15. carnelian, cornelian
Hebrew: 'odem, or ruddy.
Carnelian is a likely candidate for 'odem, the first stone in the high priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:17-30, 39:10-13. Chapter 10).
Mineralogy: Carnelian is a reddish to red-brown, opaque to translucent gem variety of chalcedony, a fibrous and cryptocrystalline form of quartz.
The ancient Egyptians esteemed carnelian, lapis-lazuli, and turquoise for their rarity and beautiful colors. They prized their carnelian or "herset" (meaning "sadness") for its color, the color of blood and life. Carnelian became a symbol of Ra, the sun god, or the blood of Isis. The Egyptians mined carnelian in the Eastern Desert near Aswan and in Lower Nubia. They occasionally used a yellow variety, according to Lucas and Harris.
Ancient Harappan craftsman in the Indus Valley region of India learned to simulate carnelian by heating a local yellowish-grey variety of agate in kilns. After the Eighteenth Dynasty, the Egyptians used synthetic carnelian.
See also "CHALCEDONY" and "SARDIUS."
Hurlbut, 1952, op. cit.; 322.
Lucas & Harris, op. cit.; 391-392.
Ralph, Jolyon, 1993-2004. http://www.mindat.org/show.php?id=9333
Romano, op. cit.; 1605-1621.
Schumann, op. cit.; 126-127.
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