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Title: The Curious Lore of Precious Stones - Being a description of their sentiments and folk lore etc. etc.
Author: Kunz, George Frederick
Language: English
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Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations
in hyphenation and ligatures have been standardised but all other
spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

Italics are represented thus _italic_ and superscripts thus y^{en}.
The position of hand drawn hieroglyphs has been indicated thus
[hieroglyph]. All other examples of text within braces is original.

Huntilite, in the index, possibly refers to Heliolite in the text, but
it is not clear which is intended.

The 510 footnotes are located at the end of the book.

                  The Curious Lore of Precious Stones






 _House and Garden_.



 and ABBOT MCCLURE. Revised and Enlarged.





[Illustration: Asteria—Star Sapphire

Asteria—Star Sapphire

Asteria—Star Sapphire

Asteria—Star Sapphire


Asteria—Star Sapphire

Perth, Canada

Moonstone—with white


South America


Cat’s Eye—Ceylon

Alexandrite—Red by
artificial light—Ceylon

Precious Opal—Hungary

Fire Opal
Queretera, Mexico

Black Opal—Lightning Ridge,
New South Wales

                   From the J. P. Morgan Collection,
             American Museum of Natural History, New York]

                        The Curious Lore of
                          Precious Stones



                       GEORGE FREDERICK KUNZ
                        A.M., PH.D., D.SC.


                       PHILADELPHIA & LONDON

                     J. B. Lippincott Company


                           SIXTH IMPRESSION




The love of precious stones is deeply implanted in the human heart,
and the cause of this must be sought not only in their coloring and
brilliancy but also in their durability. All the fair colors of flowers
and foliage, and even the blue of the sky and the glory of the sunset
clouds, only last for a short time, and are subject to continual
change, but the sheen and coloration of precious stones are the same
to-day as they were thousands of years ago and will be for thousands of
years to come. In a world of change, this permanence has a charm of its
own that was early appreciated.

The object of this book is to indicate and illustrate the various ways
in which precious stones have been used at different times and among
different peoples, and more especially to explain some of the curious
ideas and fancies that have gathered around them. Many of these ideas
may seem strange enough to us now, and yet when we analyze them we
find that they have their roots either in some intrinsic quality of
the stones or else in an instinctive appreciation of their symbolical
significance. Through manifold transformations this symbolism has
persisted to the present day.

The same thing may be said in regard to the various superstitions
connected with gems. Our scientific knowledge of cause and effect may
prevent us from accepting any of the fanciful notions of the physicians
and astrologers of the olden time; nevertheless, the possession of
a necklace or a ring adorned with brilliant diamonds, fair pearls,
warm, glowing rubies, or celestial-hued sapphires will to-day make a
woman’s heart beat faster and bring a blush of pleasure to her cheek.
Life will seem better worth living to her; and, indeed, this is no
delusion, for life is what our thought makes it, and joy is born of
gratified desire. Hence nothing that contributes to increasing the sum
of innocent pleasures should be disdained; and surely no pleasure can
be more innocent and justifiable than that inspired by the possession
of beautiful natural objects.

The author, who possesses what is believed to be the most comprehensive
private library on this subject, has obtained many references from
material which he has been gathering during the past twenty-five years.
Many of the types exist in the collection of folk-lore precious stones
exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, and now in the
Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Other types are drawn from
the Morgan Collection exhibited at the Paris Expositions of 1889 and
1900, which, with additions, is now in Morgan Hall, in the American
Museum of Natural History, New York City.

Other prominent references are the collection of precious stones in
the California Midwinter Memorial Museum, in Golden Gate Park, San
Francisco; the Tiffany collection of precious stones, exhibited at the
Atlanta Exposition of 1894, now in the National Museum in Washington;
the collection exhibited at the Pan-American Exposition, and presented
to the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle, in Paris, by the late J. Pierpont
Morgan; the collection exhibited at the exposition held in Portland,
Oregon, in 1905; and the collection of gems and precious stones
exhibited at the Jamestown Exposition, 1907. All of these collections,
either entirely or very largely, have been formed by the author.

Some references to sentiment connected with precious stones are
embodied in the little work, now in its 21st edition, entitled: “Natal
Stones, Sentiments and Superstitions Associated with Precious Stones,”
compiled by the writer, who has examined nearly all the principal
collections in the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada, and Asiatic

For courtesies, information and illustrations, I am indebted to the
following, to whom my thanks are due:

Prof. Taw Sein Ko, Superintendent of the Archæological Survey, of
Burma; Dr. T. Wada, of Tokyo, Japan; Dr. G. O. Clerc, President of the
Société Ouralienne des Amis des Sciences Naturelles, Ekaterinebourg,
Russia; Dr. Charles Braddock, late Medical Inspector to the King
of Siam; Sir Charles Hercules Reed, Curator of Archæology, and Dr.
Ernest A. Wallis Budge, Egyptologist, British Museum, London; A.
W. Feavearyear, Esq., London; Dr. Salomon Reinach, Director of the
Archaælogical Museum of St. Germain-en-Laye, France; Prof. Giuseppe
Belucci, of the University of Perugia; Dr. Peter Jessen, Librarian
of the Kunstgewerbe Museum, of Berlin; Miss Belle DaCosta Green; Dr.
Frederick Hirth, Chinese Professor, Columbia University, New York; Dr.
Clark Wissler, Curator of Archæology, Dr. L. P. Gratacap, Curator of
Mineralogy, American Museum of Natural History; Dr. Berthold Laufer,
Oriental Archæologist, and Dr. Oliver C. Farrington, Curator of Geology
and Mineralogy, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; Hereward
Carrington, Esq., Psychist, New York; Dr. W. Hayes Ward, Archæologist
and Babylonian Scholar; Mrs. Henry Draper, New York; H. W. Kent, Esq.,
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Consul General Moser,
Colombo, Ceylon; W. W. Blake, Mexico City, who has done so much to
encourage Mexican archæological investigation; the late A. Damour, of
Paris, the great pioneer of mineralogical archæology; the late Dr. A.
B. Meyer, of Dresden, who, more than anyone else, proved that the
_Nephritfrage_ or the jade question was to be solved by chemical and
mineralogical investigation; the late Rajah Sir Sourindro Mohun Tagore,
of Calcutta; and Dr. A. M. Lythgoe, Egyptologist, Metropolitan Museum
of Art.

  G. F. K.



  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

  I. SUPERSTITIONS AND THEIR SOURCES                                   1

  TALISMANS AND AMULETS                                               19

  III. ON THE TALISMANIC USE OF SPECIAL STONES                        51


  V. ON OMINOUS AND LUMINOUS STONES                                  143

  VI. ON CRYSTAL BALLS AND CRYSTAL GAZING                            176

  CHRISTIAN                                                          225

  VIII. ON THE HIGH-PRIEST’S BREASTPLATE                             275

  IX. BIRTH-STONES                                                   307


  STONES                                                             367





  MAHARAJA RUNJIT SINGH, WITH PEARLS AND GEMS                         42


  GEMS FROM THE MORGAN-TIFFANY COLLECTION                            107


  RECCESVINTHUS (649-672 A.D.)                                       293


  ROCK-CRYSTAL AMULET SET IN SILVER                                   10

  ROCK-CRYSTAL PLACQUE, ANCIENT MEXICAN                               10

  NECKLACES FROM EGYPT. FIRST CENTURY                                 20


  NECKLACES FROM EGYPT                                                37

  AFRICAN AGATE CHARMS                                                54

  AMBER ORNAMENTS                                                     58

  CHALCEDONY VOTIVE CHARM FROM MEXICO                                 65


  KABYLE JEWELRY                                                      68

  JASPER PENDANT                                                      93


  ARAGONITE PENDANT                                                   93

  OBSIDIAN MASK, FROM THE FAYOUM, EGYPT                               99

  TURQUOISE NECKLACE, THIBET                                         110

  PHŒNICIAN SCARAB, WITH ENGRAVED SCORPION                           123


  FOURTH CENTURY                                                     123

  MOSS AGATE MOCHA STONES, HINDOOSTAN                                132



  GLASS BALL, PERFORATED AND MOUNTED IN METAL                        183

  BALL OF JET, PERFORATED AND MOUNTED IN METAL                       183


  DR. DEE’S SHEW STONE                                               190


  ROCK-CRYSTAL SPHERES AND NATURAL CROSS                             196

  BABYLONIAN CYLINDERS AND PERSIAN BEADS                             204


  CRYSTAL BALL, SUPPORTED BY BRONZE DRAGON                           217

  IN GERMANY AND FRANCE                                              219

  BALLS                                                              219


  “PHANTOM CRYSTAL” OF QUARTZ (ROCK-CRYSTAL)                         224

  ROCK-CRYSTAL BALLS                                                 224

  AMBER HEART-SHAPED AMULET                                          228


  BABYLONIAN AXE HEAD                                                233

  MANI MÁLÁ, OR CHAIN OF GEMS                                        242

  SCULPTURED JADE MOUNTAIN WEIGHING 640 LBS                          245

  VOTIVE ADZE OF JADEITE FROM MEXICO                                 249


  JADEITE CELTS                                                      264

  STAUROLITE CRYSTALS (FAIRY STONES)                                 271

  JOHANN BRAUN, AMSTERDAM, 1680                                      275

  SILVER CROSS WITH QUARTZ CAT’S-EYE                                 286

  SPECIMENS OF CHIASTOLITE (LAPIS CRUCIFER)                          286

  OF PERUGIA                                                         317

  MOSS AGATES                                                        330


  THE ZODIACAL STONES WITH THEIR SIGNS                               343


  AT CONQUES, DEPT. AVEYRON, FRANCE                                  356

  WRITING—AN ANCIENT PRESCRIPTION                                   368

  NECKLACES—(1) CARNELIAN BEADS; (2) ONYX BEADS                     370

  VIRTUES OF GEMS                                                    374

  INITIALS FROM THE LAPIDARIO DE ALFONSO X                           377


  IN FRIBURG, 1531                                                    15


  PUBLISHED IN ENGLAND                                                17

  PEARL DEALER                                                        42

  AN AIR-SHIP OF 1709                                                 53

  THE TREE THAT EXUDES AMBER                                          56

  NOSE-BLEED                                                          60

  IMPERIAL                                                            64


  MUSEUM, PARIS                                                       99

  ROCK-CRYSTAL SKULL, ANCIENT MEXICAN                                100

  ENGRAVED HELIOTROPE                                                124

  ENGRAVED RED JASPER                                                124

  GNOSTIC GEMS                                                       127



  TWO GOLD RINGS SET WITH ENGRAVED ONYX GEMS                         138


  OF GEMS                                                            169

  AND EDITED BY CONRAD GESNER AT ZÜRICH IN 1565                      258


  AND ATTACHED, III                                                  281

  IN COLOGNE, 1539                                                   290

  THESE RAYS DENOTING A COMET                                        322

                  The Curious Lore of Precious Stones


Superstitions and Their Sources

From the earliest times in man’s history gems and precious stones have
been held in great esteem. They have been found in the monuments of
prehistoric peoples, and not alone the civilization of the Pharaohs, of
the Incas, or of the Montezumas invested these brilliant things from
Nature’s jewel casket with a significance beyond the mere suggestion of
their intrinsic properties.

The magi, the wise men, the seers, the astrologers of the ages gone
by found much in the matter of gems that we have nearly come to
forgetting. With them each gem possessed certain planetary attractions
peculiar to itself, certain affinities with the various virtues, and
a zodiacal concordance with the seasons of the year. Moreover, these
early sages were firm believers in the influence of gems in one’s
nativity,—that the evil in the world could be kept from contaminating
a child properly protected by wearing the appropriate talismanic,
natal, and zodiacal gems. Indeed, folklorists are wont to wonder
whether the custom of wearing gems in jewelry did not originate in the
talismanic idea instead of in the idea of mere additional adornment.

The influence exerted by precious stones was assumed in medieval times
without question, but when the spirit of investigation was aroused in
the Renaissance period, an effort was made to find a reason of some
sort for the traditional beliefs. Strange as it may seem to us, there
was little disposition to doubt that the influence existed; this was
taken for granted, and all the mental effort expended was devoted to
finding some plausible explanation as to how precious stones became
endowed with their strange and mystic virtues, and how these virtues
acted in modifying the character, health, or fortunes of the wearer.

When the existence of miracles is acknowledged, there will always be
a tendency to regard every singular and unaccountable happening as a
miracle; that is to say, as something that occurs outside of, or in
spite of, the laws of nature. We even observe this tendency at work in
our own time. As regards visual impressions, for instance, if a child
of lively imagination enters a half-lighted room and sees a bundle of
clothes lying in a corner, the indistinct outline of this mass may be
transformed to his mind into the form of a wild animal. The child does
not really see an animal, but his fear has given a definite outline and
character to the indefinite image printed on the retina.

The writer has always sought to investigate anything strange and
apparently unaccountable which has been brought to his notice, but he
can truly say he has never found the slightest evidence of anything
transcending the acknowledged laws of nature. Still, when we consider
the marvellous secrets that have been revealed to us by science and
the yet more wonderful things that will be revealed to us in the
future, we are tempted to think that there may be something in the old
beliefs, some residuum of fact, susceptible indeed of explanation, but
very different from what a crass scepticism supposes it to be. Above
all, the results of the investigations now pursued in relation to the
group of phenomena embraced under the designation of telepathy,—the
subconscious influence of one mind over an absent or distant mind,—and
the wireless transmission of power in wireless telegraphy and
telephony, may go far to make us hesitate before condemning as utterly
preposterous many of the tales of enchantment and magical influence.
If the unconscious will of one individual can affect the thoughts and
feelings of another individual at a great distance and without the
intervention of any known means of communication, as is confidently
asserted by many competent investigators in the domain of telepathy,
their claims being supported by many strange happenings, perhaps the
result of coincidence, but possibly due to the operation of some
unknown law, does this not give a color of verity to the statements
regarding the ancient magicians and their spells?

Auto-suggestion may also afford an explanation of much that is
mysterious in the effects attributed to precious stones, for if the
wearer be firmly convinced that the gem he is wearing produces certain
results, this conviction will impress itself upon his thought and hence
upon his very organism. He will really experience the influence, and
the effects will manifest themselves just as powerfully as though they
were caused by vibrations or emanations from the material body of the

All this may serve to explain the persistence of the belief in magic
arts. A few hundred years ago, a Hungarian woman was accused of
having murdered two or three hundred young girls, and at her trial
she confessed that her object was to use the blood of her victims to
renew her youth and beauty, for the blood of innocent virgins was
supposed to have wonderful properties. In some parts of England today
there is a superstitious belief that an article of clothing worn by a
person, or anything he has habitually used, absorbs a portion of his
individuality. Therefore, it sometimes happens that a handkerchief,
for instance, will be stolen and pinned down beneath the waters of a
stream on a toad, the pins marking the name of the enemy, the belief
being that as this cloth wastes away, so will the body of him who had
worn it. In medieval and later times this was the common practice of
the sorcerers, although they frequently composed a wax figure rudely
resembling the person against whom the spell was directed, and then
thrust pins into this figure or allowed it to melt away before a slow
fire. The enchantment of the sorcerer was supposed to have caused some
essence of the personality to enter into the image, and therefore the
living and breathing being felt sympathetically the effects of the
ill-treatment inflicted upon its counterfeit.

The persistence of the most cruel and unnatural practices of old-time
sorcery is illustrated by the fact that only a few years ago, in the
island of Cuba, three women were condemned to death for murdering a
white baby so as to use the heart and blood as a cure for diseases.
Four other women were sentenced to from fourteen to twenty years’
imprisonment as accomplices. When such things happen in Cuba, it
is not surprising that in half-civilized Hayti similar crimes are
committed. Here the Voodoo priests and priestesses, _papalois_ and
_mamalois_ (papa-kings and mama-queens) require from time to time a
human sacrifice to appease their serpent-god. One strange case is
related where a stupefying potion, inducing a state of apparent death,
was secretly administered to a sick man. When the attending physician
pronounced him dead, he was duly interred; but, two days after,
the grave was found open and the body had disappeared. The Voodoo
worshippers had carried the man away so as to revive him and then
sacrifice him at their fearful rites.

In a poem addressed to Marguerite de Valois,—“La Marguerite des
Marguerites,” as she was called,—by Jean de la Taille de Bondaroy,[1]
we read of the diamond that it came from gold and from the sun. But we
are told that not only are precious stones endowed with life, they also
are subject to disease, old age, and death; “they even take offence if
an injury be done to them, and become rough and pale.” The sickness of
the pearl has been a theme for centuries, and in many cases is only
fancied. It is but a subterfuge or deception for a lady to remark that
her pearls have sickened; by referring to this sickness, her friends
are naturally led to believe that at one time her pearls were fine,
perfect ones, when in reality they may never have been so.

The opinion given in 1609, by Anselmus De Boot, court physician to
Rudolph II of Germany, regarding the power inherent in certain precious
stones,[2] embodies the ideas on this subject held by many of the
enlightened minds of that period.

 The supernatural and acting cause is God, the good angel and the evil
 one; the good by the will of God, and the evil by His permission....
 What God can do by Himself, He could do also by means of ministers,
 good and bad angels, who, by special grace of God and for the
 preservation of men, are enabled to enter precious stones and to guard
 men from dangers or procure some special grace for them. However, as
 we may not affirm anything positive touching the presence of angels
 in gems, to repose trust in them, or to ascribe undue powers to them,
 is more especially pleasing to the spirit of evil, who transforms
 himself into an angel of light, steals into the substance of the
 little gem, and works such wonders by it that some people do not place
 their trust in God but in a gem, and seek to obtain from it what they
 should ask of God alone. Thus it is perhaps the spirit of evil which
 exercises its power on us through the turquoise, teaching us, little
 by little, that safety is not to be sought from God but from a gem.

In the next chapter of his work, De Boot, while extolling the remedial
power of a certain group of stones, insists upon the falsity of many of
the superstitions regarding these objects.[3]

 That gems or stones, when applied to the body, exert an action upon
 it, is so well proven by the experience of many persons, that any one
 who doubts this must be called over-bold. We have proof of this power
 in the carnelian, the hematite, and the jasper, all of which when
 applied, check hemorrhage.... However, it is very necessary to observe
 that many virtues not possessed by gems are falsely ascribed to them.

Paracelsus, the gifted and brilliant thinker, scientist, and, we
must probably add, charlatan of the sixteenth century, whose really
extraordinary mental endowment was largely wasted in the effort to
impress his followers with the idea that he had a mystic control over
supernatural agencies, was the owner of a talismanic jewel which he
asserted to be the dwelling-place of a powerful spirit named “Azoth.”
Some old portraits of the philosopher, or pseudo-philosopher, figure
him wearing this jewel, in whose virtues we may fairly doubt that he
himself believed, but which furnished part of the paraphernalia be
freely employed to gain influence over the credulous.[4]

The following passage from the “Faithful Lapidary” of Thomas Nicols,[5]
who wrote in the middle of the seventeenth century, illustrates the
prevailing opinion in England at that time as to the virtues of
precious stones:

 _Perfectionem effectûs contineri in causa._ But it cannot truly be
 so spoken of gemms and precious stones, the effects of which, by
 Lapidists are said to be, the making of men rich and eloquent, to
 preserve men from thunder and lightning, from plagues and diseases, to
 move dreams, to procure sleep, to foretell things to come, to make men
 wise, to strengthen memory, to procure honours, to hinder fascinations
 and witchcrafts, to hinder slothfulness, to put courage into men, to
 keep men chaste, to increase friendship, to hinder difference and
 dissention, and to make men invisible, as is feigned by the Poet
 concerning Gyges ring, and affirmed by Albertus and others concerning
 the _ophthalmius lapis_, and many other strange things are affirmed
 of them and ascribed to them, which are contrary to the nature of
 gemms, and which they as they are materiall, mixt, inanimate bodies
 neither know nor can effect, by the properties and faculties of their
 own constitutions: because they being naturall causes, can produce
 none other but naturall effects, such as are all the ordinary effects
 of gemms: that is, such effects as flow from their elementary matter,
 from their temper, form and essence; such as are the operations of
 hot and cold, and of all the first qualities, and all such accidents
 as do arise from the commixtion of the first qualities: such as are
 hardnesse, heavinesse, thicknesse, colour, and tast. These all are the
 naturall faculties of gemms, and these are the known effects of the
 union of their matter, and of the operation of the first qualities one
 upon another.

The long-continued concentration of vision on an object tends to
produce a partial paralysis of certain functions of the brain. This
effect may be noted in the helplessness of a bird when its gaze is
fixed upon the glittering eyes of a serpent, or in the unwilling
obedience yielded by a lion or some other wild animal when forced to
look into the intent eyes of its trainer. In the same way those who
gaze for a long time and without interruption on a crystal or glass
ball, on an opal, a moonstone, a sapphire, or a cat’s-eye, may become
partially hypnotized or even fall into a profound sleep. The condition
induced, whether it be that of semi-trance, of hypnotism, or simply
due to the imaginative workings of the brain, is believed to give an
insight into the future. This hypnotic effect is probably caused by
some gleam or point of light in the stone, attracting and fixing the
beholder’s gaze. The moonstone, the star sapphire, and the cat’s-eye
are all gems which possess a moving light, a moving line, or three
crossed lines, and they are believed by the Orientals to be gems of
good luck. Indeed, it is supposed in the East that a living spirit
dwells within these stones, a spirit potent for good.

Superstitious fancies bear the same relation to truth that the shadow
of a form does to the form itself. We know that the shadow has no
substantial existence, and yet we know equally well that it is cast by
some real body; in the same way we may be sure that, however foolish
a superstition may appear to be, it has some foundation in fact.
Indeed, superstition is associated with the highest attribute of the
human mind,—imagination. The realities about us gain much of their
charm from sentiment, and all that is great in art and literature
owes its being to the transforming energy of pure imagination. Morbid
imagination, on the other hand, distorts and degrades the impressions
it receives and produces only unlovely or ignoble forms and ideas.

Sentiment may best be expressed as the feeling of one who, on a
warm summer’s day, is rowing along a shady brook or resting in some
sylvan dell, with nothing to interfere with his tranquil mood and
nothing to spur him on to action; thus he has only suggestions of
hope and indulges in rosy views of life. Reality, on the other hand,
may be likened to a crisp winter’s morning when one is filled with
exhilaration, conscious of the tingle of the cold, but comfortable in
the knowledge of wearing a tightly-buttoned garment which will afford
protection should the elements become disturbing. Superstition, lastly,
can be said to resemble a dark, cold, misty night, when the moon is
throwing malevolent shadows which are weird and distorted, while the
cold seems to seize one by the throat and arouse a passionate desire
to free one’s self from its grip in some way, to change a horrible
nightmare into a pleasant dream.

In the early part of the last century a series of very interesting
experiments designed to demonstrate the effects produced upon a
sensitive subject by the touch of precious stones and minerals, were
made in the case of the “Seeress of Prevorst,” Frederike Hauffe (b.
1801), a woman believed to possess remarkable clairvoyant powers.[6]
When pieces of granite, porphyry, or flint were placed in her hand,
she was not affected in any way. The finest qualities of fluorspar,
on the other hand, had a marked action, relaxing the muscles, causing
diarrhœa, and producing a sour taste in the mouth; occasionally a
somnambulistic state was induced. This latter condition was also
produced by Iceland spar and by the sapphire. While the substances so
far noted depressed the vital energy, sulphate of barium stimulated the
muscles, produced an agreeable warmth of the body, and made the subject
feel as though she could fly through the air. If the application of
this material was long continued, the pleasurable sensation found
expression in laughter. In the case of witherite, a carbonate of
barium, this effect was produced to an even greater degree, for if
water in which this mineral had been dipped were swallowed, spasms of
laughter resulted.

Rock-crystal also was found to possess a strongly stimulating
influence, for if put in the hand, it aroused the subject from a
half-slumber, and if placed on the pit of the stomach, it had the
power to awaken the seeress from a somnambulistic trance, while at
the same time an aromatic odor was diffused around. When, however,
the application was continued for some time, the muscles stiffened,
until finally an epileptic state ensued. Indeed, the rigidity produced
was so great that the limbs resisted all attempts to bend them. The
same effect, but in a much less degree, was caused by glass, even by
looking at it, or by the tones emitted by a glass object when struck.
All colorless silicates, the diamond, and even gypsum, had a similar
effect, as did also heliotrope and basalt, either of which caused a
bitter taste in the mouth.

The most powerful action was that exerted by hematite, the oxide
of iron in this substance inducing a kind of paralysis, with a
sensation of inner chill; this condition could only be relieved by
the application of a piece of witherite. Octahedrons of magnetite
(loadstone) caused a sensation of heaviness and convulsive movements
of the limbs, even when the material, wrapped up in paper, was brought
near the subject. Spinel, in whose composition oxide of chromium
enters, caused the same symptoms as loadstone, except that in this
case the force seemed to exert itself from the hand upward along the
arm, while with the loadstone the action was downward along the arm
to the hand, owing to the attractive quality of this magnetic iron.
Ruby called forth a sensation of coldness in the tongue, and rendered
this member so heavy that only incoherent sounds could be emitted;
the fingers and toes also became cold, and the body was agitated by
a violent shivering; but to all these bad symptoms succeeded a sense
of elasticity and well-being, not, however, without a vague fear that
the stone might cause a renewal of the physical depression. When
chrysoprase was used, chills and shivering resulted, beginning at the
breast and spreading thence over the whole body.


Bohemian, tenth century. Field Museum of Natural History.]


Field Museum Collection, Chicago.]

We have touched upon the hypnotic influence exercised by gems, but
there can be no doubt that the subject has not been as carefully
studied as it deserves to be. That the hypnotic state can be induced
by gazing fixedly upon a bright object held just above the eyes is a
well-known fact, but quite probably a similar though not so pronounced
effect results from gazing on a bright object just before the gazer’s
eyes. In the case of colored precious stones, the effects of the
various color-rays combine with the light effects and strengthen
the impression upon the optic nerve. All this, however, concerns
only the purely physical impression, but we know that very often the
hypnotic state is produced by a mental impression, by the belief,
or the fear, that the state will supervene. With precious stones as
hypnotizing agents, the mental impression is widely different, for
here the physical impression is heightened by the consciousness of the
value and rarity of the material. The fascination that a fine set of
jewels, with all their sparkle and color, exercises upon the mind of a
woman who sees them in their glorious radiance on the neck, the arms,
and the head of another woman, is not only due to the beauty of the
spectacle, but is largely owing to the consciousness that they are rare
and valuable objects and are perhaps eloquent witnesses of the power
of love. A dash of envy sometimes serves to render the emotion more

The names of precious stones and semi-precious stones are frequently
used as adjectives, and when so employed convey something more to the
mind than do the corresponding adjectives of color. We may instance
the following expressions: the “Emerald Isle” and “emerald meadows”;
“sapphire seas” and “sapphire eyes”; “ruby wine,” “ruby lips,” and,
in Shakespeare, “the natural ruby of your cheeks”; “coral lips” and
“coral ears”; “pearly teeth” and “pearly skin”; “turquoise skies”;
“amethystine locks” and, in Roman times, “amber hair.” In all these
cases the name of the precious mineral is really used as a superlative
of the adjective, suggesting the choicest variety of the color or
shade. The phrases “hard as adamant” and “clear as crystal” show a
similar use of the name of a precious or ornamental stone to express
the highest grade of a given quality.

Before the introduction of the “point” system in typography three of
the grades of type bore the names of precious stones,—namely, “diamond
type,” “agate type,” and “emerald type”; this latter designation is
employed only in England, where “agate type” is called “ruby type.”
Another size was denominated “pearl type.”

A fanciful tale written not long ago treats of the practical
inconveniences which would result, could such metaphorical expressions
find a realization in fact.[7] At the birth-feast of a certain
princess, one of the fairies was not invited; she, nevertheless, made
her appearance. After the other fairies had endowed the child with many
good qualities, the neglected fairy said, “I will give her vanity,
and her vanity shall change her beauty to the things it is said to
resemble.” However, a friendly fairy came to the rescue, saying, “I
will give her unselfishness, and by it she shall turn her beauty back
to what she wishes it to be.”

