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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Stones, Precious:

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1. Ancient and Modern Names

2. Change of Signification of Names

3. Three Important Lists of Stones

4. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by John

5. Interpretation of Hebrew Names

6. Greek and Latin Equivalents of Hebrew Names

7. Inconsistencies of Text or Translation

8. Vulgate and Septuagint

9. Hebrew Texts of Septuagint and English Versions of the Bible

10. Equivalence of Hebrew and Greek Names

11. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by Septuagint

12. List of Names with Biblical References

1. Ancient and Modern Names:

Great difficulty is met with in any attempt to translate the Greek and Hebrew names mentioned in the Bible into names that would be used for the same minerals in a particular country at the present day. It is only within the last century, through the development of the sciences of chemistry and crystallography, that it has become possible to define mineral species with any considerable approach to precision. In ancient times various minerals were regarded as belonging to a single kind, and indicated by a single name, that are now distributed into different kinds and mentioned under different names.

For example, 2,000 years ago the Greek term ánthrax was used to signify various hard, transparent, red stones that are now known to differ much from one another in chemical composition, and are therefore assigned to different species and given different names; among them are oriental ruby (red corundum), balas ruby (red spinel), almandine and pyrope (red garnets); a stone designated anthrax by the ancient Greeks might thus belong to any one of a number of various kinds to the assemblage of which no name is now given, and the word anthrax has no simple equivalent in a modern language.

2. Change of Signification of Names:

Confusion is introduced in another way. The English names of most of the precious stones mentioned in the Bible are adaptations of Greek names through the Latin; for instance, the English word "topaz" is a modification of the Latin word topazius , itself merely a Latin form of the Greek word topázion . It would at first sight appear that the Greek word topazion must be translated into English by the word "topaz"; but, strangely, although the words are virtually identical, the stones indicated by the words are quite different. The topazion of the ancient Greeks was a green stone yielding to the action of a file and said to be brought from an island in the Red Sea, whereas the topaz of the present day is not a green stone, does not yield to the action of a file, and has not been brought from an island in the Red Sea. The topazion of the ancient Greeks is really the peridot, not the topaz, of modern mineralogy; topazion and topaz are different kinds of stone. For the interpretation of the Bible it is thus necessary to ascertain, if possible, the kind of stone to which a Greek or Hebrew name was applied at the time when the word was written.

3. Three Important Lists of Stones:

Most of the names of the precious stones mentioned in the Bible are contained in the Hebrew description of the breastplate of the high priest and the Greek description of the foundations of the New Jerusalem. The ornaments assigned to the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:13 ) included only stones that had been used in the breastplate; indeed, in the Septuagint, they are the same twelve, mentioned in precisely the same order.

The stones of the breastplate according to our Hebrew text ( Exodus 28:17-21 ) were:

BORDER >

ALIGN =RIGHT> No. 1

ALIGN =RIGHT> No. 2

ALIGN =RIGHT> No. 3

1st row

ALIGN =RIGHT> אדם

ALIGN =RIGHT> פּטדה

ALIGN =RIGHT> בּרקת

ALIGN =RIGHT> 'ōhem

ALIGN =RIGHT> piṭedhāh

ALIGN =RIGHT> bāreḳeth

2nd row

ALIGN =RIGHT> נפך

ALIGN =RIGHT> ספּיר

ALIGN =RIGHT> יהלם

ALIGN =RIGHT> nōphekh

ALIGN =RIGHT> ṣappı̄rf

ALIGN =RIGHT> yahălōm

3row

ALIGN =RIGHT> לשׁם

ALIGN =RIGHT> שׁבו

ALIGN =RIGHT> אחלמה

ALIGN =RIGHT> leshem

ALIGN =RIGHT> shebhō

ALIGN =RIGHT> 'aḥlāmāh

4th row

ALIGN =RIGHT> תּרשׁישׁ

ALIGN =RIGHT> שׁהם

ALIGN =RIGHT> ישׁפה

ALIGN =RIGHT> tarshı̄sh

ALIGN =RIGHT> shōham

ALIGN =RIGHT> yāshephēh

The foundations of the New Jerusalem are (Revelation 21:19 , Revelation 21:20 ):

