The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database

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The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database is the most comprehensive online database for ancient magic gems. It was created and is maintained by the Collection of Classical Antiquities of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest (Hungary).



The database is only available as http, https is not available.

While the introduction on the database’s website claims that “the entire corpus is now estimated at around 5600 pieces” this does not mean that there are 5.600 different ancient magic gem entries in the database. Many gems have two separate entries: One with photographs and a second one with a copy from a drawing of an early publication. Some gems have been entered twice and numerous gems are post-antique. In addition, for the vast majority of the gems a dating is missing.

If you are looking for a specific deity or iconographic element try several spellings and look under several search options since the tagging of the individual entries is not consistent.


“Today magical gems are preserved in different museums and private collections worldwide, often inaccessible to the public. The groundbreaking, and still fundamental, study on the genre was published in 1950 by American scholar Campbell Bonner, who then described a tenth of the corpus in his Studies on Magical Amulets. In 2004 Simone Michel listed over 2800 pieces in her monograph Die Magischen Gemmen.
Named after Bonner, the primary aim of the Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database (CBd) is to bring the entire corpus of magical gems online in order to make them better accessible for both scholars and the public, and to facilitate their study through the potentials of a digital platform. Since its launch in 2010 the database has grown into a popular research tool, and has aided in the recognition of the genre of magical gems as an important object group of the classical material tradition. Due largely to research conducted within the framework of the database, the entire corpus is now estimated at around 5600 pieces.
A further goal of CBd is to publish the second, online edition of Bonner’s Studies on Magical Amulets within the framework of the database, revised and enlarged by leading scholars of the field.”