The result can easily be imagined. As the little princess grew up,
those who wished to flatter her vanity spoke of her “teeth of pearl,”
of her “golden hair,” of her “coral lips,” and of her “sapphire eyes.”
Upon this her teeth changed to pearls, her hair to spun gold, her
lips to coral, and her eyes to two magnificent sapphires. However,
beautiful as these were, they did not grant the power of sight, so that
the unhappy princess became blind. Not long after this a revolution
deprived the king and queen of their throne and they were reduced to
great poverty. In these straits the daughter sacrificed her “gold-hair”
to relieve their wants, and immediately the spell was dissolved and she
regained all her natural beauty.

Shelley, who saw the world illumined by the rainbow hues of poetic
fancy, wrote of “diamond eyes,” “an emerald sky,” “the emerald heaven
of trees,” “the sapphire ocean,” “sapphire-tinted skies,” “the sapphire
floods of interstellar air,” and “the chrysolite of sunrise.” For some
reason, he does not use the ruby, a favorite stone with many poets, and
psychologists might find in this a proof that red appeals less strongly
to the idealist than do the other colors.

The principal literary sources for the talismanic and therapeutic
virtues attributed to ornamental stones may be divided into several
groups, at first more or less independent of each other, but combined
to a greater or lesser extent by later writers. Pliny gives, sometimes
rather grudgingly, a number of superstitions current in his time, but
the Alexandrian literature of the second, third, and fourth Christian
centuries provides a much richer field for these superstitions, as
shown in the Orphic poem “Lithica,” the “Cyrianides,” attributed to
Hermes Trismegistus, the little treatise “On Rivers,” which bore the
name of Plutarch, and last, but not least, in the work by Damigeron,
which purported to be written by an Arab king named Evax, and sent
by him to Tiberius or Nero. The influence exerted by the legends
surrounding the stones of the high priest’s breastplate, and those
chosen as foundation stones for the New Jerusalem, will be treated of

In the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, a new literature on this
subject made its appearance, probably in Asia Minor. Some of the works
were originally written in Syriac and later translated into Arabic.
Others were composed in the latter language. This source was drawn
upon for the production of the Lapidarium of Alfonso X, of Castile.
This compilation, although dating in its present Spanish form from the
thirteenth century, is based upon a much older original in “Chaldee”
(Syriac?). There can be little doubt that many Hindu superstitions,
no longer preserved for us in the literature of India, are reproduced
in these Syrio-Arabic works, wherein we have also much that is of
Alexandrian origin. This indeed is easily explained by history, for the
Arabs, through their widely extended conquests, were led to absorb and
amalgamate the data they secured, directly or indirectly, from the East
and the West.

While this literature was developing in the Mohammedan world, the
tradition of Pliny and Solinus was transmitted to the Christian world
of the seventh and succeeding centuries by Isidorus of Seville. This
brings us to the remarkable poetical treatise on the virtues of
precious stones by Marbodus, Bishop of Rennes, a work written at
the end of the eleventh century, and often quoted as that of Evax;
indeed, it purports to be by him and really contains a good part of the
material composing the treatise of Damigeron or Evax. At the same time
Marbodus drew freely upon Pliny, either directly or through Isidorus.
For the Middle Ages this poem of Marbodus, already translated into Old
French in the twelfth century, became known as the “Lapidario” _par
excellence_, and furnished a great part of their material to medieval
authors on this subject. Soon, however, extracts from the Arabic
sources became available, and the whole mass of heterogeneous material
was worked over and recombined in a variety of ways.

[Illustration: Title page of the first edition of the poetical treatise
on precious stones by Marbodus, Bishop of Rennes, printed in Friburg,

This complex origin of the traditions explains their almost
incomprehensible contradictions regarding the virtues assigned to
the different stones, and also the fact that the qualities of one
stone are frequently attributed to another one, so that, in the
later works on this subject, it becomes quite impossible to present
a satisfactory view of the distinguishing qualities and virtues of
the separate stones. The habit of copying, without discrimination or
criticism, whatever came to hand, and the aim to utilize as much of
the borrowed material as possible, is scarcely less a characteristic
of the seventeenth and eighteenth century writers than it is of those
of a later date. This is in part an excusable and even an unavoidable
defect, but it should be minimized as much as possible.

[Illustration: Title page of the first edition of the Greek treatise by
St. Epiphanius on the Gems of the Breastplate, with a Latin version.
Edited and issued at Zürich in 1566 (1565) by Conrad Gesner.]

The treatise known under the title “Cyrianides” was, as we have noted,
a product of the Alexandrian school. It was asserted to be the work
of Hermes Trismegistus, the name given by the Greeks to the Egyptian
god Thoth. Here we have a specimen of the species of magic known as
litteromancy, or divination by means of the letters of the alphabet,
since a stone, a bird, a plant, and a fish, each beginning with the
same letter and signifying the four elements, are given for each of the
twenty-four letters of the Greek alphabet. These four objects were to
be grouped together to form a talisman, the bird being usually engraved
on the stone, while a portion of the fish and of the plant was placed
in the bezel of the ring in which the stone was to be set.[8] Another,
almost contemporary work, is the exceedingly curious and interesting
treatise by St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, on the twelve gems
on the “Breastplate of Judgment” of the high priest (Ex., xxviii,
15-21). This unique production is in the form of a letter addressed
to Diodorus, Bishop of Tyre, and it is peculiarly valuable as the
first of a long series of attempts to elucidate the question as to the
identity of the twelve stones. The special virtues of each stone are
also given, and this treatise may be regarded as the prototype of all
the Christian writings on the symbolism of stones.

A most interesting medieval treatise on the virtues of precious stones
forms part of the _De rerum natura_ of Thomas de Cantimpré (1201-1270),
who was a pupil of Albertus Magnus and composed his work between 1230
and 1244. The Latin text has never been printed, but the book was
translated into German by Konrad von Megenberg about 1350. Strange to
say, the translator did not know the name of the writer and supposed
when he began to translate the book that it was by Albertus Magnus. In
many cases Thomas de Cantimpré merely copies the statements of older
authors, but occasionally he gives us new material, or at least a new
version of his originals.

[Illustration: Title page of one of the earliest treatises on precious
stones published in England.]

The renowned medieval philosopher and theologian, Albertus Magnus
(1193-1280), for a short time Bishop of Ratisbon, and who later taught
theology in the University of Paris and had the great St. Thomas
Aquinas for a pupil, was not altogether free from the superstitious
notions of his time, traces of which appear in certain of his
numerous writings. Many years after his death some of this material
was extracted from his works and, amplified by additions from other
sources, was published under the title “Secrets des vertus des Herbes,
Pierres et Bestes.” Of this there are two versions, one being an
epitome of the other and termed respectively “Le Grand Albert” and
“Le Petit Albert.” These little books were often reprinted and widely
circulated, and eventually enjoyed great popularity among the French
peasants. Indeed, even to the present day they may still be met with in
out-of-the-way parts of rural France.

Among literary deceptions one of the boldest was that practised in the
early part of the seventeenth century by Ludovico Dolce. This writer
made, in 1565, a literal translation into Italian of the “Speculum
lapidum” of Camillo Leonardo, printed in Venice in 1502, and he had the
courage to issue it as his own work, under the title “Trattato delle
gemme chè produce la natura.” In view of the general familiarity with
Latin among the better classes at that period, and the numerous fine
libraries existing in Venice at the time, it seems most extraordinary
that Dolce should have been successful in palming off this work as his
own, but even to-day citations are made from Dolce’s “Trattato delle
gemme” and from Leonardo’s “Speculum lapidum,” as though these were
distinct works.


On the Use of Precious and Semi-Precious Stones as Talismans and Amulets

The use of precious stones in early times as amulets and talismans
is shown in many ancient records, and several scholars have assumed
that the belief in the magic efficacy of stones gave rise to their use
as objects of personal adornment. It is, of course, very difficult
either to prove or to disprove such a theory, for, even in the case of
the oldest texts, we must bear in mind that they do not in the least
represent primitive conditions, and that many thousands of years must
have elapsed before a people could attain the grade of civilization
necessary for the production of even the simplest literature. For this
reason, certain investigators have preferred to seek for a solution of
this problem in the customs and habits of the so-called uncivilized
peoples of our own time; but we must not forget that conditions which
seem to us very rudimentary are, nevertheless, the result of a long
process of development. Even if this development was arrested many
centuries or millenniums ago, it must have required a very considerable
period of time to evolve such usages and conventions as are found even
among the lowest races. Indeed, many uncivilized peoples have very
complicated rules and observances, testifying to considerable thought
and reflection.

Fetichism in all its forms depends upon an imperfect conception of
what constitutes life and conscious being, so that will and thought
are attributed to inanimate objects. We can observe this in the case
of animals and very young children, who regard any moving object as
endowed with life. In the case of stones, however, it seems probable
that those supposed to be the abode of spirits, good or evil, were
selected because their natural form suggested that of some animal or
of some portion of the human body. On the other hand, the wearing of
what we call precious stones is more likely to have been due to the
attraction exercised by bright colors upon the eye of the beholder and
to the desire to display some distinguishing mark that would command
attention and admiration for the wearer. This tendency runs through the
higher animal kingdom, and its workings have served as a foundation for
the theory of natural selection.

It seems likely that we have here the true explanation of the motive
for the gathering, preserving, and wearing of precious stones. Since
these objects are motionless, they can scarcely have impressed the mind
of primitive man with the idea that they were alive; they were not
imposing by their mass, as were large stones, and their crystalline
form scarcely figured any known living shape. Hence their chief, we
may even say their only attraction was their color and brilliancy.
What effect these qualities had upon the visual sense of primitive
man may be safely inferred from the effect such objects produce upon
infants. The baby has no fear in regard to a small and brilliantly
colored object which is shown to it, but will eagerly put out its hand
to seize, hold, and gaze upon a bright-colored stone. As the object
is quite passive and easily handled, there is nothing to suggest any
lurking power to harm, and therefore there is nothing to interfere with
the pleasurable sensation aroused in the optic nerve by the play of
color. In this naïve admiration of what is brilliant and colored, the
infant undoubtedly represents for us the mental attitude of primitive

[Illustration: 1. Necklace of rock-crystal and amethyst beads,
transparent and translucent; very pale; from Egypt. First century.

2. Necklace of antique emeralds with gold beads and amazon stones; from
Egypt. First century A.D.]

Probably the first objects chosen for personal adornment were those
easily strung or bound together,—for instance, certain perforated
shells and brilliant seeds; the softer stones, wherein holes could be
easily bored by the help of the simplest tools, probably came next,
while the harder gems must have been hoarded as pretty toys long before
they could be adjusted for use as ornaments.

Unquestionably, when these objects had once been worn, there was
a disposition to attribute certain happenings to their influence
and power, and in this way there arose a belief in their efficacy,
and, finally, the conviction that they were the abodes of powerful
spirits. In this, as in many other things, man’s first and instinctive
appreciation was the truest, and it has required centuries of
enlightenment to bring us back to this love of precious stones for
their esthetic beauty alone. Indeed, even to-day, we can see the power
of superstitious belief in the case of the opal, which some timid
people still fear to wear, although until three or four centuries
ago this stone was thought to combine all the virtues of the various
colored gems, the hues of which are united in its sparkling light.

A proof that bright and colored objects were attractive in themselves,
and were first gathered up and preserved by primitive man for this
reason alone, may be found in the fact that certain birds, notable the
_Chlamydera_ of Australia, related to our ravens, after constructing
for themselves pretty arbors, strew the floors with variegated pebbles,
so arranged as to suggest a mosaic pavement. At the entrance of the
arbors are heaped up pieces of bone, shells, feathers, and stones,
which have often been brought from a considerable distance, this
giving evidence that the birds have not selected these objects at
random. It is strange that the attraction exercised upon the sense of
sight by anything brilliant and colored, which is at the same time
easily portable and can be handled or worn, should be overlooked by
those who are disposed to assert that all ornaments of this kind were
originally selected and preserved solely or principally because of
their supposed talismanic qualities.

The theory that colored and brilliant stones were first collected by
men because of their beauty rather than because of their talismanic
virtues, is corroborated by the statement made that seals select with
considerable care the stones they swallow, and observers on the fishing
grounds have noted this and believe that pebbles of chalcedony and
serpentine found there have been brought by the seals.[9]

The popular derivation of the word “amulet” from an Arabic word
_hamalât_, signifying something suspended or worn, is not accepted by
the best Arabic scholars, and it seems probable that the name is of
Latin origin, in spite of the fact that no very satisfactory etymology
can be given. Pliny’s use of _amuletum_ shows that with him the word
did not always denote an object that was worn on the person, although
this later became its meaning. The old etymology given by Varro (118-29
B.C.), who derived _amuletum_ from the verb _amoliri_, “to remove,”
“to drive away,” may not be quite in accord with modern philology,
but still has something to recommend it as far as the sense goes, for
the amulet was certainly believed to hold dangers aloof, or even to
remove them. Talisman, however, a word not used in classical times,
undoubtedly comes from the Arabic _tilsam_, this being in turn derived
from τέλεσμα, used in late Greek to signify an initiation, or an

It has been remarked that in the earliest Stone Age there is no trace
of either idols or images; the art of this period being entirely
profane. In the later Stone Age, however, entirely different ideas
seem to have gained the ascendancy, for a majority of the objects of
plastic art so far discovered have a religious significance. This has
evidently proceeded from the conception that every image of a living
object absorbs something of the essence of the object itself, and this
conception, while a primitive one, still presupposes a certain degree
of development. This rule applies more especially to amulets, which
were therefore fashioned as beautifully as primitive art permitted,
that they might become fitting abodes for the benevolent spirits
believed to animate them and render them efficacious.[10]

A curious idol or talisman from Houaïlou, New Caledonia, is in the
collection of Signor Giglioli. This is a stone bearing naturally a
rude resemblance to the human form.[11] We can easily understand
that such an object was looked upon as the abode of some spirit, for
similar strange natural formations have been regarded with a species of
superstitious awe by peoples much more civilized than the natives of
New Caledonia.

For the Middle Ages and even down to the seventeenth century, the
talismanic virtues of precious stones were believed in by high and low,
by princes and peasants, by the learned as well as by the ignorant.
Here and there, however, a note of scepticism was sometimes apparent,
as in the famous reply of the court jester of Emperor Charles V, to the
question, “What is the property of the turquoise?” “Why,” replied he,
“if you should happen to fall from a high tower whilst you were wearing
a turquoise on your finger, the turquoise would remain unbroken.”

The doctrine of sympathy and antipathy found expression in the belief
that the very substance of certain stones was liable to modification
by the condition of health or even by the thoughts of the wearer. In
case of sickness or approaching death the lustre of the stones was
dimmed, or else their bright colors were darkened, and unfaithfulness
or perjury produced similar phenomena. Concerning the turquoise, the
prosaic explanation can be offered that this stone is affected to a
certain extent by the secretions of the skin; but popular superstition
saw the same phenomena in the ruby, the diamond, and other stones
not possessing the sensitiveness of the turquoise. Hence the true
explanation is to be found in the prevailing idea that an occult
sympathy existed between stone and wearer. The sentiment underlying the
conception is well expressed by Emerson in the following lines from
“The Amulet”:

    Give me an amulet
      That keeps intelligence with you,—
    Red when you love, and rosier red,
      And when you love not, pale and blue.

A Persian legend of the origin of diamonds and precious stones shows
that in the East these beautiful objects were looked upon as the source
of much sin and sorrow. We are told that when God created the world
he made no useless things, such as gold, silver, precious stones,
and diamonds; but Satan, who is always eager to bring evil among
men, kept a close watch to spy out the appetites and passions of the
human mind. To his great satisfaction he noted that Eve passionately
loved the many-colored flowers that decked the Garden of Eden; he
therefore undertook to imitate their brightness and color out of
earth, and in this way were produced colored precious stones and
diamonds. These in after time so strongly appealed to the greed and
covetousness of mankind that they have been the cause of much crime and

The present age could afford us nearly as many examples of faith in
talismans and amulets as any epoch in the past, if people were willing
to confess their real beliefs. However, they are half-ashamed of their
fondness for such objects, and fail to see that, back of all the
folly and superstition that may find expression in this way, there
is a deeper meaning in these talismans than we at first perceive. We
may be disposed to smile when we are told that many of the soldiers
in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 carried amulets of some kind upon
their persons, and that the great Marshal Canrobert trusted to the
protection of an amulet in the Crimean campaign. Of course the Russian
army, during the Russo-Japanese War, was amply provided with amulets,
religious medals or pictures to which a special virtue had been given
by a priestly blessing.

In all these cases, however, it is not the object itself, but the idea
for which it stands and which it incorporates, that gives confidence
to the wearer, and in this sense the wearing of a talisman is no more
a proof of blind superstition than is the devotion to a flag, in
itself only a few square feet of silk or bunting, but, nevertheless,
the symbol of the noblest ideas and feelings, of patriotic devotion
to one’s native land and to one’s fellow-countrymen. The tendency
to give a substantial visible form to an abstract idea is so deeply
rooted in humanity that it must be looked upon as responding to a human
necessity. It is only very rarely that purely intellectual conceptions
can satisfy us; they must be given some external, palpable and visible
form to exert their greater influences.

Although it may bear a certain superficial likeness to fetichism, this
use of signs and symbols is something entirely and radically different,
for the idea is never lost sight of, it is only strengthened and
vivified by the contemplation of the symbol. Hence, while we know quite
well that the symbol is nothing in itself, we know just as well that it
has a real power in its relation to the idea it typifies, and we can
no more be indifferent to its injury or destruction than we could be
indifferent to the injury or destruction of a cherished memento of one
whom we have loved and lost.

What super-subtle sense is it that enables some women to endow their
gems with a certain individuality, and leads them to feel that these
cold, inanimate objects partake of human emotion? A French writer, Mme.
Catulle Mendès, gives expression to this when she says that she always
wears as many of her rings as possible, because her gems feel slighted
when she leaves them unworn. She continues:

 I have a ruby which grows dull, two turquoises which become pale as
 death, aquamarines which look like siren’s eyes filled with tears,
 when I forget them too long. How sad I should feel if precious stones
 did not love to rest upon me!


Field Museum, Chicago.]

A very beautiful and curious object was found in the Australian
opal-fields in 1909. This is a reptilean skeleton resembling a small
serpent that has become opalized by natural processes. Perfect in all
its details, which are rendered more striking by the splendid play of
color, this specimen of Nature’s handiwork possesses a beauty and an
interest exceeding those to be found in any work of man. As an amulet
it certainly is _sui generis_, and in ancient times would have been
valued at an immense sum, for the figure of a serpent was a favorite
symbol of medical science; even to-day there is little doubt that this
strange object will be eagerly sought for by collectors, and will
appeal more especially to all who are interested in occult science, and
to all who appreciate the poetic and perhaps mystic significance of
form, sign, and symbol.

It is impossible to over-estimate the effect of color in determining
the supposed influence of gems upon the fortunes or health of the
wearers. When we gaze upon the beautiful play of light emitted by a
fine ruby or sapphire, we are all conscious of the æsthetic effect
produced; but in earlier times, when scientific ideas were not yet
prevalent, many other considerations combined to give a peculiar
significance to these brilliant gems. Rare and costly as they were,
they were supposed to possess mystic and occult powers and were
thought to be the abode of spirits, sometimes benevolent and sometimes
malevolent, but always endowed with the power to influence human
destinies for weal or woe. Coupled with this was the instinctive
appreciation of the essential qualities of certain rays of light,
and modern science, far from doing away with these ideas, has rather
seemed to find a good reason for them. We all know the therapeutic
value of the ultra-violet rays, and when the uninstructed mind saw
therein the embodiment of purity and chastity, it perhaps realized
this health-giving and beneficent function. In the same way the idea
of passion was associated with the red and radiant ruby, another
concept the relative truth of which has been demonstrated by spectrum
analysis, since the red rays are heat-giving and vivifying. But this
was not the only source of these primitive ideas in regard to color;
the therapeutic effect was often sought and found in some fancied
analogy between the color of the gem and the character of the malady
or infirmity to be cured. Thus, yellow stones were supposed to be
especially efficacious in cases of jaundice, an instance of instinctive
homœopathy, based on the dictum _similia similibus curantur_. Following
out this train of thought, the red stones were endowed with the power
of checking the flow of blood; especially the so-called bloodstone was
prescribed for this use, and it was supposed that by its mere touch
it could stop the most violent hemorrhages. Green was regarded as the
color most beneficial for the sight, and to the emerald and other
green stones was ascribed great curative power in this respect. Here,
however, the simple influence of the color was later combined with its
symbolical significance. In heathen mythology this showed itself in the
ascription of the emerald to Venus, as the exponent of the reproductive
energies of nature, while in the Christian conception these stones
became typical of the resurrection, of the birth into a new and purer
life. Nowhere can we find a better illustration of the transforming
effect of distinct and diametrically opposite concepts upon the
impressions made by natural objects. The pure and colorless and yet
brilliant stones, such as the diamond and all other white stones, were
naturally brought into connection with the moon, although the diamond,
because of its superior qualities and exceptional brilliance and value,
was frequently looked upon as the gem of the sun. All gems associated
with the moon partook of its enigmatic character. Illuminating the
witching hour of the night, when malevolent and treacherous spirits
were supposed to hold sway, the moon was sometimes regarded as baleful,
as may be seen in the idea that associated lunacy with exposure to the
bright rays of the moon; at other times it was supposed to have the
power to conjure these evil influences and to drive off the powers of

The symbolical significance of the colors of precious stones is treated
at considerable length by Giacinto Gimma,[13] who has gathered together
a great quantity of material on the subject.

Yellow worn by a man denoted secrecy, and was appropriate for the
silent lover; worn by a woman it indicated generosity. Golden yellow
was, of course, the symbol of the sun and of Sunday. The precious stone
was the chrysolite or the yellow jacinth. The animal connected with the
color was the lion, doubtless, from the association of the zodiacal
sign Leo with the midsummer sun. Of the seven ages of man yellow
typified adolescence. Roman matrons covered their heads with a yellow
veil to show their hope of offspring and happiness. Because garments of
this color were a sign of grandeur and nobility, a golden vestment is
assigned to the Queen of Heaven as a sign of her pre-eminence, as we
read in Psalm xlv, 9: “Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold
of Ophir.” Gimma’s explanation of this as referring to the Virgin Mary
is in accord with the Catholic exegesis of his time.

White signified for men friendship, religion, integrity; for women,
contemplation, affability, and purity. It was associated with the moon
and with Monday and was represented by the pearl. The animal having an
affinity with white was quite naturally the ermine. The mystic number
was seven, and white was the color of infancy. Among the ancients white
was a sign of mourning and sadness, and the Greek matrons attired
themselves in white on the death of their husbands. Gimma states that
in his time, in Rome, widows used to wear white as mourning for their
husbands, while throughout Italy a white band worn around the head was
a sign of widowhood.

Red garments on a man indicated command, nobility, lordship, and
vengeance; on a woman, pride, obstinacy, and haughtiness. This was
the color of the planet Mars and of Tuesday; it was represented by
the ruby. Why the lynx should have been selected as the animal for
red is rather difficult to understand, but, as the most vivid color,
the choice of red as a type of full manhood need not surprise us. Its
number was the potent nine, three multiplied by itself. The ancients
covered with a red cloth the biers of those who had died valiantly
in battle, as Homer[14] shows when he relates that the brothers and
companions of Hector covered the urn containing the hero’s ashes with
soft purple (scarlet) robes. Plutarch asserts that the Lacedemonians
clothed their soldiers in red to strike terror into the hearts of
their enemies and to manifest a thirst for blood. We might perhaps say
much the same of the English “red-coats” to-day. The Italian code of
criminal laws known as the “Digesto Nuovo” was bound in red, to signify
that a bloody death awaited thieves and murderers.

Blue on a man’s dress indicated wisdom and high and magnanimous
thoughts; on a woman’s dress, jealousy in love, politeness, and
vigilance. Friday and Venus were represented by blue, and the
celestial-hued sapphire was the stone in which this color appeared in
all its beauty. Blue was a fit symbol of the age of childhood, but
it is less easy to understand the choice of the goat as the animal
associated with the color. The significant number was six. Natural
science, the contemplation of the heavens and of the heavenly bodies,
and the study of stellar influences were all typified by blue.

Green signified for men joyousness, transitory hope, and the decline
of friendship; for women, unfounded ambition, childish delight, and
change. The early verdure of spring might be regarded as at once a
symbol of hope and of eventual disappointment, for it must soon pass
away. Mercury, and Wednesday, the day of Mercury, were both typified by
green, the sly fox being selected as the animal is sympathy with the
wily god. The typical green stone is the emerald, youth is the age of
man represented by the color, and five the magic number expressing it.
In ancient times green was used in the case of those who died in the
flower of youth, an emerald being sometimes placed on the index-finger
of the corpse, as a sign that the light of hope was spent, for the
lower part of the torches used in religious ceremonies was marked with
green. Fulvius Pellegrinus relates that, in the tomb of Tullia, the
dearly-beloved daughter of Cicero, there was found an emerald, the most
beautiful that had ever been seen. This passed into the hands of the
Marchesana di Mantova, Isabella Gonzaga da Este. In Italy the graves
of young virgins and of children were covered with green branches. When
the Codex Justinianus was rediscovered and added to the other Pandects,
it was bound in green to signify that these laws were rejuvenated.

Black for men means gravity, good sense, constancy, and fortitude;
for young women, fickleness and foolishness, but for married women,
constant love and perseverance. The planet Saturn and Saturday are
denoted by black. Strange to say, the diamond, the white gem _par
excellence_, was selected to represent this sombre hue. Perhaps to
offset this the animal chosen was the hog. As black was a mourning
color, we need not be surprised that it typified decrepitude. The
number eight, the double square, was supposed to have some affinity
with black. Black is a symbol of envy, for the thoughts which aim at
another’s injury cloud the soul and afflict the body. The book of laws
treating of dispositions made in view of death was bound in black. The
sinister significance of black is well illustrated by what is told of
the ruthless Tartar Tamerlane. When he attacked a city, he caused a
white tent to be pitched for himself on the first day of the siege, as
a sign that mercy would be shown to the inhabitants if they immediately
surrendered; on the second day a red tent was substituted, signifying
that if the city yielded, all the leaders would be put to death; on the
third day, however, a black tent was raised, an ominous signal that no
mercy would be shown and that all the inhabitants would be slaughtered.

Violet for a man denoted sober judgment, industry, and gravity; for a
woman, high thoughts and religious love. It was the color of the planet
Jupiter and of Thursday. As with blue, the sapphire was conceived to
present violet most attractively. That the bull should be selected
as the animal represented by this color probably arose from some
mythological connection with Jupiter, possibly the myth of Europa and
the bull. Violet was the color of old age and was associated with the
number three.

The influence of color upon the nerves has been noted by some of the
leading authorities on hypnotism. For example, Dr. Paul Ferez, finding
that red light is stimulating and blue-violet calming, suggests that
those who treat patients by means of hypnotism should have two rooms
for their reception. In one of these rooms the curtains, wall-paper,
chair-coverings, etc., would be red, while in the other they would
be of a violet-blue hue. Those suffering from a lack of will-power
or from lassitude and depression are to be received in the red room,
and those who are a prey to over-excitability are introduced into the
blue room. Moreover, according to Dr. Ferez, the sedative qualities of
the violet-blue can be utilized in inducing the hypnotic state. For
this purpose he recommends a violet-blue disk, which is to be rotated
rapidly before the eyes of the patient, the movement serving to attract
and hold his gaze better than any immovable object would do.[15]

Red stones such as rubies, carbuncles, and garnets, whose color
suggested that of blood, were not only believed to confer
invulnerability from wounds, but some Asiatic tribes have used garnets
as bullets, upon the contrary principle that this blood-colored stone
would inflict a more deadly wound than would a leaden bullet. Such
bullets were used by the rebellious Hanzas, in 1892, during their
hostilities with the British troops on the Kashmir frontier, and many
of these precious missiles were preserved as curiosities.

In his “Colloquy on Pilgrimages,” Erasmus makes one of the speakers
ask, “Dost thou not see how the artificer Nature delights to represent
all things by colors and forms, but more especially in gems?” He then
proceeds to enumerate the various images of natural objects in stones.
In the ceraunia appeared the thunder-bolt; in the pyrope, living
fire; the chalazia (rock-crystal) preserved the form and coldness of
the hailstone even if cast into the fire. In the emerald were shown
the deep and translucent waves of the sea; the carcinia imitated the
form of crabs; the echites, of vipers; the hieracites, of hawks; the
geranites, of cranes. The ætites offered the image of an eagle with
a white tail; the taos had the form of a peacock; the chelonites, of
an asp; while the myrmecites bore within the figure of an ant.[16]
The stones bearing this latter name were probably specimens of amber
containing ants.

