Gemstones have and will always be associated with various meanings and symbols.
One of the main reasons behind this is the contribution made by a lot of cultures to the legends, myths and folktales that now surround these valuable stones. This article will give a general overview of gemstone meanings.
The fact that these are rare products from nature made mystics and philosophers attribute unique features and powers to them.
A lot of people who own these precious minerals believe in the power of these gemstone meanings. Which make these precious stones a lot more valuable to them.
- History of Gemstone Meanings
- Meaning of Precious and Semi-precious Gemstones
- Meaning of Diamonds
- Meaning of Sapphires
- Meaning of Garnets
- The Appeal of Gemstones
A full list of individual gemstone meanings is found here: List of Gemstone Meanings
The Meaning of Gemstones In History
Throughout history, a gemstone hidden faithfully in a pocket or secretively placed against the breast has given the owner a unique sense of assurance, certainty, protection and power.
Facing the world, amulet first, the possessor feels a certain sense of security and places in the stone a confidence akin to religion.
A gemstone can also signify wealth, power, and beauty as can be testified by the bejeweled neck of a queen as she turns her diamond-laden forehead and waves to the crowd, her hand weighed down with pearls and sapphires.
Other gemstone meanings are wealth, a family-heirloom, an extension of personality. The physical representation of luck, an indication of status, or simply a fashion statement.
To many, gemstones are ingredients in an ever-changing, ever-adapting list, based on their own beliefs and values.
The thinking behind it being that, by using the right combination of gemstones, one is properly equipped to face life.
Like the gesture of a Catholic mother crossing her child against evil, we place an aquamarine stone around our neck. Giving us the strength to confront life with a newly found courage.
Much of our interest in assigning gemstone meanings comes from our idea that something occult and rare, simply by origin, must hold some sort of hidden power. Many believe that gemstones, which are mined from deep within the earths of far-away lands hold answers to questions that we all face.
Our attraction toward gems is living proof that rarity is considered beautiful and that beauty is deemed valuable. Not only beautiful in itself, the gemstone is also believed to bestow beauty upon the wearer. Some gemstones, namely rose quartz, moonstone, and amethyst are believed to increase another’s perception of the wearer’s actual beauty.
Coveted mainly for their rarity and the mystery surrounding the rareness, gemstones have been used by both extremes of the social ladder. A lowly commoner would wear a combination of green aventurine, iron pyrite or tiger’s eye for good luck, good fortune, and the attraction of wealth.
While a king would have his crown embedded with rubies not only to obtain the clarity to rule, but also to impose social dominance. To stand above his subjects as a symbol of outstanding beauty and unsurpassed superiority.
Meaning of Precious and Semi-Precious Gemstones
Gemstones can be divided into two main categories: precious gemstones and semi-precious gemstones.
Precious gemstones were the purest, rarest, and most valuable of gemstones in history. They include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and pearls. The meaning of gemstones, in this case, are meanings associated with extremities. The extreme beauty. The extreme power. The extreme rarity and value.
The most significant gemstone meaning in the category of precious gemstones is social status. Since the rarest gemstones are the most valuable, only royalty and celebrities can afford them.
The quality of a gemstone speaks of the owner’s social status and this is why these stones are appealing. Identifying a gemstone is identifying wealth. Possessing a precious gemstone, is possessing wealth.
Semi-precious gemstones are valuable, but most are much more affordable and common than precious gemstones. Semi-precious gemstones include turquoise, aquamarine, opal, jade, topaz, among others. In this case, the meaning of gemstones may be more associated with matters of mystery and personal desires.
One form of semi-precious gems, getting more popular every year, are ‘birthstones‘, which are gemstones designated to each month in a year. The meaning of gemstones in this category is specified to the person who is born in the month of that stone. The meaning of stones becomes tied to the very identity of the person wearing them.
A deeper look into the meaning of gemstones
By the ancient rule of mankind, the value of any object is directly determined by the difficulty with which that object can be obtained. By extension the meaning of an object is greater when the origin of said object is occult.
This rule, of course, is basic in understanding the meaning of stones. Gemstone meanings are unconditionally tied to the mystery of the origin and the legends and myths surrounding them.
Gems that have captured our imagination and obtained our loyal following include the diamond, the sapphire, and garnet. Let’s look at the gem meaning behind these beautiful stones.
Gemstone Meanings: The Diamond, Queen Superior:
The cold hardness, the blinding brilliance, the sharp pureness, and the cruel, rough birth of a diamond make the gem meaning of this queen of stones one of the most tied to human experience. Relating it to matters of the heart, we place what we see as a speck of sunlight on our lover’s finger, because it is the closest we will ever get to presenting them with a star.
Going beyond the act of giving something precious, the diamond also signifies an understanding that the precious has been discovered, and by the act of presenting a diamond, we are presenting an understanding- An acknowledgement that we have discovered a purity worth beholding for the rest of our lives.
Another gem meaning surrounding the diamond is that of transformation. Since the diamond must be “discovered” by a trained eye or simply by an exceedingly lucky eye, and then unearthed, and after that polished, it appeals to people on the deepest level possible.
This appeal lies in our desire to discover the purity within ourselves or within others. We believe that perhaps, with enough skill, with enough vision, we may one day look into the mirror or look into a crowd of strangers, and find the true diamond within and among us.
Gemstone Meanings: Sapphire, The Blue-eyed Beauty
The gem meaning of the blue sapphire is closely tied to royalty. Once believed to be the substance that supported the earth and the cause of the sky’s hue, sapphire became and has remained a great favorite among rulers of mankind.
The gem meaning is associated with endowments royalty need to hold the loyalty of their subjects. These include the power of calmness and tranquility, needed in times of great stress and turmoil; The power of healing, needed in times of defeat and loss; The power of virtue and wisdom, a combination essential to a king’s or queen’s successful rule.
Finally, sapphire is believed to have holy properties, stemming from the ancient belief that Moses wrote the Ten Commandments on a sapphire stone in order to forever preserve their message.
Gemstone Meanings: The Garnet, Stone of the Heart
This gem meaning is closer to the heart. If you are familiar with the mythological tale of Hades and Persephone, you may better picture the meaning of this stone.
Stolen from earth and taken to the underworld, Persephone quelled her hunger on pomegranate seeds.
Little did she know that each pomegranate seed indebted her to Hades, an eternal promise to remain by his side.
The garnet has been likened to pomegranate seeds since medieval times and this has given it a gem meaning of eternity and love.
Blood red, the garnet has also been believed to restore the heart in times of depression and darkness.
The Persistent Appeal of Gemstones
In exploring the significance of gemstones and gemstone meanings, we may come to the conclusion that mixed with a sense of wonder, the promise of an answer, the endowment of beauty, and the feeling of power. The gemstone is simply a representation of our own human ideal.
There are the precious, there are the semi-precious, there are the beautiful, the rare, and the mystical. There are those who are ornaments, simply displayed for beauty, and those whose surfaces are etched with the essence of others. There are those who are pure and those who are occult.
Perhaps, if we cannot find the human beauty, we may use a gemstone as guidance.
List of Gemstone Meanings
This list is not yet complete and more articles are being added continuously. So please feel free to check for updates once in a while!