1 ı́aspis

2 sáppheiros

3 chalkēdṓn

4 smáragdos

5 sardónux

6 sárdion

7 chrusólithos

8 bḗrullos

9 topázion

10 chrusóprasos

11 huákinthos

12 améthustos

Only 4 of the latter stones are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, also in the Book of Revelation, namely: iaspis ( Revelation 4:3; Revelation 21:18 ), smaragdos (Revelation 4:3 ), sardion (Revelation 4:3 ) and huakinthos (Revelation 9:17 ).

4. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by John:

For the interpretation of the Greek names used by John, much help is given by Pliny's great work on Natural History , published 77 AD, for it records what was known about precious stones at the very time when John himself was living. The Greek names of stones and their Latin verbal equivalents had presumably the same signification for both these writers; it is thus possible, in some cases at least, to ascertain what name is now assigned to a stone mentioned in the New Testament if the name and description are recorded in the treatise of Pliny; the results are given in the alphabetical list below. All twelve stones, except chalkēdōn , are mentioned by Pliny; the few important stones described by him, but not mentioned by John as foundations, are crystallum and adamas , both of them colorless; onyx, remarkable rather for structure than color; electrum (amber), a soft material; carbunculus , fiery red; callaina , pale green, probably turquoise; cyanus , dark blue; and opalus (opal); ranked in Pliny's time immediately after smaragdus in value. Achates (agate) is omitted, but was no longer precious.

5. Interpretation of Hebrew Names:

In the interpretation of the Hebrew names of the stones of the breastplate there is much greater difficulty, for no Hebrew literature other than the Old Testament has been preserved, and little help is afforded by the contexts of other verses in which some of the Hebrew names of precious stones occur. If we could assume that the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions of the description of the breastplate were made from Hebrew texts absolutely identical in respect of the names of the stones with those used for the preparation of the English Versions of the Bible, and that the versions were correctly made, the Greek equivalents of the Hebrew terms for the time of the Septuagint translators (about 280 BC) and their Latin equivalents for the time of Jerome (about 400 AD) would be directly determinable by collation of the Hebrew original with the Greek and Latin translations.

It must be remembered, however, that a Hebrew writer, in describing the arrangement of a row of stones, began with that on his right and mentioned them in the order right to left, while a western writer begins with the stone on his left and mentions them in the reverse order. Hence, in translating a Hebrew statement of arrangement into a western language, one may either translate literally word by word, thus adopting the Hebrew direction of reading, or, more completely, may adopt the western direction for the order in the row. As either method may have been adopted by the Septuagint translators, it follows that 'ōdhem and bāreḳeth , the first and last stones of the 1st row according to our Hebrew text, may respectively be equivalent either to sardion and smaragdos , or, conversely, to smaragdos and sardion ; and similarly for the other rows. The number of the middle stone of any row is the same whichever direction of reading is adopted. 'Ōdhem being red, and sardion and smaragdos respectively red and green (see below), 'ōdhem must be equivalent to the former, not the latter, and the Septuagint translators must have adopted the Hebrew direction of reading the rows.

