If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen my new series of horses I’ve been working on this year – Birthstone Horses. These are horses with coloring based on the birthstone associated with each month, and they also are bordered on two sides with sprigs of the monthly flower as well. I’m so happy with how well these designs are being received, and I wanted to introduce the next four horses to my dear readers. So, read on to see some new Birthstone Horses and to read about the properties of each stone and flower.
Emerald is the first green stone in the line-up, and with May being a month where everything really starts to bloom and be covered in green, it’s a fitting choice! Emerald mines existed in Egypt as early as 300 BC, and the stones were used in jewelry in ancient Greece and Rome. The stones weren’t introduced to Europeans until the 1500’s, when the Spanish invaded South America. The Inca people had valued emeralds for hundreds of years! During this same time in history, the brilliant green stone was cherished by Indian Emperors, who used the emerald as talismans to get the protection of the gods.
In mythology, emerald is the stone of Venus. This gives the emerald an association with romance. It is said that emeralds bring passion, bliss, and unconditional love. Wearing emerald has been said to give the ability to see the future and the truth. Some of the most famous fans of emerald are Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor.
The flower associated with May is the Lily of the Valley. Another name for this flower is “May lily.” The name of the flower means “return to happiness” and it symbolizes chastity, purity, luck, happiness, and humility. The Lily of the Valley is used in religious ceremonies, perfumes, and in celebrations around the world.
The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were tears of joy from Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Ancient Egyptians were buried with pearls to show their wealth, and Cleopatra once crushed up a pearl and drank it in a glass of wine to prove to Mark Antony that she could “devour the fortune of an entire nation in one meal.” Greek culture viewed the pearl as a symbol to make love and marriage more abundant, while in ancient Rome the pearl was a status symbol that showed wealth and power. Many countries in Europe banned regular people from wearing pearls, as they were seen as a sign of power and so could only be worn by those with power.
The pearl is said to bring clarity, innocence, and faith. It is also said to improve focus, inhibit overexcited behavior, increase productiveness, relieve bloating, and even ease childbirth. Pearls are commonly worn by brides.
Roses are the flower of June, and I specifically chose pink roses for this drawing. Pink roses symbolize gratitude, grace, joy, and admiration. While researching for this series, I learned an interesting fact about roses! Did you know that in the Middle Ages, roses were hung from the ceilings of rooms where important meetings took place? Because of the flower’s association with secrecy, it was understood that anyone under the roses was sworn to keep the meeting confidential.
Roses are used on four of the traditional Tarot cards: The Fool, The Magician, Strength, and Death. The white rose on The Fool symbolizes purity and is a reminder to clear the mind. The rose on The Magician signifies unfolding wisdom. It represents balance on the Strength card. And on Death, it is a reminder of purity and clarity.
The July birthstone, Ruby, was regarded by ancient Hindus as the “king of gems”, and was believed to protect its wearer from evil. It was believed that wearing a fine Ruby would bestow good fortune upon its owner. To this day, the ruby remains the most valued gemstone. The most important characteristic of the ruby is its color. Rubies come in a wide range of color, from cool red to orange-red. The most prized color is often the “Burmese ruby”, a rich, full red color with a slight blue hue. This color is also referred to as “pigeon’s blood” in the gem trade.
The hardness of ruby is second only to diamonds. In centuries past, it was believed that the ruby could predict misfortune, cure inflammatory diseases, and soothe anger. Burmese warriors believed that the stone made them invincible in battle. Medieval Europeans associated ruby with health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love.
The July flower, water lily, is the national flower of Bangladesh. It symbolizes love and life, and is used there in almost every religious ceremony. The scientific name for water lily is “Nymphaea”, which comes from the Greek word “nymph”. Nymphs were a feminine spirit in Greek mythology that inhabited bodies of water. The water lily has been given symbolic meaning in various cultures all around the globe. The lily was the symbol of Upper Egypt, and when paired with the papyrus flower (the symbol of Lower Egypt), it depicted the unity of the people. In Buddhism, however, this flower represents universality and enlightenment.
The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat”, meaning gem. Throughout history, peridot has often been confused for other gems such as emerald and topaz. Topazios, an island in the Red Sea and probable source of the name “Topaz” actually produced peridot. The Shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the Cologne Cathedral has 200 carats of gems that were believed to be emerald, but are, in fact, Peridot. Some historians even speculate that the famous emerald collection of Cleopatra may have been made up of peridot.
Peridot has been used for centuries as a protective talisman against evil spirits and nightmares. It began being used in priests’ jewelry as early as the second century BCE, and later was used in chalices and churches of medieval Europe. Peridot can be found in many locations around the world, but it has also come to Earth via meteorites!
The August flower, Gladiolus, gets its name from the Latin word “gladius”, meaning sword. They were named for the sword-like shape of their leaves. This flower symbolizes strength, moral integrity, and also represent infatuation. A bouquet of Gladiolus is supposed to convey to the recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion. Gladioli are part of the iris family, and there are over 255 species of them. They are most diverse in South Africa, which is where they originated, but can now be found all over the world.
I will be continuing to do more Birthstone horses until I have all twelve months complete. Here is the list of stones and flowers I’m planning, broken down by month.
September – Sapphire and Morning Glory
October – Opal and Calendula
November – Topaz and Chrysanthemum
December – Turquoise and Holly
You can purchase prints of each of the Birthstone Horses in the shop here on my web-site, or on Etsy. T-shirts, stickers, bags, journals, hoodies, and more are available with and without text on TeeSpring, RedBubble, and TeePublic.