“Birthstones”

If you had told me at a much younger age that I’d reach a point in my life at which I would become fascinated with various Stones and Crystals…I might not have laughed outright, as I’ve always been kind of a polite sort, even in the deepest, darkest throes of foundering adolescence, but inwardly, I suspect I would have responded with a prodigious geyser of disbelief…

The skepticism response that I believe would have ensued within my younger self upon hearing that a later version of him would be intrigued by possible metaphysical properties of Crystals...
Here’s the skepticism response that I believe would have ensued within my younger self, upon hearing that a later version of him would be intrigued by possible metaphysical properties of Crystals…

Yesterday, I had occasion to poke around a nearby shop that caters to exactly this market: they sell other things as well, but about 95% of their wares are types of Stones, Crystals, and related items (like, types of Wood, Shell, Horn, Bone, Fossilized Algae, Resin, etc.).  The visit brought up the concept for me once again of “birthstones.”  The idea here is that certain Stones or Crystals will have a very special and significant resonance for you throughout your life, based on the time when you were born.  Not a terribly difficult notion to grasp (although how much stock you put into it is a different question…but the idea itself isn’t all that complicated).

Things kind of go off the rails almost immediately after that, though, once you try to determine which Stone or Crystal is your birthstone…

First of all, people in the modern world seem to use that term interchangeably to mean either the Stone that corresponds with the month in which you were born, or to point to the Stone that’s linked with the Zodiac Sun Sign that you were born under.  But which is it??  As is readily apparent, Zodiac Signs don’t correspond neatly and completely to months.  Right now, by way of example, the Sun is in Libra as I write this, and it’s September…but we’ll soon enter October, and for much of that month as well, the Sun will remain in Libra…after which it will enter Scorpio, but we’ll still be in October.  So if your birthday is today, would you want to look at Stones that are said to correspond to Libra (which you, a September baby, would then also share with scads of October children out there), or to those that are associated with September (which could also be rightfully claimed by legions of Virgo Sun people)…??

Agggh!!  Confusion!
Agggh!! Confusion!

And to complicate things even further, good luck in trying to find two sources that are in complete agreement about which Stones do actually signify September…or Libra…or any month or Zodiac Sign!  Here’s an example of the kind of confusion this whole mess will spawn, and how quickly it will spawn it…

My own birthday comes up in one month: late October, early Scorpio.  I took to the internet, and I looked at four websites I like when researching information about Stones.  I recorded my findings, and was even forced to leave out a few proposed “birthstones” when only a single site listed them, and I’d never heard those specific Stones offered up before as candidates — honestly, the lists were already growing beyond my ability to keep them tidy and manicured…  Here’s what I came up with (I wasn’t easily able to nail down which Stones one of the sites equates with specific months, so I left that part blank…):

SCORPIO:
Shimmerlings: Garnet, Amethyst, Bloodstone
Healing Crystals: Aquamarine, Garnet, Ruby
Crystal-Cure: Aquamarine, Amber, Bloodstone, Jasper, Malachite, Ruby
Healing Crystals for You: Aquamarine, Turquoise, Malachite, Topaz (Yellow), Ruby, Emerald

OCTOBER:
Shimmerlings: Opal, Aquamarine, Coral (especially Red Coral), Beryl
Healing Crystals: ??
Crystal-Cure: Tourmaline, Aquamarine, Agate, Garnet, Coral
Healing Crystals for You: Aquamarine

As you can plainly see, a lot of Stones (16!) got name-checked, and this is when I was using only four sources of information!  Also, there’s surprisingly little overlap between the Scorpio versus October lists from any of the given sites, even though there is overlap between Scorpio and October out here in the real world.  Aquamarine ended up getting cited the most times in this exercise (six, total), with Garnet and Ruby sharing second place, with three mentions each (although Garnet crops up at least once in each of the two different lists, while Ruby only features in the Scorpio tally but not the October one, for whatever that distinction might be worth…).  So maybe the best way to get some early ideas about your own birthstone would be to start with a first step of sifting through some lists that feature both the month of your birth and your Zodiac Sun Sign, and then dope out which Stones appear across both lists the most frequently.

And the next step I’d recommend, if you do feel compelled to find and work with an appropriate birthstone for yourself, would be to take that narrower, more streamlined list of the Stones that seem to appear most often in connection with your own personal birth data (that’s month of, and Sun Sign), and scan through a bunch of pictures of them on the internet to see which most appeal to you and attract you.  See which ones speak to you…

And before committing to buying anything, I’d then urge you to go experience examples of each of these Stones in person.  Find a metaphysical shop near you that sells Crystals, and take yourself on a little field trip to it.  The staff will be more than familiar with people wanting to not only observe their wares, but to pick them up and hold them.  I can’t recommend this enough!  Check out the various Stones on your short list of possible birthstones first-hand: find them all in the store first, and then look at the little batches of each on display…then one at a time, pick up one or more individual specimens of each of those varieties of interest here.  See if looking at them or holding them brings up anything for you: physical sensations, maybe emotional responses, odd thoughts…anything.  If nothing at all, that may be a sign, too.  And don’t feel discouraged if you don’t feel anything special from any of them.  I’m not all that super-sensitive in this way myself.  If this is how it goes down for you, it’s totally acceptable to fall back on something as simple as “Which one is the prettiest?”  Which one appeals in any way at all?  And if you’re still met with a total lack of inner reaction, maybe retreat back home, and visit a different store on a different day, and see if you have a different result.

Anyway, I’m hoping this all might be of use to someone out there who may have been attracted to the idea of finding and cultivating a birthstone relationship, but then found the whole thing too confounding to put into practice for the reasons I outlined here.  The birthstone thing should be fun, not stressful or baffling, and the bottom line principle at work should probably be that regardless of what various “authorities” may offer as The Gospel on this (or any) subject, it’s often very critical to first and foremost be sure that whatever you’re selecting works not so much for them and their dictates, but that it works…for you.

Good luck birthstone-hunting!  Meanwhile, I’ll be over here juggling a piece each of Aquamarine, Garnet, and Ruby…

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