6. Greek and Latin Equivalents of Hebrew Names:

Other sets of possible equivalents are derivable by collation of the Biblical description with each of the two descriptions given by Josephus ( Ant. , III, vii, 5; BJ , V, v, 7). The possible Greek and Latin equivalents of Hebrew names are thus as follows:

BORDER >

No. 1

No. 2

No. 3

1st row

Hebrew

'ōdhem

piṭedhāh

bāreḳeth

70

sárdion

topázion

smáragdos

Vulgate

sardius

topazius

smaragdos

Ant

sardónux

topázion

smáragdos

BJ

sárdion

topázion

smáragdos

2nd Row

Hebrew

nōphekh

ṣappı̄r

yahălōm

70

ánthrax

sáppheiros

ı́aspis

Vulgate

carbunculus

sapphirus

jaspis

Ant

ánthrax

ı́aspis

sáppheiros

BJ

ánthrax

ı́aspis

sáppheiros

3row

Hebrew

leshem

shebhō

'aḥlāmāh

70

ligúrion

achátēs

améthustos

Vulgate

ligurius

achates

amethystus

Ant

ligúrion

améthustos

achátēs

BJ

achátēs

améthustos

ligúrion

4th row

Hebrew

tarshı̄sh

shōham

yāshephēh

70

chrusólithos

bērúllion

onúchion

Vulgate

chrysolithus

onychinus

beryllus

Ant

chrusólithos

onúchion

bērúllion

BJ

onúchion

bērúllion

chrusólithos

It may be remarked, as regards the 1st stone of the 1st row, that in the time of Josephus the stone sardonux could be signified also by the more general term sardion ; and, as regards the 1st stone of the 2nd row, that anthrax and carbo being respectively Greek and Latin for "glowing coal," anthrax and carbunculus , diminutive of carbo , were used as synonyms for certain red stones.

7. Inconsistencies of Text or Translations

From the inconsistencies of the above table of possible equivalents it may be inferred that either (1) essentially different translations were given in several cases for the same Hebrew word, or (2) the Hebrew texts used in the preparation of the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions were, in respect of the precious stones, different from each other and from that used in the preparation of English Versions of the Bible, or (3) the breastplate differed at different epochs, or (4) one or other, or both, of the descriptions by Josephus are incorrect. Conceivably differences may have arisen in all the above-mentioned ways.

(1) Inconsistency of Septuagint Translators

That the Septuagint translators were uncertain as to the correct translation of the Hebrew names used for the precious stones into the Greek names used in their time, and that they translated the Hebrew name of a stone in more than one way may be shown as follows. In the Hebrew text corresponding to English Versions of the Bible the word shōham , designating the 2nd stone of the 4th row of the breastplate, occurs also in several verses where there is no mention of other stones, and where there is thus no risk of accidental interchange, such as may easily occur when technical terms, more especially if unintelligible to the transcriber, are near to one another in the text. Now, for our versions shoham has been systematically translated "onyx," and for the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) the Hebrew word having the same position in the text has been systematically translated by a Latin synonym of onyx, namely, lapis onychinus (except in Job 28:16 , where lapis sardonychus is the rendering). Hence, it is probable that the word in these particular verses was shōham in the Hebrew original of the Vulgate, and therefore also of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint. Yet in the Septuagint the Hebrew word is translated sóom (1 Chronicles 29:2 , indicating that the translator, not knowing the Greek word for shōham , gave merely its Greek transliteration) as well as smaragdos (Exodus 28:9; Exodus 35:27; Exodus 39:6 or Septuagint Exodus 36:13 ), prásinos (Genesis 2:12 ), sardion (Exodus 25:7; Exodus 35:9 or Septuagint Exodus 35:8 ), ónux (Job 28:16 ).

These differences suggest that there were different Septuagint translators, even for different chapters of the same book, and that little care was taken by them to be consistent with one another in the translation of technical terms.

(2) Differences of Hebrew Texts

That the Hebrew texts used for the Septuagint, Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible were not identical in all the verses in which there is mention of precious stones is especially clear from an analysis of the respective descriptions of the ornaments of the king of Tyre ( Ezekiel 28:13 ). In the Septuagint 12 stones are mentioned; as already stated, they have precisely the same names and are mentioned in precisely the same order as the stones of the breastplate described in that version, the only difference being that gold and silver are inserted in the middle of the list. On the other hand, in Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible descriptions of the ornaments, only 9 of the 12 stones of the breastplate are mentioned; they are not in the same order as the corresponding stones in the breastplate as described in those VSS , silver is not mentioned at all, while gold is placed, not in the middle, but at the end of the list. Further, the order of mention of the stones in English Versions of the Bible differs from that of mention in Vulgate.