The Greek names of these stones enumerated by Erasmus signify their
real or supposed resemblance to certain natural objects, or to
something characteristic of such objects. Many of them were fossils,
preserving the form of some living organism; a few were entirely
fabulous; still others owed their names to some legend or myth
illustrating their fancied therapeutic virtues, as in the case of the
ætites (eagle-stone) said to be found in the eagle’s nest. Evidently
this was a quartz pebble.

The oldest magic formulas that have been preserved for us are those of
the Sumerians, the founders of the ancient civilization of Babylonia.
Some of them contain references to the use of precious stones as
amulets, as appears in the following specimen:

    Cords of light-colored wool,
    Offered (?) with a pure hand,
    For jaundice of the eye,
    Bind on the right side (of the patient).
    A lululti ring, with sparkling stones
    Brought from his own land,
    For inflammation of the eye,
    On the little finger
    Of his left (hand), place.[17]

A curious Babylonian mythological text represents the solar deity
Ninib, the son of Bel, as determining the fate of various stones by
pronouncing a blessing or a curse upon them. For instance, the dolomite
was blessed and declared to be fit material for the statues of kings,
while a substance called the _elu_ stone was cursed, proclaimed to be
unfit for working, and doomed to disintegration. Alabaster was favored
by the god, but chalcedony aroused his anger and was condemned.[18]

In these Sumero-Assyrian inscriptions, there is also mention of two
stones, the _aban râme_ and the _aban la râme_, the “Stone of Love”
and the “Stone of Hate” (lit. “non-love”).[19] Evidently these stones
were believed to excite one or other of these contradictory passions in
the hearts of the wearers, and they may be compared with the stones of
memory and forgetfulness in the “Gesta Romanorum.”

In an ancient Egyptian burial-place at Shêch Abd el-Qurna, excavated
by Passalaqua, was found the mummy of a young woman. Not only was it
evident from the rich ornaments adorning the body that she had been
of noble birth, but it was also apparent that she must have been
exceedingly beautiful in form and feature, and must have died in the
flower of her age. The hair was artistically braided and adorned with
twenty bronze hairpins. About her neck was a remarkably beautiful
necklace composed of four rows of beads with numerous pendants
representing divinities and sacred symbols. There were also two smaller
necklaces with beads of gold, lapis-lazuli, and carnelian; two large
jewelled ear-rings hung from her ears, and on the index-finger of
her right hand was a ring set with a scarab; a gold belt garnished
with lapis-lazuli and carnelians was bound about her waist and a gold
bracelet adorned with semi-precious stones encircled her left wrist.
In the sarcophagus was a beautiful mirror of golden-yellow bronze, and
three alabaster vases, one still containing some balm or perfume, and
another some galena (native lead sulphide) to be used as a cosmetic for
the eyes, as well as a little ebony pencil for its application. All
these objects are now in the Egyptian collection of the Berlin Museum,
and they probably belong to the period of the XVIII Dynasty, about 1500

[Illustration: 1. A necklace of rock crystal, emeralds, hexagonal
crystals, and amazon stones; from Egypt.

2. A necklace of onyx and gold beads with the “Lucky Eye” agates; from
Egypt. Carnelian, sard; blue and white, and black and white glass

The principal necklace was undoubtedly regarded by the fair Egyptian
as an amulet of great power, but it failed to protect her from an
untimely end; perhaps, however, its virtues may have aided her soul in
its passage through the trials and tests imposed in the underworld. Of
the numerous pendants which lent to the necklace its peculiar quality
as an amulet, three, in carnelian, figure the god Bes; seven, also
in carnelian, the hippopotamus-goddess Toeris, of whom there are
besides two representations in lapis-lazuli; then we have a heart of
lapis-lazuli; a cat of lapis-lazuli; four falcons of carnelian; one
crocodile of carnelian and two of lapis-lazuli; four fish of carnelian,
as well as two others of a blackish-white and of a green stone,
respectively, and two scorpions of carnelian, and seven flower-forms
of the same stone. The greater part of the beads in this necklace are
of annular form, of gold, electrum, ivory, or lapis-lazuli; there are
a few larger annular or spherical beads of carnelian, chrysoprase, and
malachite, and measuring up to 3.5 cm. in diameter.[20]

A necklace, from the time of the Old Empire (c. 3500 B.C.), and having
for its chief adornment a turquoise pendant rudely fashioned into
the form of an ibex, was found by the German Orient-Gesellschaft at
Abusîr el-Meleq in 1905. This necklace, the parts of which were found
about the neck of a body, presumably that of a young man, was composed
of rounded and annular beads of carnelian and shell, as well as of
flat, perforated fragments of turquoise and almandine garnet and an
approximately lozenge-shaped bead of amethyst 1.7 cm. long and 1.4 cm.
broad. The chief ornament was the turquoise ibex 1.7 cm. in length and
0.9 cm. high.[21] This figure suggests a comparison with the animal and
bird forms fashioned out of turquoise that have been found in Indian
graves in Arizona and New Mexico, and it probably had the quality of a
fetich, or at least of a talisman, intended to guard the wearer of the
necklace from harm.

That there was in Egypt a strong inclination to use a certain
particular stone for a given amulet, will be noted in the case of those
inscribed with special chapters of the Book of the Dead. This is also
true of amulets of certain forms. For instance, the head-rest amulet
is usually of hematite as is also the carpenter’s square. Of the heart
amulets, numbering 47 in the rich collections of the Cairo Museum,
nine are of carnelian, four of hematite, two of lapis-lazuli, and two
each of green porphyry and green jasper, carnelian being thus the most
favored among the more precious materials. Amulets of animal form are
plentifully represented in this collection, figuring a large variety
of members of the animal kingdom such as the hippopotamus, crocodile,
lion, bull, cow, hare, dog-headed ape, cat, dog (somewhat doubtful),
jackal, hedgehog, frog, hawk, cobra and fishes, to which list may be
added a four-headed ram and a ram-headed sphinx.[22]

One of the special uses of amulets was for seafaring people, for,
in ancient times especially, all who went down to the sea in ships
were greatly in need of protection from the fury of the elements when
they embarked in their small sailing-vessels. A fragment of a Greek
Lapidary,[23] probably written in the third or fourth century of our
era, gives a list of seven amulets peculiarly adapted for this purpose.
The number might suggest a connection with the days of the week, and
the amulets were perhaps regarded as most efficacious when used on the
respective days.

In the first were set a carbuncle and a chalcedony; this amulet
protected sailors from drowning. The second had for its gem either of
two varieties of the adamas,—one, the Macedonian, being likened to
ice (this was probably rock-crystal), while the other, the Indian,
of a silvery hue, may possibly have been our corundum; however, the
Macedonian stone was regarded as the better. The third amulet bore the
beryl, “transparent, brilliant, and of a sea-green hue,” evidently the
aquamarine beryl; this banished fear. The fourth had for its gem the
_druops_, “white in the centre,” probably the variety of agate so much
favored as a protector against the spell of the Evil Eye. A coral was
placed in the fifth amulet, and this was to be attached to the prow of
the ship with strips of seal-skin; it guarded the vessel from winds and
waves in all waters. For the sixth amulet the _ophiokiolus_ stone was
selected, most probably a kind of banded agate, for it is said to have
been girdled with stripes like the body of a snake; whoever wore this
had no need to fear the surging ocean. The seventh and last of these
nautical amulets bore a stone called _opsianos_, apparently a resinous
or bituminous material, possibly a kind of jet; this came from Phrygia
and Galatia, and the amulet wherein it was set was a great protection
for all who journeyed by sea or by river.

The ancient treatises on the magic art show that the use of amulets
was considered to be indispensable for those who dared to evoke the
dark spirits of the nether-world, for without the protection afforded
by his amulet the magician ran the risk of being attacked by these
spirits. One of these texts gives directions for preparing an amulet,
or _phylacterion_, for the “undertaking”; for this a “sweet-smelling”
loadstone should be chosen, and should be cut heart-shaped and engraved
with the figure of Hecate.[24]

A costly Chinese amulet consists of the diamond, the ruby, and the
emerald, to which are added the pearl and coral; Oriental sapphire
and topaz are classed with the ruby. An amulet containing these five
substances is thought to combine the protecting influences of the
different deities presiding over them, and is supposed to lengthen the
wearer’s life. Sometimes these five princely gems are wrapped up in a
paper bearing the names of the respective divinities, to which is added
the name of the moon, and those of the twenty-seven constellations,
or houses of the moon. Such an amulet, suspended at the entrance of a
house, is believed to afford protection to the inmates.[25]

In the language of the ancient Mexicans blood was called
_chalchiuhatl_, or “water of precious stones,” as the quintessence
of what were regarded as the most costly things.[26] Although such
poetic designations are in modern times mere figures of speech, among
primitive peoples they are more significant, and it is highly probable
that with the Aztecs, as with other peoples, the wearing of precious
stones was believed to enrich the blood and thus to promote health and
vigor, for “the blood is the life.”

That gems had sex is asserted by the earliest writers as well as by
many of those of a later date. While this must usually be understood as
a poetic way of indicating a difference in shade, the darker varieties
being regarded as male and the lighter ones as female, Theophrastus,
the earliest Greek writer on precious stones, clearly shows that this
sexual distinction was sometimes seriously made, for he declares that,
wonderful as it might seem, certain gems were capable of producing

This strange idea was still prevalent in the sixteenth century, and
ingenious explanations were sometimes given of the cause of this
phenomenon, as appears in the following account by Rueus of germinating

 It has recently been related to me by a lady worthy of credence, that
 a noblewoman, descended from the illustrious house of Luxemburg, had
 in her possession two diamonds which she had inherited, and which
 produced others in such miraculous wise, that whoever examined them
 at stated intervals judged that they had engendered progeny like
 themselves. The cause of this (if it be permissible to philosophize
 regarding such a strange matter) would seem to be that the celestial
 energy in the parent stones, qualified by some one as “_vis
 adamantifica_,” first changes the surrounding air into water, or
 some similar substance, and then condenses and hardens this into the
 diamond gem.

The pearl-fishers of Borneo are said to preserve carefully every ninth
pearl they find, and place them in a bottle with two grains of rice for
each pearl, believing, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that
these particular pearls have the power to engender and breed others.
Custom and superstition require that each bottle shall have the finger
of a dead man as a stopper.

Talismanic influences are taken into account in the wearing of jewelry
by Orientals, two bracelets being frequently worn lest one member
should become jealous of the other, thus disturbing the equilibrium of
the whole organism. The piercing of the ears for ear-rings has been
attributed to a desire to chastise the ear for its indiscretion in
hearing secrets not intended to be heard, while costly and ornamental
ear-rings are set in the ears to console those parts of our anatomy
for the suffering caused by the operation of piercing. In the case
of necklaces of brilliant metal, adorned with pendants of glittering
stones, the talismanic purpose is to attract the beholder’s gaze and
thus ward off the mysterious and dangerous emanations set forth by the
Evil Eye; the necklace, or its ornaments, are supposed to perform a
similar service to that rendered by the lightning-rod in diverting the
electric discharge.

[Illustration: PEARL DEALER.

From the “Hortus Sanitatis” of Johannis de Cuba [Strassburg, Jean
Pryss, ca. 1483]: De lapidibus, cap. lxxviii. Author’s library.]

At an early date the Christian Church registered its opposition to the
practice of wearing amulets. At the Council of Laodicea, held in 355
A.D., it was decreed, in the thirty-fourth canon, that priests and
clerks must be neither enchanters, mathematicians, nor astrologers,
and that they must not make “what are called amulets,” for these were
fetters of the soul, and all who wore them should be cast out of
the church.[28] This emphatic condemnation of the prevailing usage
was not so much a protest against superstition _per se_ as against
pagan superstition, for almost if not all the amulets in use in the
early centuries of our era bore heathen or heretical symbols or
inscriptions. In later times the invincible tendency to wear objects
of this character found expression in the use of those associated
with Christian belief, such, for instance, as relics of the saints,
medallions blessed by the priest, etc.

[Illustration: By permission of W. Griggs & Sons, Ltd., London.


He holds a “rosary” of emeralds, stones prized in the Orient as
antidotes to poison. From a portrait by Jiwan Ram, taken at Rupar in
1831. From the Journal of Indian Art and Industry.]

The amulets of the Jews differed in many respects from those used by
Christians. The Mosaic prohibition of representations of human or
animal forms imposed great restrictions upon the employment of engraved
gems, and the Jew was only permitted to wear or carry those bearing
merely characters of mystic or symbolic significance. In talmudic times
amulets were sometimes hidden in a hollow staff, and they were believed
to have more power when concealed from view in this way. They were
like concealed weapons, and it was said that, as a father might give
such an amulet to a son, so God had given the Law to Israel for its

In the Old French didactic poem, the _Roman de la Rose_, composed
in the twelfth century, appear traces of the belief in the magic
properties of precious stones. Chaucer translated this poem into
English in the fourteenth century and we quote the following lines
from his version. They describe the costume of the symbolical figure,

    Richesse a girdle hadde upon
    The bokel of it was of a stoon
    Of Vertue greet, and mochel of might.

    That stoon was greetly for to love,
    And til a riche mannes bihove
    Worth al the gold in Rome and Fryse.

    The mordaunt[30] wrought in noble wyse,
    Was of a stoon full precious,
    That was so fyn and vertuous,
    That hool a man it coude make
    Of palasye and of tooth-ake.[31]

At the trial, in 1232, of Hubert de Burgh, chief justiciar, one of the
charges brought against him was that he had surreptitiously removed
from the English treasury an exceedingly valuable stone, possessing the
virtue of rendering the wearer invincible in battle, and had given it
to Llewellyn, King of Wales, the enemy of his own sovereign, Henry III
of England (1207-1272).[32] This must have taken place about 1228, when
Henry was engaged in a war with the Welsh.

That precious stones could, under certain circumstances, lose the
powers inherent in them was firmly believed in medieval times. If
handled or even gazed upon by impure persons and sinners, some of the
virtues of the stones departed from them. Indeed, there were those who
held that precious stones, in common with all created things, were
corrupted by the sin of Adam. Therefore, in order to restore their
pristine virtue it might become necessary to sanctify and consecrate
them, and a kind of ritual serving this purpose has been preserved in
several old treatises. The subject is sufficiently curious to warrant
here the repetition of one of these forms. The stones which required
consecration were to be wrapped in a perfectly clean linen cloth and
placed on the altar. Then three masses were to be said over them, and
the priest who celebrated the third mass, clad in his sacred vestments,
was to pronounce the following benediction:[33]

 The Lord be with us. And with thy spirit. Let us pray. Almighty
 God and Father, who manifestedst thy virtue to Elias by certain
 senseless creatures, who orderedst Moses, Thy servant, that, among
 the sacerdotal vestments, he should adorn the Rational of Judgment
 with twelve precious stones, and showedst to John, the evangelist, the
 famous city of Jerusalem, essentially constituted by the same stones,
 and who hadst the power to raise up sons to Abraham from stones, we
 humbly beseech Thy majesty since Thou hast elected one of the stones
 to be a dwelling-place for the majesty of Thy heart, that Thou wilt
 deign to bless and sanctify these stones by the sanctification and
 incarnation of Thy name, so that they may be sanctified, blessed,
 and consecrated, and may receive from Thee the effect of the virtues
 Thou hast granted to them, according to their kinds, and which the
 experience of the learned has shown to have been given by Thee; so
 that whoever may wear them on him may feel the presence of Thy power
 and may be worthy to receive the gift of Thy grace and the protection
 of Thy power. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, in whom dwells all
 sanctification, benediction, and consecration; who lives with Thee and
 reigns as God for all eternity, Amen. Thanks be to God.

Konrad of Megenburg also gives this benediction in his “Buch der Natur.”

Luther tells the following humorous tale of a Jew who was a vender of

 There is sorcery among the Jews and their sorcerers think: “If we
 succeed, it is well for us; if we fail, a Christian is the sufferer;
 what care we for that?” ... But Duke Albert of Saxony acted shrewdly.
 When a Jew offered him a button, inscribed with curious characters
 and signs, and asserted that this button gave protection from cuts,
 thrusts, and shots, the Duke answered: “I will test that upon thyself,
 O Jew.” Hereupon he led the man to the gate, hung the button at his
 neck, drew his own sword, and thrust the fellow through the body. “The
 same fate would have happened to me,” said the Duke, “as has happened
 to thee.”[34]

Ruskin, with his keen poetic insight into the working of natural laws,
saw in the formation of crystals the action of both “force of heart”
and “steadiness of purpose.” He thus found himself, consciously or
unconsciously, in agreement with the old fancies which attributed a
species of personality to precious stones. Just as the Hindu regarded
an imperfectly shaped crystal as a bringer of ill luck to the owner, so
Ruskin sees in such a crystal the signs of an innate “immorality,” if
we may use this expression. Of a crystal aggregation of this type he
writes as follows:[35]

 Opaque, rough-surfaced, jagged on the edge, distorted in the spine,
 it exhibits a quite human image of decrepitude and dishonour; but the
 worst of all signs of its decay and helplessness is, that halfway up,
 a parasite crystal, smaller, but just as sickly, has rooted itself in
 the side of the larger one, eating out a cavity round its root, and
 then growing backwards, or downwards, contrary to the direction of
 the main crystal. Yet I cannot trace the least difference in purity
 of substance between the first most noble stone, and this ignoble and
 dissolute one. The impurity of the last is in its will or want of will.

There is established a very pretty custom of assigning to the various
masculine and feminine Christian names a particular gem, and such
name-gems are often set together with natal and talismanic gems and
with gems of one’s patron saint. It is considered an exceedingly good
omen when it happens that all three gems are of the same sort.


  Adelaide    Andalusite
  Agnes       Agate
  Alice       Alexandrite
  Anne        Amber

  Beatrice    Basalt
  Belle       Bloodstone
  Bertha      Beryl

  Caroline    Chalcedony
  Catherine   Cat’s-eye
  Charlotte   Carbuncle
  Clara       Carnelian
  Constance   Crystal

  Dorcas      Diamond
  Dorothy     Diaspore

  Edith       Eye-agate
  Eleanor     Elæolite
  Elizabeth   Emerald
  Ellen       Essonite
  Emily       Euclase
  Emma        Epidote

  Florence    Fluorite
  Frances     Fire-opal

  Gertrude    Garnet
  Gladys      Golden Beryl
  Grace       Grossularite

  Hannah      Heliotrope
  Helen       Hyacinth

  Irene       Iolite

  Jane        Jacinth
  Jessie      Jasper
  Josephine   Jadeite
  Julia       Jade

  Louise      Lapis-lazuli
  Lucy        Lepidolite

  Margaret    Moss-agate
  Martha      Malachite
  Marie       Moldavite
  Mary        Moonstone

  Olive       Olivine

  Pauline     Pearl

  Rose        Ruby

  Sarah       Spodumene
  Susan       Sapphire

  Therese     Turquoise


  Abraham     Aragonite
  Adolphus    Albite
  Adrian      Andalusite
  Albert      Agate
  Alexander   Alexandrite
  Alfred      Almandine
  Ambrose     Amber
  Andrew      Aventurine
  Archibald   Axinite
  Arnold      Aquamarine
  Arthur      Amethyst
  Augustus    Agalmatolite

  Benjamin    Bloodstone
  Bernard     Beryl

  Charles     Chalcedony
  Christian   Crystal
  Claude      Cyanite
  Clement     Chrysolite
  Conrad      Crocidolite
  Constantine Chrysoberyl
  Cornelius   Cat’s-eye

  Dennis      Demantoid
  Dorian      Diamond

  Edmund      Emerald
  Edward      Epidote
  Ernest      Euclase
  Eugene      Essonite

  Ferdinand   Feldspar
  Francis     Fire-opal
  Frederick   Fluorite

  George      Garnet
  Gilbert     Gadolinite
  Godfrey     Gagates
  Gregory     Grossularite
  Gustavus    Galactides
  Guy         Gold quartz

  Henry       Heliolite
  Herbert     Hyacinth
  Horace      Harlequin opal
  Hubert      Heliotrope
  Hugh        Heliodor
  Humphrey    Hypersthene

  James       Jade
  Jasper      Jasper
  Jerome      Jadeite
  John        Jacinth
  Joseph      Jargoon
  Julius      Jet

  Lambert     Labradorite
  Lawrence    Lapis-lazuli
  Leo         Lepidolite
  Leonard     Loadstone

  Mark        Malachite
  Matthew     Moonstone
  Maurice     Moss-agate
  Michael     Microcline

  Nathan      Natrolite
  Nicholas    Nephrite

  Oliver      Onyx
  Osborne     Orthoclase
  Osmond      Opal
  Oswald      Obsidian

  Patrick     Pyrope
  Paul        Pearl
  Peter       Porphyry
  Philip      Prase

  Ralph       Rubellite
  Raymond     Rose-quartz
  Richard     Rutile
  Robert      Rock-crystal
  Roger       Rhodonite
  Roland      Ruby

  Stephen     Sapphire

  Theodore    Tourmaline
  Thomas      Topaz

  Valentine   Vesuvianite
  Vincent     Verd-antique

  Walter      Wood-opal
  William     Willemite


On the Talismanic Use of Special Stones[36]


The author of “Lithica” celebrates the merits of the agate in the
following lines:[37]

    Adorned with this, thou woman’s heart shall gain,
    And by persuasion thy desire obtain;
    And if of men thou aught demand, shalt come
    With all thy wish fulfilled rejoicing home.

This idea is elaborated by Marbodus, Bishop of Rennes, in the eleventh
century, who declares that agates make the wearers agreeable and
persuasive and also give them the favor of God.[38] Still other virtues
are recounted by Camillo Leonardo, who claims that these stones
give victory and strength to their owners and avert tempests and

The agate possessed some wonderful virtues, for its wearer was guarded
from all dangers, was enabled to vanquish all terrestrial obstacles and
was endowed with a bold heart; this latter prerogative was presumably
the secret of his success. Some of these wonder-working agates were
black with white veins, while others again were entirely white.[40]

The wearing of agate ornaments was even believed to be a cure for
insomnia and was thought to insure pleasant dreams. In spite of these
supposed advantages, Cardano asserts that while wearing this stone he
had many misfortunes which he could not trace to any fault or error
of his own. He, therefore, abandoned its use; although he states that
it made the wearer more prudent in his actions.[41] Indeed, Cardano
appears to have tested the talismanic worth of gems according to a plan
of his own,—namely, by wearing them in turn and noting the degree
of good or ill fortune he experienced. By this method he apparently
arrived at positive results based on actual experience; but he quite
failed to appreciate the fact that no real connection of any kind
existed between the stones and their supposed effects. In another
treatise this author takes a somewhat more favorable view of the agate,
and proclaims that all varieties render those who wear them “temperate,
continent, and cautious; therefore they are all useful for acquiring

According to the text accompanying a curious print published in Vienna
in 1709, the attractive qualities of the so-called coral-agate were to
be utilized in an air-ship, the invention of a Brazilian priest. Over
the head of the aviator, as he sat in the air-ship, there was a network
of iron to which large coral-agates were attached. These were expected
to help in drawing up the ship, when, through the heat of the sun’s
rays, the stones had acquired magnetic power. The main lifting force
was provided by powerful magnets enclosed in two metal spheres; how the
magnets themselves were to be raised is not explained.[43]

[Illustration: AN AIR-SHIP OF 1709.

In the network above the figure were to be set coral-agates, supposed
to possess such magnetic powers as to keep the craft aloft. From
Valentini, “Museum Museorum,” Pt. III, Franckfurt am Mayn, 1714, p.35.
Author’s library.]

About the middle of the past century, the demand for agate amulets was
so great in the Soudan that the extensive agate-cutting establishments
at Idar and Oberstein in Germany were almost exclusively busied with
filling orders for this trade. Brown or black agates having a white
ring in the centre were chiefly used for the fabrication of these
amulets, the white ring being regarded as a symbol of the eye. Hence
the amulets were supposed to neutralize the power of the Evil Eye, or
else to be emblematic of the watchfulness of a guardian spirit. The
demand for these amulets has fallen off greatly, but when it was at
its height single firms exported them to the value of 40,000 thalers
($30,000) annually, the total export amounting to hundreds of thousands
of thalers. Even at present a considerable trade in these objects is
still carried on. That there is a fashion in amulets is shown by the
fact that, while red, white, and green amulets are in demand on the
west coast of Africa, only white stones are favored for this use in
Northern Africa.


Made of Brazilian agate at Oberstein, Germany, for African trade. Field
Museum, Chicago.]


There are a few talismanic stones which have gained their repute in
our time, notably the alexandrite, a variety of chrysoberyl found in
Russia, in the emerald mines on the Takowaya, in the Ural region. The
discovery of this variety is stated to have been made in 1831 on the
day Alexander II (then heir-apparent) reached his majority, and it was
therefore named alexandrite, by Nordenskjöld, the mineralogist. The
stone as found in gem form rarely weighs over from one to three carats,
and is characterized by a marked pleochroism of a splendid green
changing to a beautiful columbine red. But in Ceylon much larger gems
are found, some few weighing 60 carats each, although rarely of more
than one or two carats. The color is of a darker and more bottle-like
green, and the change by night renders them darker and more granitized
than the Russian stones, which are extremely rare. As red and green
are the Russian national colors, the alexandrite has become a great
favorite with the Russians, and is looked upon as a stone of good omen
in that country. Such, however, is its beauty as a gem that its fame is
by no means confined to Russia, and it is eagerly sought in other lands
as well.


Amber was one of the first substances used by man for decoration,
and it was also employed at a very early period for amulets and for
medicinal purposes. More or less shapeless pieces of rough amber,
marked with circular depressions, have been found in Prussia,
Schleswig-Holstein, and Denmark, in deposits of the Stone Age. These
depressions are sometimes regularly disposed and at other times
irregularly, and seem intended to imitate similar depressions found in
large stones and rocks, often the work of man’s hand, but occasionally
the result of natural causes. In Hoernes’ opinion they marked the
resting place of the spirit or spirits believed to animate the stone,
and hence it is probable that the amber fragments were used as
talismans or amulets.[44]

For the ancient Greek poets, the grains of amber were the tears
annually shed over the death of their brother Phaëthon by the Heliades
after grief had metamorphosed them into poplars growing on the banks
of the Eridanus (the modern river Po).[45] In a lost tragedy of
Sophocles, he saw the origin of amber in the tears shed over the death
of Meleager by certain Indian birds. For Nicias it was the “juice” or
essence of the brilliant rays of the setting sun, congealed in the sea
and then cast up upon the shore. A more prosaic explanation likened
amber to resin, and regarded it as being an exudation from the trunks
of certain trees. Indeed, the poetic fancy we have just noted is the
same idea clothed in a metaphorical or mythological form. Another fancy
represented amber to be the solidified urine of the lynx, hence one of
its names, _lyncurius_.[46]


From the “Hortus Sanitatis,” of Johannis de Cuba [Strassburg, Jean
Pryss, ca. 1483]; De lapidibus, cap. lxx. Author’s library.]

The brilliant and beautiful yellow of certain ambers and the fact
that this material was very easily worked served to make its use more
general, and it soon became a favorite object of trade and barter
between the peoples of the Baltic Coast and the more civilized peoples
to the south. Schliemann found considerable amber from the Baltic in
the graves of Mycenæ, and the frequent allusions to it in the works
of Latin authors of the first and succeeding centuries testify to its
popularity in the Roman world.

Probably the very earliest allusion in literature to the ornamental use
of amber appears in Homer’s Odyssey,[47] where we read:

    Received a golden necklace, richly wrought,
    And set with amber beads, that glowed as if
    With sunshine. To Eurydamas there came
    A pair of ear-rings, each a triple gem,
    Daintily fashioned and of exquisite grace.
    Two servants bore them.

Amber ingeniously carved into animal forms has been discovered in
tumuli at Indersoen, Norway.[48] These curious objects were worn as
amulets, and the peculiar forms were supposed to enhance the power of
the material, giving it special virtues and rendering it of greater
value and efficacy.

