think is not even dependent upon the coloring matter.

The sapphire—the gem of autumn, the blue of the autumn sky—is a symbol of truth, sincerity, and constancy. Less vivid than its sister gem, the ruby, it typifies calm and tried affection, not ardent passion; it is therefore appropriate to the autumn season, when the declining sun no longer sends forth the fiery rays of summer but shines with a tempered brilliancy.

Hellenistic Astrology

The diamond, the gem of winter, typifying the sun, is the gem of light. Its color is that of ice, and as the dewdrop or the drop of water from a mountain stream sparkles in the light of the sun, as the icicle sparkles in winter, and the stars on a cold winter night, so the diamond sparkles, and it combines and contrasts with all known gems. Like light, it illumines them just as the sun does the plants of the earth. The diamond, the gem of light, like light itself when broken into a spectrum, gives us all known colors, and by combining all these colors it gives us white. Like gold, the diamond was made rare, so that it must be searched for, and the mines and deposits contain less of these two substances in a given area than of any other known materials. It is thirty to a hundred times more rare than gold, for if gold occurs one part in 250,000, it can scarcely be worked with profit, while the diamond can be worked to advantage when found only one part in 10,000,000,—yes, even one part in 25,000,000—and, like gold, it sometimes spurs the searcher on to wealth or to ruin. As great nuggets of gold have occasionally been found, so has a diamond been discovered large enough to make the greatest ruler pause to pay its price, and one which it took an entire country to give to that ruler who sways his sceptre over countries in which the world’s greatest diamonds have been found.

When the God of the Mines called his courtiers to bring him all known gems, he found them to be of all colors and tints, and of varying hardnesses, such as the ruby, emerald, sapphire, etc., etc. He took one of each; he crushed them; he compounded them, and said: “Let this be something that will combine the beauty of all; yet it must be pure, and it must be invincible.” He spoke: and lo! the diamond was born, pure as the dewdrop and invincible in hardness; but when its ray is resolved in the spectrum, it displays all the colors of the gems from which it was made “Mine,” said the god, “must be the gem of the universe; for my queen I will create one that shall be the greatest gem of the sea,” and for her he created the pearl

 

Gems of Spring 
Amethyst
Green diamond
Chrysoberyl
Spinel (rubicelle)
Pink topaz
Olivine (peridot)
Emerald

Gems of Summer
Zircon
Garnet (demantoid and ouvarite)
Chrysoberyl (alexandrite)
Spinel
Pink topaz
Ruby
Fire opal

Gems of Autumn 
Hyacinth
Topaz
Sapphire
Jacinth
Cairngorm
Adamantine spar
Tourmaline
Oriental chrysolite

Gems of Winter
Diamond
Rock-crystal
White sapphire
Turquoise
Quartz
Moonstone
Pearl
Labradorite

 

SENTIMENTS OF THE MONTHS

JANUARY
Natal stone Garnet.
Guardian angel Gabriel.
His talismanic gem Onyx.
Special apostle Simon Peter.
His gem Jasper.
Zodiacal sign Aquarius.
Flower Snowdrop.

No gems save garnets should be worn
By her who in this month is born;
They will insure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.
The gleaming garnet holds within its sway
Faith, constancy, and truth to one alway.

 

FEBRUARY
Natal stone Amethyst.
Guardian angel Barchiel.
His talismanic gem Jasper.
Special apostle Andrew.
His gem Carbuncle.
Zodiacal sign Pisces.
Flower Primrose.

The February-born may find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If she an amethyst will wear.
Let her an amethyst but cherish well,
And strife and care can never with her dwell.

 

MARCH
Natal stone Jasper, bloodstone.
Guardian Angel Malchediel.
His talismanic gem Ruby.
Special apostles James and John.
Their gem Emerald.
Zodiacal sign Aries.
Flower Ipomœa, violet.

Who on this world of ours her eyes
In March first opens may be wise,
In days of peril firm and brave,
Wears she a bloodstone to her grave.
Who wears a jasper, be life short or long,
Will meet all dangers brave and wise and strong.

 

APRIL
Natal stone Diamond, sapphire.
Guardian angel Ashmodei.
His talismanic gem Topaz.
Special apostle Philip.
His gem Carnelian.
Zodiacal sign Taurus.
Flower Daisy.