(3) Changes in the Breastplate

That the breastplate in use in the time of the Septuagint translators (about 280 BC) may have been different from the one described in the Book of Exodus is manifest if we have regard to the history of the Jewish nation; for Jerusalem was captured by Shishak, king of Egypt, about 973 BC, by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, about 586 BC, and by Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt, about 320 BC. The original breastplate may have been part of the spoil on one or other of these occasions, and have then disappeared forever.

Again, between the times of the Septuagint translators and Josephus, Jerusalem was more than once in the hands of its enemies; in 198 BC the city was captured by Antiochus the Great; in 170 BC it was stormed, and its temple plundered, by Antiochus Epiphanes; in 54 BC the temple was desecrated by Crassus. The breastplate familiar to Josephus (for he was long a priest in the temple of Jerusalem) may thus not have been identical with that in use when the Septuagint version was made.

And if the signification of the Hebrew names of the stones had not been carefully passed down from one generation to another while the breastplate was no longer in existence (for instance, during the Babylonian captivity), or if stones like those of the original breastplate were not available when a new breastplate was being made, there would inevitably be differences in the breastplate at different times.

The probability of this hypothesis of one or more replacements of the breastplate is still further increased if we have regard to the large stones that were set in gold buttons and fastened to the shoulderpieces of the ephod, the vestment to which the breastplate itself was attached (Exodus 28:9; Exodus 39:6 or Septuagint Exodus 36:13 ). According to the Septuagint, the material was smaragdos (and therefore green); according to Josephus it was sardonux (and therefore red with a layer of white). Though the Septuagint translators may never have had opportunities of looking closely at the stones, they might be expected to know the color of the material; Josephus must have seen them often. But the complete difference of colors of smaragdos and sardonux suggests that the difference of the names is due, not to a Septuagint mistranslation of the Hebrew name shōham , but to an actual difference of the material; it may have been smaragdos (and green) at the time when the Septuagint translation was made, and yet sardonux (and red with a layer of white) in the time of Josephus.

(4) Descriptions Given by Josephus

That in respect of the breastplate it is unsafe to collate the Hebrew texts of the various versions with that of Josephus may be demonstrated as follows. The 2nd stone of the 2nd row, termed ṣappı̄r in our Hebrew text, is termed sappheiros in the Septuagint and sapphirus in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Wherever else ṣappı̄r occurs in our Hebrew text, sappheiros occurs in the corresponding place in the Septuagint and sapphirus in the Vulgate; it may thus be inferred that in respect of the word ṣappı̄r our Hebrew text and the Hebrew texts used for the Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions were in complete accord with one another. Also, it is certain that the Latin word sapphirus was derived from the Greek word sappheiros , and that either the latter had its origin in the Hebrew word ṣappı̄r or that both words had the same source. There is no reason to think that from the time of the Septuagint translators to that of Jerome the word sappheiros was ever used to signify any other than one kind of stone or that the kind was ever called iaspis . But in both the descriptions given by Josephus the middle stone of the 2nd row is given as iaspis , not as sappheiros , which he makes the last stone of the row. Hence, for the middle stone of the 2nd row, the Hebrew texts were concordant in giving the name ṣappı̄r , but they fundamentally differed from that of Josephus whose two descriptions agree in giving the name iaspis ; it is not a difference of mere nomenclature or translation, but of the kind of stone set in a definite part of the breastplate. This being the case, collation of the Hebrew, Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) descriptions of the breastplate with those given by Josephus cannot be relied on to give a true Greek or a true Latin equivalent for the Hebrew name of any of the stones.