Pieces of amber with singular natural markings were greatly esteemed,
especially when these markings suggested the initials of the name of
some prominent person. Thus, we are told that Friedrich Wilhelm I of
Prussia paid to a dealer a high price for a piece of amber on which
appeared his initials. The same dealer had another piece on which he
read the initials of Charles XII of Sweden. When he received the news
of this king’s death, he bitterly lamented having lost the opportunity
of selling him amber for a high price. But he was cleverly consoled by
Nathaniel Sendal, the relator of the story, who easily persuaded the
dealer that the markings could just as well signify the initials of
some other name. Sendal adduces this as a proof that the letters read
on such pieces of amber were as much the product of the observer’s
imagination as of the markings on the material.[49] Those who secured
amber so mysteriously marked by Nature’s hand probably felt that they
had obtained a talisman of great power, especially destined for their

[Illustration: 1. Amber ornament, perforated, from Assyrian grave.

2. Amber ring ornament from Pompeii.

3. Large annular bead of amber from Mexico. Aztec work.

4. Amber wedding necklace. Eighteenth century. Baltic Provinces.

5. Amber beads. Worn by African natives.]


While the special and traditional virtue of the amethyst was the cure
of drunkenness, many other qualities were attributed to this stone in
the fifteenth century. For Leonardo,[50] it had the power to control
evil thoughts, to quicken the intelligence, and to render men shrewd
in business matters. An amethyst worn on the person had a sobering
effect, not only upon those who had partaken too freely of the cup that
intoxicates, but also upon those over-excited by the love-passion.
Lastly, it preserved soldiers from harm and gave them victory over
their enemies, and was of great assistance to hunters in the capture of
wild animals. The amethyst shared with many other stones the power to
preserve the wearer from contagion.[51]

A pretty legend in regard to the amethyst has been happily treated in
French verse. The god Bacchus, offended at some neglect that he had
suffered, was determined to avenge himself, and declared that the first
person he should meet, when he and his train passed along, should be
devoured by his tigers. Fate willed it that this luckless mortal
was a beautiful and pure maiden named Amethyst, who was on her way to
worship at the shrine of Diana. As the ferocious beasts sprang toward
her, she sought the protection of the goddess, and was saved from a
worse fate by being turned into a pure white stone. Recognizing the
miracle and repenting of his cruelty, Bacchus poured the juice of the
grape as a libation over the petrified body of the maiden, thus giving
to the stone the beautiful violet hue that so charms the beholder’s

From the various descriptions of this stone given by ancient writers,
it appears that one of the varieties was probably the purple almandine
or Indian garnet, and it is not improbable that we have here the reason
for the name amethyst and for the supposed virtue of the stone in
preserving from drunkenness. For if water were poured into a vessel
made of a reddish stone, the liquid would appear like wine, and could
nevertheless be drunk with impunity.


Arnoldus Saxo, writing about 1220, after reciting the virtues of
the beryl as given by Marbodus, after Evax and Isidorus, reports
in addition that the stone gave help against foes in battle or in
litigation; the wearer was rendered unconquerable and at the same
time amiable, while his intellect was quickened and he was cured of
laziness.[53] In the old German translation of Thomas de Cantimpré’s
“De Proprietatibus Rerum,” we read that the beryl reawakens the
love of married people (er hat auch die art daz er der elaut lieb



From the “Hortus Sanitatis” of Johannis de Cuba [Strassburg, Jean
Pryss, ca. 1483]; De lapidibus, cap. xc. Author’s library.]

The heliotrope or bloodstone was supposed to impart a reddish hue to
the water in which it was placed, so that when the rays of the sun
fell upon the water they gave forth red reflections. From this fancy
was developed the strange exaggeration that this stone had the power
to turn the sun itself a blood-red, and to cause thunder, lightning,
rain, and tempest. The old treatise of Damigeron relates this of the
bloodstone, adding that it announced future events by producing rain
and by “audible oracles.” Probably the conjurors, before proceeding
to use the stone for their incantations, watched the heavens and
waited until they noticed the signs of an approaching storm. They then
interpreted the sounds of the wind and thunder in various ways, so
as to give apt answers to the questions addressed to them touching
future events. It is well known that the sighing of the wind, and,
indeed, all those natural sounds which constitute the grand symphony of
Nature, were interpreted by prophets and seers into articulate speech.
Damigeron also declares that the bloodstone preserved the faculties and
bodily health of the wearer, brought him consideration and respect, and
guarded him from deception.[55]

In the Leyden papyrus the bloodstone is praised as an amulet in the
following extravagant terms:

 The world has no greater thing; if any one have this with him he will
 be given whatever he asks for; it also assuages the wrath of kings and
 despots, and whatever the wearer says will be believed. Whoever bears
 this stone, which is a gem, and pronounces the name engraved upon it,
 will find all doors open, while bonds and stone walls will be rent


The carbuncle was recommended as a heart stimulant; indeed, so powerful
was its action, that the wearers were rendered angry and passionate and
were even warned to be on their guard against attacks of apoplexy.[57]
The blood-red hue of the stone also suggested its use as a symbol of
the divine sacrifice of Christ on the cross. However, not only in
Christianity was this stone used to illustrate religious conceptions,
for the Koran affirms that the Fourth Heaven is composed of carbuncle.
In mythical fancies too this stone played its part, for dragon’s eyes
were said to be carbuncles.

Rumphius[58] states that in 1687 he was told by a chirurgeon that the
latter had seen in the possession of one of the rulers in the island of
Amboin a carbuncle said to have been brought by a serpent. The story
ran that this ruler, when a child, had been placed by his mother in a
hammock attached to two branches of a tree. While there a serpent crept
up to him and dropped a stone upon his body. In gratitude for this
gift the parents of the child fed and cared for the serpent. The stone
is described as having been of a warm yellow hue, verging on red; it
shone so brightly at night that a room could be illuminated by it. It
eventually passed into the possession of a King of Siam.


    Talisman ist Karneol
    Gläubigen bringt er Glück und Wohl;
    Steht er gar auf Onyx’ Grunde,
    Küss’ ihm mit geweihtem Munde!
    Alles Übel treibt er fort,
    Schützet dich und schützt den Ort;
    Wenn das eingegrabene Wort
    Allah’s Namen rein verkündet;
    Dich zu Lieb’ und Tat entzündet;
    Und besonders werden Frauen
    Sich am Talisman erbauen![59]

    Carnelian is a talisman,
    It brings good luck to child and man;
    If resting on an onyx ground,
    A sacred kiss imprint when found.
    It drives away all evil things;
    To thee and thine protection brings.
    The name of Allah, king of kings,
    If graven on this stone, indeed,
    Will move to love and doughty deed.
    From such a gem a woman gains
    Sweet hope and comfort in her pains.

The wearing of carnelians is recommended by the Lapidario of Alfonso
X[60] to those who have a weak voice or are timid in speech, for the
warm-colored stone will give them the courage they lack, so that they
will speak both boldly and well. This is in accord with the general
belief in the stimulating and animating effects produced by red stones.

On a carnelian is engraved in Arabic characters a prayer to keep away
evil and to deliver the wearer from all the tricks of the devil and
from the envious. The inscription reads in translation:

    In the name of God the Just, the very Just!
    I implore you, O God King of the World,
    God of the World, deliver us from the devil
    Who tries to do harm and evil to us through
    Bad people, and from the evil of the envious.

Throughout all the East people are afraid of the envious. They believe
that if you envy a person for his health or his wealth or any good
thing he may have, he will lose it in a short time, and it is the devil
who incites the envy of some people against others. So it is supposed
that by wearing this stone, bearing this prayer against the envious,
their envy will cease to do you harm.

The popularity of the carnelian as a talismanic stone among Mohammedan
peoples is said to be due to the fact that the Prophet himself wore, on
the little finger of his right hand, a silver ring set with a carnelian
engraved for use as a seal. One of the most famous of the imâms, Jafar,
lent the weight of his authority to the belief in the virtue of the
carnelian, for he declared that all the desires of any man who wore
this stone would be gratified. Hence in Persia the name of one of the
twelve imâms, comprising Ali and his successors, is frequently engraved
on this stone.[61]


This most interesting seal is described by the Rev. C. W. King, the
writer on Antique Gems. It is carnelian, octagonal-shaped, and upon it
is engraved the legend: “The slave Abraham relying upon the Merciful
(God).” Napoleon III wore it on his watch-chain. He said about it: “The
First Consul picked it up with his own hands during the campaign in
Egypt and always carried it about him, as his nephew did later.” The
Prince Imperial received it with the following message: “As regards
my son, I desire that he will keep, as a talisman, the Seal which I
used to wear attached to my watch.” He carried the seal upon a string
fastened about his neck in obedience to the injunction of his father.
At the time of his lamentable death it must have been carried off in
South Africa by the Zulus, when they stripped his body, and it has
never been recovered.]

An Armenian writer of the seventeenth century reports that in India the
_lâl_ or balas-ruby, if powdered and taken in a potion was believed
to banish all dark forebodings and to excite joyous emotions. To the
carnelian was attributed a virtue somewhat analogous to that ascribed
to the turquoise, as anyone wearing a carnelian was proof against
injury from falling houses or walls; the writer emphasizes this by
stating that “no man who wore a carnelian was ever found in a collapsed
house or beneath a fallen wall.”[62]



Aztec. Field Museum, Chicago.]


The ceremonial objects are grouped around a crystal of rock-crystal in
the centre. (See page 254.)]

An ingenious though far-fetched explanation of the power attributed
to chalcedony of driving away phantoms and visions of the night is
supplied by Gonelli, writing in 1702. For him the source of this
asserted power was to be found in what has been erroneously termed the
alkaline quality of the stone. This dissipated the evil humors of the
eye, thus removing the diseased condition of that organ which caused
the apparitions to be seen.[63] However absurd this explanation may
be, it nevertheless shows that the author put little faith in visible
ghosts, and rightly enough recognized the purely subjective character
of such phenomena.


The cat’s-eye variety of chrysoberyl, or precious cat’s-eye, is used
by the natives of Ceylon as a charm against evil spirits. As a proof
of the high value set upon the gem in India, De Boot states that a
cat’s-eye estimated as worth ninety gold pieces in Lusitania was sold
for six hundred in India.[64] Some of the finest specimens come from


The “Serpent Isle,” in the Red Sea, was stated by Agatharcides to be
the source whence came the topaz (chrysolite); here, by the mandate
of the Egyptian kings, the inhabitants collected specimens of this
stone and delivered them to the gem-cutters for polishing.[65] These
simple details are elaborated by Diodorus Siculus into the legend that
the island was guarded by jealous watchers who had orders to put to
death any unauthorized persons who approached it. Even those who had
the right to seek the gem could not see the chrysolite in daytime;
only after nightfall was it revealed by its radiance; the seekers then
marked well the spot and were able to find the stone on the following

From this Egyptian source, and possibly from others exploited by the
Egyptians, have come the finest chrysolites (peridots, or olivines),
the most magnificent examples of this gem. These found their way into
the cathedral treasures of Europe, evidently by loot or trade at the
period of the Crusades, and are generally called emeralds. Those most
notable are in the Treasury of the Three Magi, in the great “Dom,” or
Cathedral at Cologne. Some of these gems are nearly two inches long.

In our own land beautiful specimens can be seen in the Morgan
collection at the American Museum of Natural History and in the
Higinbotham Hall in the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago,

Pliny quotes from Juba the tradition that the topaz (chrysolite)
derived its name from the Island of Topazos, in the Red Sea, the first
specimen having been brought thence by the procurator Philemon, to
Berenice, mother of Ptolemy II, Philadelphus. This monarch is said to
have had a statue of his wife Arsinoë made from the stone.[67] If there
be any foundation for this latter statement, the precious gift sent by
Philemon must have been a mass of fluorspar, or some similar material.
More than three hundred years after Pliny’s time, Epiphanius, evidently
repeating another version of this tradition, states that the “topaz”
was set in the diadem of the “Theban queen.”

Chrysolite (olivine, peridot), to exert its full power, required to be
set in gold; worn in this way it dispelled the vague terrors of the
night. If, however, it were to be used as a protection from the wiles
of evil spirits, the stone had to be pierced and strung on the hair of
an ass and then attached to the left arm.[68] The belief in the virtue
of the chrysolite to dissolve enchantments and to put evil spirits to
flight was probably due to the association of the stone with the sun,
before whose life-giving rays darkness and all the powers of darkness
were driven away.


Wonderful things are told of the virtue of the chrysoprase, for Volmar
states that, if a thief sentenced to be hanged or beheaded should
place this stone in his mouth, he would immediately escape from his
executioners.[69] Although we are not informed in what way this
fortunate result was attained, it seems likely that the stone was
believed to make the thief invisible, and thus possessed a virtue often
attributed to the opal.

A strange story regarding a magic stone reputed to have been worn by
Alexander the Great is related by Albertus Magnus. According to this
recital, Alexander, in his battles, wore a “prase” in his girdle. On
his return from his Indian campaign, wishing one day to bathe in the
Euphrates, he laid aside his girdle, and a serpent bit off the stone
and then dropped it into the river.[70] Even Albertus, who is far from
critical, admits that the story seems like a fable, and it probably
belongs to a comparatively late period. As the term “prase” is used
very loosely by early writers, this “victory stone” may have been an
emerald or possibly jade.


The appreciation of coral as an ornament, or for amulets, seems to
presuppose a certain development of civilization, for savage tribes
greatly prefer glass ornaments. Many attempts have been made to
introduce coral beads instead of glass beads among such tribes, but
with no success, as the cheaper, but brighter, glass always commands a
higher price.[71]

To still tempests and traverse broad rivers in safety was the privilege
of one who bore either red or white coral with him. That this also
stanched the flow of blood from a wound, cured madness, and gave
wisdom, was said to have been experimentally proved.[72]

[Illustration: KABYLE JEWELRY.

Of Mediterranean coral and pearls. Field Museum, Chicago.]

Coral, which, for twenty centuries or more was classed among the
precious stones, to retain its power as an amulet, must not have been
worked, and in Italy only such pieces are valued for this purpose
as have been freshly gathered from the sea or have been cast up by
the sea on the shore. To exercise all its power against spells, or
enchantments, coral must be worn where its brilliant color makes
it conspicuous; if, however, it should by accident be broken, the
separate pieces have no virtue, and the magic power ceases, as though
the spirit dwelling in the coral had fled from its abode. The peasant
women are careful to guard the corals they wear for a special purpose
from the eyes of their husbands, for the substance is believed to grow
pale at certain seasons, regaining its pristine hue after a short
interval of time. Indeed, the women believe that the coral shares their
indisposition with them. All this serves to show that a kind of vital
force is believed to animate the material, gaining or losing in vigor
according to certain conditions, and finally disappearing when the form
is broken. These beliefs are all clearly traceable to the animistic
ideas of primitive man.[73]


The diamond is to the pearl as the sun is to the moon, and we might
well call one the “king-gem” and the other the “queen-gem.” The
diamond, like a knight of old,—brilliant and resistant, is the emblem
of fearlessness and invincibility; the pearl, like a lady of old,—pure
and fair to look upon, is the emblem of modesty and purity. Therefore
it does not seem unfitting that the diamond should be presented as a
token to the pearl, and that pearls should go with the diamond. The
virtues ascribed to this stone are almost all directly traceable either
to its unconquerable hardness or to its transparency and purity. It
was therefore thought to bring victory to the wearer, by endowing him
with superior strength, fortitude, and courage. Marbodus[74] tells us
it was a magic stone of great power and served to drive away nocturnal
spectres; for this purpose it should be set in gold and worn on the
left arm. For St. Hildegard the sovereign virtue of the diamond was
recognized by the devil, who was a great enemy of this stone because it
resisted his power by day and by night.[75] Rueus[76] calls it “a gem
of reconciliation,” as it enhanced the love of a husband for his wife.

Cardano[77] takes a more pessimistic view of the qualities of the
diamond. He says:

 It is believed to make the wearer unhappy; its effects therefore are
 the same upon the mind as that of the sun upon the eye, for the latter
 rather dims than strengthens the sight. It indeed renders fearless,
 but there is nothing that contributes more to our safety than prudence
 and fear; therefore it is better to fear.

The diamond was often associated with the lightning and was sometimes
believed to owe its origin to the thunderbolt, but we do not recall
having seen elsewhere the statement made in an anonymous Italian
manuscript of the fourteenth century. Here it is expressly asserted
that the diamond is sometimes consumed or melted when it thunders.[78]
Certainly, that the same force that was supposed to have formed the
stone should be able to dissolve it, is not an illogical idea. That the
diamond can be entirely consumed at a high temperature was a fact not
known in Europe in the fourteenth century, and therefore the belief in
the destructive effect of the electric current must have arisen from
superstitious or poetic fancies, and not from any vague conception of
the true nature of the diamond.

In the Talmud we read of a gem, supposed to have been the diamond,
which was worn by the high priest.[79] This stone served to show the
guilt or innocence of one accused of any crime; if the accused were
guilty, the stone would grow dim, but if he were innocent, it would
shine more brilliantly than ever. This quality is also alluded to by
Sir John Mandeville, who wrote:

 It happens often that the good diamond loses its virtue by sin and for
 incontinence of him who bears it.

The Hindus classed diamonds according to the four castes. The Brahmin
diamond gave power, friends, riches and good luck; the Kshatriya
diamond prevented the approach of old age; the Vaisya stone brought
success, and the Sudra, all manner of good fortune. On the other hand,
in the treatise on gems by Buddhabhatta[80] we read:

 A diamond, a part of which is the color of blood or spotted with red,
 would quickly bring death to the wearer, even if he were the Master of

The Arabians and Persians, as well as the modern Egyptians, agree in
attributing to the diamond a wonderful power to bring good fortune, and
Rabbi Benoni, a mystic of the fourteenth century, treating of its magic
virtues, asserts that it produces somnambulism, and, as a talisman, so
powerfully attracts the planetary influences that it renders the wearer
invincible; it was also said to provoke a state of spiritual ecstasy.
An alchemist of the same century, Pierre de Boniface, asserted that the
diamond made the wearer invisible.

A curious fancy, prevalent in regard to many stones, attributed sex to
the diamond, and it is therefore not surprising that these stones were
also supposed to possess reproductive powers. In this connection Sir
John Mandeville wrote:

 They grow together, male and female, and are nourished by the dew of
 heaven; and they engender commonly, and bring forth small children
 that multiply and grow all the year. I have oftentimes tried the
 experiment that if a man keep them with a little of the rock, and
 water them with May dew often, they shall grow every year and the
 small will grow great.

The following lines from a translation of the celebrated Orphic poem,
written in the second century, show the high esteem in which the adamas
was held at that time:

    The Evil Eye shall have no power to harm
    Him that shall wear the diamond as a charm,
    No monarch shall attempt to thwart his will,
    And e’en the gods his wishes shall fulfil.

This probably refers either to colorless corundum, the so-called “white
sapphire,” or to quartz. The writer is disinclined to believe that the
ancients knew the diamond.

The ancient Hindu gem-treatise of Buddhabhatta asserts that the diamond
of the Brahmin should have the whiteness of a shell or of rock-crystal;
that of the Kshatriya, the brown color of the eye of a hare; that of
the Vaisya, the lovely shade of a petal of the _kadali_ flower; that
of the Sudra, the sheen of a polished blade. To kings alone the sages
assigned two classes of colored diamonds,—namely, those red as coral
and those yellow as saffron. These were exclusively royal gems, but
diamonds of all other shades could be set in royal jewels.[81]

A typical diamond is thus described in a Hindu gem-treatise:[82]

 A six-pointed diamond, pure, without stain, with pronounced and sharp
 edges, of a beautiful shade, light, with well-formed facets, without
 defects, illuminating space with its fire and with the reflection of
 the rainbow, a diamond of this kind is not easy to find in the earth.

According to a wide-spread superstition, the talismanic power of a
diamond was lost if the stone were acquired by purchase; only when
received as a gift could its virtues be depended on.[83] The same
belief is noted regarding the turquoise. The spirit dwelling in the
stone was thought to take offence at the idea of being bought and sold,
and was supposed to depart from the stone, leaving it nothing more than
a bit of senseless matter. If, however, the diamond (or turquoise) were
offered as a pledge of love or friendship, the spirit was quite willing
to transfer its good offices from one owner to another.

The Talmud shows us that the Jewish Rabbis sometimes endeavored to
enliven their exhaustive discussions of ritual and legal questions by
telling “good stories” to each other. One of these may be given as
illustrating at once the wild improbability of some of these recitals
and the belief in the wonderful magic virtues of the diamond:[84]

 R. Jehudah of Mesopatamia used to tell: Once while on board of a ship,
 I saw a diamond that was encircled by a snake, and a diver went to
 catch it. The snake then opened its mouth, threatening to swallow the
 ship. Then a raven came, bit off its head, and all water around turned
 into blood. Then another snake came, took the diamond, put it in the
 carcass, and it became alive; and again it opened its mouth, in order
 to swallow the ship. Another bird then came, bit off its head, took
 the diamond and threw it on the ship. We had with us salted birds, and
 we wanted to try whether the diamond would bring them to life, so we
 placed the gem on them, and they became animated and flew away with
 the gem.

It is said that the first large diamonds discovered by Europeans in
South Africa were found in the leather bag of a sorcerer. Although
large stones or fragments of rock are usually the objects of adoration
as fetiches in Africa, any small stone that is wrapped in colored rags
and worn on the neck may be regarded in the same way.[85] Several
competent authorities state that these diamonds were the playthings of
some Boer children.

Al Kazwini relates as follows the marvellous tale of the Valley of

 “Aristotle[87] says that no one except Alexander ever reached the
 place where the diamond is produced. This is a valley, connected with
 the land Hind. The glance cannot penetrate to its greatest depths and
 serpents are found there, the like of which no man hath seen, and
 upon which no man can gaze without dying. However, this power endures
 only as long as the serpents live, for when they die the power leaves
 them. In this place summer reigns for six months and winter for the
 same length of time. Now, Alexander ordered that an iron mirror should
 be brought and placed at the spot where the serpents dwelt. When the
 serpents approached, their glance fell upon their own image in the
 mirror, and this caused their death. Hereupon, Alexander wished to
 bring out the diamonds from the valley, but no one was willing to
 undertake the descent. Alexander therefore sought counsel of the wise
 men, and they told him to throw down a piece of flesh into the valley.
 This he did, the diamonds became attached to the flesh, and the birds
 of the air seized the flesh and bore it up out of the valley. Then
 Alexander ordered his people to pursue the birds and to pick up what
 fell from the flesh.”

 “Another writer states that the mines are in the mountains of Serendib
 (Ceylon) in a very deep gorge, in which are deadly serpents. When
 people wish to take out the diamonds they throw down pieces of flesh,
 which are seized by vultures and brought up to the brink of the gorge.
 There such of the diamonds as cling to the flesh are secured; these
 are of the size of a lentil or a pea. The largest pieces found attain
 the size of a half-bean.”

In his version of the tale, one form of which appears in the seventh
voyage of Sindbad the Sailor, Teifashi states that the finest corundum
gems were washed down the streams that flowed from Adam’s Peak, on the
island of Ceylon; in time of drought, however, this source of supply
ceased. Now it happened that many eagles built their nests on the top
of this mountain, and the gem-seekers used to place large pieces of
flesh at the foot of the mountain. The eagles pounced upon these and
bore them away to their nests, but were obliged to alight from time to
time in order to rest, and while the pieces of flesh lay on the rock,
some of the corundums became lightly attached to this, so that when the
eagles resumed their flight the stones dropped off and rolled down the
mountain side.[88]

These oft-repeated tales are explained by Dr. Valentine Ball as
originating in the Hindu custom of sacrificing cattle when new mines
were opened, and leaving on the spot a certain part of the meat as an
offering to the guardian deities. As these pieces of meat were soon
carried away by birds of prey, the legend arose that the diamonds were
obtained in this way. This custom still prevailed in some parts of
India when Dr. Ball wrote.[89]

The effect exercised by Hindu superstition on even the most enlightened
Europeans of our day may be recognized in the fact that the gifted
prima donna, Mme. Maeterlinck, the wife of the foremost living European
poet, has confessed that she wears a diamond suspended on her forehead
because her husband believes that this brings good fortune to the
wearer. This forehead-jewel is characteristically Hindu and enjoys in
India the reputation of being especially auspicious.


The emerald was believed to foreshow future events,[90] but we do not
learn whether visions were actually seen in the stone, as they were
in spheres of rock-crystal or beryl, or whether the emerald endowed
the wearer with a supernatural fore-knowledge of what was to come. As
a revealer of truth, this stone was an enemy of all enchantments and
conjurations; hence it was greatly favored by magicians, who found all
their arts of no avail if an emerald were in their vicinity when they
began to weave their spells.[91]


Containing an Italian version of the “De Mineralibus” of Albertus
Magnus. On this page is the account of the emerald, set in a ring worn
by King Bela IV of Hungary (1235-1270), that was fractured when he
caressed his wife. Author’s library.]

To this supernatural power inherent in the stone, enabling it to
quicken the prophetic faculty, may be added many other virtues. If
any one wished to strengthen his memory or to become an eloquent
speaker, he was sure to attain his end by securing possession of a
fine emerald.[92] And not only the ambitious, but also those whose
hearts had been smitten by the shafts from Cupid’s bow found in this
stone an invaluable auxiliary, for it revealed the truth or falsity of
lover’s oaths. Strange to say, however, the emerald, although commonly
assigned to Venus, was often regarded as an enemy of sexual passion. So
sensitive was the stone believed to be in this respect that Albertus
Magnus relates of King Bela of Hungary, who possessed an exceptionally
valuable emerald set in a ring, that, when he embraced his wife while
wearing this ring on his finger, the stone broke into three parts.[93]

In Rabbinical legend it is related that four precious stones were given
by God to King Solomon; one of these was the emerald. The possession
of the four stones is said to have endowed the wise king with power
over all creation.[94] As these four stones probably typified the four
cardinal points, and were very likely of red, blue, yellow, and green
color respectively, we might conjecture that the other three stones
were the carbuncle, the lapis-lazuli, and the topaz.

After stating that the emerald sharpens the wits and quickens the
intelligence, Cardano declares that it therefore made people more
honest, for “dishonesty is nothing but ignorance, stupidity, and
ill-nature.” The same writer adds that the stone was believed to make
men economical and hence to make them rich, but of this he was very
sceptical, since the experience of others as well as his own showed
that the emerald possessed very little power in this direction.[95]

A talismanic emerald, once the property of the Mogul emperors of Delhi,
has recently been shown in Europe. The stone is of a rich deep green,
and weighs 78 carats. Around the edge in Persian characters runs the
inscription: “He who possesses this charm shall enjoy the special
protection of God.”

Emerald sharpened the wits, conferred riches and the power to predict
future events. To evolve this latter virtue it must be put under the
tongue. It also strengthened the memory. The light-colored stones were
esteemed the best and legend told that they were brought from the
“nests of griffons.”[96]


Gypsum when fibrous—the fibres being long and straight—is known
as “satin spar.” This material is frequently cut rounded, or _en
cabochon_, across the fibres; sometimes it is cut in the form of beads,
or of pear-shaped drops, which are mounted in ear-rings, scarf-pins,
or necklaces. The material is frequently found in Russia, England, and
elsewhere, and is cut in England or Russia. Some of the cut stones are
mounted in brass, or gilded brass, and sold as luck stones at Niagara,
the claim being made that the “satin spar” was taken from beneath the
Falls at great peril, as occasionally small deposits of this kind of
gypsum are found under the Falls.

From time to time small consignments of this material have been sent to
Japan, as the Japanese value it possibly on account of its purity, or
owing to the fact that it has the effect of the cat’s-eye. It is quite
cheap, and at the same time very soft, so that it can be scratched with
the finger-nail. That found in Russia is of a golden-yellow or salmon
color, and is worked into various ornaments, the one popular form being
egg-shaped, and, because of their form, such objects are frequently
given as Easter gifts. The same material is also known in Egypt, and is
cut in the same egg form, the ornaments being called “Pharaoh’s eggs,”
although just which Pharaoh this refers to is not stated. They are also
believed to possess qualities of protection and to bring good fortune.


