You know the zodiac like the back of your hand. In fact, you could probably recite your weekly horoscope and list your compatible signs if we asked you to right now. Though, if we were to quiz you on birthstones (a similarly mystical topic), we have our suspicions your score wouldn't be nearly as high as you'd like.
Did you know, for example, the origin of birthstones is actually biblical, being first cited in the Book of Exodus? And, that the first recorded use of gemstones as decorations and symbols was there, where Aaron, a high priest, had a breast plate embedded with 12 unique jewels? Maybe not. Today, this type of jewelry offers a more secular (and aesthetic) connotation. Luckily, we're here to offer a quick crash course on each stones' history, with stops along the way to cover its physical and healing properties, and symbolism, to get you up to speed.
We enlisted acclaimed jewelry designers like Erica Weiner, Pamela Love, Anna Sheffield, and Melissa Joy Manning and gemologist Elizabeth Doyle to school us in peridots, rubies, emeralds, pearls, sapphires, and so on. As an added bonus: This 101 comes complete with the best jewelry to shop for every stone.
The guide ahead is comprised primarily of genuine stones, and the price points fall largely into the investment-piece category. That said, if you are going to splurge on a piece of jewelry, your birthstone is the perfect place to start. From January's garnet to December's blue topaz, this guide is sure to make a bona fide jewelry junkie of you. We just hope your birthday's coming up.