It may be added that the two descriptions given by Josephus differ from each other only as regards the order of the stones in the last two rows; in the 3row, the order is precisely reversed; in the 4th row the order is chrusolithos , onuchion , bērullion for Ant. , and onuchion , bērullion , chrusolithos for BJ . Antiquities was written at greater leisure than BJ , and was not completed till 18 years later; Josephus had thus more time for the consultation of old manuscripts. Speaking generally, it is more accurate than his earlier treatise as regards the history of those times of which he had no direct knowledge; its description of the breastplate is more precise as regards the arrangement of the stones, and is therefore the one to which the greater weight must be given. It differs from the Septuagint only through the interchange of the 2nd and 3stones in the 2nd, 3and 4th rows; and possibly Josephus gave the order from his memory either of the Septuagint or of the actual breastplate.

The only difference between the descriptions given in the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) is that the last two stones, namely bērullion ( beryllus ) and onuchion ( onychinus ), are interchanged.

8. Vulgate and Septuagint:

As already pointed out, the Hebrew texts of the Septuagint and English Versions of the Bible must have differed completely as regards the descriptions of the ornaments of the king of Tyre; it is thus not at all certain that they were in complete accord as regards the descriptions of the breastplate . In fact, it is generally accepted that the Hebrew word yāshephēh and the Greek word iaspis are virtually identical, and that they were used to signify the same kind of stone.

9. Hebrew Texts of Septuagint and English Versions of the Bible:

Hence, it follows that the Hebrew text of English Versions of the Bible is not identical with the Hebrew texts of the Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions in respect of the stones in the 2nd and 4th rows; if our Hebrew text is correct as regards yāshephēh , that stone was the last stone in the last row; if the Hebrew texts of the Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) versions were correct, yāshephēh , which had for its Greek equivalent iaspis , must have been the last stone in the 2nd row; further, onuchion (Septuagint) and beryllus (Vulgate) must be equivalent, not to yāshephēh , but to some other stones of the breastplate.

10. Equivalence of Hebrew and Greek Names:

Taking these matters into consideration, the following have considerable claims to be regarded as equivalents:

BORDER >

Hebrew

Greek

'ōdhem

sardion

pitedhāh

topazion

bāreḳeth

smaragdos

nōphekh

anthrax

ṣappı̄r

sappheiros

leshem

ligurion

shebhō

achatēs

'aḥlāmāh

amethustos

yāshephēh

ı́aspis

The remaining three stones, tarshı̄sh , shōham and yahălōm , are thus equivalent to chrusolithos , onuchion and bērullion , but it is uncertain which Greek name corresponds to any of those Hebrew names.

11. Interpretation of Greek Names Used by Sepuagint:

For the interpretation of the Greek names of stones mentioned in the Septuagint (and thus of the Hebrew names in the original text), the work of Theophrastus, a contemporary of the Septuagint translators, is very useful. That author mentions, besides krústallos and margarı́tēs which occur elsewhere than in the description of the breastplate, nine of the Septuagint names of the breastplate stones, namely: achatēs , amethustos (as améthuson ), anthrax , iaspis , ligurion (as lugkúrion ), onuchion , sappheiros , sardion , smaragdos . The three stones mentioned in the Septuagint but not by Theophrastus are bērullion , chrusolithos , and topazion . Since he mentions only four stones that are not referred to in the Septuagint, namely chrusókolla , hualoeidḗs , kuanós and ómphax , it follows that the Septuagint translators at Alexandria introduced every important name that was then in use at Athens for a precious stone.

In the following alphabetical list references are given to all the verses in which each name of a precious stone occurs, and for each use of a translated name the corresponding word in the original text.

12. List of Names with Biblical References:

Achatēs ( ἀχάτης , achátēs ): probably Septuagint translation of shebhō ( Exodus 28:19; Exodus 39:12 ). It is not mentioned in Apocrypha or the New Testament.

Adamant (see also special article): in Ezekiel 3:9; Zechariah 7:12 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew shāmı̄r .

