Chrysolite, Chrysoprase and Coral

Gemstones in the Bible

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The seventh precious stone used to create the foundation of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:20) is called, in the Greek, chrusolithos (Strong's Concordance #G5555). The word occurs only in this one verse in the entirety of Scripture. This stone is not mentioned as being either embedded in the High Priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:17 - 21, with parallel list in Exodus 39:10 - 13) or as one that Lucifer was created with (Ezekiel 28:13).

Strong's defines chrusolithos as a gold or yellow-colored gemstone ("gold stone"). Thayer's lexicon says it is golden colored. All ten versions of Scripture used for comparison purposes in this series translate the word as "chrysolite."

Chrysolite Folklore

The Jewish Encyclopedia states the following tradition regarding chrysolite's relationship with the Ark of the Covenant.

"Others said that there was in the Ark a figure of chrysolite or ruby with the head and tail of a shecat and with two wings. It would utter a moaning sound, and the Ark would rush toward the enemy with the Israelites following it. When it stayed, they stood and were at ease, and victory came" (1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Ark of the Covenant").

The Chrysolite's color of golden yellow was associated with the sun and Sunday. A donkey engraved on the gem gave the wearer the ability to predict the future. On the other hand, if a vulture was etched on the stone it gave the person who possessed it the power to control demons and the winds. The gemstone was also though to dispel various "terrors" of the night but only if it was worn in a setting of gold (Curious Lore of Precious Stones, pages 66 - 67, 133).

What is beautiful to GOD?
Does the Ark of the Covenant still exist?
How much gold did King Solomon own?



The tenth foundation gemstone of the New Jerusalem built by God (Revelation 21:20) is composed of a stone called chrusoprasos in the Greek (Strong's #G5556). Strong's Concordance defines the word as a greenish yellow gem, while Thayer's states it is a green stone "inclined to that of gold." This stone is not mentioned either as one which was embedded in the High Priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:17 - 21, with parallel list in Exodus 39:10 - 13) or as one that Lucifer was created with (Ezekiel 28:13).

Eight out of the ten major translations used in this series translate chrusoprasos as "chrysoprase," while the other two refer to it as "chrysoprasus" (they are equivalent terms). Chrysoprase is a quartz-based precious stone that is a variety of chalcedony. The gem, commonly used in necklaces, receives its apple-green color from nickel.

Chrysoprase Folklore

Chrysoprase, placed against the body, was believed to produce shivering and chills that began in the chest region and spread to the entire body. Additionally it was once believed that thieves, sentenced to be beheaded or hanged, who placed this stone in his mouth, would be able to escape their executioners as if they were invisible (Curious Lore of Precious Stones, pages 11, 67 - 68).

Chrysoprase from Poland
Chrysoprase from Poland


The Hebrew word ramah (Strong's #H7215) refers to one of the two major gemstones in the Bible that are produced organically (created by a living creature) as opposed to those created strictly by geological processes. Strong's defines ramah as referring to something that has a high value and translates the word as "coral, " as does the BDB lexicon.

All ten Bibles used in this series translate ramah as "coral" in both Job 28:18 and Ezekiel 27:16 (the only two places it is found). Job refers to this gemstone in relation to how far the attainment of wisdom is above its value. The prophet Ezekiel lists coral as among the many goods the Syrians traded with the city of Tyre.

But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13. Man does not know the price of it . . . 18. No mention shall be made of coral, or of crystal; and the price of wisdom is above rubies (Job 28:12 - 13, 18, HBFV).

Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate (Ezekiel 27:16, KJV).

The gemstone is not mentioned as being in the High Priest's breastplate, as a stone that decorated Lucifer before he became Satan, or as a foundation stone in the New Jerusalem. The modern English word "coral," which is not found in the New Testament, is derived from the Greek work korallion.

This naturally-made gemstone is formed when tiny marine animals known as coral polyps gather to live in large colonies. The polyps take in calcium carbonate from the water and use it to excrete a hard protective covering around their bodies. When polyps die, they leave behind their protective "skeleton" which other polyps build upon.

Coral used for gems can be colored red, blue, violet, orange, pink, black and other colors. Due to their intense colors and glossy look, they have been used for jewelry and other decoration purposes since antiquity. This gemstone has been traditionally used to make cameos, figurines and beads. According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, the ancient Phoenicians used coral to create beads to mount on collars and garments.


Coral Folklore

Coral was believed to give the wearer the ability to travel safely upon large expanses of water. This organic stone was also thought to cease the flow of blood from a wound, heal mental problems and provide wisdom. This brilliantly colored precious stone, it was additionally believed, could combat evil spells (Curious Lore of Precious Stones, pages 68 - 69).

Additional Study Materials
What do colors represent in Scripture?
Why was New Testament written in Greek?
What exactly IS black magic?

Gemstones in the Bible
Series Introduction

Precious Stones in the Breastplate
Gems in New Jerusalem

Primary Sources

1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
Curious Lore of Precious Stones, 1913 edition
Diamonds, Pearls and Precious Stones, 1913 edition
Gemstones in the Breastplate, 2008 edition
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
United States Geological Survey - - Wikipedia

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Chrysolite, Chrysoprase and Coral
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