Gemstones and Their Significance in Ancient History


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Known for its purple hues, amethyst is believed to be a stone that can cure the drunkenness of whoever owns it. Amethyst has been used by ancient Egyptians and Greeks to engrave their goblets with it, as it was perceived to be a cure for intoxication. The deep purple color, which occurs because of irradiation, represents royalty.

Amethyst is thought to have its roots in Rome, however, in reality, it originates from ancient Egypt where it was used in the crowns and bracelets worn by the goddesses. In Buddhist culture, prayer beads are made with amethyst as it holds a sacred status there. Amethysts were once thought to be among the most precious gemstones until large reserves of them were discovered in Brazil.


Malachite Gemstone

Malachite has been used in making pigments throughout the history. Ancient Egyptians thought of it to protect from evil spirits and black magic. The green color represents growth and fertility. It was commonly found in the headdresses of the pharaohs to bring condition their prophetic visions.


Set of realistic green emeralds with rectangle cuts isolated on white background.
Photo: iStock

Famously known as the gemstone adored by Queen Cleopatra, the earliest occurrence of emeralds can be traced back to Egypt where they were found near the Red Sea. Not just in Egyptian history, but also in Iranian, catholic, and Islamic culture, emeralds have been a status symbol. In ancient Hindu scriptures, it is referred to as the stone that brings light and luck.  

Red Jasper

Photo of a red jasper stone
Natural red jasper gemstone. iStock

This stone is known to possess astral properties and it was believed to help the dead have safe passage from here to the afterlife. It was often called the bloodstone due to its red color which represents fertility and the blood of Mother Earth. It was used to make amulets and breastplates. It was believed to protect against evil and enforce endurance, which is why it was engraved in the handle of a sword belonging to the Viking king.

Lapis Lazuli

This stone holds both mystical and cosmic importance. In ancient times, it was used by royals for its majestic looks. Priests used it because of the belief that it holds water elements to purify one from the negative influences of the lower self. It was seen as the symbol of power, mystery, and respect. The presence of gold flakes in the gem is perceived to add a touch of wealth, royalty, and wisdom.


The gem was first found in the tomb of Queen Zar, dating back to the second ruler of Egypt. It was engraved in a bracelet. Egypt is often called the “land of turquoise” because the gemstone is found abundantly over there.


Because of its fiery red-orange color, it is also known as the stone of fire. Associated with the sun god, Ra was believed to ward off evil spirits and bad dreams.

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