Agate : in Exodus 28:19; Exodus 39:12 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew shebhō ; in Isaiah 54:12; Ezekiel 27:16 , the King James Version translation of Hebrew kadhkōdh .

'Aḥlāmāh , אחלמה : in Exodus 28:19; Exodus 39:12 : 3rd stone, 3rd row, of the breastplate. Septuagint translates amethustos ; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates amethystus; English Versions of the Bible "amethyst."

The Septuagint rendering amethustos is generally accepted as correct, but the late Professor N. S. Maskelyne, F.R.S., formerly (1857-80) Keeper of Minerals in the British Museum, gave reasons for regarding the 'aḥlāmāh of breastplate times as possibly an onyx in which white bands alternated with waxy-yellow to reddish-yellow bands.

Amber : in Ezekiel 1:4 , Ezekiel 1:27; Ezekiel 8:2 , the King James Version, the English Revised Version and the American Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew ḥashmal ; in Exodus 28:19 , the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew leshem .

Amethustos ( ἀμέθυστος , améthustos ): in Revelation 21:20 : the 12th foundation of the New Jerusalem; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates amethystus; English Versions of the Bible "amethyst." Four varieties of amethystus were recognized by Pliny as precious; all of them were transparent, and of purple tint or of tints derived from purple. According to the Septuagint, amethustos was the 3rd stone, 3rd row, of the breastplate, and the stone occupying this position is given in our Hebrew text as 'aḥlāmāh . Amethustos is mentioned under the name amethuson by Theophrastus; he describes it as a transparent stone resembling wine in color and as used by the gem engravers of his day. Amethystus and amethuson were doubtless identical with the amethyst of the present day, a purple variety of quartz (silica). Beads and other ornaments of amethyst found in old Egyptian tombs show that the stone was regarded as precious in very ancient times.

Amethyst : in Exodus 28:19; Exodus 39:12 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew'aḥlāmāh ; in Revelation 21:20 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek amethustos .

Anthrax ( ἄνθραξ , ánthrax ): in Tobit 13:17; Sirach 32:5 , English Versions of the Bible translates "carbuncle." According to the Septuagint, anthrax was also a stone of the breastplate, 1st stone, 2nd row, but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint in respect of this word. The anthrax of Theophrastus included different kinds of hard, red stone used by the gem engravers. It is the carbunculus of Pliny's time, and probably included the oriental ruby (corundum, alumina), the balas ruby (spinel, aluminate of magnesium), the almandine (a kind of garnet, alumino-silicate of iron) and pyrope (another kind of garnet, alumino-silicate of magnesium) of the present day.

Bāreḳeth , בּרקת : in Exodus 28:17; Exodus 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13 : 3rd stone, 1st row, of breastplate. Septuagint probably translates smaragdos , but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint in respect of this word: English Versions of the Bible translates "carbuncle"; the Revised Version margin translates "emerald." The rendering smaragdos may be correct, but no emeralds of very early age have been found in Egypt. From the similarity of the words bāreḳeth and bāraḳ ("lightning"), it has been suggested that possibly the breastplate stone was not green but of bluish-red color, in which case it may have been an almandine (garnet). English Versions of the Bible has interchanged the names given by Septuagint, to the 3rd stone of the 1st row (smaragdos , "emerald") and the 1st stone of the 2nd row (anthrax , "carbuncle").

Bdellium (see also special article): in Genesis 2:12; Numbers 11:7 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew bedhōlaḥ .

Bedhōlaḥ , בּדלח : The Septuagint translates anthrax in Genesis 2:12 , and krustallos in Numbers 11:7; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible translate bdellium . Some commentators, rejecting both the Septuagint translations, interpret the material to be pearl, others to be the gum of an Arabian tree.