She who from April dates her years
Diamonds should wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow This stone
Emblem of innocence is known.
Innocence, repentance—sun and shower—
The diamond or the sapphire is her dower.

 

MAY
Natal stone Emerald.
Guardian angel Amriel.
His talismanic gem Carbuncle.
Special apostle Bartholomew.
His gem Chrysolite.
Zodiacal sign Gemini.
Flower Hawthorn.

Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet flow’ry month of May,
And wears an emerald all her life,
Shall be a loved and happy wife.
No happier wife and mother in the land
Than she with emerald shining on her hand.

 

JUNE
Natal stone Agate.
Guardian angel Muriel.
His talismanic gem Emerald.
Special apostle Thomas.
His gem Beryl.
Zodiacal sign Cancer.
Flower Honeysuckle.

Who comes with summer to this earth,
And owes to June her hour of birth,
With ring of agate on her hand
Can health, long life, and wealth command.
Thro’ the moss-agate’s charm, the happy years
Ne’er see June’s golden sunshine turn to tears.

 

JULY
Natal stone Turquoise.
Guardian angel Verchiel.
His talismanic gem Sapphire.
Special apostle Matthew.
His gem Topaz.
Zodiacal sign Leo.
Flower Water-lily.

The heav’n-blue turquoise should adorn
All those who in July are born;
For those they’ll be exempt and free
From love’s doubts and anxiety.
No other gem than turquoise on her breast
Can to the loving, doubting heart bring rest.

 

AUGUST
Natal stone Carnelian.
Guardian angel Hamatiel.
His talismanic gem Diamond.
Special apostle James, the son of Alpheus.
His gem Sardonyx.
Zodiacal sign Virgo.
Flower Poppy.

Wear a carnelian or for thee
No conjugal felicity;
The August-born without this stone,
’Tis said, must live unloved, alone.
She, loving once and always, wears, if wise,
Carnelian—and her home is paradise.

 

SEPTEMBER
Natal stone Chrysolite.
Guardian angel Tsuriel.
His talismanic gem Jacinth.
Special apostle Lebbeus Thaddeus.
His gem Chrysoprase.
Zodiacal sign Libra.
Flower Morning-glory.

A maid born when September leaves
Are rustling in the autumn breeze,
A chrysolite on brow should bind—
’Twill cure diseases of the mind.
If chrysolite upon her brow is laid,
Follies and dark delusions flee afraid.

 

OCTOBER
Natal stone Beryl.
Guardian angel Bariel.
His talismanic gem Agate.
Special apostle Simon. (Zelotes.)
His gem Jacinth.
Zodiacal sign Scorpio.
Flower Hops.

October’s child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know;
But lay a beryl on her breast,
And Hope will lull those woes to rest.
When fair October to her brings the beryl,
No longer need she fear misfortune’s peril.

 

NOVEMBER
Natal stone Topaz.
Guardian angel Adnachiel.
His talismanic gem Amethyst.
Special apostle Matthias.
His gem Amethyst.
Zodiacal sign Sagittarius.
Flower Chrysanthemum.

Who first comes to this world below
With drear November’s fog and snow
Should prize the topaz’s amber hue—
Emblem of friends and lovers true.
Firm friendship is November’s, and she bears
True love beneath the topaz that she wears.

 

DECEMBER
Natal stone Ruby.
Guardian angel Humiel.
His talismanic gem Beryl.
Special apostle Paul.
His gem Sapphire.
Zodiacal sign Capricornus.
Flower Holly.

If cold December give you birth—
The month of snow and ice and mirth—
Place on your hand a ruby true;
Success will bless whate’er you do.
December gives her fortune, love and fame
If amulet of rubies bear her name.

 

A HINDU LIST OF GEMS OF THE MONTHS

April – Diamond
May – Emerald
June – Pearl
July – Sapphire
August – Ruby
September – Zircon
October – Coral
November – Cat’s-eye
December – Topaz
January – Serpent-stone
February – Chandrakanta
March – The gold Siva-linga

When the zodiacal signs were engraved on gems to give them special virtues and render them of greater efficacy for those born under a given sign, the Hebrew characters designating the sign (or at least the initial character) were often cut upon the gem. As the letters in which the earliest of our sacred writings were written, a peculiar sanctity was often ascribed to these Hebrew characters, which were perhaps the more highly valued that they were unknown to the owners of the gems, and hence possessed a certain air of mystery for them. The subjoined list of the signs with the Hebrew equivalents may be of interest on this account.

