Discover your birthstone, its myths and legends

There is something magical that connects a crystal to its wearer. But wearing a particular crystal because of its association with our birth and particularly with our zodiac characteristics makes this connection even more special.

Here I have collected the best stories, uses and legends that make your birthstone unique!

Aries – Diamond

The name Diamond derives from the ancient Greek ἀδάμας (adámas), meaning “unalterable”, “unbreakable”.
The Diamond is considered by many to be the “king of gems” and in antiquity was often paired with the Pearl as its queen.
A legend says that the God of Mines called his courtiers to bring him all the known gems. Finding them of different colours and hardness, he decided to take one of each and combine them to make something pure and invincible. So combining them all he created the Diamond.
It is said that European discovered the first large Diamonds in a sorcerer’s leather bag in South Africa.
Diamonds have a long history as beautiful objects of desire. In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny stated: “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”
To the eastern world, the Diamond possessed a wonderful power to bring good fortune.
In Hinduism, the god Indra, the King of the highest Heaven, uses his Diamond weapon called Vajrayudham to make thunderbolts.
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed Diamonds were the Gods’ tears and splinters from falling stars. The time god, Kronos castrated his father, Uranus, with a Diamond sickle given to him by his mother Gaia. This same sickle is used by the hero Perseus to decapitate Medusa.
Cupid’s arrows were said to be tipped with Diamonds.
Listed in the Talmud and Bible as the sixth stone in the breastplate of the Jewish High Priest, the Diamond was reputed to show the guilt or innocence of an accused person. If the person was guilty, the gem grew dim and lustreless; but if the accused was innocent, it would shine out with its glory increased tenfold.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, every ring set with a precious stone was not considered so much as a piece of jewellery but more an amulet that bestowed magical powers upon its wearer. It was thought to drive away nocturnal spectres and that the devil considered it as an enemy because Diamond resisted its powers.
It used to be called ‘a gem of reconciliation’ as it enhances the love of a husband for his wife.
Superstition says that the talismanic powers of Diamonds are lost if they are purchased but are retained only if they are given as gift.

The Diamond symbolises innocence, justice, faith, strength, and the impassivity of fate.

Taurus – Emerald

The word “Emerald” is derived from ancient Greek: σμάραγδος (smaragdos) meaning “green gem”.
According to legend, the first Emerald in the universe was in Lucifer’s crown but when he rebelled against God and he was thrown into Hell, the Emerald fell to Earth. From that first Emerald other legends say that The Emerald Tablets, on which were written the secret alchemical formula for the transformation of spirit and matter came into being. Other legends instead claim that the Holy Grail, the last cup Jesus Christ drank from, was carved from it.
According to ancient lore, Emeralds endowed the wearer protection against evil spells and if placed under the tongue they gave the ability to foresee the future as well as to become an eloquent speaker.
If an Emerald became opaque it was a sign of a lover being unfaithful. Legends suggest that Bela the king of Hungary used to possess a very valuable emerald set in a ring and that this broke into three parts when he embraced his wife.
The ancients considered these gemstones sacred symbols of fertility and immortality possibly because of it colour.
The Emerald has always been considered the gem of kings. The Egyptian queen Cleopatra adorned herself and her palace with Emeralds and also gave them as gifts to foreign dignitaries.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead instructed embalmers to place an Emerald at the throat of every mummy to ensure that the deceased maintained a youthful strength during the long journey through the underworld, and to protect against harm.
In the Bible, the Book of Revelation describes the fourth wall of the city of heaven as made of Emerald. A Jewish legend says that Emerald was one on the four stones given by God to King Solomon to give him power over all creation.
Many ancient Indian tales speak of mysterious and legendary cities of fabulous wealth, with walls or entire temples made of Emeralds and other precious materials.
Emeralds were considered an antidote against poison.
At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Peruvians in the city of Manta used to worship an Emerald as big as an ostrich egg. This Emerald-goddess, called Umiña, was shown only on special days and people used to come from far and wide to venerate it.