Bērullos ( βήρυλλος , bḗrullos ): in Tobit 13:17; Revelation 21:20 : the 8th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates beryllus; English Versions of the Bible translates "beryl." According to Septuagint, bērullion was a stone of the breastplate, the 2nd stone, 4th row; owing to uncertainty as to their Hebrew text, there is doubt as to the Hebrew word translated bērullion . Bērullos is not mentioned by Theophrastus, who may have regarded it as included in the smaragdos of his day.

In the time of Pliny 8 varieties were recognized; he says that beryllus was already thought by some to be "of the same nature as the smaragdus , or at least closely analogous. India produces them, and they are rarely to be found elsewhere. The lapidaries cut all beryls of a hexagonal form because the color which is deadened by a dull uniformity of surface is heightened by the reflections resulting from the angles. If they are cut in any other way, these stones have no brilliancy whatever. The most esteemed beryls are those which in color resemble the pure green of the sea. Some are of opinion that beryls are naturally angular."

This description suggests the identity of the seagreen beryllus of Pliny's time with the sea-green beryl (alumino-silicate of beryllium) of the present day.

Beryl : in Exodus 28:20; Exodus 39:13; Song of Solomon 5:14; Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 10:9; Ezekiel 28:13; Daniel 10:6 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew tarshı̄sh ; in Genesis 2:12; Exodus 25:7 margin; Exodus 28:9 , Exodus 28:20; Exodus 35:27 margin; 1 Chronicles 29:2 margin; Job 28:16 margin, the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew shōham ; in Tobit 13:17; Revelation 21:20 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek bērullos .

Carbuncle : in Exodus 28:17; Exodus 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew bāreḳeth ; in Exodus 28:18 margin; Exodus 39:11; Ezekiel 27:16; Ezekiel 28:13 , the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew nōphekh ; in Isaiah 54:12 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew 'eḳdāḥ ; Tobit 13:17; Ecclesiasticus 32:5, English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek anthrax .

Chalcedony : in Exodus 28:20 , the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew tarshı̄sh ; in Revelation 21:19 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek chalkēdōn .

Chalkēdōn ( χαλκηδών , chalkēdṓn ): in Revelation 21:19 : the 3rd foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates calcedonius; English Versions of the Bible translates "chalcedony." Though the name Chalcedon (Latin form) occurs in Pliny, it is not as the name of a stone but as that of a free town then standing on the southern side of the Bosphorus, probably close to the site on which Scutari now stands. Chalcedon had once been noted for its copper mines; but the latter, when Pliny wrote, had been so far exhausted that they were no longer worked.

Pliny refers to a kind of smaragdus (a green stone) as having been found near Chalcedon, but adds that the stones were of very small size and value. They were "brittle, and of a color far from distinctly pronounced; they resembled in their tints the feathers that are seen in the tail of the peacock or on the neck of the pigeon. More or less brilliant, too, according to the angle at which they were viewed, they presented an appearance like that of veins and scales." In another place he refers to a stone from Chalcedon or Calchedon (another reading) as being an iaspis of turbid hue. It is possible that at Patmos or Ephesus, at one of which John was living when he wrote the Book of Revelation, the word chalkēdōn was used to specify the particular kind of smaragdus or iaspis that had been found near the town of that name. It is uncertain what name would be given to such a stone in the present day, but the signification now attached to the name "chalcedony" (cryptocrystalline silica) cannot be traced farther back than the 15th century.

Chrusolithos ( χρυσὀλιθος , chrusólithos ): in Revelation 21:20 : the 7th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates chrysolithus; the King James Version translates "chrysolyte"; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "chrysolite." According to Septuagint chrusolithos was one of the stones of the breastplate (lst stone, 4th row), but there is uncertainty as to the Hebrew text of the Septuagint in respect of this word; the name is not mentioned by Theophrastus. The chrysolithus of Pliny was a "transparent stone with a refulgence like that of gold." Those were most valued which "when placed by the side of gold, impart to it a sort of whitish hue, and so give it the appearance of silver."