 

HEBREW NAMES OF THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC
Libra מאזנים Moznayim
Scorpio עקרב ’Akrab
Sagittarius קשׁת Ḳeshet
Capricornus גדי Gedi
Aquarius דלי Deli
Pisces דלים Dagim
Aries טלה Ṭaleh
Taurus שׁור Shor
Gemini תאומים Te’omim
Cancer סריה Sartan
Leo אריה Aryeh
Virgo בתולה Betulah

 

GEMS OF WEEK DAYS

Sunday: Topaz—diamond.

The bairn that is born
On Sonnan’s sweet day
Is blithe and is bonnie,
Is happy and gay.
Sunday’s talismanic gem: the pearl.

Monday: Pearl—crystal.

The bairn that is born
Of Monan’s sweet race
Is lovely in feature
And fair in the face.
Monday’s talismanic gem: the emerald.

Tuesday: Ruby—emerald.

If Tuisco assists
And at birth keeps apace,
The bairn will be born
With a soul full of grace.
Tuesday’s talismanic gem: the topaz.

Wednesday: Amethyst—loadstone.

But if Woden be there,
Many tears will he sow,
And the bairn will be born
But for sadness and woe.
Wednesday’s talismanic gem: the turquoise.

Thursday: Sapphire—carnelian.

Jove’s presence at birth
Means a long swath to mow,
For if born on Thor’s day
Thou hast far, far to go.
Thursday’s talismanic gem: the sapphire.

Friday: Emerald—cat’s-eye.

If Venus shall bless thee,
Thou shalt bless many living;
For Friga’s bairn truly
Is loving and giving.
Friday’s talismanic gem: the ruby.

Saturday: Turquoise—diamond.

Seater-daeg’s bairn
In sweat shall be striving,
For Saturn has doomed it
To work for a living.
Saturday’s talismanic gem: the amethyst.

zodiac and gemstones

THE FIGURES OF THE PLANETS WITH THEIR SIGNIFICANT STONES.
Old print showing the Roman types of the days of the week and also the stones and zodiacal signs associated with each day. Here we have Diana, with the sign of Cancer and the moonstone, for Monday; Mars, with the sign Capricorn and the jasper, for Tuesday; Mercury, with Gemini and the rock-crystal, for Wednesday; Jupiter, with Sagittarius and Pisces and the carnelian, for Thursday; Venus, with Taurus and the emerald, for Friday; and Saturn, with Capricorn and Aquarius and the turquoise, for Saturday.

Phenomenal gems

No gems have afforded more interest to the Oriental peoples than those that are known as phenomenal gems; that is, such as exhibit a phenomenal quality, either as a moving line as in the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye, or the quartz cat’s-eye, or as a star, a class represented by the star-sapphire and the star-ruby, all these being considered to bring good fortune to the wearer. A splendid star-sapphire is in the hilt of the sword presented as an Easter gift to King Constantine of Greece, then Prince Constantine, by the Greeks of America, on Easter Day 1913. This ornate and beautiful sword was made by Tiffany & Co. Then there is the alexandrite cat’s-eye which, in addition to its chatoyant effect, changes from green to red, showing its natural color by day and glowing with a ruddy hue by artificial light. The cat’s-eye effect here is caused by a twinning of the crystal; that is, when the gem is cut, with a dome, across the twinning line, this shows itself as a smooth band of white light, with a translucent or transparent space at one side, the line varying in sharpness and in breadth as the illumination becomes more intense. If the light is very bright, the line is no wider than the thinnest possible silver or platinum wire.

The quartz cat’s-eye, less distinct than the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye, is also found in the East, and possesses the property that when cut straight across, an apparent striation in the stone produces the cat’s-eye effect, but the material is not so rich or brilliant nor is the gem as beautiful as is the true cat’s-eye. The alexandrite variety of chrysoberyl is colored by chromium and is dichroitic, appearing green when viewed in one direction and red in another; in artificial light, however, the green color is lost and the red alone becomes apparent.

The moonstone, with its moonlike, silvery-white light, changes on the surface as the light varies. This is due to a chatoyancy produced by a reflection caused by certain cleavage planes present in feldspar of the variety to which the moonstone belongs.

