The first written records for the use of birthstones comes from the book of ‘Exodus’ in the ‘Old Testament’. The initial use of gemstones for tapping their powers, probably began from the breastplate of the Hebrews’ High Priest Aaron. It had various gemstones set in a 4×3 pattern in gold filigree. The twelve gemstones were supposed to have been representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Some differing scholars also believe them to be depicting the 12 signs of zodiac. Despite this being the first ever written record on the use of gemstones, it is said that wearing stones actually became popular in Poland, in the 15th and 16th centuries.
During the 1700s, Jewish gem dealers arriving in Poland brought with them the idea of wearing gems according to the month rather than the desired effect. At first, those who followed this tradition changed out their jewelry each month, as each gem’s power was thought to peak during its assigned month. This was a practice few could afford, and eventually the tradition evolved into wearing only the gemstone assigned to one’s own birth month.
Until 1912, there was no standard list of birthstones. That year, the National Association of Jewelers, an American organization, introduced the modern list of birthstones, which has gone largely unchanged since that time.