It may perhaps have included the yellow sapphire (alumina), the yellow quartz (citrine, silica) and the yellow jargoon (zircon; silicate of zirconium) of the present day. The term "chrysolite" is now applied to a different mineral, namely, to a yellow variety of olivine (silicate of magnesium and iron), a species that includes the green precious stone peridot as another of its varieties.

Chrusoprasos ( χρυσόπρασος , chrusóprasos ): in Revelation 21:20 : the 10th foundation of the New Jerusalem. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and the King James Version translate chrysoprasus; the Revised Version (British and American) translates "chrysoprase." The chrysoprasus was regarded by some naturalists of the time of Pliny as a variety of beryllus . The 1st variety of beryllus and the most esteemed was, as stated above, of a pure sea-green color; the 2nd was paler, and approached a golden tint; the 3rd, allied to the 2nd in brilliancy but more pallid, was the chrysoprasus . The latter was thought by other naturalists to belong to an independent genus of stone. In another place Pliny describes the color as like that of the leek, but as varying in tint between the topazion of his day (our peridot) and gold. The stone may have been a yellowish-green plasma ( chalcedony , crypto-crystalline silica) or, as suggested by King, pale chrysoberyl (aluminate of beryllium); it is not the chrysoprase of the present day, which is an apple-green chalcedony (colored by nickel).

Chrysolite , chrysolyte : "chrysolite" in Ezekiel 28:13 , the King James Version margin translation of Hebrew tarshı̄sh ; Revelation 21:20 , the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek chrusolithos ; "chrysolyte" in Revelation 21:20 , the King James Version translation of Greek chrusolithos .

Chrysoprase , chrysoprasus : "chrysoprase" in Ezekiel 27:16 , the King James Version margin translation of Hebrew kadhkōdh ; Revelation 21:20 , the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Greek chrusoprasos ; "chrysoprasus" in Revelation 21:20 , the King James Version translation of Greek chrusoprasos .

Coral , red coral (see special article): "coral" in Job 28:18; Ezekiel 27:16 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew rā'mōth ; Lamentations 4:7 , the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew penı̄nı̄m ; "red coral" in Job 28:18 , the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew penı̄nı̄m .

Crystal (see special article): in Job 28:17 , the King James Version translation of Hebrew zekhūkhı̄th ; Ezekiel 1:22 , the King James Version translation of Hebrew ḳeraḥ ; in Job 28:18 , the Revised Version (British and American) translation of Hebrew gābhı̄sh ; in Revelation 4:6; Revelation 22:1 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek krustallos ; in Revelation 21:11 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek krustallı́zō ("to shine like crystal").

Diamond : in Jeremiah 17:1 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew shāmı̄r ; in Exodus 28:18; Exodus 39:11; Ezekiel 28:13 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew yahălōm .

'Eḳdaḥ , אקדּח : in Isaiah 54:12 : Septuagint translates krustallos; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) periphrases as lapides sculpti ("engraved stones"); English Versions of the Bible translates "carbuncles." From the similarity to קדח , ḳādhaḥ , "to burn," it is interpreted as meaning fiery or sparkling, whence comes the rendering "carbuncles."

Electrum (see special article): Ezekiel 1:4 , the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew ḥashmal , "amber."

Emerald : in Exodus 28:18; Exodus 39:11; Ezekiel 27:16; Ezekiel 28:13 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Hebrew nōphekh ; in Exodus 28:17; Exodus 39:10 , the Revised Version margin translation of Hebrew bāreḳeth ; in Tobit 13:16; Judith 10:21; Ecclesiasticus 32:6; Revelation 21:19 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek smaragdos ; in Revelation 21:19 , English Versions of the Bible translation of Greek adjective smarágdinos .

Gābhı̄sh , גּבישׁ : in Job 28:18 : The Septuagint transliterates gabı́s ; the King James Version translates "pearls"; the Revised Version (Briti

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Stones, Precious:'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/s/stones-precious.html. 1915.

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