A Guide to Birthstones

One of the easiest ways to pick a birthday present for someone is to find out their birthstone and buy them some jewellery!

This tradition has evolved over the years however we can date this back to Biblical times. Josephus the first century Jewish historian, believed there was a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron’s Breastplate. This was a sacred breastplate upon which twelve gemstones sat and were used to determine God’s will in a particular situation. The twelve stones are believed to represent the tribes of Israel as described in the Book of Exodus, the twelve months of the year, and the twelve signs of the zodiac.



In the eighth and ninth century, religious treatises were written which associated a particular stone with an apostle. This is when it became common practice to keep twelve stones and wear a different one each month.

This tradition has evolved over the years and although the original story has been lost to history, birthstones are believed to have taken their roots as we know them today in the early 1500’s however, in modern times, some months now have more than one stone!

The birthstone for January is garnet which comes from the 14th century Middle English word gernet, meaning "dark red." The word is derived from Latin granatum, which means "seed," and is called so because of the gemstone's resemblance to the red seeds of the pomegranate however garnet comes in other colours such as orange and green. These beautiful gems often feature in McTear’s jewellery auctions so why not keep an eye out this year and see if you can find your birthstone!


Click here to view the full auction catalogue. >>

Amy Cameron


McTear’s sells more jewellery than any other traditional auction house in the dedicated jewellery auctions that take place twice monthly, run concurrently live online on a platform that attracts six million visitors annually from over 120 countries worldwide.


What's it worth?

Find out what your items are worth by completing our short valuation form - it's free!

Get started

Get the McTear's News!

Sign up for our free newsletters - we'll never pass your details on to third parties. 

Get in touch

Upload images if relevant to your enquiry Add file
Select fileChange Remove