Emerald is also associated with providing love and fidelity, inspiration, wisdom, harmony, growth, patience, peace and abundance.

Gemini – Pearl

The English word Pearl comes from the French perle, originally from the Latin perna meaning leg, after the ham- or mutton leg-shaped bivalve.
According to legend, when the God of the Mines created the diamond for himself, he also created the Pearl for his wife as the greater gem of the sea.
Pearl has always been considered a symbol of purity, whiteness and the Queen of gems. Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans consecrated Pearls to their divinities possibly because they were valued as the choicest production of Earth.
The Pearl is also associated with many Hindu deities, the most famous is the Kaustubha Pearl that Lord Vishnu wears on his chest.
In Western cultures, the Pearl has astrological associations with the planet Venus. Like Pearls, the goddess of love came from the sea.
Due to their shape, Pearls have another watery association. Some stories say white Pearls are tears shed by the gods. One legend has it that the tears Eve cried when she was banished from Eden turned to Pearls.
The twelve gates of Heaven are made from Pearls.
According to Polynesian lore, the god Lono descended on a rainbow carrying black pearls with him as gifts for a princess.
Traditionally, the Chinese love golden Pearls, believing they bring prosperity and luck. Chinese artworks often depict dragons holding golden Pearls in their mouths or claws.
One early Chinese myth relates that Pearls fell from the sky when dragons fought amongst the clouds. Another myth states that Pearls originated as raindrops swallowed by oysters. In one ancient tale, a boy found a miraculous Pearl. When he placed it in a jar with a little rice, he found the jar full of rice the next day. After his neighbours discovered this, they tried to steal the Pearl. So to protect it the boy swallowed the Pearl and as a result, he became a dragon.
Pearls were often given as gifts to divinity and the Indians of New Granada used to burn them as offerings to their chiefs.

Pearl symbolises purity, fertility, and the cycles of life.

Cancer – Ruby

The word Ruby comes from the Latin “ruber,” meaning red.
It has been said that the Ruby’s red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making any gift of Ruby a symbol of everlasting love.  If worn on the left hand, ancient lore has it that the Ruby will bring good fortune to its wearer.
Ruby has been the world’s most valued gemstone for thousands of years. Ruby was said to be the most precious of the twelve stones God created when he created all things, and this “lord of gems” was bestowed on Aaron – brother of Moses – by God’s command.
In some places Ruby was even thought to confer invulnerability: Burmese soldiers believed that wearing a Ruby on the left would make the wearer invincible. This belief was so strong that some soldiers inserted Rubies into their flesh under the skin. They then were believed to be safe from wounds, and were said to be very fierce in battle as well.
The idea that Rubies protected from wounds had a flip side as well. Soldiers believed that Ruby bullets would inflict more harm. There are instances of this belief as recently as the early 1900s.
Many cultures consider Ruby a stone of kings. It is said that owning a Ruby benefits and protects the owner’s possessions and helps in accumulating riches.
A traditional Hindu astrological belief holds Ruby as the gemstone of the Sun and also the sun god Surya. The belief is that worshipping and wearing Rubies causes the Sun to be favourable to the wearer.
According to another Hindu tradition, anyone who gives Krishna Rubies as a worship offering will be reborn as emperor but anyone who gives only a small Ruby will be reborn king.
A legend tells that the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan offered a city in exchange for a large Ruby.
It was said that Rubies were created by fire. This belief was so strong that it was thought that if you cast a Ruby into water, the liquid would boil.
In the past a powder from ground Rubies would, if placed on the tongue, cure indigestion. A seventeenth century Armenian writer reveals that powdered Ruby could banish all dark forces and provoke joy.
Even to this day, some say that Rubies can foretell calamities by changing colour or becoming dull to warn of impending disaster.

Rubies are associated with: blood, love, anger, passion, danger, and romance.

