At the heart of countless legends and beliefs, since ancient times precious stones have had symbolic value. From the Jews to the Egyptians, each culture and religion has given a different meaning to stones. The virtues ascribed to stones have come down through the centuries and cultures. We continue to associate gemstones with particular planets, signs of the zodiac or the four elements. Stones have different associations for different cultures. The ones given here are those of western civilisations.
Stones associated with each sign of the Zodiac:
- Aries: red jasper, red cornelian
- Taurus: orange cornelian, pink quartz
- Gemini: citrine, tiger's eye
- Cancer: green aventurine, chrysoprase
- Leo: rock crystal, pink quartz
- Virgo: yellow agate, yellow citrine
- Libra: yellow citrine, smoke quartz
- Scorpio: blood-red cornelian, sard
- Sagittarius: blue quartz, chalcedony
- Capricorn: onyx, cat's-eye quartz
- Aquarius: falcon's eye, turquoise
- Pisces: amethyst
Stones associated with each month (birthstones):
- January: garnet
- February: amethyst
- March: aquamarine
- April: diamond
- May: emerald
- June: pearl
- July: ruby
- August: peridot
- September: sapphire
- October: opal
- November: topaz
- December: turquoise
Stones associated with the planets:
- Sun: chrysoberyl, diamond
- Moon: moonstone, emerald, pearl
- Mars: red garnet, ruby
- Mercury: yellow sapphire, topaz
- Jupiter: amethyst, lapis-lazuli, blue sapphire
- Vénus : saphir Padparadscha (rose orangé), hyacinthe (zircon jaune-rouge)
- Saturn: aquamarine, blue spinel
Stones and symbols:
- Diamond The diamond is said to confer power. It brings joy and purity, strengthens the heart and helps with childbirth. It is also called regina gemmarum, the "queen of gems." The Greeks called the diamond adamas, meaning invincible. It is a symbol of perfection and unadulterated purity.
- Emerald Dedicated to Venus, the emerald symbolises purity and hope. Emerald is said to preserve the chastity of whoever wears it, as it will break if he or she should commit an immoral act. In the Middle Ages, emerald was said to render snakes blind. It was also believed to ward off diseases such as epilepsy and malaria. Ancient stone-cutters claimed that emerald could divert storms and would help slaves recover their freedom. Its virtues were supposedly multiplied in spring, when everything turns green.
- Ruby A symbol of faith, the ruby brings glory, calm and patience. It protects against serious infections, wards off the plague, banishes nightmares and chases away evil thoughts.
- Sapphire Sapphire takes its name from the Hebrew sapir meaning "thing of beauty." Associated with love and contemplation, sapphire is Aphrodite's stone. This blue stone encourages fidelity and drives away hatred. Like the other precious stones, sapphire has inspired numerous legends and beliefs. In the Orient, it was said to strike dead any venomous animal. Its power was thought to be so strong that simply looking at a sapphire was a blessing for the future. In Europe, both men of God and Satan's minions believed the sapphire would confer the gift of prophesy to whomever possessed one. The sapphire was also used as a talisman to ward off the plague and other infectious diseases. The Egyptians believed it controlled the movement of the stars.