Compound of eorcnan "special, noble"(?) (more at erchan) and stan "stone". Parallels Old Norse jarknasteinn, which is generally regarded as a loan from Old English. Translates margarita in 9th century biblical glosses but is used generically as "precious stone, gem" in Beowulf (line 1208) and The Ruin (v. 36).
- precious stone, pearl
- Peter Kitson, 'Lapidary traditions in Anglo-Saxon England: part I, the background; the Old English Lapidary' in: Anglo-Saxon England, vol. 7, eds. Martin Biddle, Julian Brown, Peter Clemoes, Cambridge University Press, 2007, ISBN 9780521038645, 9-60 (fn. 5 p. 25).