Capricorn is the most ambitious sign of the zodiac. The Capricornian’s love for material wealth propels him along unbeaten paths in search of riches and prestige. This insatiable drive, however, may wear the Capricorn down before he could realize his ambition. Choices of Capricorn birthstone have been identified that not only nurture the Capricorn’s industrious character, but also keep his ambitious nature under control.
The foundations of the city’s wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, lapis lazuli … the tenth, heliodor …
— Revelation 21:19-20
Chrysoprasos is the Capricorn gemstone from the Book of Revelation. The 10th Foundation Stone in Revelation is the birthstone of the 10th sign of the zodiac, Capricorn. While most people interpret this gem, known as chrysoprasus in Latin, to mean the chrysoprase of today, the original Capricorn birthstone may in fact have been heliodor, the greenish yellow beryl.
As the 1st-century writer Pliny describes the gem, chrysoprasus was a variety of beryl similar to peridot, but whose pale color draws toward gold.1 This description points toward heliodor, the beryl with a greenish yellow color. Today’s chrysoprase, on the other hand, would simply be called prase by the ancients, since the green chalcedony lacks the golden tinge that would have otherwise added chryso- to its name.
You shall make a breastplate of judgment. … You shall set in it settings of stones in four rows: a row of sard, peridot and emerald shall be the first row … and the third row a ligure, an agate and an amethyst …
— Exodus 28:15-19
While heliodor is the Capricorn birthstone from the Book of Revelation, the equivalent gem on Aaron’s breastplate in Exodus was called ligurion,2 leshem in Hebrew.3 The name ligurion, or ligure, applied to amber, a gemstone sourced from Liguria of Northern Italy. Both heliodor and ligure are gems of golden color. The ancients must have treated heliodor as a hard variety of amber fit for engraving, which was necessary so the gems on the priestly breastplate can bear the name of an Israelite tribe.
Unlike heliodor, amber is a gemstone that comes not from rocks, but from trees of the distant past. Made of fossilized resin, amber is warm to the touch, and in this sense unique among gems. Amber may also contain prehistoric insects and leaves within its clear brilliance.
Sapphire is the gemstone associated with Capricorn’s ruling planet, Saturn. Both the Chaldeans and the Hindus made this connection, referring in particular to blue sapphire. Saturn’s rulership over the zodiac sign makes sapphire the planetary Capricorn birthstone.
Sapphire comes from the mineral corundum, which is otherwise called ruby in red.
Onyx has been the most widely accepted Capricorn birthstone.4
A variety of quartz, onyx consists of parallel bands of black and white chalcedony. In jewelry, an entirely black gem of onyx is the most popular.
Jet is a Capricorn birthstone5 that is black like onyx, but organic of origin like amber.
Jet is fossilized wood from millions of years ago.
Garnet is a red Capricorn birthstone.5
Garnet comes from a group of silicate minerals that occur in a wide range of colors. Of these colors, garnet since antiquity is most popular in red.
Since the 1500s, gemstones assigned to Capricorn’s ruling planet, Saturn — and by extension to the zodiac sign — consist of dark and black stones. Of these black stones, an excellent choice of Capricorn stone is found in tourmaline.
Black tourmaline, otherwise known as schorl, is a gemstone of submetallic luster.
Cat’s eye is a golden Capricorn gemstone.4
Echoing the golden color of the Capricorn birthstone from the Scripture, cat’s eye comes from the mineral chrysoberyl. Otherwise known as cymophane, cat’s eye is distinguished for its iridescent luster that resembles the eye of the cat, hence the name cat’s eye.
Capricorn Birthstone Color
Which Capricorn birthstone color do you like the most, a bright yellow or black? Choices of Capricorn stone come in extreme opposites. On one hand lay the bright golden birthstones from the Scripture, heliodor and amber, as well as cat’s eye. On the other comes the black grounding stones: onyx, jet and black tourmaline. An elegant pairing of black and yellow — so often associated with expensive and luxurious designs — is possible by mixing Capricorn’s yellow and black gems.
Know Their Magic
Each birthstone for Capricorn is attributed with magical properties. Know the magical powers of Capricorn stone when you read my book Power Birthstone.
See Capricorn in Action
Curious about Capricorn and other zodiac signs? An enjoyable way to understand the different signs is to see how they behave, interact or fight in a narrative. Deomar Pandan has recently started a novel whose character profiles are based on astrology’s zodiac signs. Read his fantasy novel for FREE: Cosmons and the Tree of Immortality.
Pliny. “Book 37 – XXXVII.” Natural History. Trans. D. E. Eichholz. Loeb Classical Library ed. Vol. X. Harvard University Press, 1962. Wikisource, en.wikisource.org/wiki/Natural_History_(Rackham,_Jones,_%26_Eichholz)/Book_37. Accessed 27 July 2019.
“Exodus 28.” Septuagint. Blue Letter Bible, www.blueletterbible.org/lxx/exo/28/1/s_78001. Accessed 28 July 2019.
“Exodus 28.” The Bible. Bible Hub, biblehub.com/interlinear/exodus/28.htm. Accessed 28 July 2019.
Conway, D. J. “Personal Gemstones.” Crystal Enchantments: A Complete Guide to Stones and Their Magical Properties. Crossing Press, 1999. Google Books.
Mella, Dorothee L. “A Practical Guide for Astrological Colors, Gemstones, & Metals.” Stone Power II. Albuquerque: Brotherhood of Life, 1986. p. 23.
Discover More of Capricorn
Learn more about the zodiac sign, its symbol, element and other information.