From the Greek 'Hyacinth', which is also the name for a flower native of the Mediterranean region, it is a variety of zircon, a precious stone with a color similar to the flower's.
The Jacinth or Hyacynth stone was used in Talismans and Amulets throughout the ancient world, and it is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments.
In Exodus 28:15-21, it is one of the precious stones in the high priest's breast-piece:
"And you shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work; like the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, blue and purple and scarlet stuff, and fine twined linen shall you make it. It shall be square and double, a span its length and a span its breadth. And you shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel; they shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes."
In Revelation 21:10-21 is one of the stones mentioned in the foundation of the New Jerusalem:
"And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." "And he who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal. He also measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits by a man's measure, that is, an angel's. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 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 eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass."
According to occult tradition, the Jacinth is a magical stone which allegedly preserves from plague and from lightning, strengthens the heart, and brings wealth, honor, prudence, and wisdom. It was recommended by Albertus Magnus as a soporific, on account of its coldness, and was ordered by Psellus in cases of coughs, ruptures, and melancholy, to be drunk in vinegar.
Marbodaeus (also Marbodius) described the wonderful properties of three species of the jacinth (a red zircon, an orange hessonite garnet and a topaz, some say a sapphire instead); Pliny and Leonardus are also particular in their account of it. It would protect travelers, cure madness and be a antidote to poisons, pestilences and pestiferous vapors. It was also said to give the wearer protection against lightning.
Modern mystics claim that the jacinth cures polio, tuberculosis, insomnia and anxiety. If it is powdered, in vinegar it is supposed to relieve coughs and prevent ruptures; it also aids astral projection.
The greatest natural concentrations of Jacinth have been found in Russia, Canada, Pakistan and Norway.
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Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (3) Bonner, Campbell, Studies in Magical Amulets, University of Michigan Press; (4) Budge, E. A. Wallis, Amulets and Talismans, Carol Publishing Corporation; (5) Walker, Barbara G., The Book of Sacred Stones: Fact and Fallacy in the Crystal World, Harper & Row.
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