Breastplate

Exodus 28: 15-21

The Breastplate of the High Priest The instructions for fabricating the Breastplate of the High Priest, or the Breastplate of Aaron, can be found in Exodus 28, 15-30:

"Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions - the work of a skilled craftsman. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen.

It is to be square - a span long and a span wide - and folded double. Then mount four rows of precious stones on it.

In the first row there shall be a ruby, a topaz and a beryl;
in the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald;
in the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst;
in the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper.

Mount them in gold filigree settings. There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes."

30) "... Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord."

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Ruby GemstoneTopaz GemstoneBeryl Gemstone Turquoise GemstoneSapphire GemstoneEmerald Gemstone Jacinth GemstoneAgate GemstoneAmethyst Gemstone Chrysolite GemstoneOnyx GemstoneJasper Gemstone

Most gem scholars agree that the tradition of birthstones arose from the Breastplate of Aaron: a ceremonial religious garment set with twelve gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel and also corresponded with the twelve signs of the zodiac and the twelve months of the year.

Because ancient people did not always classify gemstones by mineral species like we do, there is some debate about which gemstones were set in the breastplate and why. Because of this, different cultures around the world have developed different birth stone lists. The modern day list that you know is only the most recent list: some older lists still exist. Some also argue that the proper way to assign gemstones is according to astrological sign and not month.

Gemstones are said to have special blessings. It was believed that if your wore the gemstone of the month you would be more likely to receive the blessings. Therefore many people would have a gemstone for each month.

(Information from GemStone.org)

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