The virtues of the hematite were praised in an ancient gem-treatise
written by Azchalias of Babylon for Mithridates the Great, King of
Pontus (d. 63 B.C.), a sovereign who was passionately fond of precious
stones, and possessed a splendid collection of them, both engraved
and unengraved. Azchalias, as cited by Pliny[97] taught that human
destinies were influenced by the virtues inherent in precious stones,
and asserted that the hematite, when used as a talisman, procured for
the wearer a favorable hearing of petitions addressed to kings and a
fortunate issue of lawsuits and judgments. It is a red oxide of iron,
which when abraded shows a red streak; whence the name hematite, from
the Greek _haima_, “blood.” As an iron ore and hence associated with
Mars, the god of war, this substance was also considered to be an
invaluable help to the warrior on the field of battle if he rubbed his
body with it. Probably, like the loadstone, it was believed to confer

The high degree of skill possessed by the Pueblo workers is strikingly
shown in a finely inlaid hematite cylinder found in Pueblo Bonito.
The inlays are of turquoise and are designed to make the cylinder a
conventional representation of a bird. The wings are indicated by
turquoise inlays of pyramidal outline, curved so as to follow the
curvature of the cylinder, the head being figured by a conical piece of
turquoise attached to one end. This conical termination bore a small
bird-figure carved in relief.[98] When we consider the difficulties the
Indian workers had to overcome in the execution of this artistic task
with the tools at their command, we can well realize that this object,
probably an amulet, must have been considered very valuable, and was
most likely the property of some one of high rank in the tribe or


The jacinth was more especially recommended as an amulet for
travellers, because of its reputed value as a protection against the
plague and against wounds and injuries, the two classes of perils most
feared by those who undertook long journeys. Moreover, this stone
assured the wearer a cordial reception at any hostelry he visited.[99]
It was said to lose its brilliancy and grow pale and dull if the wearer
or any one in his immediate neighborhood became ill of the plague. In
addition to these qualities the jacinth augmented the riches of the
owner, and endowed him with prudence in the conduct of his affairs.[100]

St. Hildegard, the Abbess of Bingen (d. 1179), gives the following
details as to the proper use of the _jachant_ (jacinth):[101]

 If any one is bewitched by phantoms or by magical spells, so that he
 has lost his wits, take a hot loaf of pure wheaten bread and cut the
 upper crust in the form of a cross,—not, however, cutting it quite
 through,—and then pass the stone along the cutting, reciting these
 words: “May God, who cast away all precious stones from the devil ...
 cast away from thee, N., all phantoms and all magic spells, and free
 thee from the pain of this madness.”

The patient is then to eat of the bread; if, however, his stomach
should be too feeble, unleavened bread may be used. All other solid
food given to the sick person should be treated in the same manner. We
are also told that if any one has a pain in his heart, the pain will be
relieved provided the sign of the cross be made over the heart while
the above mentioned words are recited.

The wearer of a jacinth was believed to be proof against the lightning,
and it was even asserted that wax that had been impressed by an image
graven on this stone averted the lightning from one who bore the seal.
That the stone really possessed this power was a matter of common
report, it being confidently declared that in regions where many were
struck by lightning, none who wore a jacinth were ever harmed. By a
like miracle it preserved the wearer from all danger of pestilence even
though he lived in an air charged with the disease. A third virtue was
to induce sleep. Of this, Cardano states that he was in the habit of
wearing rather a large jacinth, and had found that the stone “seemed to
dispose somewhat to sleep, but not much.” He adds, in explanation of
its slight efficacy, that his stone was not bright red, nor of the best
sort, but of a golden hue, differing much from the best.[102]


The name jade includes two distinct minerals, nephrite and jadeite.
The former is a silicate of magnesia, of exceedingly tough structure,
and ranks 6.5 in the scale of hardness, while jadeite, a silicate of
alumina, is more crystalline and not as tough as nephrite and has a
hardness of 7. A variety having a rich emerald-green hue is called by
the Chinese _fei ts’ui_, “Kingfisher plumes”; it is also denominated
Imperial jade.

The original form of the Chinese character _pao_, signifying
“precious,” consists of the outline of a house, within which are the
symbols of jade beads, shell, and an earthen jar. This shows that at
the very early time when these characters were first used, the Chinese
already collected jade and employed it for personal adornment.[103]
The oldest form of the ideograph for “king”, [3 “beads” on a vertical
string], appears to be the symbol for a string of jade beads, which are
even now used in China as insignia for high rank and authority.[104]

Jade amulets of many different forms are popular with the Chinese. One
representing two men is called “Two Brothers of Heavenly Love,” and
is often given to friends. A phœnix of jade is a favorite ornament
for young girls and is bestowed upon them when they come of age. To a
newly-wedded pair is given the figure of a man riding on a unicorn and
holding castanets in his hand; this signifies that an heir will be born
in due time.

Such is the fondness of the Chinese for jade that those who can afford
the luxury of its possession are wont to carry with them small pieces,
so that they may have them always at hand; for they believe that, when
handled, something of the secret virtue of the substance is absorbed
into the body. When struck, jade is thought to emit a peculiarly
melodious sound, which for the Chinese poet resembles the voice of the
loved one; indeed, jade is termed the concentrated essence of love.

Fashioned into the form of a butterfly, a piece of jade acquires a
special romantic significance in China, because of a Chinese legend
which relates that a youth in his eager pursuit of a many-hued
butterfly made his way into the garden of a rich mandarin. Instead of
being punished for his trespass, the youth’s unceremonious visit led
to his marriage with the mandarin’s daughter. Hence the figure of a
butterfly is a symbol of successful love, and Chinese bridegrooms are
wont to present jade butterflies to their fiancées.

A Chinese jade ornament constituting a child’s amulet assumes a form
approximating to that of a padlock. When this is attached to a child’s
neck, it is supposed to bind the little one to life and protect it
from all danger in infantile diseases. A jade object of a different
kind is sometimes used at nuptial feasts in China. This is a cup having
the form of a cock, and both bride and groom drink from it. The form
of this vessel is accounted for by a legend to the effect that when a
beautiful white cock saw its young mistress, who had often petted it,
throw herself into a well in a transport of despair at the loss of her
lover, the faithful fowl sought and found death in the same way, so as
not to be separated from its mistress.

Among the splendid Chinese jade carvings of the Woodward Collection
is a curious symbolic ornament carved out of the rare _fei-ts’ui
yü_, or “kingfisher-green jade,” a rich emerald green jadeite with
translucent green shading. This ornament, executed in the beginning of
the eighteenth century and believed to be a product of the Imperial
Jade Works in Peking, figures the natural form of a so-called
“hand-of-Buddha” citron, the finger-like protuberances of the fruit
suggesting this strangely fanciful name. The Chinese regard this as a
most felicitous emblem, denoting at once a long life and abundance of
riches for its enjoyment. In the present carving the figure of a bat
clinging to the foliage enveloping the fruit constitutes an added omen
of good fortune, the Chinese character _fu_ signifying at once “bat”
and “happiness,” another proof of what we are prone to call Chinese
queerness, for with the superstitious of our race the bat is always
looked upon as especially ill-omened.[105]

It is a well-known fact that many analogies have been found between
the customs, usages, and products of the more civilized aborigines of
the New World and those of the ancient Egyptians. Another instance is
offered by the custom of placing a piece of _chalchihuitl_ (jade?) or
of some other green stone in the mouth of a noble, after his death,
and calling this his heart. Among the lower classes a _texaxoctli_, a
stone of small value, was used for the same purpose. We shall see that,
in the Egyptian “Book of the Dead,” directions are given for putting a
semi-precious stone on or in a mummy, as a symbol, and designating this
the heart of the deceased person. For the use of a green stone for this
purpose by the ancient Mexicans, Mrs. Zelia Nuttall finds a reason in
the two meanings of the Nahuatl word _xoxouhqui-yollotl_, which is used
to signify a “free man,” the literal meaning being a “fresh or green
heart.” Hence, the stone was a symbol of the rank of the deceased as
well as of his heart.[106] The fact that jade celts have been found cut
into several pieces is taken to indicate the high value placed upon
this material; for it has been conjectured by Dr. Earle Flint, that a
living chief would cut a piece from the jade he wore as a sign of his
rank, in order to provide a suitable ornament or amulet for a dead

To certain of the Chinese “tomb-jades”—that is, jade amulets deposited
with the dead—has been given the name _han-yü_, or “mouth-jade,”
because these amulets, supposed to afford protection to the dead, were
placed in their mouths. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
contains a fine collection of 279 specimens of jade from Chinese tombs,
found within the past five or six years, and presented to the museum
by Mr. Samuel F. Peters. In color these jades are not especially
attractive, for the material has acquired a brownish stain, due to the
products of decomposition of the body, and also to the absorption of
some of the chemical constituents of the other objects in the tomb,
during the long period of time, in many cases a thousand years or more,
since the bodies were consigned to their final resting place.

So multifarious are the uses to which jade is put by the Chinese, and
so great is their admiration of its qualities, that they regard it as
the musical gem _par excellence_. A series of oblong pieces of jade, of
the same length and width, usually about 1.8 feet long and 1.35 feet
wide, and numbering from 12 to 24, constitute a chime, the difference
in the notes emitted by the material when sharply struck depending
upon the varying thickness of the separate pieces. What is designated
the “stone chime” used in court and religious ceremonials, is composed
of 16 undecorated stones, while a series known as the singers’ chime
consists of from 12 to 24 pieces carved into fantastic shapes. This
use of jade for the production of musical sounds dates far back in
the Chinese annals. We are told that when Confucius was much troubled
at the ill-success of his efforts to reform the Chinese morals of his
day, he sought consolation in playing on the “musical stone.” A peasant
who noted this in passing by, exclaimed, as he heard the sounds: “Full
indeed is the heart of him who beats the musical stone like that!”[107]

A jade ornament greatly favored by the Maoris of New Zealand bore
the name _hei-tiki_ (“a carved image for the neck”). The ornaments of
this class are very rude and grotesque representations of the human
face or form, and were generally regarded as schematically figuring
some departed ancestor. The head sometimes slanted right or left,
so that the eyes, which were very large and occasionally inlaid
with mother-of-pearl, were on an angle of forty-five degrees. These
ornaments were prized not only as memorials, but because, having
been worn by successive ancestors, they were supposed to communicate
something of the very being of those ancestors to such descendants as
were privileged to wear the treasured heirloom in their turn. In many
cases, when the family was dying out, the last male member would leave
directions that his _hei-tiki_ should be buried with him, so that it
might not fall into the hands of strangers.[108]

So rare was this New Zealand jade, known to the Maoris as _punamu_
(green-stone), that the aid of a _tohunga_, or wizard, was regarded
as necessary to learn where it could be found. On setting forth on
a search for this material, the jade-seekers would take with them a
_tohunga_, and when the party reached the region where jade was usually
found the _tohunga_ would retire to some solitary spot and would fall
into a trance. On awaking he would claim that the spirit of some
person, dead or living, had appeared to him and had directed to search
in a particular place for the jade. He would then conduct the party
to this place, where a larger or smaller piece of jade was invariably
found. Of course the wizard had previously assured himself of the
presence of the stone in the place indicated.

To this jade was given the name of the man whose spirit had revealed
its location, and in many cases the grotesque form given to the stone
was conceived to represent this man. We can easily understand the
reverence accorded to the _hei-tikis_ when we consider that they
were not only prized as heirlooms, which had been handed down by the
successive heads of the family, but were also believed to have been
originally found in such a mysterious way.

When the head of the family died, his _hei-tiki_ was generally buried
with his body, but was exhumed after a shorter or longer time by the
nearest male relative. As we have noted, if no representative of the
family remained, the heirloom was allowed to remain in the grave. The
fact that tribal or intertribal feuds sometimes arose in regard to
the possession of a _hei-tiki_ serves to prove the peculiar virtues
ascribed to them.

While there can be little doubt that the heirloom was supposed to
represent, in a very general way, the person whose name it bore, the
particular form given it was largely determined by the natural shape
of the mass, which was slowly and patiently fashioned into the form it
eventually acquired. Though this was mainly due to the imperfect means
of which the artist disposed, there was probably a conviction that
the form of the natural stone was not the result of accident, but was
in itself significant and required only to be rendered more clear and
definite. The fabrication of the _hei-tikis_ of the Maoris is said to
have ceased in the early part of the last century. The greater number
of those that have been collected in New Zealand appear to have been
made from one hundred to one hundred and fifty years ago.[109]


The jasper had great repute in ancient times as a rain-bringer, and
the fourth century author of “Lithica” celebrates this quality in the
following lines:[110]

    The gods propitious hearken to his prayers,
    Whoe’er the polished grass-green jasper wears;
    His parched glebe they’ll satiate with rain,
    And send for showers to soak the thirsty plain.

Evidently the green hue of this translucent stone suggested its
association with the verdure of the fields in an even closer degree
than was the case with transparent green stones such as the emerald,
etc. Another early authority, Damigeron, mentions this belief, and
states that only when properly consecrated would the jasper do service
in this way.[111] Jasper was also credited in the fourth century with
the virtue of driving away evil spirits and protecting those who wore
it from the bites of venomous creatures.[112] An anonymous German
author of the eleventh or twelfth century recommends the use of this
stone for the cure of snake bites, and states that if it be placed upon
the bitten part the matter will come out from the wound.[113] Here the
cure is operated, not by the absorbent quality of the stone, but by its
supposed power to attract poison or venom to itself, thus removing the
cause of disease.

A popular etymology of the Greek and Latin name for jasper is reported
by Bartolomæus Anglicus, who writes that “in the head of an adder that
hyght Aspis is founde a lytyl stone that is called Jaspis.” The same
authority pronounces this stone to be of “wunder vertue,” and says
that “it hath as many vertues as dyvers coloures and veines.”[114]
This is fully in accord with tradition, for, as color was at least as
important as chemical composition in determining the talismanic or
therapeutic worth of the different stones, the great variety of colors
and markings in the different jaspers naturally indicated their use in
many different ways.


Jet has been found among the palæolithic remains in the caves of the
“Kesslerloch,” near Thayngen, Canton Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The
material was evidently derived from the deposits in Würtemberg and
was shaped by flint chips. Quite possibly jet, as well as amber, was
already regarded as possessing a certain talismanic virtue. Such
ornaments, when worn, were believed to become a part of the very
body and soul of the wearer, and were therefore to be guarded with
jealous care.[115] In the palæolithic cave-deposits of Belgium also,
jet appears, the supply being in this instance derived from northern
Lorraine. The fragments had been rounded and pierced through the
centre.[116] This indicates their use as parts of a necklace or as
pendants. Necklaces, bracelets, and rings were especially favored for
the wearing of talismanic gems, since the stones could easily be so set
that they would come in direct contact with the skin.

Jet was one of the materials used by the Pueblo Indians for their
amulets. An exceptionally well-executed figure of a frog made of
this material was found in Pueblo Bonito, in 1896, by Mr. Pepper.
The representation is much more realistic than is the case in the
other figures of this type from this region. Turquoise eyes have been
inserted in the head of the figure and a band of turquoise surrounds
the neck.[117]


Both in Babylonia and in Egypt, lapis-lazuli was very highly valued,
and this is shown by the use of its Assyrian name (_uknu_) in poetic
metaphor. Thus, in a hymn to the moon-god Sin, he is addressed as the
“strong bull, great of horns, perfect in form, with long flowing beard,
bright as lapis-lazuli.”[118] This may remind us of the “hyacinthine
locks” of classical literature.

Lapis-lazuli, “a blue stone with little golden spots,” was a cure for
melancholy and for the “quartern fever,” an intermittent fever
returning each third day, or each fourth day counting in the previous

[Illustration: JASPER PENDANT.

Aztec Mexican. Used to stanch blood.]


Used in sixteenth century for medicinal purposes.]


Used for votive purposes in Armenia. Field Museum, Chicago.]


We have the authority of Plato (Ion, 533 D) for the statement that the
word _magnetis_ was first applied to the loadstone by the tragic poet
Euripides (480-405 B.C.), the more usual name being “the Heraclean
stone.” These designations refer to two places in Lydia, Magnesia and
Herakleia, where the mineral was found.[120] Pliny states, on the
authority of Nicander, that a certain Magnes, a shepherd, discovered
the mineral on Mount Ida, while pasturing his flock, because the nails
of his shoes clung to a piece of it.[121]

We are told by Pliny that Ptolemy Philadelphus (309-247 B.C.), planning
to erect a temple in honor of his sister and wife Arsinoë, called in
the aid of Chirocrates, an Alexandrian architect. The latter engaged
to place therein an iron statue of Arsinoë which should appear to hang
in mid-air without support. However, both the Egyptian king and his
architect died before the design could be realized.[122] This story of
an image held in suspense by means of powerful magnets set in the floor
and roof, and sometimes also in the walls of a temple, is repeated in
a variety of forms by early writers. Of course, there was no real
foundation for such tales, as the thing is altogether impracticable.

The Roman poet Claudian (fifth century A.D.) relates that the priests
of a certain temple, in order to offer a dramatic spectacle to the eyes
of the worshippers, caused two statues to be executed,—one of Mars in
iron, and another of Venus in loadstone. At a special festival these
statues were placed near to each other, and the loadstone drew the iron
to itself. Claudian vividly describes this:

    The priests prepare a marriage feast.
    Behold a marvel! Instant to her arms
    Her eager husband Cythereia charms;
    And ever mindful of her ancient fires,
    With amorous breath his martial breast inspires;
    Lifts the loved weight, close round his helmet twines
    Her loving arms, and close embraces joins,
    Drawn by the mystic influence from afar.
    Flies to the wedded gem the God of War.
    The Magnet weds the Steel: the sacred rites
    Nature attends, and th’ heavenly pair unites.[123]

There was current as early as the fourth century a curious belief that
a piece of loadstone, if placed beneath the pillow of a sleeping wife,
would act as a touchstone of her virtue. This first appears in the
Alexandrian poem “Lithica,” and it has been thus quaintly Englished by
a fourteenth century translator:

 Also magnes is in lyke wyse as adamas; yf it be sett under the heed
 of a chaste wyfe, it makyth her sodenly to beclyppe [embrace] her
 husbonde; & yf she be a spowse breker, she shall meve her oute of the
 bed sodenly by drede of fantasy.[124]

The same writer attempts an explanation of the popular fancy that when
powdered loadstone was thrown upon coals in the four corners of a
house, the inmates would feel as though the house were falling down;
of this he says: “That seemynge is by mevynge [moving] that comyth by
tornynge of the brayn.”[125]

In classical writings the fascination exercised by a very beautiful
woman is sometimes likened to the attractive power of the loadstone,
as notably by Lucian,[126] who says that if such a woman looks at a
man she draws him to her, and leads him whither she will, just as the
loadstone draws the iron. To the same idea is probably due the fact
that in several languages the name given to the loadstone indicates
that its peculiar power was conceived to be a manifestation of the
sympathy or love of one mineral substance for another. This is commonly
believed to be the sense in which we should understand the French
designation _aimant_, namely, as the participle of the verb _aimer_,
“to love”; however, some etymologists prefer to derive the word from
_adamas_, sometimes used in Low Latin for the loadstone, although
properly signifying the diamond. It is certainly worthy of note that in
two such dissimilar languages as Sanskrit and Chinese, the influence of
this idea appears in the names given to the loadstone. In Sanskrit the
word is _chumbaka_ or “the kisser,” and in Chinese _t’ su shi_, or “the
loving-stone.” Chin T’sang Khi, a Chinese author of the eighth century,
wrote that “the loadstone attracts iron just as does a tender mother
when she calls her children to her.”[127]

A rich growth of Mohammedan legends grew up about the exploits of
Alexander the Great, a striking example being given on another page,
and in one of them it is related that the Greek world-conqueror
provided his soldiers with loadstones as a defence against the wiles
of the jinns, or evil spirits; the loadstone, as well as magnetized
iron, being regarded as a sure defence against enchantments and all the
machinations of malignant spirits.[128]

In the East Indies it is said that a king should have a seat of
loadstone at his coronation; probably because the magnetic influence
of the stone was supposed to attract power, favor, and gifts to the
sovereign. But it is not only in the Orient that magnetite is prized
for its talismanic powers, for even in some parts of our own land this
belief is still prevalent. Large quantities of loadstone are found at
Magnet Cove, Arkansas, and it is estimated that from one to three tons
are sold annually to the negroes to be used in the Voodoo ceremonies as
conjuring stones. The material has been found in land used for farming
purposes, and many pieces have been turned up in ploughing for corn;
these vary from the size of a pea to masses weighing from ten to twenty
pounds. They occur in a reddish-brown, sticky soil; their surface is
smooth and brown and they have the appearance of water-worn pebbles.
In July, 1887, an interesting case was tried in Macon, Georgia, where
a negro woman sued a conjuror to recover five dollars which she had
paid him for a piece of loadstone to serve as a charm to bring back
her wandering husband. As the market value of this mineral was only
seventy-five cents a pound, and the piece was very small, weighing but
a few ounces, the judge ordered that the money should be refunded.[129]


For some reason not easy to fathom, malachite was considered to be a
talisman peculiarly appropriate for children. If a piece of this stone
were attached to an infant’s cradle, all evil spirits were held aloof
and the child slept soundly and peacefully.[130] In some parts of
Germany, malachite shared with turquoise the repute of protecting the
wearer from danger in falling, and it also gave warning of approaching
disaster by breaking into several pieces.[131] This material was well
known to the ancient Egyptians, malachite mines having been worked
between Suez and Sinai as early as 4000 B.C.

The appropriate design to be engraved upon malachite was the image of
the sun. Such a gem became a powerful talisman and protected the wearer
from enchantments, from evil spirits, and from the attacks of venomous
creatures.[132] The sun, as the source of all light, was generally
regarded as the deadly enemy of necromancers, witches, and demons, who
delighted in the darkness and feared nothing more than the bright light
of day.


The moonstone is believed to bring good fortune and is regarded as a
sacred stone in India. It is never displayed for sale there, except on
a yellow cloth, as yellow is an especially sacred color. As a gift for
lovers the moonstone takes a high rank, for it is believed to arouse
the tender passion, and to give lovers the power to read in the future
the fortune, good or ill, that is in store for them. To gain this
knowledge, however, the stone must be placed in the mouth while the
moon is full.[133]

Antoine Mizauld[134] tells us of a selenite or moonstone owned by a
friend of his, a great traveller. This stone, about the size of the
gold piece known as the gold noble, but somewhat thicker, indicated
the waxing and waning of the moon by a certain white point or mark
which grew larger or smaller as did the moon. Mizauld relates that to
convince himself of the truth of this he obtained possession of the
stone for one lunar month, during which time he sedulously observed
it. The white mark first appeared at the top. It was like a small
millet-seed, increasing in size and moving down on the stone, always
assuming the form of the moon until, on reaching the middle, it was
round like the full moon; then the mark gradually passed up again
as the moon diminished. The owner declared that he had “vowed and
dedicated this stone to the young king [Edward VI], who was then highly
esteemed because he had good judgment in regard to rare and precious


The onyx, if worn on the neck, was said to cool the ardors of love,
and Cardano relates that everywhere in India the stone was worn
for this purpose.[135] This belief is closely related to the idea
commonly associated with the onyx,—namely, that it provoked discord
and separated lovers. The close union and yet the strange contrast
between the layers of black and white may have suggested this.


Twelfth Dynasty. Late De Lesseps Collection. Collection of Mrs. Henry
Draper. The obsidian is the typical stone of Mexico.]


Crystals of iron pyrites (pyrite, native iron disulphide) are sometimes
used as amulets by the North American Indians, and the belief in
their magic power is attested by their presence in the outfit of
miscellaneous objects which the medicine-men use in the course of their
incantations. Because these gleaming yellow crystals are occasionally
mistaken for gold, the name “fool’s gold” has been popularly bestowed
upon them.[136]


See “Gems and Precious Stones of North America,” by George Frederick
Kunz, New York, 1890, p. 299.]

Of this material the ancient Mexicans made wonderful mirrors, one
side being usually polished flat, while the other side was strongly
convex. Frequently this side was curiously carved with some symbolic
representation as appears in the case of a pyrite mirror of the Pinard
collection in the Trocadéro, Paris.[137]


The popular belief in his time as to the origin of rock-crystal is
voiced by St. Jerome, when, using the words of Pliny, although not
citing his authority, he says that it was formed by the congelation
of water in dark caverns of the mountains, where the temperature
was intensely cold, so that, “While a stone to the touch, it seems
like water to the eye.” This belief was evidently due to the fact
that rock-crystal was so often found in mountain clefts and caverns.
Symbolically, it signified that those within the portals of the Church
should keep themselves free from stain and have a pure faith.[138]


Weighing 475¼ oz. Troy. Now in the British Museum, London. From
“Gems and Precious Stones of North America,” by George Frederick Kunz,
New York, 1890, p. 285.]

The Chinese emperor Wu was devoted to the service of the gods and of
the immortal spirits. He built many edifices for religious purposes,
and all the doors of these buildings were made of white rock-crystal,
so that a flood of light poured into the interior. Although the Chinese
texts call this material rock-crystal, it is possible that the name was
applied to glass when that substance was but recently introduced into

Regarding this same “rock-crystal” a humorous tale is related.
Muan-fen, a mandarin who had a great terror of draughts, was once
received in the palace by one of the Chinese emperors. The doors of the
audience chamber were of rock-crystal and were tightly closed, but,
because of the transparency of the material, they seemed to be wide
open, and the emperor was greatly amused to note that Muan-fen was
shivering with cold, although the temperature of the room was quite

An exceptionally fine specimen of Aztec work is a skull carved out of
rock-crystal. It weighs 475¼ ounces Troy, and measures 8¼ inches
in width.


The ruby has many names in Sanskrit, some of them clearly showing that
it was more valued as a gem by the Hindus than any other. For instance,
it is called _ratnaraj_, “king of precious stones,” and _ratnanâyaka_,
“leader of precious stones;” another name, applied to a particular
shade of ruby is _padmarâga_, “red as the lotus.”[141]

The glowing hue of the ruby suggested the idea that an inextinguishable
flame burned in this stone. From this fancy came the assertion that the
inner fire could not be hidden, as it would shine through the clothing
or through any material that might be wrapped around the stone.[142]
If cast into the water the ruby communicated its heat to the liquid,
causing it to boil. The dark and the star rubies were called “male”
stones, the others, more especially, however, those of lighter hue,
being considered as “female” stones. All varieties served to preserve
the bodily and mental health of the wearer, for they removed evil
thoughts, controlled amorous desires, dissipated pestilential vapors,
and reconciled disputes.[143]

In the “Lapidaire” of Philippe de Valois, it is said that “the books
tell us the beautiful clear and fine ruby is the lord of stones; it is
the gem of gems, and surpasses all other precious stones in virtue.” In
the time of Marbodus (end of the eleventh century A.D.) the same proud
place was assigned to the sapphire. The ruby is spoken of in similar
terms in the “Lapidaire en Vers,” where it is called “the most precious
of the twelve stones God created when He created all creatures”. By
Christ’s command the ruby was placed on Aaron’s neck, “the ruby, called
the lord of gems; the highly prized, the dearly loved ruby, so fair
with its gay color.”[144]

As with diamonds, rubies also were divided by the Hindus into four
castes. The true Oriental ruby was a Brahmin; the rubicelle, a
Kshatriya; the spinel, a Vaisya, and lastly, the balas-ruby, a Sudra.
The possession of a _padmarâga_, or Brahmin ruby, conferred perfect
safety upon the owner, and as long as he owned this precious stone he
could dwell without fear in the midst of enemies and was shielded
from adverse fortune. However, great care had to be taken to preserve
this ruby of the first class from contact with inferior specimens,
as its virtue would thereby be contaminated, and its power for good
correspondingly diminished.[145]

The many talismanic virtues of the ruby are noted in the fourteenth
century treatise attributed to Sir John Mandeville.[146] Here the
fortunate owner of a brilliant ruby is assured that he will live in
peace and concord with all men, that neither his land nor his rank will
be taken from him, and that he will be preserved from all perils. The
stone would also guard his house, his fruit-trees, and his vineyards
from injury by tempests. All the good effects were most surely secured
if the ruby, set in ring, bracelet, or brooch, were worn on the left

The gorgeous ruby, the favorite gem of Burma, where the finest
specimens are found, is not only valued for its beauty, but is also
believed to confer invulnerability. To attain this end, however, it is
not thought to be sufficient to wear these stones in a ring or other
piece of jewelry, but the stone must be inserted in the flesh, and thus
become, so to speak, a part of its owner’s body. Those who in this way
bear about with them a ruby, confidently believe that they cannot be
wounded by spear, sword, or gun.[147] As it is often remarked that the
most daring and reckless soldiers pass unscathed through all the perils
of war, we can understand that this superstition may sometimes appear
to be verified.


