To the ancient Egyptians, the heart (ib) was the most important of organs. They believed it to be the organ responsible for all human thought, feeling and interaction. Thus, it was the heart that was weighed and measured against the feather of Maat in the ‘Weighing of the heart ceremony’. It was also the only organ to be left within the deceased when they died.
The importance of the heart can be seen from the number of passages within the Book of the Dead. Chapter 29b specifically mentions the use of a heart shaped amulet, of sehert-stone (carnelian). Whilst carnelian heart amulets were the most popular, other materials were used. Other red stones such as jasper and granite, as well as green feldspar and blue lapis lazuli. Green was a colour associated with new vegetation and new life, whilst blue was association with the reviving waters of the Nile. Hardstones were also preferable as they had connotations of lasting for eternity.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.