While most people today are aware of the significance of birthstones, those gems particularly suited to persons born in certain months, they are not always aware that these are relatively modern associations.

They derive from the Magickal practices of the ancients, who linked certain gemstones with the Signs of the Zodiac.

The calendar, dividing the year into months of varying sizes was a purely artificial contrivance, more political than logical.

Many of our earliest ancestors, both in Europe and North America, divided the year into thirteen lunar months, rather than twelve solar months.  Since there are thirteen full moons in a year, with the time from one full moon to the next being about 28 days, this gave a year of 364 days.

Using the solar calendar, dividing the year into twelve months, if they had been all the same size, the closest the calendar makers could come would have been twelve months with thirty days each, for 360 days.

Since most of the ancients understood that the day was actually a little over 365 days (about 365.25), they had to add days to “pad out” the calendar.  At one time, it was proposed that the five extra days be celebrated as a long mid-winter holiday.  This holiday was the Saturnalia, held in honor of the god, Saturn.  (It was a rather wild celebration in Pre-Christian Rome, and when the Christian Church came to dominate the Roman Empire, it was banned altogether.)  Later, days were taken from this pool to pad out “special” months.  It was decided that starting with January (named for the two-faced god, Janus) alternate months would have 31 days, giving a calendar of 366 days, far closer to the actual 365 than before.

This is where politics stepped in.  Months named for certain emperors, (i.e., Augustus Caesar) honor the emperors by having an extra day added to them.  The extra days were taken from February, leaving it the shortest month.

Still later, when leap year was added to the calendar, providing an extra day every four days (to compensate for the extra quarter-day in the actual solar year) it was added to the shortest month, being celebrated on February 29.  Needless to say, this created such confusion in the calendar that even today some people have trouble remembering which months have 30 days and which have 31.

As far back as the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, the passage of the Sun through the twelve Signs of the Zodiac were measured very precisely, so that it was known to the minute when the Sun moved from one sign into another.  Using this knowledge gave them a calendar more precise than our own.

Understanding the qualities inherent to the various signs actually gave a reasonable and logical reason for various crystals to be linked to them.  This is in marked contrast to the totally arbitrary connection of birthstones to individual months.

Here is a list of the Signs of the Zodiac, together with the stones associated with them: 

(Note:  All dates and times given are for United States Eastern Standard Time.)






Beginning Time

Gems and Crystals


January 19, 7:16 p.m.

Garnet and Zircon


February 18, 9:27 a.m.



March 20, 8:31 a.m.

Bloodstone, Diamond and White Sapphire


April 19, 7:36 p.m.

Blue Sapphire and Turquoise


May 20, 6:44 p.m.

Agate (all forms) and Chrysoprase


June 21, 2:38 a.m.

Emerald, Moonstone, Pearl, Quartz and Tiger’s Eye


July 22, 1:26 p.m.

Amber, Chrysolite, Tourmaline and Sardonyx


August 22, 8:27 p.m.

Carnelian and Jade


September 22, 6:04 p.m.

Coral, Lapis Lazuli and Opal


October 23, 3:26 a.m.

Aquamarine, Beryl, Carbuncle and Lodestone


November 22, 1:00 a.m.

Chrysolite and Topaz


December 21, 2:21 p.m.

Jet, Onyx, Malachite, Ruby and Spinel