The sapphire is noted as a regal gem by Damigeron, who asserts that
kings wore it about their necks as a powerful defence from harm. The
stone preserved the wearer from envy and attracted divine favor.[148]
For royal use, sapphires were set in bracelets and necklaces, and
the sacred character of the stone was attested by the tradition
that the Law given to Moses on the Mount was engraved on tablets of
sapphire.[149] While we should probably translate here “lapis-lazuli”
instead of “sapphire,” all such passages were later understood as
referring to the true sapphire, which is not found in pieces of the
requisite size.

In the twelfth century, the Bishop of Rennes lavishes encomiums upon
this beautiful stone. It is quite natural that this writer should lay
especial stress upon the use of the sapphire for the adornment of
rings, for it was in his time that it was beginning to be regarded
as the stone most appropriate for ecclesiastical rings. The sapphire
was like the pure sky, and mighty Nature had endowed it with so great
a power that it might be called sacred and the gem of gems. Fraud
was banished from its presence and necromancers honored it more than
any other stone, for it enabled them to hear and to understand the
obscurest oracles.[150]


Presented to John Cardinal Farley on the occasion of his elevation to
the cardinalate.]

The traditional virtue of the sapphire as an antidote against poison
is noted by Bartolomæus Anglicus, who claims to have seen a test of
its power, somewhat similar to that recorded by Ahmed Teifashi of
the emerald. In John of Trevisa’s version this passage reads as

 His vertue is contrary to venym, and quencheth it every deale. And yf
 you put an attercoppe[152] in a boxe and hold a very saphyre of Inde
 at the mouth of the boxe ony whyle, by vertue thereof the attercoppe
 is overcome & dyeth as it were sodenly, as Dyasc. sayth [pseudo
 Dioscorides]. And this same I have assayed oft in many and dyvers
 places. His vertue kepeth and savyth the syght, & clearyth eyen of
 fylthe wythout ony greyf.

Voicing the general belief that the sapphire was endowed with power
to influence spirits, Bartolomæus says that this stone was a great
favorite with those who practised necromancy, and he adds: “Also
wytches love well this stone, for they wene that they may werke certen
wondres by vertue of this stone.”[153]

There was in the South Kensington Museum, in London, a splendid
sapphire of a peculiar tint. In the daylight it shows a beautiful rich
blue color, while by artificial light it has a violet hue and resembles
an amethyst. In the eighteenth century this stone was in the collection
of Count de Walicki, a Polish nobleman, and Mme. de Genlis used it as
the theme of one of her stories, entitled “Le Saphire Merveilleux.”
Here the sapphire is used as a test of female virtue, the change of
color indicating unfaithfulness on the part of the wearer. If the owner
of the stone wished to prove that the subject of the test was innocent,
she was made to wear the sapphire for three hours of daylight; but in
the opposite case the test was so timed that it began in daylight and
ended when the candles or lamps had been lighted. This sapphire, still
known as the “Saphire Merveilleux,” was for a time in the collection of
the Duke of Orleans, who bore the name of Philippe Egalité during the
French Revolution.

The star sapphire is that variety of sapphire in which, when the stone
is cut and rounded off horizontal with the dome of the crystal, the
light is condensed across the three lines of crystalline interference.
Three cross lines produce a star which moves as a source of light, or
as it is moved from the source of light. Star sapphires very rarely
possess the deep blue color of the fine blue sapphire; generally the
color is somewhat impure, or of a milky-blue, or else a blue-gray, or
sometimes almost a pure white. The blue-gray, gray, and white stones
frequently show a much more distinct star, possibly from the fact that
there are more inclusions between the layers of the crystals than with
the darker blue stones, as it is the set of interference bands that
produces the peculiar light. Just as the eye agate was used in some
countries to preserve against the Evil Eye, so the moving star is
believed by the Cingalese to serve as a protection and a guard against
witchcraft of all kinds.

The great Oriental traveller, Sir Richard Francis Burton, had a large
star sapphire or asteria, as it was called. He referred to it as his
talisman, for it always brought him good horses and prompt attention
wherever he went; in fact, it was only in those places where he
received proper attention that he would show it to the natives, a favor
they greatly appreciated, because the sight of the stone was believed
to bring good luck. The fame of Burton’s asteria travelled ahead of
him, and it served him well as a guiding-star. De Boot, writing in the
seventeenth century, states that such a stone was called Siegstein
(victory-stone) among the Germans.

[Illustration: Rubellite from the Shan Mountains,
China. Used as an idol’s eye in India

Star of India—Star Sapphire

Engraved Emerald—East Indian Carving—17th Century


The remarkable asteria, known as the “Star of India,” in the
Morgan-Tiffany Collection in the American Museum of Natural History,
has a more or less indefinite historic record of some three centuries,
but after its many wanderings it has now found a worthy resting-place
in the great Museum. Its weight is 543 carats.[154]

The asteria, or star sapphire, might be called a “Stone of Destiny,”
as the three cross-bars which traverse it are believed to represent
Faith, Hope, and Destiny. As the stone is moved, or the light changes,
a living star appears. As a guiding gem, warding off ill omen and
the Evil Eye, the star-sapphire is worn for the same reasons as were
the _oculus mundi_ and the _oculus Beli_. One of the most unique of
talismanic stones, it is said to be so potent that it continues to
exercise its good influence over the first wearer even when it has
passed into other hands.


The sard was regarded as a protection against incantations and sorcery,
and was believed to sharpen the wits of the wearer, rendering him
fearless, victorious, and happy.[155] The red hue of this stone was
supposed to neutralize the malign influence of the dark onyx, driving
away the bad dreams caused by the latter and dispelling the melancholy
thoughts it inspired.


The Italian peasants of to-day believe that pebbles of green serpentine
afford protection from the bites of venomous creatures. These stones
are usually green with streaks or veins of white, and the name was
derived from their fancied resemblance to a serpent’s skin. In addition
to their prophylactic powers, if any one has been bitten by such a
creature, the stone, when applied to the wound, is supposed to draw out
the poison. Here, as in the case of coral, the hand of man must not
have shaped the amulet; it should be in its natural state. As a general
rule, however, the belief that the touch of any iron instrument, such
as the tool of the gem-cutter, destroys the magic efficacy of the
substance, is less firmly held in regard to stones than in reference to


See Chrysolite.


While there was a tendency to attribute the virtues originally ascribed
to one particular stone to others of the same or similar color and
appearance, certain stones were regarded as possessing special virtues
not commonly attributed to others. A notable instance of this is the
quality supposed to inhere in the turquoise. This stone was known in
Egypt from a very early period and is later described by Pliny under
the name of _callais_. For Pliny, and for all those who derived their
information from him or from the sources he used, the turquoise only
participated in the virtues assigned to all blue or greenish-blue
stones; but from the thirteenth century, when the name turquoise was
first employed, we read that the stone possessed the power to protect
the wearer from injury by falling, more especially from horseback;
later, this was extended to cover falls from a building or over a
precipice. A fourteenth century authority, the “Lapidaire” of Sir
John Mandeville, states that the turquoise protected horses from the
ill-effects resulting from drinking cold water when overheated by
exertion, and it is said that the Turks often attached these stones
to the bridles and frontlets of their horses as amulets. They are
also so used in Samarcand and Persia. We might therefore be justified
in supposing that the turquoise was originally used in the East as a
“horse-amulet,” and the belief in its power to protect from falls may
have arisen from the idea that it rendered the horse more sure-footed
and enduring. As the horse was often regarded as a symbol of the sun
in its rapid course through the blue heavens, the celestial hue of the
turquoise may have caused it to be associated in some way with the
horse. We can only hazard this as a plausible conjecture.

Probably the earliest notice of the peculiar superstition in regard to
the turquoise—namely, that it preserves the wearer from injury in case
of falling—is contained in Volmar’s thirteenth century “Steinbuch,”
where we read:

 Whoever owns the true turquoise set in gold will not injure any of his
 limbs when he falls, whether he be riding or walking, so long as he
 has the stone with him.[157]

Anselmus de Boot, court physician of Emperor Rudolph II, tells a
story of a turquoise that, after being thirty years in the possession
of a Spaniard, was offered for sale with the rest of the owner’s
property. Every one was amazed to find it had entirely lost its color;
nevertheless De Boot’s father bought it for a trifling sum. On his
return home, however, ashamed to wear so mean-looking a gem, he gave it
to his son, saying, “Son, as the virtues of the turquoise are said to
exist only when the stone has been given, I will try its efficacy by
bestowing it upon thee.” Little appreciating the gift, the recipient
had his arms engraved on it as though it had been only a common agate
and wore it as a signet. He had scarcely worn it a month, however,
before it resumed its pristine beauty and daily seemed to increase in
splendor. Could we accept this statement as true we would have here an
altogether unique instance of the recovery by a turquoise of the blue
color it had lost.

Not long after, the powers of De Boot’s turquoise were put to the test.
As he was returning to Bohemia from Padua, where he had just taken his
degree, he was forced to traverse a narrow and dangerous road at night.
Suddenly his horse stumbled and threw him heavily to the ground, but,
strange to say, neither horse nor rider was injured by the fall. Next
morning, while washing his hands, De Boot remarked that about a quarter
of his turquoise had broken away. Nevertheless the stone did not lose
its virtue. Some time afterward, when the wearer was lifting a very
heavy pole, he felt all at once a sharp pain in his side and heard
his ribs crack, so that he feared he had injured himself seriously.
However, it turned out that he had not broken any bones but had simply
strained himself; but, on looking at his turquoise, he saw that it had
again broken into two pieces.[158]


Field Museum, Chicago.]

A singular virtue ascribed to the turquoise was that of striking the
hour correctly, if the stone were suspended from a thread held between
the thumb and index-finger in such a way that a slight vibration would
make the stone strike against the side of a glass. De Boot states that
he made the experiment successfully, but he very sensibly explains the
apparent wonder by the unconscious effect of the mind on the body. The
expectation that the stone was going to strike a certain number of
times induced an involuntary movement of the hand.[159]

The turquoise seems to have been worn almost exclusively by men at the
beginning of the seventeenth century, for De Boot, writing in 1609,
said that it was so highly regarded by men that no man considered
his hand to be well adorned unless he wore a fine turquoise. Women,
however, rarely wore this gem.[160] This custom was much in vogue among
the Englishmen who travelled in the Orient, until a score of years ago.

The Persians fully appreciate the beauty and power of this, their
national stone, and they have a saying that to escape evil and attain
good fortune one must see the reflection of the new moon either on the
face of a friend, on a copy of the Koran, or on a turquoise,[161] thus
ranking this stone with two most precious things, a friend and the
source and warrant of religion. Possibly we should take this proverbial
saying to indicate that whoever has a true friend, a copy of the sacred
volume or a turquoise will be preserved from harm.

The turquoise of the Los Cerillos mines in New Mexico is rudely
extracted by building large fires at the base of the rock until it
becomes heated, when cold water is dashed over it, the sharp change of
temperature splitting up the rock. Some of the fragmentary material
thus secured is worked up in the region into heart-shaped ornaments, or
amulets, locally called malacates. The religious veneration with which
many of the New Mexico Indians still regard the turquoise was noted
by Major Hyde, when he explored the region in 1880, for some Pueblo
Indians from Santo Domingo, New Mexico, expressed strong disapproval of
his action in extracting turquoise from the old mine, as they looked
upon this as a sacred stone which should not pass into the possession
of those whose Saviour was not a Montezuma.[162]

The ruins called Los Muertos, situated nine miles from Tempe, Arizona,
have furnished a peculiarly interesting amulet or fetish of Zuñi
workmanship. This is a seashell which has been coated with black pitch,
in which are encrusted turquoises and garnets so disposed in mosaic as
to represent clearly enough the figure of a toad, the sacred emblem of
the Zuñis.[163]

The sacred character with which this stone was invested is shown
by the wealth of turquoise ornaments found in some of the burials,
notably in those of Pueblo Bonito, unearthed by Mr. George H. Pepper
in 1896.[164] This is one of the Chaco Cañon groups of ruins, in the
northwestern part of New Mexico. In one case nearly nine thousand beads
and pendants of turquoise were found on or about a single skeleton.
There was abundant evidence in the special care bestowed upon the
burial that the deceased must have been a man of high rank, and the
condition of the skull plainly indicated that he had met a violent
death. The 1980 beads found on the breast of the skeleton are believed
to have been strung as a necklace, and the position of other masses of
these beads renders it probable that they had been used for bracelets
or anklets, the strings having decayed and disappeared in the course of
time. The most interesting of the turquoise objects are, however, the
pendants worked into various forms designed to favor the entrance of
some guardian spirit into the stone. In this single burial were found
pendants shaped more or less roughly into the forms of a rabbit, a
bird, an insect (?), a human foot and a shoe. Around another burial in
the same chamber were strewn nearly six thousand turquoise beads and
pendants.[165] In all 24,932 beads were found in these burials.

Another very interesting object from Pueblo Bonito, and one having
probably a special ceremonial use and value, is a turquoise
basket,—that is to say, a cylindrical basket three inches in diameter
and six inches long, originally made of slender splints with a coating
of gum in which 1214 small pieces of turquoise have been set. These are
very closely set and form a complete mosaic covering for the object.
The legends of the Navahos contain allusions to “turquoise jewel
baskets,” and Mr. Pepper raises the question whether or no this can
refer to those made by the Pueblo Indians.[166]

The Apache name for the turquoise is _duklij_, which signifies either
a green or a blue stone, no distinction being made between the two
colors. This stone is highly prized for its talismanic virtues. Indeed
the possession of a turquoise was indispensable for a medicine-man,
as without it he would not receive proper recognition. That some of
the powers of the thunder-stone were ascribed to the turquoise by
the tribes appears from the fancy that a man who could go to the end
of a rainbow after a storm and search in the damp earth would find a
turquoise. One of its supposed powers was to aid the warrior or hunter
by assuring the accuracy of his aim, for if a turquoise were affixed
to a gun or bow the shot sped from the weapon would go straight to the

A lady prominent in the London world is said to possess the power
of restoring to their pristine hue turquoises that have grown pale.
According to report, this lady is often called upon to use her peculiar
gift by friends whose turquoises have faded.[168] While the improvement
supposed to be noted may be more imaginary than real in many cases,
there is little doubt that this stone is exceptionally sensitive to the
action of certain emanations, and may, at times, be influenced by the
wearer’s general state of health. The writer believes that a turquoise,
like an egg, can never be restored to its original state.


On the Use of Engraved and Carved Gems as Talismans

The virtue believed to be inherent in precious stones was thought to
gain an added potency when the stone was engraved with some symbol
or figure possessing a special sacredness, or denoting and typifying
a special quality. This presupposes a considerable development of
civilization, since the art of engraving on precious stones offers many
mechanical difficulties and thus requires a high degree of artistic and
mechanical skill. It is true that the earliest engraved stones, the
Babylonian cylinders and the Egyptian scarabs, were both designed to
serve an eminently practical purpose as well, namely, that of seals;
but in a great number of instances these primitive seals were looked
upon as endowed with talismanic power, and were worn on the person as

The scarab, so highly favored by the Egyptians as an ornamental form,
is a representation of the _scarabæus sacer_, the typical genus of the
family _Scarabæidæ_. They are usually black, but occasionally show a
fine play of metallic colors. After gathering up a clump of dung for
the reception of the eggs, the insect rolls this along, using the hind
legs to propel it, until the material, at first soft and of irregular
form, becomes hardened and almost perfectly round. A curious symbolism
induced the Egyptians to find in this beetle an emblem of the world of
fatherhood and of man. The round ball wherein the eggs were deposited
typified the world, and, as the Egyptians thought that the scarabæi
were all males, they especially signified the male principle in
generation, becoming types of fatherhood and man. At the same time, as
only full-grown beetles were observed, it was believed these creatures
represented a regeneration or reincarnation, since it was not realized
that the eggs or larval and pupa stages had anything to do with the
generation of the beetle. Thus the scarab was used as a symbol of

While, however, this was the popular view, it seems unlikely that such
close observers as were the more cultured Egyptians should have been
entirely unfamiliar with the real genesis of the _Scarabæus sacer_;
but, in this case also, there would have been no difficulty in finding
it emblematic of immortality in the various stages through which it
passed. The larval stage might well signify the mortal life; the pupa
stage, the intermediate period represented by the mummy, with which the
soul was conceived to be vaguely connected, in spite of its wanderings
through the nether-world; and, lastly, the fully developed beetle
could be regarded as a type of the rebirth into everlasting life,
when the purified and perfected soul again animated the original and
transfigured form in a mysterious resurrection.

Scarabs are frequently engraved with the hieroglyph ☥(_anch_, “life”)
and [hieroglyph] (_ha_, “increase of power”). The emblem of stability
[hieroglyph] (_tet_) is also employed, as well as many others. In
addition to these simple symbols, many scarabs bear legends supposed
to render them exceptionally luck-bringing. The following are
characteristic specimens.[169]

[3 hieroglyphs] _maat ankh neb_, “Lord of Truth and Life.”

[4 hieroglyphs] “abounding in graces” (very deeply cut as a seal).

“May thy name be established; mayst thou have a son.”

[2 hieroglyphs] (within ornamental border), “good stability.”

[3 hieroglyphs] _ikht neb nefer_, “All good things.”

(Inlaid). “A good day” (a holiday).

“A mother is a truly good thing” or “Truth is a good Mother.”

The scarab, for the Egyptians a type of the rising sun and hence of
the renewal of life after death, was copied by the Phœnicians from
the Egyptian types and modified in various ways to suit the religious
fancies of the various lands to which they bore the products of their
art. Much of the original significance of this symbol must have been
lost; probably in many cases little was left but a vague idea that an
amulet of this form would bring good luck to the wearer and guard from

Funeral scarabs were often made of jasper, amethyst, lapis-lazuli,
ruby, or carnelian, with the names of gods, kings, priests, officials,
or private persons engraved on the base; occasionally monograms or
floral devices were engraved. Sometimes the base of the scarab was
heart-shaped and at others the scarab was combined with the “utat,” or
eye of Horus, and also with the frog, typifying revivification. Set in
rings they were placed on the fingers of the dead, or else, wrapped in
linen bandages, they rested on the heart of the deceased, a type of
the sun which rose each day to renewed life. They were symbols of the
resurrection of the body.[170]

Some of the Egyptian scarabs were evidently used as talismanic gifts
from one friend to another. Two such scarabs are in the collection of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. One bears the inscription
“May Ra grant you a happy New Year,” the text of the other reading as
follows: “May your name be established, may you have a son,” and “May
your house flourish every day.” It is a curious fact that the modern
greeting “Happy New Year” was current in Egypt probably three thousand
years ago.[171]

On the Egyptian inscribed scarabs used as signets were engraved many
of the symbols to which a talismanic virtue was attributed. The uræus
serpent, signifying death, is sometimes associated with the knot, the
so-called _ankh_ symbol, denoting life. Often the hieroglyph for _nub_,
gold, appears; this symbol is a necklace with pendant beads, showing
that gold beads must have been known in Egypt in the early days when
the hieroglyph for gold was first used. All these symbolic figures, of
which a great number occur, served to impart to the signet a sacred and
auspicious quality which communicated itself to the wearer, and even to
the impression made by the seal, this in its turn acquiring a certain
magic force. Few of us would be willing to confess to a belief in the
innate power of any symbol, but the suggestive power of a symbol is as
real to-day as it ever was. Any object that evokes a high thought or
serves to emphasize a profound conviction really possesses a kind of
magical quality, since it is capable of causing an effect out of all
proportion to its intrinsic worth or its material quality.

Many scarabs and signets exist made of the artificial _cyanus_,
which was an imitation lapis-lazuli made in Egypt. This was an
alkaline silicate, colored a deep blue with carbonate of copper.
Often a wonderful translucent or opaque blue glass was used. The
genuine lapis-lazuli was also used to a considerable extent for
scarabs and cylinders, in Egypt and Assyria, and gems were also cut
from it in imperial Roman times.[172] A notable instance of the use
of lapis-lazuli in ancient Egypt was as the material for the image
of Truth (_Ma_), which the Egyptian chief-justice wore on his neck,
suspended from a golden chain.[173]

In Roman times some of the legionaries are said to have worn rings set
with scarabs, for the reason that this figure was believed to impart
great courage and vigor to the wearer.[174]

The Egyptian amulets of the earliest period, up to the XII dynasty
(circa 2000 B.C.), differ considerably from those made and worn after
the beginning of the XVIII dynasty (1580 B.C.). Those of the earlier
period are not numerous and present but a small number of types, animal
forms or the heads of animals constituting the most favored models.
The precious stone materials are principally carnelian, beryl, and
amethyst. After the close of the so-called Hyksos period, the age
during which foreign kings ruled over Egypt, came the brilliant revival
and development of Egyptian civilization that characterized the XVIII
dynasty. Some of the old forms were entirely cast aside while others
were greatly modified in form and significance, the animal forms losing
much of their fetichistic quality and coming to be more and more
regarded as images of the multifarious divinities worshipped in this
later period. In many cases the animal type was entirely or partially
discarded and the amulets figured the conventional types given to the
various divinities. However, while some of these images were wholly
human, many of them show a human body with an animal head. Various
symbolic designs were also favored, one believed to signify the blood
of Isis having the form of a knot or tie. A frog fashioned out of
lapis-lazuli and having eyes of gold is one of these amulets of the
XVIII dynasty or later.

An interesting Egyptian talisman in the Louvre is engraved with a
design representing Thothmes II seizing a lion by the tail and raising
the animal aloft; at the same time he brandishes in the other hand
a club, with which he is about to dash out the lion’s brains. The
Egyptian word _quen_, “strength,” is engraved beneath the design and
indicates that the virtue of the talisman was to increase the strength
and courage of the wearer, the inscription being a kind of perpetual
invocation to the higher powers whose aid was sought.[175]

The children of Israel, when in the desert, were said to have engraved
figures on carnelian, “just as seals are engraved.”[176] This
statement, repeated by many early writers, may perhaps have arisen from
an identification of carnelian with the first stone of the breastplate,
the _odem_, unquestionably a red stone, and very possibly carnelian.
There can be no doubt that this was one of the first stones used for
ornamental purposes and for engraving, as a number of specimens have
been preserved from early Egyptian times. Because of the cooling and
calming effect exercised by carnelian upon the blood, if worn on the
neck or on the finger, it was believed to still all angry passions.[177]

A class of amulets even older than the Egyptian scarabs is represented
by the engraved Assyrio-Babylonian cylinders. There has been much
discussion among scholars as to the original purpose for which these
cylinders were made, some holding that they were exclusively employed
as seals or signets, while others incline to the belief that many of
them were intended only for use as amulets or talismans.

These cylinders are perforated and were worn suspended from the neck or
wrist, as is most frequently the case with talismans, and the engraved
designs often represent religious or mythological subjects, the
accompanying inscription merely consisting of the names of the gods.
Cylinders of this type could not have been used as personal signets,
and it is quite possible that Dr. Wiedemann is right in supposing
that their imprint on a document was considered to impart a certain
mystic sanction to the agreement, and render the divinities or spirits
accountable for the fulfilment of the contract.[178]

The oldest known form of seal is the cylinder. Babylonian and Assyrian
cylinder-seals are known of a date as early as 4000 B.C. From the
earliest period until 2500 B.C. they were made of black or green
serpentine, conglomerate, diorite, and frequently of the central
core of a large conch shell from the Persian Gulf. From 2500 B.C.
to 500 B.C. the cylindrical form was prevalent, and the materials
include a brick-red ferruginous quartz, red hematite (an iron ore),
and chalcedony, a beautiful variety of the last-named stone known as
sapphirine being sometimes used. On the cylinders produced from 4000
B.C. to 2500 B.C. the designs most frequently represent animal forms;
on those dating from 2500 B.C. to 500 B.C. are generally inscribed
five or six rows of cuneiform characters. Up to the last-named date
the work was all done by the sapphire point, and not by the wheel, and
it is not until the fifth century B.C. that wheel work is apparent in
any Babylonian or Assyrian stone-engraving. In the course of the sixth
century B.C. the cylindrical seals became less frequent, and the tall
cone-like seals came into use.[179]

A new type makes its appearance about the fifth or sixth century B.C.,
namely, the scaraboid seal introduced from Egypt. From the third
century B.C. until the second or third century A.D., the seals became
lower and flatter, and the perforation larger, until they sometimes
assumed the form of rings; later the ring form becomes general. They
are usually hollowed a little in the middle, which gives them the shape
and size of the lower short joints of a reed; indeed, it has been
suggested that the original seal was rudely patterned after a reed
joint. The materials used for these cylinders include lapis-lazuli,
very freely used and probably from the Persian mines, jasper,
rock-crystals, chalcedony, carnelian, agate, jade, etc.; a hard, black
variety of serpentine is perhaps the most common of all the materials
used for this purpose.[180]



From Fischer and Wiedemann “Ueber Babylonische Talismane,” Stuttgart,
1881, Pl. 1, fig. 3.]


On one side are seven lines of characters, principally consisting
of the seven Greek vowels used to denote the Ineffable Name. On the
reverse is cut a laurel branch with 18 leaves, enclosed within each of
which are characters expressing the name of one of the personifications
of Gnostic theosophy. Brought from Egypt and deposited by its
possessor, General Lefroy, in the Rotunda at Woolwich. Now in the
Egyptian Department of the British Museum. (See page 129.)]

A good example of these talismanic cylinders shows the figure of the
god Nebo, seated on a throne and holding a ring in his left hand.
Before him are two altars, over which appear, respectively, a star
and the crescent moon; in front of the god is the figure of a man in
an attitude of adoration. Borsippa, where the cylinder was found, was
the special seat of the worship of Nebo, whose name appears in those
of the kings Nebuchadnezzar, Nebopalasser, and Nabonaid. Regarded
as the inventor of writing and as the god of learning, Nebo was the
lord of the planet Mercury, and this shows a close connection between
Babylonian and Græco-Roman ideas in reference to the god associated
with that planet. Nebo was also believed to be the orderer of times
and seasons, and this character is indicated by the star and the

The Cretan peasants of to-day set a high value upon certain very
ancient seals—dating perhaps from as early as 2500 B.C.—which they
find buried in the soil. These seals are inscribed with symbols
supposed to represent the prehistoric Cretan form of writing. Of
course these inscriptions, which have not yet been deciphered by
archæologists, are utterly incomprehensible for the peasants, but they
undoubtedly serve to render the stones objects of mystery. The peasants
call them _galopetræ_, or “milk-stones,” and they are supposed to
promote the secretion of milk, as was the case with the galactite.[182]
The careful preservation of these so-called _galopetræ_ by Cretan women
has served the purpose of archæological research, as otherwise so large
a supply of these very interesting seals would not now be available.

[Illustration: 1. ENGRAVED HELIOTROPE.

Head of Serapis surrounded by the twelve Zodiacal symbols. From Gori’s
“Thesaurus Gemmarum Antiquarum Astriferarum,” Florence, 1750. Vol. i,
Pl. XVII.]

[Illustration: 2. ENGRAVED RED JASPER.

Head of Medusa, Museum Cl. Passerii.]

Many engraved stones of the Roman imperial period bore the figures
of Serapis and of Isis, the former signifying Time and the latter
Earth. On other stones the symbols of the zodiacal signs appear,
referring to the natal constellation of the wearer. The astrologers,
who derived their lore from the Orient, were consulted by all classes
of the Roman people, and it is therefore very natural that the signet,
or the ring worn as an amulet, should frequently have been engraved
with astrological symbols. These designs were usually engraved on
onyxes, carnelians, and similar stones, in Greek and Roman times; but
occasionally the emerald was used in this way, and more rarely the
ruby or the sapphire. Here the costliness of the material was probably
thought to enhance the value of the amulet. The emerald ring of
Polycrates must have possessed some other than a purely artistic value
in his eyes, when it could be regarded by him as the most precious of
his possessions.

