Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Onyx & Sardonyx

It's notable that the exact identity of a few stones mentioned in Exodus 28 and Revelation 21 are uncertain and differ from translation to translation. Since many of the stones are now contemporary birthstones, I will highlight them in the months in which they correspond, not necessarily in the order they are mentioned in scripture. It's also notable that the number 12 (the number of perfection in government, and completion) is a key theme throughout these particular posts.

Onyx is the anniversary gemstone for the 7th year of marriage. Black Onyx is the anniversary gemstone for the 10th year of marriage. Onyx is the semiprecious variety of the silica mineral agate with white and black, brown or red alternating bands. Its properties are the same as those of quartz. The name onyx was used by the Romans for a variety of stones including alabaster, chalcedony, and what is now known as onyx marble. Onyx was the second stone in the fourth row on the Breastplate of Aaron in Exodus Chapter 28, and represented the tribe of Asher.

The word Sardonyx is derived from the Greek, Sard, meaning "reddish brown," and onyx meaning "veined gem." Varieties of onyx include carnelian onyx, with white and red bands, and sardonyx, with white and brown bands. The layers in these stones range from translucent to opaque for sardonyx. The stones vary in color, too. They may be white or gray, ranging to many colorful varieties. Sardonyx stones usually contain flat-banded, white and brownish-red bands. Sardonyx decorates the fifth foundation of the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21, and represents the Apostle Philip.

Black onyx is used prolifically in the jewelry trade from costume grade to the highest fine karat gold grade. Sardonyx is not used nearly as much, and predominantly in costume jewelry.

When I think about the attributes of these stones, they remind me of things about Jesus.

Black onyx reminds me of His death on the cross and the darkness over the land that accompanied the event (Matthew 27:45). It reminds me of the darkness of the tomb in which He was laid.
The red and white stripes of Sardonyx remind me of the wound to His side that gushed forth both water and blood (John 19:34).
I'm reminded of the lengths in which Jesus was willing to go in order to secure our salvation. That He would suffer things for you and me, so that we could have eternal life with Him, should we choose. Of course, Jesus had to suffer these things to get to the tomb from which He would resurrect three days later, victorious over suffering, darkness and death.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Alexandrite and Our Never-Changing God

Alexandrite is a rare gemstone named after the Russian tsar Alexander II (1818-1881), the very first crystals having been discovered in April 1834 in the emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Urals. The discovery was made on the day the future tsar came of age. Although alexandrite is a relatively young gemstone, it certainly has a noble history. Alexandrite is the faceted birthstone for the month of June.

The most sensational feature about this stone, however, is its surprising ability to change its colors. Green or bluish-green in daylight, alexandrite turns a soft shade of red, purplish-red or raspberry red in artificial light. This unique optical characteristic makes it one of the most valuable gemstones of all, especially in fine qualities.


Alexandrite reminds me of God's Love for us.

God's Love for us doesn't change, but everything in His Kingdom and all of His creation is in a constant state of change.
Watch the image above.

The alexandrite doesn't change shape, or its facets become re-arranged even when the colors constantly change within the stone.

God has a perfect will, a plan, for everything and everyone. And although things seem to constantly change around us within that plan...good changes, bad changes, planned changes and surprise changes, we can remain secure in the faithfulness of God’s Love for us which is constant and never changing (1 Chronicles 16:34).

The color change of alexandrite from red to green reminds me of how the (red) blood of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to have (green) life everlasting. You cannot have one without the other, and both abide within God's Love. Jesus (His death and resurrection) is God's greatest expression of His Love for us (John 3:16 and Romans 5:8). I'm so glad He gave us alexandrite, another example of His creation that if examined closely with an eye to deeper things than its mere beauty, gives us an example of Him and His Love for us.

If you want to read more about alexandrite just click on the image. If you want to read more about God's Love just pick up the Bible.

NEXT POST: The Gems of Exodus and Revelation - Onyx & Sardonyx