Leo – Peridot

The current term “Peridot” is derived from the Arabic word faridat, meaning “gem.” While it is currently mined in many parts of the world, it is still the National Gem of Egypt.
Known as the “true Topaz” in the ancient world, yellow-green Peridot was first called Topazos, named for the obscure and inhospitable Topazios Island in the Red Sea on which it was discovered.
Associated with the sun, Peridot has been prized since the earliest civilisations for its protective power against the forces of darkness. Set in gold and worn around the neck or tied around the left arm, it was used as a charm against sorcery, magic, evil spirits, night terrors and madness. It cured cowardice, calmed anger and brightened wit.
In the Middle Ages, the gemstone was considered to impart healing powers, curing depression and opening the heart.
In powdered form, it was sold for ailment, as well as an antidote to madness, lack of sleep, night terrors and to help stop bleeding. It could be mixed with wine and swallowed or applied topically. It was also reported to curb anger, reduce lust, improve memory, heal eye and liver diseases as well as varicose tumours.
Peridot was thought to indicate poisoning by losing its colour. It was also a meteorological stone: when there was a rain covered moon, it gave off a bad smell or darkened in colour, but when good weather was coming it became clear and glowed. Its powers were reputed to increase and decrease with the waxing or waning of the moon.
Peridots were favoured by pirates, considered powerful amulets against all evil. Peridot had also medicinal uses: if shaped into a chalice from which medicines were drunk, they intensified the effects of the drug.

Peridot is associated with wealth, health, happiness and love.

Virgo – Sapphire

The English word “sapphire” derives from the Greek σαπφειρος (sappheiros) “blue stone”. Some linguists propose an origin in Sanskrit sanipriya, a dark precious stone, literally “sacred to Saturn,” from Sani “Saturn” + priyah “precious.”
The ancient Persians believed that the earth rested on a giant Sapphire and its reflection coloured the sky.
According to legend, Helen of Troy owned a large Sapphire which was believed to hold the key to her desirability.
In ancient Egypt and ancient Rome, it was considered the sacred Stone of Truth and Justice.
Called the jewel of the sun god Apollo by the Greeks, Sapphire was worn when consulting the oracle at Delphi to enable the questioner to understand the answer.
To the Hebrews, Sapphire was a stone of prophecy, wisdom and Divine Glory.
In Rabbinical Judaism, the ten commandments given to Moses were engraved on Sapphire.
King Solomon’s magical ring, known as the “Seal of Solomon”, was made of Sapphire and gave him the power to command demons and spirits and to speak to animals. It was said he used the magic of Sapphires to seduce the Queen of Sheba.
Sapphire was also considered a gem of royalty – a powerful guard against harm and envy. It was thought to protect the wearer from dishonesty, fraud, terror, poverty, stupidity and ill temper. Sapphire was also considered an enemy of poison and it was a common conviction that if Sapphire were put into a glass with a venomous spider or reptile it would kill it.
Sapphire was used as a test for infidelity, believed to change colour if worn by the unfaithful.
Because of its power to influence spirits, Sapphire was valued more than any other stone by necromancers when conferring with the dead to foretell the future. They thought Sapphire would enable them to hear and understand even the most obscure oracles.
This crystal is often worn to counteract Evil Eye.

Sapphire symbolises integrity, love, commitment and fidelity, hope and stability.

