There is one day that is the most important day of every person’s life, no matter their age, background, ethnicity or beliefs.
The day we are born.
Birthdays hold a special meaning to all of us, and many different cultures believe that the day we are born has a profound effect on the outcomes of our lives there after. So significant is our date of birth that jewelry and symbolism associated with birthdays is some of the most popular iconography in the world.
Birth stones, star signs, the Chinese Zodiac, Celtic Trees, the Coligny Calendar, Native American Zodiac, Egyptian Zodiac, Mayan Zodiac and others are all symbols, images or stones that can be used to identify your birth date.
Each of these methods of identifying dates, usually by month, is thousands of years old. Some, like western star signs, have been modernized, while others are not widely known, and studied only by scholars.
When choosing jewelry based on your birthdate there are several options available. If you don’t like the color of your birthstone you could always choose your star sign to use as a pendant or have engraved.
Here we look at some of the different symbols available, and the jewelry options available for them.
Zodiac jewelry is currently very on-trend and well-known in Western cultures. However, it is very old and has its origins in ancient Greece. The Zodiac also known as ‘star signs’ or the ‘Greek Zodiac’ are commonly known as: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Each of these stars has a clear description, originating from a specific god. Imagery produced to represent a star sign usually interprets the god’s description and strengths. For example, Sagittarius is associated with the God Hephaestus, god of weapons, also known as ‘the archer’, so this sign is often represented as a bow, arrow or a hunter. However, there is no standard shape for each sign, so the illustrator or jewelry maker could interpret them in many ways.
A birthstone is associated with each month of the western calendar year. The birthstone for January is a Garnet, February - Amethyst, March - Aquamarine, April - Diamond, May - Emerald, June - Moonstone, July - Ruby, August -Peridot, September - Sapphire, October – Opal, November - Topaz, December -Turquoise. The origin of birthstones is believed to trace back to Israel, but the idea of birthstones has a place in many traditions, customs and belief systems. Choosing jewelry based on your birth stone is often easier than choosing a symbol, and there are many subtle and fine jewelry pieces made with birth stones. Birth stone engagement rings make for a very special proposal. Christening or baptism jewelry using birthstones are also popular, adding a touch of personalization to the special occasion of a child’s birth.
The Chinese Zodiac
Also known as Sheng Xiao, the Chinese Zodiac is unusual in this group because it looks at the year you were born, not the month or date. The Sheng Xiao system uses a twelve-year cycle and each year in that cycle corresponds to an animal sign. The animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. 2019 is the Year of the Pig. It is commonly believed that one day the gods ordered that animals be designated as signs of each year and the twelve that arrived first were selected. Wearing Chinese Zodiac jewelry is not an obvious birthdate statement like the Western Zodiac but is a nice way to honor the animal of your year of birth.
The Egyptian Zodiac
Egyptian astrology has had a major impact on modern astrology, each sign is based on a God or Goddess, just a Western astrology is based on the zodiac signs Aries, Taurus, etc. The Egyptian signs correspond to modern zodiac dates, so Osiris - Aries, Amun-Ra - Taurus, Seth - Gemini, Bastet - Cancer, Anubis - Leo, Thorth - Virgo, Horus - Libra, Mut - Scorpio, Hapi - Sagittarius, Horus - Capricorn, Sekham - Aquarius and Isis - Pisces. The signs of the equivalent gods are seen less frequently on jewelry outside of Egypt, as they are more complicated to draw and distinguish than western star signs
Celtic symbols are very common In jewelry and have spread across the world with western colonization. The Celts originated from Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, or the Isle of Man. Many people with Celtic roots treasure Celtic jewelry that symbolizes their Celtic heritage. Trees had a special place in Celtic culture, The Celtic year consists of thirteen lunar months, each with a corresponding tree. The Celtic trees are: Birch, Rowan, Ash, Alder, Willow, Hawthorne, Oak, Holly, Hazel, Vine, Ivy, Reed and Elder. A symbolic tree pendant or earring is a great way for Celts to branch out with their birthday jewelry.
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The Native American Zodiac
Like the Chinese Zodiac this calendar is based on animals, however Native Americans associate each animal to a month, not a year as the Chinese do. The Native American Zodiac comprises of: the wolf, flacon, beaver, deer, wood pecker, salmon, bear, raven, snake, owl, goose and the otter. While jewelry featuring an otter or salmon may be hard to come by, other Native American zodiac symbols – such as snake bracelets - are easier to find.
There are plenty of ideas for jewelry for your birth date, whether you’re looking for a symbol, animal, stone or tree.
Discover the new range of Zodiac jewelry by Phoenix Roze.