The Twelve Foundation Stones of the Heavenly City: Jacinth & Garnet

Gemstones contain an ageless beauty that has always captivated and inspired the human spirit. Perhaps it’s the vibrant colors, sparkly sheen, quality of permanence, and geometric perfection that come together to create a bright energetic frequency--and this energy can spiritually attune us to a higher realm. You can find references to the power of gemstones throughout ancient history, and quite notably in the Bible.

In the Old Testament, instructions were given to create the holy breastplate of the High Priest of Israel, which included twelve specific stones in four rows. Each stone represented one of the twelve tribes of Israel. We see this theme of twelve precious stones appearing again in the New Testament. Revelation 21:19 introduces the twelve foundation stones of the heavenly city. (Interestingly, these biblical references to twelve gemstones later inspired the concept of the twelve birthstones that the Western world acknowledges today.)

The Book of Revelation is an enigmatic read, filled with visionary accounts of the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. The final two chapters, 21 and 22, are said to metaphorically describe the heavenly realm, and it is where we find mention of a future holy city. This city made of gold was described as having twelve stones in the foundation, many of which overlapped with the twelve stones in the holy breastplate. Each of the twelve foundation stones also represented one of the twelve apostles.

What are the Twelve Foundation Stones?

Revelation 21:19-20 reads, "The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eight beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst."

There’s debate between experts today about the accuracy of this list of foundation stones.

This is because the ancient names of gemstones don’t correspond with our modern mineral classifications. Instead of categorizing gemstones based on their crystalline forms and composition, like we do today, in ancient times stones were named based on their color, place of origin, or how they were used. The International Gem Society published this list of the twelve foundation stones as the one they believe is the most accurate and correct version: Garnet, Amethyst, Jasper, Diamond, Emerald, Agate, Turquoise, Carnelian, Chrysolite (Peridot), Beryl, Topaz, and Ruby.

It’s fascinating that the foundation stones are still prized today by gem and mineral collectors for their beauty and geological qualities. Metaphysically minded people also recognize the energetic properties of stones, and those on the foundation stones list are popular for therapeutic use in modern crystal healing modalities. No matter which perspective you come from—scientific, religious, or metaphysical—these special stones can add light, wonder, and inspiration to your life.

Each article in this series will cover the geological properties, historical uses, and metaphysical qualities of one foundation stone. We kick off this series in January with the eleventh foundation stone, Jacinth, which is an archaic name for reddish-orange Zircon. This article will also cover in more detail the alternative interpretation of the eleventh stone from the International Gem Society list, which is Garnet. Garnet is the official birthstone for January and perfectly supports the current energy of Capricorn season.

Jacinth (reddish-orange Zircon): Jacinth is the name we find in the Bible that is believed to refer to reddish-orange Zircon. Zircon is one of the oldest minerals on Earth, with Australian specimens dating back to 4.4 million years. This ancient gem is a zirconium silicate that comes in a wide range of colors and is prized for its high refractive index and brilliant flashes of fire. Zircon is the modern birthstone for December.

In addition to being the eleventh foundation stone from Revelations, Jacinth was listed as the seventh stone of the High Priest’s breastplate in the Old Testament. In the Hindu religion, the leaves of the holy, wish-granting Kalpavriksha tree were said to be made of Zircons. In the Middle Ages, it was worn to protect against plague, injury, and disease and to enhance finances and business acumen. It was also historically used to treat insomnia and bring a greater sense of joy and happiness.

Today, this reddish-orange sparkler is used to treat and balance the root and sacral chakras. It has a stabilizing and grounding quality that helps you feel more secure in the world and confident in who you are. It is still regarded as a top protection stone and a magnet for wealth, prosperity, and business success. Reddish-orange Zircon captures the energy of fire. It boosts passion, creativity, manifestation, and personal power. It also benefits the emotional body and relationships by helping you process, understand, and express your feelings. Some people harness the power of red-orange zircon to connect with their ancestors and access ancient wisdom.

Garnet: Garnet is believed to be the true eleventh foundation stone by the International Gem Society. Garnet gets its name from the Latin word for pomegranate, granatum, since the appearance of some Garnets look like pomegranate seeds. It is a January birthstone and the second-year anniversary gemstone. Garnet is assigned to the Earth element and ruled by Saturn.

Although most people picture a deep reddish stone when they think of Garnet, there are fifteen different species in the Garnet group that come in a variety of colors: brown, red, orange, peach, yellow, green, pink, and clear. The types of Garnets most commonly used in jewelry are Pyrope, Almandite, Spessartite, Grossularite (including Hessonite and Tsavorite), Andradite (including Demantoid), and Uvarovite. Most Garnets, but not all, are in the class of aluminum silicates, and many of them exhibit dodecahedral shapes. They are metamorphic rocks with a hardness of 7, and perhaps Garnet’s inherent sturdiness influenced its reputation as a stone that bestows strength and power.

Garnet has a rich history of magical and practical use. Over 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians were creating Garnet necklaces for pharaohs, and they were placed in tombs to be treasured in the afterlife. Garnet was seen as a sacred stone and incorporated into ceremonial objects by the Native Americans, the Aztecs and the Mayans, South American indigenous groups, and the African tribes.

The Romans chose Garnet to represent Mars, the god of war and bloodshed. Both Christians and Muslims regarded it as a warrior’s talisman during the Crusades. Blood-colored Garnets were believed to shield warriors from bodily harm. Some Asiatic tribes used Garnets directly in warfare, slinging them from their bows and later using them as bullets, due to a belief that they would cause more serious wounding than other materials.

Garnet was one of the stones included in the breastplate of the High Priest and is believed to be one of the four precious stones given to King Solomon by God. Legend has it that Noah suspended a large Garnet in the ark to provide and diffuse light. The Greeks wore it around the neck because it was believed to grant the wearer the ability to see in the dark. They also believed that it could heal disputes between lovers.

Old texts going back as far as the 1300s purport that Garnet cures inflammation of all kinds—physical swelling, redness, and infection—as well as emotional volatility, disputes, and rage. It was used as a cure for poison, an attractor of riches, a bestower of wisdom and loyalty, and a protector against plague and evil.

Today, Garnet is regarded as a top healing stone for treating the body and the human energy system. It clears all chakras and promotes balance and energy flow through your whole bio-energetic system. Garnet gives a boost to general energy levels and all systems that are depleted. It has an orderly, grounded quality that stabilizes thoughts, emotions, bodily imbalances, and general discordant energy. It is known to detoxify the vital organs and stimulate metabolism, while supporting healing in the circulatory system, heart, lungs, DNA, reproductive system, and digestive system.

Garnet is an inherently positive and optimistic stone that lifts the spirits of those who are prone to depression, melancholy, and pessimism. Grab it when you need help bouncing back from grief or any form of debilitating loss. It is known to boost your coping skills and survival instinct, while helping you sustain a positive, can-do attitude in the face of adversity and trauma.

Garnet is still viewed as a stone of good luck, prosperity, love, and success. It is a talisman for businesspeople that attracts opportunities and instills motivation and passion for their life’s work. It enhances productivity, leadership skills, and the ability to tackle big projects and responsibilities. Garnet is also a stone for lovers. It is known as the stone of commitment that can balance the sex drive, heighten intimacy, and bring greater passion and awareness into the relationship.

The color palette of heavenly city includes a fiery red frequency due to the addition of Jacinth or Garnet. Treasured throughout time, these stones are still popular today for use in fine jewelry and in metaphysical practices to promote vitality, grit, love, and success. Stay tuned for the next article in this series, which will dive into the history and properties of the fascinating foundation stone, Amethyst.