Libra – Opal

The word ‘Opal’ is adapted from the Latin term opalus, or adapted from the Sanskrit word úpala meaning “precious stone”.
Some suggested it derives from Ops, the wife of Saturn, and goddess of fertility. Alternatively it may derive from the Ancient Greek word, opallios meaning “to see a change of colour.”
Many ancients believed the Storm God, jealous of the Rainbow God, broke the rainbow into pieces and when it fell to the earth it became a part of the Opal, reflecting the “rainbow fire.”
One of the most popular legends of the Opal is its notoriety as the Cupid Stone, a gem of love and romance that granted wishes and bestowed personal happiness.
The Egyptians and Babylonians honoured the Fire Opal as a most powerful light and water healing gem.
According to Aboriginal legends, the creator of Dreamtime (an ancient world created by the spirits) had visited earth on a rainbow. He conveyed to mankind his hope for eternal peace and returned to heaven. But the rock he stood upon absorbed all colours of the rainbow and turned it into a vibrant Opal.
People from the Middle East believe that Opal preserves the wearer from disease and they use it as amulet.
Another Australian legend declares a gigantic Opal governs the stars, human love, and the gold within the mines.
In Greek mythology, Opals were believed to be Zeus’ tears of joy after the victory over the Titans.
Arabian nomads held that Opals were magic stones sent from heaven, infused with lightning that fell from the sky during thunderstorms.
In Mexico, the Aztecs called Fire Opal the “Stone of the Bird of Paradise” after their feathered serpent creator god, Quetzalcoatl.
Because Opal contains the colours of all gems, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all, possessing the virtues of all the gemstones whose colours reside within it.
In the Middle Ages, it was believed that Opal cured all diseases of the eyes, sharpened and strengthened sight and, if wrapped in a fresh bay leaf and held in the hand, conferred invisibility on the wearer. For this, the Opal was also called the “thieves’ stone.”
Opal used to be considered unlucky because of Walter Scott’s novel Anne of Geierstein, where Lady Hermione who always carried a beautiful Opal in her hair, suddenly perishes mysteriously.

Opal symbolises the purity of feelings and loyalty.

Scorpio – Golden Topaz

Traditionally, Topaz was believed to harness the power of the sun. Its name may come from topazos, after the Topazios Island in the Red Sea or some scholars believe its name derives from the ancient Sanskrit topas or tapaz, meaning “fire.”
To the Egyptians, it symbolised Ra, the sun god, the god of life and fertility.
The Hindus believed it would protect their homes from fire, and, if worn above the heart, would assure long life, beauty and intelligence.
Greeks and Romans valued Topaz for its ability to give strength and prevent injury.
The stone became associated with Apollo, the sun god.
Topaz’s powers were also thought to have a lunar connection, and would increase and decrease with the waxing and waning of the moon.
The Hindus believe that when worn as a pendant, this gemstone will relieve thirst, sharpen intelligence and lengthen life.
In Africa, healing rituals with topaz are practised to establish communion with the realm of the spirit, working with ancestors, and for healing. It is regarded as highly sacred.
Topaz was used as a talisman in antiquity and was often carved with the figure of a falcon to help acquire the benevolence of wealthy patrons who would support artistic endeavours.
Topaz is used to promote good fortune too. In fact, it has been said that dreaming of Topaz may indicate that good fortune or love affairs may be in the offing.
Worn on the fingers, it was considered a stone that guarded against poison and untimely death because the Topaz would lose its colour in the presence of danger.
Topaz was considered a remedy for sight loss if steeped in wine for three nights and rubbed in the eyes.
Topaz dispels cowardice, calms anger, cures madness and plague and sharpens the wit. It was also thought to aid sleep and eliminate nightmares, cure rheumatism and soreness in the joints. The stone has also been credited with being effective against bleeding and heart disease. Topaz has also been thought to bring fidelity and friendship if worn constantly.
To Christians, it has been known as a symbol of uprightness and virtue.

Topaz is associated with good fortune, inspiration and health.

