Stones of Heavens - Bareket Stone

(Vere, Stein- Atle. ©2011. “Stones of Heavens - Bareket Stone”.

Among the twelve stones of heavens, the one that Hebrew calls the Bareket stone is probably the green beryl. Namely the emerald.

The green beryl is native to the land of Mitsrayim מצרים (Egypt). During the Bronze Age, the Mitsrim (Egyptians) know it and carve amulets from it, even mine for it.

The nomadic tribes of Yisrael ישראל (Israel) are also in Mitsrayim during this time. The tribes have access to this gem, when they determine the twelve gems for the Khoshen amulet.

(Vere, Stein-Atle. ©2011. “Stones of Heavens - Bareket Stone- Green Beryl - Egyptian Emerald - Hippo.” brakha.blogspot.com.
From the land of Mitsrayim מצרים (Egypt) during the Bronze Age circa -1900s, hippopotamus amulet carving in a Bareket stone ברקת - namely green beryl.
Source of image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ©2000. “Hippos Head”. Egyptian. Dynasty 12. Beryl.
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/10.130.2310, 2011.)

The stones of heavens are those twelve gems that adorn the Khoshen חשן (“Chestpouch” amulet). The Kohen Ha'Mashiakh כהן המשיח (Anointed Priest) wears it over his chest to enter the holiest area of the presence of God. Originally, a nomadic Tent-Shrine.

During the Bronze Age, in my view circa -1590, the nomads of Yisrael carve these gems. Per the book of Shmot שמות (Exodus) of the Tora תורה in the Tanakh תנך (Hebrew Bible), they do so while returning from the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt) back to the land of Yisrael.

There is one gem per tribe. Each gem is a different kind, especially to exibit a different tribal color.

These gems come from Bronze Age Mitsrayim.

During the Iron Age circa -600s, the scribes of the Tanakh probably update the transmission with the contemporary forms of the gem names. The book of Shmot (Exodus 28'17) identifies one of the twelve as the Bareket stone ברקת .

During the Classical Age, circa -200s, the book of Targum Hashivim תרגום השבעים (Septuagint Greek Bible) translates the Hebrew Tanakh into Greek. Targum Hashivim actually borrows the Hebrew gem name Bareket as a loanword to form the Greek gem name Smaragdos σμάραγδος. (Klein, Earnest. ©1987. “ברקת”. Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language.) The letters of Maragd in S-maragd-os correspond to the Hebrew letters of Bareket.

Later circa 00s, in Latin, Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder) describes this Smaragdus stone in some detail. He clearly means the green beryl, the emerald. He mentions Aegyptus (Egypt), namely Mitsrayim, as one of its sources, and identifies its crystalline form with the light green-blue beryl, the aquamarine, that he refers to as the Beryllus stone. There are complications in the evidence, such as there being more than one kind of Smaragdos because of other stones that are Smaragodos-green in color.

Nevertheless, the primary meaning of Smargados is the green beryl, and its etymological meaning is the Bareket stone itself.

Significantly, the emerald exists in the material culture of the land of Mitsrayim, during the Bronze Age.

This green beryl especially appears during Dynasty 12 and Dynasty 13 of the pharaohs of Thebes. Precisely when, in my view, the nomadic tribes of Yisrael are there.

The Mitsrim carve the emerald to use as amulets.

(Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Stones of Heavens - Bareket Stone - Green Beryl - Egyptian Emerald - Fish”. brakha.blogspot.com.
From the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt), during the Bronze Age circa -1900s to -1600s, a fish amulet carving in a Bareket stone, namely green beryl.
Source of image: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. ©2000. “Fish”. Beryl. Egyptian. Dynasty 12-13. Lisht North, Tomb L847.
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/09.180.1182, 2011.)

The Bronze Age emerald of Mitsrayim tends to be rough, often aggregating other minerals.

It also tends toward light green. Misleadingly, modern gemologists sometimes avoid calling it “emerald” because they prefer to reserve this word for only deep-green beryl. (Similarly, gemologists avoid calling red corundum “ruby” if the red is light “pink”.) Chemically, despite aggregates that tinge its color, the green beryl of Mitsrayim is true emerald - being neither the green-blue aquamarine nor green-yellow heliodor.

During the Bronze Age, most of the emerald is chance finds. Even so, the Mitsri culture pioneers minerological technologies, including mining for gold, copper, rock, and so on. They seek and utilize various minerals for glass, glazes, paint pigments, even to create artificial gems, and so on. Their surveys for various minerals help discover more emeralds.

Indeed, one of the mines at the Cleoptra Emerald Mines in Mitsrayim, reveals tools from early mining activity there, during the Bronze Age.

In sum.

The green beryl - the emerald - exists in ancient Mitsrayim. The tribes of Yisrael can access this gem, when carving the twelve gems of the Khoshen. The Greeks and Romans identify one of these twelve gems, namely the Bareket stone, as Smaragdos and Smaragdus, and clearly describe it as an emerald.

Among the twelve stones of heavens, the Bareket stone is probably green beryl.