PHENOMENAL GEMS FOR THE DAYS OF THE WEEK

Sunday – Sunstone
Monday – Moonstone
Tuesday – Star sapphire
Wednesday – Star ruby
Thursday – Cat’s-eye
Friday – Alexandrite
Saturday – Labradorite

Fashion in some parts of the Orient dictates the use of special colors for raiment and jewels to be worn on the different days of the week. In Siam deep red silks and rubies are appropriate for Sunday wear; white fabrics and moonstones are prescribed for Monday; light red garments and coral ornaments are favored for Tuesday; striped stuffs and jewels set with the cat’s-eye are considered the proper wear for Wednesday; green materials and emeralds are decreed for Thursday; silver-blue robes and ornaments set with diamonds are chosen for Friday, and on Saturday those who obey the dictates of fashion are clad in dark blue garments and wear sapphires of a similar hue.

Our age is not satisfied with the marvellous progress of science, which has rendered possible the realization of many of the old magicians’ dreams. In spite of this there seems to be a growing tendency to revive many of the old beliefs which appeared to have been definitely discarded; therefore we need not be surprised that the nineteenth century offers us a work on the magic art, written precisely in the spirit that animated an Agrippa or a Porta in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This work gives elaborate directions as to the manner in which the “Magus” should proceed to perform his magic rites.

Each day has its special and peculiar ritual. Sunday is the day for the “Works of Light,” and on this day a purple robe should be worn and a tiara and bracelets of gold; the ring placed on the finger of the operator should be of gold and set with a chrysolite or a ruby. A white robe with silver stripes is to be worn on Monday, the day of the “Works of Divination and Mystery,” and the high-priest of the mysteries wears over his robe a triple necklace of pearls, “crystals,” and selenites; the tiara should be covered with yellow silk, and bear in silver characters the Hebrew monogram of Gabriel, as given by Cornelius Agrippa in his “Occult Philosophy.” Tuesday is assigned to the “Works of Wrath,” and on this day the robe must be red, the color of fire and blood, with a belt and bracelets of steel; the tiara should have a circlet of iron, and a sword or a stylus is to be used in place of a wand; the ring is set with an amethyst. The day for the “Works of Science” is Wednesday, when a green robe is worn and a necklace of hollow glass beads, filled with quicksilver; the ring is adorned with an agate. On Thursday, appointed for the “Works of Religion or Politics,” a scarlet robe is worn; upon the forehead of the operator is bound a plate of tin, engraved with the symbol of the planet Jupiter and various mystic characters; the ring bears either an emerald or a sapphire. Friday, the day of Venus, is naturally dedicated to the “Works of Love,” and the celebrant wears a sky-blue robe; his ring shows a turquoise, and his tiara is set with lapis-lazuli and beryl. The “Works of Mourning” belong to Saturday, when a black or a brown robe is worn, embroidered in orange-colored silk with mystic characters; from the neck of the operator hangs a leaden medal, bearing the symbol of the planet Saturn, and on his finger is a ring set with an onyx, upon which a337 double-faced Janus has been engraved while Saturn was in the ascendant.

 

 

GEMS OF THE HOURS
Hours of the DayHours of the Night
7 Chrysolite
8 Amethyst
9 Kunzite
10 Sapphire
11 Garnet
12 Diamond
1 Jacinth
2 Emerald
3 Beryl
4 Topaz
5 Ruby
6 Opal
7 Sardonyx
8 Chalcedony
9 Jade
10 Jasper
11 Loadstone
12 Onyx
1 Morion
2 Hematite
3 Malachite
4 Lapis-lazuli
5 Turquoise
6 Tourmaline

 

 

WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES
1 Paper
2 Calico
3 Linen
4 Silk
5 Wood
6 Candy
7 Floral
8 Leather
9 Straw
10 Tin
12 Agate
13 Moonstone
14 Moss agate
15 Rock-crystal, glass
16 Topaz
17 Amethyst
18 Garnet
19 Hyacinth
20 China
23 Sapphire
25 Silver
26 Star sapphire, blue
30 Pearl
35 Coral
39 Cat’s-eye
40 Ruby
45 Alexandrite
50 Gold
52 Star ruby
55 Emerald
60 Diamond, yellow
65 Star sapphire, gray
67 Star sapphire, purple
75 DiamondAmethyst

 

 

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