Jacinth

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This article is about the gemstone. For the racehorse, see Jacinth (horse).
Red zircon from Gilgit, Pakistan

Jacinth (ja'-sinth) is a red transparent variety of zircon used as a gemstone. Jacinth is also a flower of a reddish blue or deep purple (hyacinth), and hence a precious stone of that colour (Revelation 21:20).

It has been supposed to designate the same stone as the ligure (Hebrew leshem) mentioned in Exodus 28:19 as the first stone of the third row in the high priest's breast-plate, the Hoshen.[citation needed] or choshen.[1] In Revelation 9:17 the word is simply descriptive of colour.[2]

Use in literature[edit]

Jacinths are mentioned as decorating the city of Iram in Richard Francis Burton's translation of the Arabian Nights.

Alfred Lord Tennyson's vision of Excalibur in his epic poem "The Passing of Arthur," from the Idylls of the King, describes its hilt as studded with jacinths:

"There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
Of subtlest jewellery."

J.R.R. Tolkien used jacinths to describe the deep-blue wall of space in his poem, The Happy Mariners:

"Past sunless lands to fairy leas
Where stars upon the jacinth wall of space
Do tangle burst and interlace"

Oscar Wilde's novel Dorian Gray, speaks of Edward II giving armorial vestments made with Jacinths to his lover Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall.

Jacinth is also mentioned in the apocryphal Book of Enoch, where in Enoch's first journey through earth and Sheol, he encounters an enormous mountain of jacinth, or jacinth-like in appearance:

"And I proceeded and saw a place...where there are seven mountains of magnificent stones....
"And as for those towards the east (one) was of coloured stone, and one of pearl, and one of jacinth,
"and those towards the south of red stone." I Enoch XVIII: 6-7.

Two gold necklaces inlaid with jacinths and amethysts are given to Ganelon as a gift for his wife in The Song of Roland (stanza 50).

And then there came the Queen, Bramimunde;
said to the Count: "Lord, I love you well,
for my lord and all his men esteem you so.
I wish to send your wife two necklaces,
they are all gold, jacinths, and amethysts,
they are worth more than all the wealth of Rome.
Your Emperor has never seen their like."
He has taken them, thrusts them into his boot. AOI.[3]

Jacinth was also used by e.e. cummings in the poem "You Are Tired (I Think)" (last stanza).

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

In Dungeons and Dragons, jacinths are often referred to as an orange gemstone, and used to fulfill that function in "prismatic" magic items, where the color red is represented by rubies.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "www.Bibler.org - Dictionary - Breastplate of the High Priest". 2012-09-12. 
  2. ^ "www.Bibler.org - Dictionary - Jacinth". 2012-09-12. 
  3. ^ The Song of Roland. ca. 1100. Trans. Frederick Goldin. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. General Eds. Sarah Lawall and Mack Maynard. 2nd ed. Vol. B. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002. pp. 1702-1767.