In Roman times the image of Alexander the Great was looked upon as
possessing magic virtues, and it is related that when Cornelius
Macer gave a splendid banquet in the temple of Hercules, the chief
ornament of the table was an amber cup, in the midst of which was a
portrait of Alexander, and around this his whole history figured in
small, finely engraved representations. From this cup Macer drank to
the health of the pontifex and then ordered that it should be passed
around among the guests, so that each one might gaze upon the image
of the great man. Pollio, relating this, states that it was a common
belief that everything happened fortunately for those who bore with
them Alexander’s portrait executed in gold or silver.[183] Indeed, even
among Christians coins of Alexander were in great favor as amulets, and
the stern John Chrysostom sharply rebukes those who wore bronze coins
of this monarch attached to their heads and their feet.[184]

Nowhere in the world was the use of amulets so common as in Alexandria,
especially in the first centuries of our era, and the types produced
here were scattered far and wide throughout the Roman world. Amulets
made from various colored stones had been used for religious purposes
in Egypt from the very earliest period of its history, so that the
custom was deeply rooted in that land. When, therefore, Alexandria was
founded in the fourth century B.C., and became a great commercial
centre, attracting men of all races and all religions, it is not
surprising that the population eagerly adopted the various amulets
used by the adherents of the different religions. The result was a
combining and confusion of many different types. With the rapid rise
and growth of the Christian religion, a new element was introduced.
Unquestionably the leading Christian teachers were strongly opposed to
such superstitious practices, but the rank and file of the faithful
clung to their old fancies.

In the second century the Gnostic heresy gave a new impulse to the
fabrication of amulets. This strange eclecticism, resulting from
an interweaving of pagan and Christian ideas, with its complicated
symbolism, much of which is almost incomprehensible, found expression
in the creation of the most bizarre types of amulets, and the magic
virtues of the curious designs was enhanced by inscriptions purposely
obscure. The incomprehensible always seems to have a mysterious charm
for those devoted to the magic arts, and the adepts willingly catered
to this taste, so that we can often only guess at the signification of
the words and names engraved upon the Gnostic or Basilidian gems. So
widespread was their use throughout the Roman Empire, that there were
factories entirely devoted to the production of these objects.[185]

Regarding the sacred name Abrasax, which was inscribed on so many
Gnostic gems, we read in St. Augustine’s treatise De hæres., vi,
“Basilides asserted that there were 365 heavens; it was for this reason
that he regarded the name Abrasax as sacred and venerable.”

[Illustration: 1. Gnostic gem, heliotrope, with Abraxas god. Gorlaeus
Collection. From the “Abraxas seu Apistopistus” of Macarius (L’Heureux)
Antwerp, 1657, Pl. II.

2. Another type; with seven stars.

3. Gnostic gem. Type of Abraxas god and mystic letters I A W. From
Gori’s “Thesaurus Gemmarum Antiquarum Astriferarum,” Florence, 1750,
vol. i, Pl. CLXXXIX.

4. Abraxas gem, jasper, mystic letters I A W. From Gorlaeus, “Cabinet
de Pierres Gravées,” Paris, 1778.

5. Jasper engraved with the symbol of the Agathodaemon Serpent.
The type of amulet noted by Galen as that used by the Egyptian
king “Nechepsus” (Necho 610-594 B.C.). Original at one time in the
collection of Johann Schinkel. From the “Abraxas seu Apistopistus” of
Macarius (L’Heureux) Antwerp, 1657, Pl. XVII. See page 385.]

According to the Greek notation the letters comprising this name give
that number:

  α =   1
  β =   2
  ρ = 100
  α =   1
  σ = 200
  α =   1
  ξ =  60

It is, however, not unlikely that the 365 days in the solar year
are signified; and this enigmatical name might thus be brought into
connection with Mithra, the solar divinity, who was worshipped
throughout the Persian and Roman empires in the first and second
centuries of our era.

A very recondite but ingenious explanation of the Gnostic name Abrasax
is given by Harduin in his notes to Pliny’s “Natural History.”[186]
He sees in the first three letters the initials of the three Hebrew
words signifying father, son, and spirit (_ab_, _ben_, _ruah_), the
Triune God; the last four letters are the initials of the Greek words
ἀνθρώπους σώζει ἁγίῳ ξύλῳ or “he saves men by the sacred wood” (the
cross). This seems rather far-fetched, it must be confessed, and yet
to any one familiar with the vagaries of Alexandrine eclecticism, and
with the tendency of the time and place to make strange and uncouth
combinations of Greek and Hebrew forms, there is nothing inherently
improbable in the explanation. Indeed, the Hebrew and Greek words
in this composite sentence might have been regarded as typifying
the union of the Old and New Testaments, and such an acrostic would
certainly have been looked upon as possessing a mystic and supernatural


Enclosed within the outlines of the 18 leaves are as many names of the
personifications of Gnostic Theosophy.]

Many explanations have been offered as to the origin and significance
of the characteristic figure of the Abrasax god engraved on a number
of Gnostic amulets. There seems to be no doubt that this figure was
invented by Basilides, chief of the Gnostic sect bearing his name, and
who flourished in the early part of the second century A.D. While the
details of the type as perfected were undoubtedly borrowed from the
eclectic symbolism of the Egyptian and western Asiatic world it is
almost impossible to conjecture the reasons determining the selection
of this particular form.

A jasper engraved with the famous Gnostic symbol was set in the ring
worn by Seffrid, Bishop of Chichester (A.D. 1159). This ring was found
on the skeleton of the bishop and is now preserved in the treasury of
the Cathedral of Chichester. Undoubtedly the curious symbolic figure
was given a perfectly orthodox meaning, and, indeed, it was not really
a pagan symbol, as the Gnostics were “indifferent Christians,” although
their system was a fanciful elaboration of the doctrines of the late
Alexandrian school of Greek Philosophy and an adaptation of this to the
teachings of Christian tradition. In many cases, however, gems with
purely pagan designs were worn by Christians, designs such as Isis with
the child Horus, which was taken to be the Virgin Mary with the infant

A curious amulet, apparently belonging to the Gnostic variety, and
intended to bring success to the owner of a racehorse, is now in the
collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. The material
is green jasper with red spots. On the obverse the horse is figured
with the victor’s palm and the name Tiberis; on the reverse appears
the vulture-headed figure of the Abraxas god and the characters,
“ZACTA IAW BAPIA,” which have been translated, “Iao the Destroyer and
Creator.”[187] Possibly this amulet may have been attached to the horse
during his races to insure victory, as we know that amulets of this
kind were used in this way.

As illustrating the eclectic character of some of the amulets used
in the early Christian centuries, we may note one in the Cabinet de
Médailles, in Paris. This has upon the obverse the head of Alexander
the Great; on the reverse is a she-ass with her foal, and below
this a scorpion and the name Jesus Christ. Another amulet of this
class, figured by Vettori,[188] also has the head of Alexander on
the obverse, while the reverse bears the Greek monogram of the name

After the third or fourth century of our era the art of gem-engraving
seems to have been lost, or at least to have been very seldom
practised, and it is noteworthy in the matter that after this period
writers who treat of the virtues of engraved gems as talismans rarely,
if ever, use the words “if you engrave” such or such a figure on a
stone, but write “if you find” such a figure.

The figures engraved on precious stones were supposed to have a greater
or lesser degree of efficacy in themselves independent of the virtues
peculiar to the stone on which they were engraved, and this efficacy
depended largely upon the hour, day, or month during which the work
was executed. For the influence of the planet, star, or constellation
which was in the ascendant was thought to infuse a subtle essence into
the stone while the appropriate image was being engraved. However,
to exert the maximum power, the virtue of the image must be of the
same character as the virtue inherent in the material, and the gem
became less potent when this was not the case. Certain images, those
symbolizing the zodiacal signs for instance, were looked upon as
possessing such power that their peculiar nature impressed itself
even upon stones inherently of different quality; others again were
only efficacious when engraved on stones the quality of which was in
sympathy with them.[189]

Naturally, many of the ancient gems which had been preserved from
Greek and Roman times were recognized as being purely products of art,
but in medieval and later times the idea of the magic quality of all
engraved gems had become so deeply rooted that in many cases a magical
character was ascribed to them entirely foreign to the intention of the
engraver. Great ingenuity was often displayed in seeking and finding
some analogy between the supposed significance of the design and the
fancied power of the stone itself. Taking the agate as an illustration,
Camillo Leonardo says that its many different varieties had as
many different virtues, and he finds in this an explanation of the
multiplicity of images engraved on the various kinds of agate, without
realizing that the true reason was that this material lent itself more
readily to artistic treatment than did many others.

The idea that some special design should be engraved upon a given
stone became quite general in the early centuries of our era. The
emerald, for instance, according to Damigeron, was to be engraved with
a scarab, beneath which was to be a standing figure of Isis. The gem,
when completed, was to be pierced longitudinally and worn in a brooch.
The fortunate owner of this talisman was then to adorn himself and the
members of his family, and, a consecration having been pronounced, he
was assured that he would see “the glory of the stone granted it by
God.”[190] Possibly this may have meant that the stone would become

A list of these symbolic designs is said to have been given in the
“Book of Wings,” by Ragiel, one of the curious treatises composed about
the thirteenth century under the influence of Hebrew and Greco-Roman
tradition. Although it owes its origin to the Hebrew “Book of Raziel,”
it bears little if any likeness to that work. As will be seen in the
following items, the fact that the design is on its appropriate stone
is always insisted on:


 The beautiful and terrible figure of a dragon. If this is found on a
 ruby or any other stone of similar nature and virtue, it has the power
 to augment the goods of this world and makes the wearer joyous and

 The figure of a falcon, if on a topaz, helps to acquire the goodwill
 of kings, princes, and magnates. The image of an astrolabe, if on
 a sapphire, has power to increase wealth and enables the wearer to
 predict the future.

 The well-formed image of a lion, if engraved on a garnet, will protect
 and preserve honors and health, cures the wearer of all diseases,
 brings him honors, and guards him from all perils in travelling.

 An ass, if represented on a chrysolite, will give power to
 prognosticate and predict the future.

 The figure of a ram or of a bearded man, on a sapphire, has the
 power to cure and preserve from many infirmities as well as to free
 from poison and from all demons. This is a royal image; it confers
 dignities and honors and exalts the wearer.

 A frog, engraved on a beryl, will have the power to reconcile enemies
 and produce friendship where there was discord.

 A camel’s head or two goats among myrtles, if on an onyx, has the
 power to convoke, assemble, and constrain demons; if any one wears it,
 he will see terrible visions in sleep.

 A vulture, if on a chrysolite, has the power to constrain demons and
 the winds. It controls demons and prevents them from coming together
 in the place where the gem may be; it also guards against their
 importunities. The demons obey the wearer.

 A bat, represented on a heliotrope or bloodstone, gives the wearer
 power over demons and helps incantations.

 A griffin, imaged on a crystal, produces abundance of milk.

 A man richly dressed and with a beautiful object in his hand, engraved
 on a carnelian, checks the flow of blood and confers honors.

 A lion or an archer, on a jasper, gives help against poison and cures
 from fever.

 A man in armor, with bow and arrow, on an iris stone, protects from
 evil both the wearer and the place where it may be.

 A man with a sword in his hand, on a carnelian, preserves the place
 where it may be from lightning and tempest, and guards the wearer from
 vices and enchantments.

 A bull engraved on a prase is said to give aid against evil spells and
 to procure the favor of magistrates.

 A hoopoo with a tarragon herb before it, represented on a beryl,
 confers the power to invoke water-spirits and to converse with them,
 as well as to call up the mighty dead and to obtain answers to
 questions addressed to them.

 A swallow, on a celonite, establishes and preserves peace and concord
 among men.

 A man with his right hand raised aloft, if engraved on a chalcedony,
 gives success in lawsuits, renders the wearer healthy, gives him
 safety in his travels and preserves him from all evil chances.

 The names of God, on a _ceraunia_ stone, have the power to preserve
 the place where the stone may be from tempests; they also give to the
 wearer victory over his enemies.

 A bear, if engraved on an amethyst, has the virtue of putting demons
 to flight and defends and preserves the wearer from drunkenness.

 A man in armor, graven on a magnet, or loadstone, has the power to aid
 in incantations and makes the wearer victorious in war.[191]

An Italian manuscript, dating from the fourteenth century, gives the
following talismanic gems:

 If thou findest a stone on which is graven or figured a man with a
 goat’s head, whoever wears this stone, with God’s help, will have
 great riches and the love of all men and animals.

 If a stone be found on which is graven or figured an armed man or
 the draped figure of a virgin, bound with laurel and having a laurel
 branch in her hand, this stone is sacred and frees the wearer from all
 changes and haps of fortune.

 When thou findest a stone on which is graven the figure of a man
 holding a scythe in his hand, a stone like this imparts strength and
 power to the wearer. Every day adds to his strength, courage and

 Hold dear that stone on which thou shalt find figured or cut the moon
 or the sun, or both together, for it makes the wearer chaste and
 guards him from lust.

 A jewel to be prized is that stone on which is graven or figured a
 man with wings having beneath his feet a serpent whose head he holds
 in his hand. A stone of this kind gives the wearer, by God’s help,
 abundant wealth of knowledge, as well as good health and favor.

 Shouldst thou find a stone on which is the figure of a man holding in
 his right hand a palm branch, this stone, with God’s help, renders the
 wearer victorious in disputes and in battles, and brings him the favor
 of the great.

 Finding the stone called jasper, bearing graven or figured a huntsman,
 a dog, or a stag, the wearer, with God’s help, will have the power to
 heal one possessed of a devil, or who is insane.

 A good stone is that one on which thou shalt find graven or figured
 a serpent with a raven on its tail. Whoever wears this stone will
 enjoy high station and be much honored; it also protects from the
 ill-effects of the heat.[192]

The original meaning of the swastika emblem has been variously
explained as a symbol of fire, of the four cardinal points, of water,
of the lightning, etc. Still another explanation is given by Hoernes,
who inclines to the belief that it is simply a conventionalized
representation of the human form, the lower shaft being the two legs
joined together, the two horizontal shafts the outstretched arms, and
the upper shaft the trunk of the body; the four projections would stand
for the feet, the two hands and the head.[193]

The Egyptian crux ansata, the hieroglyphic symbol for “life,” and
the Phœnician Tau symbol, the “mark” that was to be stamped upon the
foreheads of the faithful in Jerusalem (Ezek. ix, 4), and which in
Early Christian art was frequently substituted for the usual cross,
are both explained by Hoernes in a similar way, and he notes the fact
that the swastika symbol does not appear in Egyptian or Phœnician art,
drawing the inference that all three symbols originated in the same
form or figure.[194] To all these symbols were attributed talismanic
virtues and they were frequently engraved on precious stones.


From the “Cabinet de Pierres Antiques Gravées,” of Gorlaeus, Paris,
1778, Pl. XCV.]

The so-called “Monogrammatic Cross” was very freely used in work of the
fifth century. This is simply a modification of the monogram formed of
the first two letters of the name Christ as written in Greek, a device
which first appeared after the time of Constantine the Great (d. 337
A.D.). This monogram usually assumed the following form: ☧, and the
“Monogrammatic Cross” was made by changing the position of the Greek X
(chi), and making one of its arms serve as the straight stroke of the P
(r), thus giving the following form: ⳨.

A curious amulet to avert the spell of the Evil Eye is an engraved sard
showing an eye in the centre, around which are grouped the attributes
of the divinities presiding over the days of the week. Sunday, the dies
Solis, is represented by a lion; Monday, the dies Lunæ, by a stag;
Tuesday, the dies Martis, by a scorpion; Wednesday, the dies Mercurii,
by a dog; Thursday, the dies Jovis, by a thunderbolt; Friday, the dies
Veneris, by a snake; and Saturday, the dies Saturni, by an owl.[195] In
this way the wearer was protected at all times from the evil influence.

Because of its peculiar markings, some of which suggest the form of an
eye, malachite was worn in some parts of Italy (_e.g._, in Bettona) as
an amulet to protect the wearer from the spell of the Evil Eye. Such
stones were called “peacock-stones,” from their resemblance in color
and marking to the peacock’s tail. The form of these malachite amulets
is usually triangular, and they were mounted in silver. It is curious
to note, as a proof of the persistence of superstitions, that in an
Etruscan tomb at Chiusi there was found a triangular, perforated piece
of glass, each angle terminating in an eye formed of glass of various

On many of the amulets fabricated in Italy for protection against the
dreaded jettatura, or spell of the Evil Eye, the cock is figured.
His image was supposed in ancient times to assure the protection of
the sun-god, and his crowing was regarded as an inarticulate hymn of
praise to this deity. He was also a type of dauntless courage. All
this contributed to make him a defender of the weak, especially of
women and children, against the wiles of the spirits of darkness.[197]
Rostand, in his “Chantecler,” has enlarged this conception, and endows
the cock with the proud conviction that it is to his matutinal chant
alone that the world owes the daily recurrent phenomenon of the sunrise.


On the right, a Victory; on the left, game-cocks. From the
Dactyliotheca, of Gorlaeus, Delft, 1601, Figs. 171, 172.]

In Palestine the Evil Eye is supposed to be the baleful gift of men who
have light-blue eyes, more especially if they are beardless. Possibly
this is the power in which some of our blond and beardless “mashers”
repose their trust. As an antidote to the awful influence of these
blue-eyed monsters, the Syrian women decorated themselves with blue
beads, on the principle _similia similibus curantur_. A maiden with
beautiful hair will tie a blue ribbon about it, or wear a blue bead in
it, so as to ward off any evil spell cast by the blue eye that might
rob her of her fair dower.[198]

It is a well-known fact that many amulets were made in forms suggesting
objects offensive to our sense of propriety. These were thought to
protect the wearers by denoting the contempt they felt for the evil
spirits leagued against them. Some such fancy may have induced the
peculiar designs of certain of the jewels alleged to have been pawned
in Paris by the ex-Sultan Abdul Hamid for the sum of 1,200,000 francs
($240,000). According to rumor, these pledges must be sold, as the
sultan has failed to redeem them, but the designs are so _risqué_ that
they cannot be offered at public sale; therefore the stones and pearls
are to be removed and the gold settings are to be melted and sold as

It is not exclusively characteristic of our commercial and industrial
age that the price paid for a work of art should influence the popular
estimation of the merits of the work, as appears in an anecdote
related by Pliny. An emerald (smaragd), upon which was engraved a
figure of Amymone (one of the Danaidæ), having been offered for sale
in the Isle of Cyprus, at the price of six golden denarii, Ismenias, a
flute-player, gave orders to purchase it. The dealer, however, reduced
the price and returned two denarii; upon which Ismenias remarked, “By
Hercules! he has done me but a bad turn in this, for the merit of the
stone has been greatly impaired by this reduction in price.”[199]

A variant of the design directed by Damigeron to be placed on the
emerald is recommended in a thirteenth century manuscript, where
we read that to fit this stone for use as a talisman, it should be
engraved with the form of a scarab, beneath which there should appear
a crested paroquet.[200] According to the same manuscript, a jasper
should bear the figure of Mars fully armed, or else that of a virgin
wearing a flowing robe and bearing a laurel branch. It should then be
“consecrated with perpetual consecration.” The mythical author Cethel
asserts that the owner of a jasper engraved with the sacred symbol of
the cross would be preserved from drowning.[201]

A curious quid pro quo appears in a fifteenth century treatise on
gems written in French. Here, in a list of engraved gems suitable for
use as amulets, we read, “If you find a dromedary engraved on a stone
with hair flowing over its shoulders, this stone will bring peace
and concord between man and wife.” The original Latin text read, “If
you find Andromeda on a stone with hair flowing over her shoulders,”
etc.[202] The translator’s art which could turn Andromeda into a
dromedary almost equalled that of the enchantress Circe.

A few even of the early writers were disposed to be sceptical as to
the virtues ascribed to these engraved gems, and did not hesitate to
assert that the Greek and Roman engravers executed their designs for
ornamental purposes rather than to fit the gems for use as talismans.
This was undoubtedly true in a large number of cases but nevertheless,
as we have seen, many engraved talismans were really cut in the early
centuries. As the art of gem engraving was not practised in the Middle
Ages, some medieval writers suppose that the engraved talismanic gems
current in their time were not works of art, but of nature, and Konrad
von Megenberg accepting this view, gave it as his opinion that “God
granted these stones their beauty and virtue for the help and comfort
of the human race,” adding that when he hoped to receive help from them
he in no wise denied the grace of God.[203]

Damigeron writes of the sard that, if worn by a woman, it is a good
and fortunate stone. It should be engraved with a design showing a
grape-vine and ivy intertwined.[204]

A celebrated topaz was that noted by George Agricola as being in the
possession of a Neapolitan, Hadrianus Gulielmus.[205] It bore, in
ancient Roman characters, the terse and pregnant inscription:

  Natura deficit,
  Fortuna mutatur.
  Deus omnia cernit.

This was very freely rendered by Thomas Nicols as follows:[206]

    Nature by frailty doth dayly waste away.
    Fortune is turn’d and changed every day.
    In all, there is an eye know’s no decay.
                            Jah sees for aye.

There is in the Imperial Academy at Moscow a turquoise two inches in
diameter, inscribed with a text from the Koran in letters of gold. This
turquoise was formerly worn by the Shah of Persia as an amulet, and it
was valued at 5000 rubles by the jeweller from whose hands it came.[207]

It is well known that Napoleon III was inclined to be superstitious,
and there is not, therefore, anything inherently improbable in the
report that he left the seal he wore on his watch-chain to his son,
the unfortunate Prince Imperial, as a talisman. This seal is said to
have borne an inscription in Arabic characters, signifying “The slave
Abraham relying on the Merciful One (God).”[208] The talisman lost its
virtue on that unlucky day when, in far-off Zululand, the heir to so
many hopes was cut off in the first flush of early manhood (see page


On Ominous and Luminous Stones


    _Mother._ Come, let me place a charm upon thy brow,
              And may good spirits grant, that never care
              Approach, to trace a single furrow there!

    _Daughter._ Thy love, my mother, better far than charm,
              Shall shield thy child—and yet this wondrous gem[209]
              Looks as though some strange influence it had won
              From the bright skies—for every rainbow hue
              Shoots quivering through its depths in changeful gleams,
              Like the mild lightnings of a summer eve.

    _Mother._ Even so doth love pervade a mother’s heart;
              Thus, ever active, looks through her fond eyes.[210]

There can be little doubt that much of the modern superstition
regarding the supposed unlucky quality of the opal owes its origin
to a careless reading of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, “Anne of
Geierstein.”[211] The wonderful tale therein related of the Lady
Hermione, a sort of enchanted princess, who came no one knew whence
and always wore a dazzling opal in her hair, contains nothing to
indicate that Scott really meant to represent the opal as unlucky. Lady
Hermione’s gem was an enchanted stone just as its owner was a product
of enchantment, and its peculiarities depended entirely upon its
mysterious character, which might equally well have been attributed to
a diamond, a ruby, or a sapphire. The life of the stone was bound up
with the life of Hermione; it sparkled when she was gay, it shot out
red gleams when she was angry; and when a few drops of holy water were
sprinkled over it, they quenched its radiance. Hermione fell into a
swoon, was carried to her chamber, and the next day nothing but a small
heap of ashes remained on the bed whereon she had been laid. The spell
was broken and the enchantment dissolved. All that can have determined
the selection of the opal rather than any other precious stone is the
fact of its wonderful play of color and its sensitiveness to moisture.
Hence we are perfectly justified in returning to the older belief of
the manifold virtues of the opal, only remembering that this gem is
a little more fragile than many others and should be more carefully
handled and guarded.

The opal, October’s gem, recalls in its wonderful and varied play of
color the glories of a bright October day in the country, when earth
and sky vie with each other in brilliancy and the eye is fairly dazzled
with the bewildering variety of color.

It rarely happens that Pliny gives any information as to particular
jewels, almost all his notices of precious stones being confined to
descriptions of their form and color, and data regarding what was
popularly believed as to their talismanic or therapeutic power. In the
case of the _opalus_, however, he writes as follows: “There exists
to-day a gem of this kind, on account of which the senator Nonius was
proscribed by Antony. Seeking safety in flight, he took with him of
all his possessions this ring alone, which it is certain, was valued
at 2,000,000 sesterces ($80,000).”[212] The stone was “as large as a

This “opal of Nonius” would be the great historic opal if we had any
assurance that it was really the stone to which we now give this name.
As, however, the principal European source of supply in Hungary does
not appear to have been available in classic times to the Romans, and
as opals are not found in the places whence, according to Pliny, the
_opalus_ was derived, we are almost forced to the conclusion that he
had some other stone in mind when he gave his eloquent description of
the _opalus_. And yet, in spite of all this, Pliny’s words so well
describe the beauties of a fine opal that it is difficult to determine
what other stone he could have meant. For it can well be said of opals
that “There is in them a softer fire than in the carbuncle, there
is the brilliant purple of the amethyst; there is the sea-green of
the emerald—all shining together in incredible union. Some by their
refulgent splendor rival the colors of the painters, others the flame
of burning sulphur or of fire quickened by oil.”[213] Possibly some
brilliant varieties of iridescent quartz—“iris” quartz, possessing an
internal fracture, displays with great brilliancy all the colors of the
rainbow, sparkling with wonderful clearness in its field of transparent
mineral—might excite the admiration of one who had never seen an opal.
Referring again to these quartz crystals, they are often cut so as to
form a dome of quartz and are even used as distinct jewels. The fact
that Pliny could praise the Indian imitations of the _opalus_ in glass,
and could state that this stone was more successfully imitated than any
other, is an almost decisive argument against identifying the _opalus_
with an opal, for it is well known that no stone is more difficult to

About the middle of the eighteenth century, a peasant found a brilliant
precious stone in some old ruins at Alexandria, Egypt. This stone was
set in a ring. It was as large as a hazel-nut and is said to have been
an opal cut _en cabochon_. According to the report, it was eventually
taken to Constantinople, where it was estimated to be worth “several
thousand ducats.”[214] The description given of this gem, its apparent
antiquity, and the high value set upon it have contributed to induce
many to conjecture that it was the celebrated “opal of Nonius.” Of
course this was nothing but a romantic fancy. It is also quite certain
that an opal would scarcely hold its play of color or compactness for
twenty centuries, for most opals lose their water—slowly perhaps, but
surely—within a lesser space of time. Even the finest Hungarian opals
show some loss of life and color within a century or even less, and
some transparent Mexican opals lose their color and are filled with
flaws within a few years’ time.

The Edda tells of a sacred stone called the yarkastein, which the
clever smith Volöndr (the Scandinavian Vulcan) formed from the eyes
of children. Grimm conjectures that this name designates a round,
milk-white opal. Certainly the opal was often called _ophthalmios_, or
eyestone, in the Middle Ages, and it was a common idea that the image
of a boy or girl could be seen in the pupil of the eye.


From the “Hortus Sanitatis” of Johannis de Cuba [Strassburg, Jean
Pryss, ca. 1483]; De lapidibus, cap. xcii. Author’s library.]

Albertus Magnus describes under the name _orphanus_ a stone which
was set in the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire. This gem is
believed to have been a splendid opal, and Albertus describes it as

 The orphanus is a stone which is in the crown of the Roman Emperor,
 and none like it has ever been seen; for this very reason it is called
 orphanus. It is of a subtle vinous tinge, and its hue is as though
 pure white snow flashed and sparkled with the color of bright, ruddy
 wine, and was overcome by this radiance. It is a translucent stone,
 and there is a tradition that formerly it shone in the night-time; but
 now, in our age, it does not sparkle in the dark. It is said to guard
 the regal honor.[215]

Evidently this imperial gem was regarded as _sui generis_, for Albertus
has just described the _ophthalmus lapis_, a name frequently bestowed
upon the opal in medieval times, reciting the virtues usually ascribed
to the opal for the cure of diseases of the eye, and the magic power of
the stone to render its wearer invisible, wherefore it was denominated
_patronus furum_, or “patron of thieves.”

In the Middle Ages the opal mines of Cernowitz, in Hungary, were
very actively exploited, and at the opening of the fifteenth century
more than three hundred men are said to have been employed here in
the search for opals. At that time, and for many centuries after, no
breath of suspicion ever tarnished the fame of the opal as not only a
thing of rare beauty, but also a talisman of the first rank. We are
told that blond maidens valued nothing more highly than necklaces of
opals, for while they wore these ornaments their hair was sure to guard
its beautiful color. The latter superstitions probably arose from the
frangibility of the stone and its occasional loss of fire.

