I'm wondering if there are any definitive texts, ancient or modern, that give some more depth to the origin of the meaning ascribed to them such as like here:

Lapis is an excellent stone for executives, journalists, and psychologists, stimulating wisdom and good judgment in the practical world. It aids intellectual analysis in archeologists and historians, problem solving for lawyers, and creates new ideas for inventors and writers.

Lapis Lazuli is a powerful crystal for activating the higher mind and enhancing intellectual ability. It stimulates the desire for knowledge, truth and understanding, and aids the process of learning.

A stone of truth, Lapis encourages honesty of the spirit, and in the spoken and written word. Wear it for all forms of deep communication. It is also a stone of friendship and brings harmony in relationships....

Where do the ideas like "encourages honesty" or "enhancing intellectual ability" come from? It's not just completely made up I imagine, even though it may not be scientific, there must be some more deeper origins of such mythology/folklore.

That website has footnotes such a these:

  • [Ahsian, pp.] Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian, The Book of Stones (Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2007).
  • [Eason, pp. ]Cassandra Eason, The New Crystal Bible (London: Carlton Books Ltd., 2010).
  • [Fernie, pp.] William T. Fernie, The Occult and Curative Powers of Precious Stones (Blauvelt, NY: Rudolph Steiner Publications, 1973).
  • [Gienger, pp.] Michael Gienger, Healing Crystals (Scotland: Earthdancer Books, 2009).
  • [Hall, pp.] Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible (Cincinnati, OH: Walking Stick Press, 2003).
  • [Hall 2, pp.]Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible 2 (Cincinnati, OH: Walking Stick Press, 2009).
  • [Kunz, pp.] George Frederick Kunz, The Curious Lore of Precious Stones (New York: Dover Publications, 1971).
  • [Megemont, pp.] Florence Megemont, The Metaphysical Book of Gems and Crystals (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2008).
  • [Mella, pp.] Dorothee L. Mella, Stone Power II (Albuquerque, NM: Brotherhood of Life, Inc., 1986).
  • [Melody, pp.] Melody, Love Is In The Earth (Wheat Ridge, CO: Earth-Love Publishing House, 1995).
  • [Raphaell, pp.] Katrina Raphaell, Crystal Enlightenment (Santa Fe, NM: Aurora Press, 1985)
  • [Simmons, pp.] Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian, The Book of Stones (Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2007).

Those are all modern books post 2000. They are all private books too I imagine, so I can't easily check them out and follow the citation trail. So I'm wondering what the core references are for the meaning of stones.

Right now it just seems like a bunch of fluff pulled out of thin air, but they must be getting these ideas from some other place. Perhaps it finds its origin in some standard ancient references like a medical bible or ancient astrology text or something equivalent to the Tao Te Ching. Basically I'm just looking for something like "the theory of 5 elements" from ancient china, or other simple systems the ancients (or moderns if it's the case) used for ascribing meaning to the minerals and gems and whatnot. Something where the author more meaningfully derives the meaning, even if it's not a scientific derivation necessarily.

2 Answers 2


I have struggled to find a taxonomy of special stones or gems that takes the modern approach like a reference book. Under luminous gemstones there are part mythical part story works of scholarship. I haven't read any of these [obvious] but to me :

Bencao Gangmu was a medical book in China in the late 1500's. So from that wikipedia entry:

Compendium of Materia Medica is also more than a mere pharmaceutical text, for it includes a vast amount of information on topics as wide-ranging as biology, chemistry, geography, mineralogy, geology, history, and even mining and astronomy, which might appear to have little connection with herbal medicine. It has been translated into more than 20 languages and spread all over the world. Even now it is still in print and used as a reference book.


Surely the standard history applies: late antiquity sources, compiled in medieval encyclopedias, recycled since the Renaissance. Not being an expert I can just suggest some links

Camillo Leonardi (1451 – 1550) Speculum lapidum. The mirror of stones (London : Printed for J. Freeman in Fleet-street, 1750) : In which the nature, generation, properties, virtues and various species of more than 200 different jewels, precious and rare stones, are distinctly described. Also certain and insallible rules to know the good from the bad, how to prove their genuineness, and to distinguish the real from counterseits. Extracted from the works of Aristotle, Pliny, Isiodorus, Dionysius Alexandrinus, Albertus Magnus, &c. By Camillus Leonardus

Pliny the Elder (23-79) Book 37 The Nat. hist. of stones, chap. 9, ff.

Marbodius of Rennes (1035–1123) Liber lapidum 60 stones, in latin and french

An early serious work in the peripatetic tradition is Theophrastus (371–287.BC) On Stones

+A resource for tracking Medieval encyclopedias, bestiaries, lapidaries, etc.; also Claude Lecouteux, A Lapidary of Sacred Stones: Their Magical and Medicinal Powers Based on the Earliest Sources (Rochester VT, 2012): each entry includes a list of medieval sources that discuss the stone in question.

  • In the original greek! You are the best!
    – Lance
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 21:01

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