The origin of birthstones is believed to date back to the breastplate of Aaron which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The current list dates back to 1912 with only one addition since then – the tanzanite was added to December.
Garnet, the birthstone for January, signifies eternal friendship and trust. It’s also traditionally believed that garnets help keep travelers safe.
Amethyst, the birthstone for February, is believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus and is also said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted.
The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage.
Diamond, April’s birthstone, is known for prismatic beauty and hardness, and they are highly valued for these and other qualities. At one time, it was even thought that if you took a diamond into bed with you, it would cure your illness!
As the birthstone for May, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth.
The pearl is a birthstone for the month of June. For centuries, pearls have been used as an adornment., and were one of the favorite gem materials of the Roman Empire. Later in Tudor England, the 1500s were known as the pearl age.
Ruby, the birthstone for July, arouses the senses, stirs the imagination, and is said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.
Peridot, August’s birthstone is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.
Sapphire, the September birthstone, has been popular since the Middle Ages and, according to folklore, will protect your loved ones from envy and harm.
Opals belong to October and were greatly valued by ancient monarchs for their protective powers. They were worn as jewelry and in crowns to ward off evil and to protect the wearer’s eyesight.
Citrine, November’s birthstone, was believed to have magical powers and was worn as protection against evil and snake venom poisoning.
December’s birthstone, turquoise, comes from the French expression Pierre tourques or Turkish stone; it came to light in the thirteenth century and describes one of the oldest known gemstones. The Navajo believe that turquoise is a part of the sky that fell to Earth.
Find your birthstone from the list above and write a poem about yourself as the gemstone. Are you the protective Sapphire, the powerful Peridot, or the magical Opal? Click the link to this site if you’d like to learn more about birthstones and gems.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s a poem from Andrew we enjoyed:
Deep in the depths of darkness rise
The pearls of silver, golden eyes
And ribbons made of steel.
Whatever man has made for king,
Whatever he has thought to feel
Captured is by my hand, upon a ring.
Fountains of fury burst from stone,
The bellows make a distant moan
And door stands open to the yard.
I am a Blacksmith, simple-born
Raised in a landscape plain and hard,
Yet of my past life I am shorn.
Here flows the golden river bright
Blinding to man who has no sight,
Fairest to those who fair are not.
This stream I mould to suit my mood;
Made bright by demons I have fought,
Or plain when thought is calm and good.
And still I pound the anvil on,
Embrace it as a birthing song
And set the chaos of creation free.
The strain is fierce, but delicate
I craft the fairest jewellery,
So ladies can feel elegant.
—by Andrew H
Photo by Carodean Road Designs. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland