Ancient gemstones used by pharaohs is Lapis Lazuli, steatite, turquoise, gold, carnelian, hematite, azurite, malachite, emeralds, and clear quartz which were used throughout Egyptian history.
What Were the Ancient Gemstones Pharaohs used in Egypt?
Hatshepsut (1507 – 1458 BC): Lapis Lazuli and Steatite Scarab
Thutmose III (1481 BC – 1425 BC): Steatite Stone
Ramesses II (1303 BC – 1213 BC): Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise, Gold
Amenhotep III (started about 1391 BC – 1353 BC): Carnelian, Sard, Ivory
Tutankhamen (1341 BC – 1323 BC): Libyan Desert Glass, Lapis Lazuli
Xerxes I (519 BC – 465 BC): Cinnabar, Hematite, Azurite
Akhenaten (1380 BC – 1334 BC): Clear Quartz Crystal
Djoser (2686 BC – 2649 BC): Carnelian, Turquoise , Lapis Lazuli)
Khufu (2589 BC – 2566 BC): Limestone, Basalt, Pink Granite
Cleopatra VII (69 BC – 30 BC): Malachite, Lapis Lazuli, Emeralds/Peridots
Ancient Egypt remains to be the most popular and one of the most influential ancient civilizations in the history of mankind. It was mainly in North-Eastern Africa, alongside the lower reaches of the River Nile in modern-day Egypt. Without a doubt, Egyptians mastered a lot of things throughout their history – healing techniques, medicines, carvings, sculptures, and the use of gemstones in their daily lives.
In ancient Egypt, gemstones and crystals were used predominantly as a component of medicine as well as protective amulets to keep evil spirits at bay. Some stones were also used in rituals, mostly when burying the dead, as they believed that the energetic power of the stones would help them discover their way into the afterlife.
List of Pharaohs and Gemstones with Meanings
Hatshepsut (1507 – 1458 BC):
Gemstones, Lapis Lazuli and Steatite Scarab
Considered the most successful female pharaoh to ever ascend the throne of Egypt, Queen Hatshepsut ruled for more than 21 years and is believed to have accomplished more than many pharaohs before and after her.
Although there isn’t enough information about Queen Hatshepsut’s use of crystals and gemstones, one account reveals that the queen used lapis lazuli scarab as an amulet to enhance the relationship between Hatshepsut and the god Amun.
Scarabs are incredibly rare gemstones, yet very important as they can be useful to those seeking clarity as well as used in the development of psychic powers.
In ancient Egyptian civilization, the god Ra is seen rolling the sun across the sky every day, therefore transforming bodies and souls. On the other hand, beetles known as scarabs or dung beetles usually roll dung into a ball, and therefore due to this symbolically similar process, the scarab was considered a reflection of the heavenly cycle as well as representing the idea of regeneration or rebirth.
Archaeologists found 299 lapis lazuli and steatite scarab amulets near the wall of Hatshepsut temple, with each amulet containing a name or title that the queen ever held.
The Scarab is believed to secure the special relationship between Queen Hatshepsut and the god Amun.
Thutmose III (1481 BC – 1425 BC):
As one of the most successful warrior pharaohs in ancient Egypt, Thutmose II ruled over an empire that stretched from Sudan to Iraq.
He is considered among the greatest military kings to ever rule Egypt.
Thutmose III wore a pendant made from creamy beige-hued steatite.
Also sometimes called soapstone, this crystal is naturally heavy and its high content of talc makes it very soft, which explains how the crystal was easily worked with ancient Egyptian tools.
Physically, steatite was used to treat skin disorders and it relieved particularly itching irritation and red spots.
It is believed that Thutmose III used steatite for its soothing and balancing effect to create positive and calming energy around his temple.
He also probably used it to help him prepare for any potential changes in his life, given the unpredictable life of a king with all prospective upheavals from the subjects as well as external attacks from the enemies.
Ramesses II (1303 BC – 1213 BC):
Gemstones Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise, Gold
Known for being the third king of the 19th dynasty, Ramesses II was one of the most important pharaohs of the New Kingdom.
He is often called ‘the Great Ancestor’ and is said to have had several triumphant military careers that benefited his kingdom.
His mummy is the only one in the world to have ever been issued an Egyptian passport when his remains were sent to France for restoration.
Ramesses II was a big fan of lapis lazuli, turquoise, and gold. One of his major construction projects, the temple of Pi-Ramesses Amun, had some striking balconies made of turquoise and lapis lazuli.
Also, among the treasures found in his tombs were a pair of lapis lazuli and gold bangles.
No evidence shows he did wear these crystal ornaments, but judging from his love for the stones – telling from the use of the crystals in Pi-Ramesses, the idea that Ramesses wore them is not farfetched.
Turquoise is known for being one of the oldest healing stones and has served for many centuries as a healing crystal for civilizations, including the Ancient Egyptians where records show it was first mined.
Egyptians would set turquoise in gold rings and necklaces carved it into scarabs and used it as inlay.
In a country that is predominantly deserted, turquoise was a prized asset as it was representative of cleanliness and happiness.
Ancient Egyptians also entitled goddess Hathor as ‘The Mistress of Turquoise’.
King Ramesses might have also used turquoise for its spiritual meaning – it represented tranquility, wisdom, good fortune, hope, and protection as well as release patterns of self-sabotage.
Lapis lazuli on the other hand, as was used in Pi-Ramesses temple, represented the color of the sky and therefore was associated with resurrection, creation, and holiness.
Amenhotep III (started about 1391 BC – 1353 BC):
Gemstones, Carnelian, Sard and Ivory
As the 9th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, Amenhotep III’s reign is remembered for prosperity and artistic glory.
He transformed Egypt’s economy and contributed massively to the sector of art by erecting many monuments, stone scarabs, and statues.
Archaeologists recently discovered three carnelian and sard plaques for bracelets from the reign of Amenhotep III that were probably owned by him.
Another separate treasure hunting leads to the discovery of an ivory bracelet belonging to king Amenhotep III which is currently housed at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Netherlands.
Carnelian was associated with blood during ancient Egyptian Civilization and is believed to help purify the blood, relieve back pain and also treat sickness.
It was also used for stability and protection and often times used to make heart amulets.
King Amenhotep III also might have used sard crystals for their ability to encourage willpower, motivation as well as strength of character.
As the king, Amenhotep III needed to have a tremendous focus to deal with the challenges that running an empire brought.
Tutankhamen (1341 BC – 1323 BC):
Gemstones, Libyan Desert Glass, and Lapis Lazuli
Tutankhamun is considered the most famous and influential pharaoh of all time despite becoming a king at a very young age – 9 or 10. His tomb was still almost intact when it was discovered.
One of the gemstones found in Tutankhamun’s tomb was the Libyan Desert Glass, a yellow-golden stone known for its numerous properties.
The king wore the crystal as a treasure chest or breastplate.
This gemstone is known for its universal powers including providing protection and uniting the soul with the world.
Moreover, due to the purity of the yellow color crystal, Tutankhamun might also have used it to strengthen his will.
The gold rays of the gemstone also have potent spiritual energy showing significant vibrations. The Egyptians called it ‘the rock of the god’ and it conjures its healing powers from nature.
The Libyan Desert Glass is also known to heal the immune system as well as calm down irritable bowel syndrome and provide protection against energy vampires. It was also used for physical healing since it enabled the wearer to increase their mental powers, memorize properly and develop logical reasoning.
In addition to the Libyan Desert Glass, King Tutankhamun’s tomb was also filled with a piece of jewelry with a scarab beetle made of lapis lazuli. This bluish semi-precious stone was used to help Tutankhamun on his journey into the afterlife.
Xerxes I (519 BC – 465 BC):
Gemstones, Cinnabar, Hematite, and Azurite
Xerxes, I was both a Persian ruler and a pharaoh since during his reign, Egypt was under the Persian Empire.
He was the most powerful monarch in the world and is best known for planning and leading the massive assault on Greece.
Some of the gemstones unearthed from Susa include tyrolite, azurite, malachite, cinnabar, hematite, and yellow ochre among others.
Hematite is used by healers to restore strengthen, and regulate blood supply and aid blood conditions like anemia.
Cinnabar on the other hand was known to help those who sought love and made them manifest their best and most attractive selves, thus breaking through inhibitions and self-doubts.
The people of the ancient Persian Empire placed cinnabar in the cash box to increase income and to hold on to wealth.
Akhenaten (1380 BC – 1334 BC):
Clear Quartz Crystal
Often called Amenhotep IV, Akhenaten was a pharaoh during the 18th dynasty.
Unlike most other kings in ancient Egypt, Akhenaten was not loved much by his people because of many unpopular reformations.
Although not much is known about Akhenaten’s lifestyle, an excavation process discovered a cylinder filled with white quartz pebbles, suggesting that Pharaoh Akhenaten use them to balance the Ba and Ka energies of the body.
Crystals were valued in ancient Egypt as talismans with powers to prevent aging. It should be noted that from inscriptions and statues.
King Akhenaten may have suffered from various disorders and struggled with his own physical and mental abnormalities, people have often used quartz crystals for their healing powers in ancient and modern times including pharaohs.
The pair of obelisks that stood behind Karnak temple in ancient Amarna was built with quartz stones inside them to protect residents and generate energy by harnessing the power of the heavens and the sun (Aten).
Djoser (2686 BC – 2649 BC):
Gemstones and Crystals Carnelian, Turquoise, and Lapis Lazuli
The pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty, Djoser was the founder of the Old Kingdom and known for his contribution to the construction of the Step Pyramid.
Archeologists unearthed an unnamed number of artifacts in Djoser’s Step Pyramid, including bracelets and vessels made with lapis lazuli, carnelian, and turquoise.
Carnelian was used widely in ancient Egypt for beads, amulets, inlay works, and small statues.
It was usually paired with turquoise and lapis lazuli, just like in the bracelets found in Step Pyramid.
The pairing of these three semi-precious crystals was ultimately linked to their allegory as a trio and was often called the Egyptian Trio.
Turquoise, carnelian, and lapis lazuli are among the most popular crystal combinations during the 3rd Dynasty and 4th Dynasty onwards and were found regularly together in the royal jewelry in ancient Egypt.
Scholars think that the Egyptian trio was used for its special balance of colors and the crystals’ associated powers and properties, which were important.
Turquoise calming greenish blue color balance the sizzling red heat and power of the carnelian, while the nourishing blue color of the lapis lazuli enhances the two.
Khufu (2589 BC – 2566 BC):
Stones Limestone, Basalt, Pink Granite
Khufu was the second pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty and was often called Khnum Khufu. Although there are no sufficient historical records describing his reign, King Khufu is known for contributing to the construction of the oldest and largest pyramid – the great pyramid of Giza.
Today the Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the most known landmarks in the world and a major tourist attraction. But that was not among the reasons Pharaoh Khufu built the pyramid.
In ancient times, pharaohs expected to transform into gods in the afterlife, and therefore to prepare for the next world, they would erect temples to the gods as well as massive pyramids tombs for themselves – filled with all the necessities each king would need to guide and sustain themselves in the next world.
A pyramid was considered a consecrated geometrical shape and it is believed to generate a powerful energy that strengthens, heals, and empowers.
Among the four basic materials used to build the Great Pyramid of Giza were pink granite, limestone, and basalt – some of the most significant stones in ancient Egypt.
The powers and properties of the three stones combine to benefit the overall power of the pyramid and King Khufu probably used these stones for that precise purpose.
Limestone, basalt, and pink granite are all healing stones. Limestone is beneficial to overall health and well-being. It also gives relief for muscle spasms.
Pink granite is believed to help health, energy as well as the overall situation. Basalt, on the other hand, was used in ancient Egypt to anchor an individual to the Earth, in an addition to being an excellent healing stone.
Cleopatra VII (69 BC – 30 BC):
Gemstones and Crystals Malachite, Lapis Lazuli, Emeralds, and Peridots
She also reportedly adorned her palace and herself with emeralds to display wealth and power.
Cleopatra knew emeralds had special meaning. Apart from the power to cure eye disease, the queen also believed that the green color of emeralds symbolized rebirth and eternal youth.
Cleopatra also had peridot in her crystal collections. The stone color could vary from greenish-yellow to pure green. The stone consists of magnesium, nickel, chromium, and iron.
Due to its resemblance with emeralds, it is argued that Cleopatra used one in place of the other or probably owned only one of the two gemstones.
Peridot was known as the ‘gem of the Sun’ in ancient Egypt and the queen may have worn it to get protection from the terrors of the night and evil spirits.
Just like lapis lazuli, Cleopatra also used the green stone malachite as a type of eye makeup since beauty was regarded as a sign of holiness.
In ancient Egyptian culture, the green color had significant royal, spiritual and religious connections.
History of Egypt
The long and wealthy history of Egypt is well documented. According to historical records, ancient Egypt began with the political unification of Lower and Upper Egypt under the first pharaoh of the First Dynasty, King Narmer. Ever since, Egypt was ruled by 25 dynasties, Greeks, Romans, Ottoman, and Muhammed Ali Dynasty before the British arrived. Egypt gained independence from the British in 1952 to become a sovereign state.
Pharaoh Gemstone Conclusion
Ancient Egyptian Crystals like malachite, emeralds, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and peridot were common in royalty. They were used as a display of charms and status as well as to offer protection from the evil spirit and provide healing.
If you have any great stories of Egyptian gemstones used by pharaohs, feel free to share them. : )