Sagittarius – Turquoise

The name Turquoise is derived from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning “Turkish stone,” because the trade routes that brought Turquoise to Europe from the mines in central Asia went through Turkey, and Venetian merchants often purchased the stone in Turkish bazaars.
Turquoise was one of the first gemstones ever mined, perhaps dating back to 6000 BC, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
For thousands of years, Turquoise has been considered in many cultures as a symbol of wisdom, nobility and the power of immortality.
Among the Ancient Egyptians, Persians and Chinese, Aztecs and Incas of South America, and Native North Americans, Turquoise was a sacred adornment for power, luck, and protection.
The death mask of Tutankhamun was studded with Turquoise, as were the mosaic masks dedicated to the gods, the fabulous inlaid skulls, shields and power statues of Moctezuma, the last ruler of the Aztecs.
For nearly a thousand years, Native Americans have mined and fashioned Turquoise, using it to guard their burial sites. Indian priests wore it in ceremonies when calling upon the great spirit of the sky. Many honoured Turquoise as the universal stone, believing their minds would become one with the universe when wearing it.
Because of its ability to change colour, Turquoise was used in prophesy or divining.
The Apaches believed that if a man could go to the end of a rainbow after a storm and search in the damp earth, he would find a Turquoise. One of its supposed powers was to aid the warrior or hunter in the accuracy of his aim.
The Zuñi, Native Americans of New Mexico, believed that Turquoise could protect them from demons.
In the past people believed that Turquoise protected the wearer against danger, falling from horseback and falling buildings. It also protected against approaching disaster by breaking into several pieces.
Turquoise was believed to have the ability to tell the time, counting the hours by striking the side of a glass when suspended within it.
According to Hindu mystics, an increase in wealth and protection from evil was assured after gazing at the moon on the first day after new-moon and then looking at a Turquoise stone.
Persians say that looking at the moon reflected on Turquoise will bring good fortune and protection from evil.

Turquoise symbolises optimism, well-being and sweetness.

Capricorn – Garnet

The word “garnet” comes from the 14th‑century word gernet, meaning ‘dark red’ through the Old French grenate and from Latin granatus, granum (‘grain, seed’). This is possibly a reference to bright pomegranate seeds.
In the Middle Ages Garnet was known as ‘Carbuncle’ live coal and according to Eastern legends a finely cut Garnet was suspended by Noah, in the Ark, to diffuse light.
The Greeks called the Carbuncle the Lamp Stone and it was said, if hung around the neck, it gave the power to see in the dark.
Garnets has been used by humans for millennia. A necklace made with Garnet beads found on the body of a young man in a grave that dates back to 3000 B.C. proves the durability of the stone.
The King of Saxony is said to have had a Garnet of over 465 carats.
Plato had his portrait engraved on a Garnet by a Roman engraver.
Bohemia was once a huge source of Garnet and many Bohemian castles and churches had magnificent interiors decorated with the stone.
In medieval times, Garnets were thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams, and relieve diseases of the liver and haemorrhages. Christian tradition considered the blood-red garnet as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice.
It has been said that a Garnet engraved with the figure of a lion is a powerful charm that protects and preserves health, cures the wearer of all diseases and guards against all the perils of travelling. It was also said to warn the wearer of approaching danger if it lost its shine.
It was believed that Garnet could cure melancholy and be a heart stimulant. Gazing at a red Garnet could result in passion, anger, and even apoplexy.
Garnet is a seducer’s stone and legend has it that a Garnet ornamented Don Juan’s ring.
Garnet also symbolised a red-jewelled womb and some believed that only women should wear Garnets.
In the past, Garnets have been exchanged between parting friends as a sign of their affection and to ensure that they meet again.

Garnet symbolises power, strength and courage.

Aquarius – Amethyst

The name comes from the Greek αμέθυστος amethystos “not” and “intoxicate”, because it was believed that the crystal protected its owner from drunkenness.
A Greek legend says that Dionysus, the god of wine and celebration, was insulted by a group of mortals who called him a lazy boar. Furious at this affront, Dionysus vowed to have any human that crossed his path devoured by tigers. Unfortunately, the first to do so was a young virgin called Amethyst on her way to pay homage to Artemis, goddess of the Moon and hunting. The maiden cried for help to Artemis and at the very moment the tigers leapt, the goddess protected the young girl by turning her into a statue of pure white stone. Dionysus, regretting his cruelty, poured his wine on the statue which miraculously absorbed the colour creating the stone we now call Amethyst.
In the past, Amethyst was a protective amulet worn around the neck of Egyptian dignitaries travelling outside their major cities. They believed it safeguarded them from personal treachery and ambush. Its deep purple symbolised the power of the Pharaohs. Magicians would take the beautiful crystal and sculpt it into images of animals and spirits used for protection against evil events. Amethyst was buried in the tombs of great figures.

