Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, according to Marilyn Monroe, but precious and semi-precious stones were used thousands of years before to make amulets, impression seals and objects in the Temple and to beautify the robes of the High Priest.
A selection of stones of various types, including talc, amethyst, serpentine, chalcedony, lapis lazuli, opal, chrysocolla and more from different periods and different sites (courtesy Bar-Ilan University)
Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv is spearheading a new field of research in archeological gemology whose aim is to examine and learn more about ancient precious stones and minerals. Prof. Zohar Amar and Yael Elkayam, of Bar-Ilan’s Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, are directing the research.
In recent years, Amar has conducted a major historical study on common precious stones found in the Land of Israel and its environs, covering such topics as their origin, processing methods, identification, and more. His research was published in a 2017 book entitled The Beauty of Gemstone: The Hoshen Jewels and Precious Stones in the Ancient World.
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