Perhaps the most popular amulets in folk magic are the 12 birth stones. These semi-precious gems, mounted in rings and pendants, have enjoyed widespread appeal for centuries. Because most people are familiar with these stones, the magic powers of each is as follows:
Agate. This stone may appear as striped or clouded quartz, and is astrologically associated with the sign Gemini. An agate amulet is believed to promote good health. An agate ring bestows wealth and honor; also, it can be used to obtain favors from people in high positions. Legend has it that any person who gazes upon this gem will be compelled to speak the truth and cannot maintain secrecy.
Amethyst. This gem, a purple variety of quartz, is traditionally considered to be the Aquarian birthstone. An amethyst ring is usually worn for protection against sorcery and the evil eye. An amethyst pendant prevents depression and supposedly bestows spiritual visions.
Bloodstone. Also known as heliotrope, this variety of quartz is the Piscean birthstone. Worn as a pendant, it allegedly prevents mis-carriage and other illness during pregnancy. Mounted in a ring, the amulet reportedly promotes creativity. Worn to bed, bloodstone may bestow pleasant dreams and clear visions of the future.
Diamond. This precious gem is astrologically associated with the sign of Aries. A diamond amulet traditionally symbolizes enduring love and happiness in a marriage. Given as a gift, the gem is believed to strengthen emotional bonds and promote loyalty. A diamond pendant may be worn to obtain honor and friendship. Mounted in a ring, the amulet insures lasting marriage and financial success.
Emerald. Traditionally associated with the astrological sign Taurus, this precious green gem has several unique properties. An emerald pendant is thought to afford women protection against assault. Mounted in a ring, the stone promotes domestic stability and fortune. According to legend, this amulet may be used to combat epilepsy, depression, and insanity.
Garnet. This semiprecious gem is the birthstone of Capricorn people. Early Egyptians and Phoenicians used the stone extensively. It reputedly healed snakebite and food poisoning by absorbing foreign chemicals in the blood through the skin. A garnet pendant is usually worn to arouse the passionate love of the opposite sex. A garnet ring reputedly combats fear and pessimism. Argument and eventual separation of two lovers is thought to result when garnet is given as a gift.
Opal. This semiprecious gem is associated with the astrological sign Libra. Worn as a ring, this amulet reputedly alleviates indigestion and other stomach disorders. Also, it instills tranquility and joy. An opal pendant is worn to attract happiness in love, fortune and favorable judgment in court. The opal amulet is believed to take on a dull gray appearance when minor illness is forthcoming. A sickly yellow hue presages injury by accident.
Ruby. This popular birthstone, which is associated with the astrological sign Cancer, reputedly promotes mental health and tranquility. A ruby pendant is thought to combat depression and enable the wearer to overcome sorrow. A ruby amulet worn as a ring bestows knowledge, health, and wealth. This stone should never be given as a gift, as it is thought that discord and broken relationships will result.
Sapphire. This deep blue corundum is astrologically associated with the sign Virgo. A sapphire pendant is a reputed cure for fever, seizures, and delusions. Mounted in a ring, the gem bestows wisdom and compassion. When danger is imminent, this amulet reportedly takes on a chalky appearance, which remains until the hazard has subsided.
Sardonyx. The birthstone of Leo people, this gem is a popular remedy for impotence. Ancient occultists believed that a sardonyx amulet could be worn to alleviate this affliction in less than a week. Mounted in a ring, sardonyx has no power; however, worn as a pendant, the stone combats sterility. Given as a gift, the sardonyx amulet is thought to guarantee the recipient's fidelity.
Topaz. This gem is the birthstone of Scorpio people. Some medieval occultists insisted that a topaz amulet promoted psychic sensitivity and facilitated control of destiny. A topaz pendant reputedly bestows honor, happiness, and inner peace in addition to the above benefits. Mounted in a ring, the gem insures promotion and financial success.
Turquoise. The birthstone of Sagittarians, turquoise has been worn in amulets since the earliest times. Native Americans considered the stone sacred, and medieval sorcerers used it in various magic rituals. Modern authorities claim that a turquoise amulet is an effective deterrent against illness and injury. Worn as a pendant, the stone also protects its bearer from a violent death. A turquoise ring is said to have the power to allow the wearer to rekindle old love affairs.
In addition to the 12 birthstones, other gems of magical and healing significance warrant consideration. These are:
Amber. This gem, which has been used for magical purposes from time immemorial, is primarily a health aid. An amber pendant reportedly cures diseases of the blood, poor circulation, and prevents heart attack. Mounted in a ring, this stone is believed to combat malfunction of the kidney and protect the wearer against heat stroke and suffocation.
Beryl. This opaque stone usually comes in yellow, pink, green, or white. Worn as a pendant, it is claimed to promote happy marriage and honesty. Given as a gift, it is a popular deterrent to unfaithfulness. A beryl ring is frequently worn to insure good health during pregnancy.
Carnelian. This reddish quartz gem was highly popular with Old World occultists. Early Chaldeans gave their stone to enemies and thereby rendered them harmless.
Chrysocolla. This stone is recommended for treatment of diabetes and asthma and is said to build inner peace and strength and to attract prosperity and good luck.
Coral. This stone occurs in a variety of colors and is allegedly invaluable to careless people. As an amulet, it is said to take on a chalky white appearance when in close proximity with sick people. A coral ring or pendant may also be worn to promote health and wisdom.
Jade. Throughout history, magicians have used this gem as a deterrent to sorcery and demonic possession. Jade is therefore considered to be one of the most potent protective device known to humankind. Modern occultists claim that a jade pendant may be worn to achieve these effects, and that a ring combats tragedy and depression.
Jet. Perhaps one of the most powerful amulets known, this lustrous black gem holds an important place in the legends of various cultures. In ancient Greece, occultists believed that it was a sacred substance, and in Assyria it was considered to be the gods' favorite jewel. Medieval legend credits the jet amulet with supernatural powers. The person wearing this stone supposedly attains complete control of the natural elements—fire, air, earth, and water.
Lapis Lazuli. This stone has long been valued as an aid to cleanse the mind and body of toxins and promote psychic abilities.