In the Middle Ages, it was considered a symbol of royalty and used to decorate English regalia. It used to be considered as precious as Diamond until large deposits were found in Brazil.
Tibetans consider Amethyst sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it.
Amethyst is still used to denote ecclesiastical dignitaries and bestow spiritual protection on Catholic Bishops.
Amethyst was considered a powerful psychic stone of protection against witchcraft and black magic and was said to lose its colour and turn pale when placed near an angry attacker.
The Peruvians held a belief that if the names of the sun and the moon were engraved on an Amethyst and hung around the neck with a baboon’s hair or a swallow’s feather, it would act as a spell against witchcraft. Similarly, the ancient philosopher Pliny the Elder claimed an Amethyst engraved with figures of the sun and the moon immunised people against poisons.
It was once believed a person could summon any love by speaking his or her name into an Amethyst, even if the person was committed to someone else.
To the ancient Chinese, Amethyst represented the door to the dreamworld. By setting it near your pillow, it allowed you to have beautiful, vivid dreams.

Amethyst symbolises wisdom and temperance.

Pisces – Aquamarine

The name Aquamarine comes for Latin aqua marina, “sea water” because of its colour.
This gem was said to be found in the treasure chest of mermaids. Greeks and the Romans knew Aquamarine as the sailor’s gem, ensuring a safe and prosperous passage across stormy seas.
A Roman legend stated that the stone absorbs the atmosphere of young love: “When blessed and worn, it joins in love, and does great things.”
Ancient Romans believed Aquamarine could cure illnesses of the stomach, liver, jaws and throat. Because of its purifying properties, Roman craftsmen made goblets of Aquamarine.
It was also considered the most appropriate morning gift for a groom to give to his bride following the consummation of their marriage. In Medieval times, the stone was thought to reawaken the love of married couples. It was also believed to render soldiers invincible and to bring victory in battle, cure liver complaints and jaundice, reconcile married couples and chase away idleness and stupidity.
The Sumerians, Egyptians, and Hebrews also admired and valued Aquamarine greatly. It was a symbol of happiness and everlasting youth.
William Langland’s “The Vision of Piers Plowman” from 1377, mentions Aquamarine as an antidote for poison. Because there were widespread poisonings amongst royalty at the time, the gem was in popular demand for just that purpose. It was not necessary to pulverise the stone, as it was with other gemstones – simply wearing it would have been effective enough.
In the Middle Ages Aquamarine was considered a popular and effective oracle.
A method involved hanging a stone by a thread over a bowl of water, just touching the surface. The inner edge of the bowl was covered with the characters of the alphabet. The stone would hit the letters to give the sought-after answer.
Aquamarine’s powers of revelation were also said to help search for lost or hidden things.
In ancient times, it was believed to counteract the forces of darkness and procure favour from the spirits of light.
In antiquity, Aquamarine was also called precious Beryl. In the 1685 book ’Magick of Kiram’ Aquamarine is referred as Panzoon or “All Life.” The book advised engraving the gem with a crow and a crab under its feet and wearing it for joy, exultation, acquisition, and union. It was said to make the wearer cheerful and rich, and was excellent for lascivious and conjugal love.
Pliny the Elder’s Natural History also lists the stone as an excellent cure for eye diseases. The eye was supposed to be washed in water in which an Aquamarine was immersed. To cure more serious eye ailments, it was recommended that the powder of the gem be placed in the eyes each morning.

Aquamarine symbolises gentleness and sensitivity

Principal source:
“The Curious Lore of Precious Stones” by George Frederick Kunz