GEMSTONES OF THE BREASTPLATE OF JUDGEMENT
In the most ancient of times, Yaweh, the Divine Creator, ordained the prophet
Moses to place twelve designated gemstones on the Breastplate of Judgement
to be worn by the high priest Aaron. Upon each gemstone was engraved
one of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel:
"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. "
"It was called the breastplate of judgement because it held the stones that let the Jews know that God looked with favor upon them."
-"On the Vestments of the Ancient Law," Rationale Divinorum Officiorum,1286;
William Durante, Bishop of Mende