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Gemstones in the Breastplate of Aaron

A biblical accounting of the gem stones in the breastplate of the high priest.
Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD .
- Exodus 28:29 NIV
The Breastplate of Aaron is of interest to gem lovers because it is an early accounting of the use of gemstones as both decoration and symbol. Aaron is the brother to Moses and the leader of the tribe which is appointed as high priests.

The breastplate is described (Exodus 28:15-20) as the "Breastplate of Judgement" or "Breastplate of Decision" (dependent on the biblical translation) and is adorned with twelve gems -- one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The gemstones were to be attached in four rows of three and each gem was to have the name of a tribe inscribed upon it.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for contemporary translators to determine a certain or absolute interpretation of which modern gemstone names equate to the ancient biblical descriptions of the stones of the high priest's breastplate. Therefore, the list of gems used varies dependent on the translation which is cited.

Listed below are some of the most popular translations.

New International Version (NIV)

  • Row 1: ruby, topaz, beryl
  • Row 2: turquoise, sapphire (or lapis lazuli), emerald
  • Row 3: jacinth, agate, amethyst
  • Row 4: chrysolite, onyx, jasper
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
  • Row 1: ruby, topaz, emerald
  • Row 2: turquoise, sapphire, diamond
  • Row 3: jacinth, agate, amethyst
  • Row 4: beryl, onyx, jasper
New Living Translation (NLT)
  • Row 1: red carnelian, chrysolite, emerald
  • Row 2: turquoise, sapphire, white moonstone
  • Row 3: jacinth, agate, amethyst
  • Row 4: beryl, onyx, jasper
King James Version (KJV)
  • Row 1: sardius, topaz, carbuncle
  • Row 2: emerald, sapphire, diamond
  • Row 3: ligure, agate, amethyst
  • Row 4: beryl, onyx, jasper
New King James Version (NKJV)
  • Row 1: sardius, topaz, emerald
  • Row 2: turquoise, sapphire, diamond
  • Row 3: jacinth, agate, amethyst
  • Row 4: beryl, onyx, jasper
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
  • Row 1: sardius, topaz, carbuncle
  • Row 2: emerald, sapphire, diamond
  • Row 3: jacinth, agate, amethyst
  • Row 4: beryl, onyx, jasper

Anniversary Stones

Anniversary Stones: List of gemstones associated with each wedding anniversary year.
This is the list of generally accepted gemstones and precious metals associated with each wedding anniversary.

1st Anniversary: Gold Jewelry
2nd Anniversary: Garnet (all colors)
3rd Anniversary: Pearls
4th Anniversary: Blue Topaz
5th Anniversary: Sapphire (all colors)
6th Anniversary: Amethyst
7th Anniversary: Onyx
8th Anniversary: Tourmaline (all colors)
9th Anniversary: Lapis Lazuli
10th Anniversary: Diamond Jewelry
11th Anniversary: Turquoise
12th Anniversary: Jade or Agate
13th Anniversary: Citrine or Moonstone
14th Anniversary: Opal or Moss Agate
15th Anniversary: Ruby
16th Anniversary: Peridot or Topaz (all colors)
17th Anniversary: Amethyst
18th Anniversary: Garnet
19th Anniversary: Aquamarine
20th Anniversary: Emerald
21st Anniversary: Iolite
22nd Anniversary: Spinel (all colors)
23rd Anniversary: Sapphire
24th Anniversary: Tanzanite
25th Anniversary: Silver Jubilee
26th Anniversary: Star Sapphire
30th Anniversary: Pearl Jubilee
35th Anniversary: Emerald or Coral
39th Anniversary: Cat's Eye
40th Anniversary: Ruby
45th Anniversary: Sapphire or Alexandrite
50th Anniversary: Golden Jubilee
52nd Anniversary: Star Ruby
55th Anniversary: Alexandrite or Emerald
60th Anniversary: Diamond Jubilee
65th Anniversary: Star Sapphire
75th Anniversary: Diamond

Gemstones for Days of the Week

One gemstone for each day of the week -- with uncertain origins.

After a good bit of research in an attempt to determine the origin of how certain gemstones came to be attached to the days of the week, it seems that the origins are... well, highly uncertain. Lists are indeed posted on various corners of the web, but citations for the said lists seem to go unstated, time after time.

So the list posted below is posted with trepidation -- it seems to be the most popular/common list, but also seems to have no roots in history or tradition. Could it be a list concocted by the jewelry industry for those people who don't care for their traditional birthstone? That's certainly one possibility. Could it be a list created by an author in need of filler material for a book? Also possible. It's just unclear.

If we find additional information, we'll be sure to share it. In the meantime:

Gemstones for Each Day of the Week

  • Sunday: Topaz
  • Monday: Pearl
  • Tuesday: Ruby
  • Wednesday: Amethyst
  • Thursday: Sapphire
  • Friday: Carnelian
  • Saturday: Turquoise

January Birthstone Garnet

Birthstone Color: Deep Red

january birthstone One glance at the deep red seeds nestled inside of a pomegranate fruit explains why the word "garnet" comes from the Latin word "granatus," meaning "grain" or "seed." This name was given to the garnet because of its close resemblance to the succulent pomegranate seed. But don't bite into a garnet, because at Moh's hardness 6.5 to 7.5, it will definitely damage the teeth!

There are many myths and legends surrounding the garnet. One Biblical legend is that Noah hung this gem on the ark to light his way through the dark and stormy nights of God's wrath. A Greek myth linked to the garnet is the story of the young goddess of sunshine, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. Hades eventually released Persephone, but not before he offered her some pomegranate seeds, which guaranteed her return to him.

First mined in Sri Lanka over 2,500 years ago, the garnet is also found in Africa, Australia, India, Russia, South America; and in the United States, in Arizona and Idaho. Although most commonly known as a red gemstone, the garnet comes in a variety of other hues, including muted yellows, vibrant oranges, rosy pinks, lime greens, and violets—a virtual bouquet of colors. This diversity is due to unique combinations of elements within each particular gem, such as iron, calcium, and manganese.

Archaeologist findings of primitive style garnet jewelry among the graves of lake dwellers dates the early use of this gemstone to the Bronze age. But not all garnet is of gem quality. It is also a very effective abrasive and is used commercially for grinding and polishing. Garnet coated sandpaper is one such industrial use.

The garnet continues to be the protective gem of journeyers. A gift of garnet is thought to be symbolic of love and the desire for a loved one's safe travel and speedy homecoming. It is January's birthstone, but far from being only a winter gem, the garnet, with its brilliance and multitude of colors, is truly one for any season.