In one biblical episode, the Lord ordered Moses, the great Jewish lawgiver, to arrange 12 precious stones in four rows on the gown of his brother, the chief priest Aaron. The names of 12 family branches of Israel were to be encrusted on each stone in the following order: Reuben - on the sardion, Simon - on the topaz, Levi - on the emerald, Judah - on the ruby, Dan - on the sapphire, Naphtali - on the jasper, Gad - on the amber, Asher - on the agate, Issachar - on the amethyst, Zebulun - on the garnet, Joseph - on the beryl and Benjamin - on the onyx.
When Aaron performed the service in church, all Jacob's twelve branches would appear symbolically before God through these precious stones, thus establishing a mystical contact between the Lord and His selected nation.
The IV century Byzantine author, St. Epiphanies of Cyprus deals with this matter in his work “The Gems”. He examines these biblical precious stones not only in terms of their liturgical and mystical significance, but also from the mineralogical and curative perspectives. It appears that already in the early medieval ages, certain scientific observations already existed on the bioenergetics of precious stones. This has become particularly relevant in contemporary biomedicine, as it has been proven that precious stones possess their own curative energy: they either reflect or absorb negative charges, thus protecting their owner from evil forces or certain deceases. This is reflected in their changing color.
It should be noted also that the most comprehensive version of “The Gems" by St. Epiphanies of Cyprus has been preserved in the Georgian language and is included in one of the most important manuscripts of the Georgian culture - “The Shatberdi Collection" (X century). Furthermore, each of the 12 precious stones of the Old Testament is associated with one of the 12 Apostles of Christ and zodiac signs.
The precious stone amethyst correlates with Issachar - the ninth son of the biblical patriarch Jacob. This gem completes the third row of precious stones adorning the gown of the chief priest Aaron. The following are the mineralogical properties of this stone: the amethyst is a violet or lilac variety of quartz. A real tint of amethyst intersects under sunlight. The so-called “oriental amethyst” is a violet corundum and even a violet spinel. According to traditional definition, the name of this stone means “preventing intoxication” or “intoxication-proof ancient times, opinion prevailed that a person carrying this stone did not get drunk and did not possess evil intentions. That was the reason that wine vessels were often decorated with amethysts. It was believed that the amethyst could make wrinkles disappear. This gem was not worn very frequently, however, because people believed that if the amethyst was worn every day, this would reduce its mystical powers.
This stone was often used to decorate Christian ecclesiastical items and the Catholic ecclesiastics used to wear rings bearing amethysts.
According to widespread opinion, at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, people of high spirituality deserved to bear amethysts.
The amethyst is the main gem of Pisces (February 19 - March 20) and Simon is the apostle of this Zodiac. Like other precious stones, it safeguards its owner from the evil eye, cures alcoholism, epilepsy, rheumatism, infertility and positively impacts on the nervous system.
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