From the earliest times the baleful influence of the Evil Eye has
struck terror into the souls of the ignorant and superstitious. It
is believed by some that the name “opal”—written “ophal” in the
time of Queen Elizabeth—was derived from _ophthalmos_, the eye, or
_ophthalmius_, pertaining to the eye, and that hence the foolish
superstition regarding the ill luck of the opal had some connection
with the belief in the Evil Eye. However, this is altogether incorrect,
since the stone called _ophthalmius_ by early writers, and which seems
to have been the opalus of the ancients and our opal, was believed to
have a wonderfully beneficial effect upon the sight, and if it was
thought to render the wearer invisible, this was only an added virtue
of the stone.


  1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Eye agates, Aleppo stones, Arabia.
  6 and 7. Antique eye agates, with double zone.
  8 and 9. Aleppo stones set in rings.
  10 and 11. Double eye agates, Aleppo stones, Arabia.
  12. Natural pebble, showing eye from Isle Royal, Lake Superior.
  13 and 14. Natural agates with eye-like effect, East Indian. Had been
              used as votive charms.
  15. Eye agate, Brazil.
  16. Agate called Oriental agate, eye effect, from Brazil.
  17. Ancient eye of idol, agate variety sardonyx. Had been pierced
       lengthwise and worn as a charm on the arm. East Indian.

The eye-agates were sometimes used to form the eyes of idols. At a
later period some of these “agate-eyes” were removed from the statues
and cut with a glyptic subject on the lower side. Some of the most
interesting antique gems are of this kind. In Aleppo (and elsewhere in
the East) there is a certain type of sore known as the “Aleppo button”
or “Aleppo boil.” The boil frequently does not appear for a long
period after infection has taken place. It often appears as a swelling
surrounded by a white ring, and there is a belief among the natives
that there are “Aleppo stones,” these being the so-called “eye-agates”
frequently produced by cutting a three-layer, naturally pale yellow
or pale gray agate, with intervening white zones in such a way that
it looks like an eye or a double-eye, and such stones are used in
alleviation of the Aleppo sore. What beneficial influence they may have
is due to the fact that the agate is cold and furnishes a little relief
for the time.

This “Aleppo boil” or “Oriental sore” so prevalent in many parts of
western Asia, is produced, according to the best authorities, by a
pathogenic organism _Leishmania tropica_ (Wright) 1903. As to the means
by which this organism is introduced into the human subject nothing
very definite is known, but mosquitoes or _Phlebotomus_ have been
suggested as possible transmitting agencies.[216]

The eye of some invisible monster, the eye of the dragon, the eye of
the serpent, were all regarded as possessed of malign power. It is well
known that in the East Indies a peacock’s feather is thought to bring
ill-luck, the eye in the feather being the baleful point. Even in our
own time, and among those for whom this primitive superstition has no
terrors, the humorous use of the idea—as shown, for instance, in the
“Dick Dead-Eye” of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pinafore”—proves that the
Evil Eye is familiar to our thoughts. For this reason, stones such as
those which have been named the cat’s-eye, the tiger’s-eye, or the
oculus Beli, always possess a certain strange interest.

One of the earliest descriptions of the opal in English is that written
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth by Dr. Stephen Batman (d. 1584). While
the passage is essentially a translation from the “De proprietatibus
rerum,” of Bartolomæus Anglicus, the English version is interesting
in itself as showing what was accepted by English readers of the time
regarding the virtues of the opal. There is, of course, no trace of
the foolish modern superstition touching the ominous quality of this
beautiful gem. Batman writes:[217]

 Optallio is called Oppalus also, and is a stone distinguished with
 colors of divers precious stones, as _Isid._ saith.... This stone
 breedeth onely in _Inde_ and is deemed to have as many virtues, as
 hiewes and colours. Of this _Optallius_ it is said in Lapidario, that
 this _Optallius_ keepeth and saveth his eyen that beareth it, cleere
 and sharp and without griefe, and dimmeth other men’s eyen that be
 about, with a maner clowde, and smiteth them with a maner blindnesse,
 that is called _Amentia_, so that they may not see neither take heede
 what is done before their eyen. Therefore it is said that it is the
 most sure patron of theeves.

The opal seems to have appealed to Shakespeare as a fit emblem of
inconstancy, for in “Twelfth Night” he makes the clown say to the

 Now the melancholy God protect thee, and the Tailor make thy garment
 of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is very opal.

That the beauty of the opal was fully appreciated in the sixteenth
century is shown by the words of Cardano, who states that he once
bought one of these stones for fifteen gold crowns and found as much
pleasure in its possession as he did in that of a diamond that had
cost him five hundred crowns.[219] Although superstitious beliefs
were rather the rule than the exception in Cardano’s time, none of
the silly fancies regarding the ominous quality of the opal were then
current. It was reserved for the nineteenth century to develop these
altogether unreasonable—and indeed almost inexplicable—superstitions.
The ownership of so fair an object as a fine opal must certainly be a
source of pleasure, and hence add to the good fortune of the owner.

Although opal has been considered by some a stone of misfortune, black
opal is regarded as an exceptionally lucky stone. Formerly black opals
were artificially made by dipping the light-colored stone into ink, or
by allowing burnt oil to enter cracks in the stone produced by heating.
About the year 1900, however, a number of deposits of natural black
opals were found in the White Cliff region of New South Wales, whence
exceedingly beautiful gems have been secured, with wonderful flames
of green, red, and blue in a black field. Some of these have sold for
$1000 and even for a higher price, the smaller ones bringing from a few
dollars upward each. It has been claimed that $2,000,000 worth have
been sold from New South Wales. A remarkable example is figured on the
frontispiece of this volume. The late F. Marion Crawford was a great
admirer of this strangely beautiful variety of opal.

That ill-luck and good-luck are relative terms is shown us published
of an opal by Paris newspapers. A shopgirl, plainly clad, in crossing
the Place de l’Opéra, when the street traffic was at its greatest,
stopped at one of the “refuges” halfway across the street. To the
girl’s great surprise, an elegantly attired lady standing there slipped
an opal ring from her finger and gave it to the girl, who took it
to a jeweller’s shop to sell it. Here she was arrested on suspicion
of having stolen it. The magistrate before whom she appeared was
inclined to believe her story and ordered a “personal” in a widely read
journal asking the lady to clear the girl of the charge. A titled lady
presented herself, substantiating the girl’s statement. She feared
ill-luck would befall her if she wore or kept the ring, which was
returned to the shopgirl.

A possible explanation of the superstitious dread the opal used to
excite some time ago may be found in the fact that lapidaries and
gem-setters to whom opals were entrusted were sometimes so unfortunate
as to fracture them in the process of cutting or setting. This was
frequently due to no fault on the part of the cutters or setters, but
was owing to the natural brittleness of the opal. As such workmen are
responsible to the owners for any injury to the gems, they would soon
acquire a prejudice against opals, and would come to regard them as
unlucky stones. Very widespread superstitions have no better foundation
than this, for the original cause, sometimes a quite rational one, is
soon lost sight of and popular fantasy suggests something entirely
different and better calculated to appeal to the imagination.

The belief that the diamond fractured the teeth if it were put in
the mouth, and ruptured the intestines if it were swallowed, already
appears in pseudo-Aristotle,[220] and can therefore be dated back to
the ninth and perhaps to the seventh century. This fancy evidently owes
its origin to the fact that the diamond, because of its hardness, was
used to cut all other stones, and the idea of its destructive quality
was strengthened by the old legends regarding the venomous serpents
which guarded the place where it was found. Hence the firm conviction
that it would bring death to any one who swallowed it.

According to Garcias ab Orta (1563), the diamond was not used for
medicinal purposes in the India of his time, except when injected
into the bladder to break up vesical calculi. He notes, however, the
prevalent belief that diamonds, or diamond dust, when taken internally,
worked as a poison. As a proof of the falsity of this belief, Garcias
adduces the fact that the slaves who worked in the diamond mines
often swallowed diamonds to conceal them, and never experienced any
ill effects, the stones being recovered in a natural way. The same
author notes the case of a man who suffered from chronic dysentery and
whose wife had for a long time administered to him doses of diamond
dust. If this did not help him, neither did it injure him; finally, by
the advice of the doctors, this strange treatment was abandoned. The
man eventually died of his disease, but many days after the doses of
diamond dust had been discontinued.[221]

The Hindus believed that a flawed diamond, or one containing specks or
spots, was so unlucky that it could even deprive Indra of his highest
heaven. The original shape of the stone was also considered of great
importance, more especially in early times, when but few, if any,
diamonds, were cut. A triangular stone was said to cause quarrels, a
square diamond inspired the wearer with vague terrors; a five-cornered
stone had the worst effect of all, for it brought death; only the
six-cornered diamond was productive of good.[222]

The Turkish sultan Bejazet II (1447-1512) is said to have been done
to death by a dose of pulverized diamond administered to him by his
son Selim, who mixed the diamond dust with the sultan’s food.[223] It
is also related that the disciples of Paracelsus (1493-1541) spread
the report that he died from the effects of a dose of diamond dust.
Ambrosius[224] conjectures that this was only an excuse to explain the
demise of the master in the prime of life—he was but forty-eight years
old at the time of his death—although he had promised long life to all
who made use of his medicaments.

While Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), the unrivalled goldsmith, was
imprisoned in Rome, in 1538, he strongly suspected that his enemies
were seeking to poison him by tampering with his food. Cellini shared
the belief of his contemporaries that there was no more deadly poison
than diamond dust. One day, while eating his noonday meal, he felt
something grate between his teeth. He paid no particular attention
to this, but when he had finished eating his eye was caught by some
bright particles on the plate. Picking up one of these and examining it
carefully, he was terrified to find what he supposed to be a diamond
splinter, and he straightway gave himself up for lost, thinking that he
had swallowed a quantity of diamond dust. He prayed to God for an hour
and finally became reconciled to the thought of dying, but suddenly it
occurred to him that he had not tested the hardness of the fragment he
had found in his food. He immediately took the splinter and tried to
crush it between his knife and the stone window-sill; to his joy the
attempt succeeded, and he became convinced that what he had swallowed
was not diamond dust. Later, after his release, Cellini learned that
an enemy had given a diamond to a certain Lione Aretino, a gem-cutter,
instructing him to grind it up so that the dust could be placed in
Cellini’s food. The gem-cutter was very poor and the diamond was worth
a hundred scudi, so the man yielded to temptation and substituted
a citrine for the diamond. To this circumstance alone did Cellini
attribute his escape from death.[225]

In England, more than seventy years after Cellini’s experience, diamond
dust was selected as a poison to do away with a luckless prisoner. Sir
Thomas Overbury had incurred the bitter animosity of the Countess of
Essex, because he opposed her marriage with the favorite of James I,
Robert Carr, Viscount Somerset, whom he had befriended and whose career
he had furthered. The marriage took place, however, and, in 1613,
Overbury was imprisoned in the Tower, through the machinations of the
countess. She then sought the aid of one James Franklin, an apothecary,
directing him to concoct a slow and deadly poison, which should be
mixed with Overbury’s food. In the minutes of Franklin’s confession, he
is said to have stated that the countess asked him what he thought of
white arsenic. His reply was that this poison would prove too violent.
“What say you (quoth she) to powder of diamonds?” He answered, “I
know not the nature of that.” She said that he was a fool, and gave
him pieces of gold, and bade him buy some of that powder for her. It
appears, however, from the testimony, that a number of ingredients were
employed, quite probably small doses of mercury, cantharides, etc., as
well as the baleful diamond dust. Poor Overbury lingered on for more
than three months, but was finally put out of his misery by a clyster
of corrosive sublimate.[226]

As a proof of the deadly effects caused by the diamond, the Portuguese
Zacutus relates the case of a merchant’s servant who surreptitiously
swallowed three rough diamonds belonging to his master. On the
following day this man was seized with violent abdominal pains, all the
remedies administered to him were without effect, and he soon died from
the extensive internal ulceration produced by the sharp edges of the

This old fancy that diamonds or diamond dust had deadly effects
when swallowed is pretty well exploded by this time, little or no
confirmation being afforded by the instances cited in the matter.
However, quite recently it has been shown that swallowing a diamond
can prove fatal to a fowl. While a prize-winning cockerel was being
fondled by his proud owner, it spied a flashing diamond set in a ring
on his hand, and immediately pecked out the stone and swallowed it. Not
long after, the fowl died—not, however, because it was poisoned by the
diamond, but because it was chloroformed to insure the speedy recovery
of the stone.

An old English ballad, treating of the loves of Hind Horn and Maid
Rimnild, recounts that when Hind Horn, who loved and was beloved by
the king’s daughter, went to sea to escape the wrath of the king, the
princess gave him a ring set with seven diamonds. We are told that when
far from home:

    One day he looked his ring upon
    He saw the diamond pale and wan.

Hereupon, he hastened back, for the paleness of the stone was a sign
the loved one was unfaithful to him. On his return, he succeeded in
preventing her marriage to another, and everything ended happily.[228]

In a fourteenth century MS. of the Old English romance upon which the
ballad is founded, the stone in the ring is not named; in giving it
Rimnild says:[229]

    Loke thou forsake it for no thing;
    The ston it is well trewe.
    When the ston wexeth wan
    Than chaungeth the thought of thi leman,

    Take than a newe.
    When the ston wexeth rede,
    Than have Y lorn mi maidenhed,
    Oghaines[230] the untrewe.

In this older form of the tale, the stone either grows pale or red as a
sign of misfortune. It is interesting to note that Epiphanius, writing
a thousand years earlier, states that the _adamas_ of the high-priest
grew red as a presage of bloodshed and defeat for the Jews.

Regarding the old fancy that a serpent could not look upon an emerald
without losing its sight, the Arabian gem dealer, Ahmed Teifashi, in
1242 writes as follows:[231]

 After having read in learned books of this peculiarity of the emerald,
 I tested it by my own experiment and found the statements exact. It
 chanced that I had in my possession a fine emerald of the zabâbi
 variety, and with this I decided to make the experiment on the eyes
 of a viper. Therefore, having made a bargain with a snake-charmer to
 procure me some vipers, as soon as I received them I selected one
 and placed it in a vessel. This being done, I took a stick of wood,
 attached to the end a piece of wax, and embedded my emerald in this.
 I then brought the emerald near to the viper’s eyes. The reptile was
 strong and vigorous, and even raised its head out of the vessel, but
 as soon as I approached the emerald to its eyes, I heard a slight
 crepitation and saw that the eyes were protruding and dissolving into
 a humor. After this the viper was dazed and confused; I had expected
 that it would spring from the vessel, but it moved uneasily hither and
 thither, without knowing which way to turn; all its agility was lost,
 and its restless movements soon ceased.

Wolfgang Gabelchover, in his commentary on the sixth book of the
treatise “De Gemmis,” by Andrea Baccio, gives the following account of
a strange and tragic experience in regard to a ruby:[232]

 It is worthy of note that the true Oriental ruby, by frequent changes
 of color and by growing obscurity, announces to the wearer some
 impending misfortune or calamity; and the obscurity and opacity is
 greater or less according to the extent of the coming ill-fortune.
 Alas! that what I had often heard proclaimed by learned men, I should
 myself experience; for as, on the fifth of December, 1600, I was
 travelling from Stuttgart to Calw with my beloved wife Catherine
 Adelmann of pious memory, I plainly observed in the course of the
 journey that a very beautiful ruby which she had given me, and which I
 wore on my hand, set in a gold ring, once and again lost its splendid
 coloring and became obscure, changing its brightness for a dark hue.
 This dark hue continued not for one or two days only, but so long
 that I was greatly terrified, and, removing the ring from my finger,
 concealed it in a case. Wherefore, I repeatedly warned my wife that
 some great calamity was impending either for her or for myself, the
 which I inferred from the change and variation of the ruby. Nor was
 I deceived, for within a few days she was seized with a dangerous
 illness, which resulted in her death.

A story explaining one at least of these supposedly ominous changes of
color in precious stones, is given by Johann Jacob Spener, who states
that it was told him by a trustworthy informant:[233]

 There was a jeweller, expert, prudent, and rich, three essential
 qualities in a jeweller. One day, after having washed his hands, this
 man sat at a table, when, glancing at a ruby ring he wore on his
 finger, he remarked that the stone, which usually delighted the eye
 with its splendor, had lost its brilliancy and become dull. Since he
 believed what others had related to him, he was firmly persuaded that
 some misfortune threatened him, and, having removed the ring from
 his finger, he placed it in its case. A fortnight later, one of this
 man’s sons died of varioloid. Reminded by this event of the phenomenon
 observed in the ruby, the jeweller took it from the case and found,
 on examination, that it had regained its pristine brilliancy. This
 fact confirmed him in his belief in the ominous quality of the stone.
 Once more, shortly after washing his hands, he remarked anew that
 the splendor of the ruby was dimmed, and he again fell a prey to
 anxiety, lest some fresh misfortune was impending. Since, however,
 his apprehensions proved vain and no untoward event happened, he
 investigated the matter carefully, and discovered that the obscuration
 of the color was due to a drop of water which had penetrated between
 the ruby and the foil, as the jewellers call it, and that the former
 brilliancy returned when the water had evaporated.

The ominous character of the onyx is especially noted in Arabic
tradition, as is shown by the Arabic name for the stone, _el jaza_,
“sadness.” The following passage from pseudo-Aristotle offers an
illustration of the strength of this prejudice against the onyx, which
was said to come from China and the Magreb:[234]

 Those who are in the land of China fear this stone so much that they
 dread to go into the mines where it occurs; hence none but slaves and
 menials, who have no other means of gaining a livelihood, take the
 stone from the mines. When it has been extracted, it is carried out of
 the country and sold in other lands. Those men of the Magreb also who
 are gifted with any wisdom will not wear an onyx or place it in their
 treasuries. Indeed, no one is willing to wear it, unless he be bereft
 of his senses; for whosoever wears it, either set in a ring or in any
 other way, will have fearful dreams and be tormented by a multitude
 of doubts and apprehensions; he will also have many disputes and
 lawsuits. Lastly, whoever keeps an onyx in his house, or places it in
 a vessel, or puts it in food or drink, will suffer loss of energy and

An ominous character was attributed to the red coral, especially the
more highly colored varieties. If worn so that the substance came in
direct contact with the skin, it was asserted that the color would
pale, the coral also losing its brightness if the wearer became ill, or
even if he were only threatened with severe illness. The same effect
was said to be induced if some deadly poison had been taken. Cardano
writes that he more than once observed this phenomenon, and he thinks
that in these cases, where the wearer was not yet attacked by disease,
its threatening “vapor,” though not strong enough to provoke decided
symptoms in the human body, was sufficiently powerful to offset the
more delicate and subtle essence of the mineral substance. Of course,
for us the mineral would be much less sensitive than flesh and blood,
but the sixteenth century writers, and to a still greater degree those
of an earlier time, attributed to stones not only life in a general
way, but old age, disease, and death, in a very positive sense.[235]

Rabbinical tradition tells of a wonderful luminous stone placed by Noah
in the Ark. This stone shone more brilliantly by day than by night, and
served to distinguish the day from the night when, during the flood,
neither sun nor moon could be seen.[236] According to another Jewish
legend, Abraham is said to have built a city for the six sons Hagar
bore to him. The wall with which this city was surrounded was so lofty
that the light of the sun was cut off, and to offset this Abraham gave
to his sons enormous precious stones and pearls. These exceeded the sun
in brightness, and will be used in the time of the Messiah.[237]

Ælian relates the following tale of a luminous stone. A woman of
Tarentum, named Heracleis, who was a pattern of the domestic virtues,
lost her husband and mourned sincerely for him. Her grief made her
compassionate, for when a young stork just learning to fly lost its
strength and fell to the ground before her, Heracleis picked up the
helpless bird and tended it carefully until its strength returned and
it was able to fly away. A year later, when the woman was outside the
house enjoying the bright warm sunshine, she saw a stork flying toward
her. As the bird passed over her head, it let fall a precious stone
into her lap. Heracleis took the stone with her into the house,
feeling by an infallible instinct that the stork which had dropped it
was the one she had cared for in the previous year. During the night
she woke up, and was astonished to see that the room was lighted up as
though by many torches, the radiance proceeding from the stone bestowed
by the stork as a proof of its gratitude.[238]

In German, the stone called _Donnerkeil_ (thunderbolt) has several
synonyms; among these is _Storchstein_ (“stork-stone”). It is evident
that the stone of Heracleis was identical with the precious and
brilliant variety of _cerauniæ_ mentioned by Pliny, “which drew to
themselves the radiance of the stars.” The flashing and ruddy light
of the ruby suggested an igneous origin, and induced the belief that
rubies were generated by a fire from heaven,—in other words, by the
lightning flash.[239]

The analogy between the flame of a lamp or the glow of a burning coal
and the radiance of a ruby, suggested some of the names given to this
stone, or those resembling it in color, as, for instance, the Greek
_anthrax_ and the Latin _carbunculus_ and _lychnis_. Probably the
fancy that such stones were luminous in the dark was nothing more than
the logical result of the quasi-identification of them with fire in
some of its manifestations. Still, it is a well-known fact that some
stones possess a high degree of phosphorescence. This circumstance
must have been observed by chance, and may have had something to do
with the legends of luminous stones, although this peculiarity is not
characteristic of the ruby.

According to Pliny, the lychnis, perhaps a spinel, was so called _a
lucernarum accensu_ (from the lighting, or the light, of lamps). The
author of the poem “Lithica” says that the diamond (_adamas_), like
the crystal, when placed on an altar, sent forth a flame without the
aid of fire.[240] If this did not refer to the use of rock-crystal as
a burning-glass, we might see in the passage an indication that the
phosphorescence of the diamond had already been noted before the second
or third century of our era.

From the Lydian river Tmolus a marvellous stone was taken which was
said to change color four times a day. This surpasses the properties of
the “saphire merveilleux” which changed its hue at night. Only innocent
young girls could find the Lydian stone, and while they wore it they
were defended from outrage.[241] Is it possible that the ancient writer
intended to hint at the proverbial fickleness of woman, when stating
that this changeable stone could only be discovered by one of the fair

The temple of the Syrian goddess Astarte contained an image of this
divinity crowned with a diadem in which was set a luminous stone.
Such was the splendor of the light emitted by this gem that the whole
sanctuary was lighted up as though with a myriad of lamps. Indeed, the
stone itself bore the name _lychnos_ (“lamp”). In the daytime this
light was fainter, but was still very noticeable, as a fiery glow.[242]

Two fabulous stones are noted by pseudo-Aristotle, and one of these,
the “sleeping-stone,” must have possessed marvellous soporific power.
It was a luminous stone of a bright ruddy hue, and shone in the
darkness with a bright light. If a small quantity of this stone were
hung about a person’s neck, he would sleep uninterruptedly for three
days and nights, and, when awakened on the fourth day, he would still
be almost overcome by sleep. The other stone, of a greenish hue, had
the opposite quality and induced prolonged wakefulness; so long as it
was worn, sleep was banished. Our author gravely states that “some
men who must watch at night suffer greatly from lack of sleep.” If,
however, they wore the “waking-stone,” they suffered no inconvenience
from their enforced vigils.[243] Evidently this stone would be a
precious possession for night-watchmen, and a more satisfactory
guarantee for their employers than “timeclocks” or other tests of

In his commentary on Marbodus, Alardus of Amsterdam relates the history
of a wonderful luminous stone, a “chrysolampis,” which, with many other
precious stones, was set in a marvellous golden tablet dedicated to
St. Adelbert, apostle of the Frisians and patron of the town of Egmund
(d. 720-730), by Hildegard, wife of Theodoric, Count of Holland. The
gift was made to the Abbey of Egmund, where the saint’s body reposed.
Alardus tells us that the “chrysolampis” shone so brightly that when
the monks were called to the chapel in the night-time, they could read
the Hours without any other light. This wonderful stone was stolen by
one of the monks, whom Alardus terms “the most rapacious creature who
ever went on two legs”; but, fearing to keep so valuable a gem with
him, he cast it into the sea and it was never recovered.[244]

Strange tales were told of a luminous “carbuncle” on the shrine of St.
Elizabeth (d. 1231) at Marburg. This stone was set above the statuette
of the Virgin, and it was said to emit fiery rays at night. However,
Creuzer informs us that it was only a very brilliant rock crystal of a
yellowish-white hue. The shrine was an elaborate work of art in silver
gilt, and was literally covered with precious stones to the number of
824, besides two large pearls and a great many smaller ones. All these
gems were stripped from their settings when the shrine was taken from
Marburg to Cassel in 1810.[245]

At the Dusseldorf Exhibition of 1891, the writer saw what was called
“The Ring of St. Elizabeth,” purporting to be set with her miraculously
luminous ruby. The stone in the setting proved, however, to be a large
almost flat carbuncle garnet of no great brilliancy, set in a narrow
rim of gold.

After noting the reports of medieval travellers regarding the wonderful
luminous rubies of the sovereigns of Pegu and repeating the tale that
the night was illumined by their splendor, Cleandro Arnobio adds that
it did not appear that any such rubies were to be found in his day.
Nevertheless, he had heard from an ecclesiastic of a certain jewel that
shone brightly at night. This stone, however, was not a ruby, but was
of a pale citron hue, and hence Arnobio inclines to believe that it was
either a topaz or a yellow diamond.[246] This probably refers to the
Marburg “carbuncle.”

The luminous “ruby” of the King of Ceylon is noted by Chau Ju-Kua,[247]
a Chinese writer of about the middle of the thirteenth century and
hence a contemporary of the Arab Teifashi. He says: “The king holds
in his hand a jewel five inches in diameter, which cannot be burned
by fire, and which shines in the night like a torch.” This gigantic
luminous gem was also believed to possess the virtues of an elixir of
youth, for we are told that the king rubbed his face with it daily and
by this means would retain his youthful looks even should he live more
than ninety years.

The glories of Emperor Manuel’s (ca. 1120-1180) throne are celebrated
by the Hebrew traveller Benjamin of Tudela, who visited Constantinople
in 1161 A.D. This splendid throne was of gold studded with precious
stones and, suspended from the canopy by gold chains, hung a
magnificent golden crown set with jewels of incalculable value and so
bright and sparkling that their glitter rendered needless any other
illumination at night.[248]

When Henry II of France (1519-1559) made his solemn entry into the
city of Boulogne, a stranger from India presented to the sovereign a
luminous stone. It was rather soft, had a fiery brilliance, and could
not be touched with impunity. According to De Thou, this story was
vouched for by J. Pipin, who saw the stone himself and described it in
a letter to Antoine Mizauld, a writer on occult themes, well known in
his day.[249]

Although Garcias ab Orta did not believe in the tales current in his
time regarding luminous rubies, he relates a story of such a stone told
to him by a gem-dealer. This man stated that he had purchased a number
of fine but small rubies from Ceylon, and had spread them out over
a table. When he gathered them up again, one of the stones remained
hidden in a fold of the table-cloth. In the night he remarked something
like a flame emanating from the table. Lighting a candle, he approached
the table and found there the small ruby; when this was removed and
the candle extinguished, the light was no longer visible. Garcias
admits that the gem-dealers were fond of telling good stories, but he
concludes with the dictum, “we must trust in them nevertheless.”[250]

Not only the ruby, but the emerald also had the reputation of being
a luminous stone, for, besides the shining “emerald” pillar in the
temple of Melkart at Tyre, Pliny records the tale of a marble lion,
with eyes of gleaming emeralds, which was set over the tomb of “a
petty king called Hermias.” This tomb was on the coast, and the
flashing light from the emerald eyes frightened away the tunny-fish,
to the great loss of the fishermen.[251] Whether the eyes of the
magnificent chryselephantine statue of Athene by Phidias were supposed
to be luminous we do not know, but they were incrusted with precious

The collection of works by the English alchemists, published by Elias
Ashmole, contains the tale of a worthy parson who lived in a little
town near London, and who wished to immortalize himself by building
across the Thames a bridge which would always be lighted at night.
After relating several expedients which suggested themselves to him,
the poet continues:

    At the laste he thought to make the light,
    For the Bridge to shine by nighte,
    With _Carbuncle Stones_, to make men wonder,
    With double reflexion above and under:
    Then new thought troubled his Minde
    _Carbuncle Stones_ how he might finde;

    And where to find wise men and trewe,
    Which would for his interest pursue,
    In seeking all the Worlde about,
    Plenty of Carbuncles to find out;
    For this he took so mickle thought,
    That his fatt flesh wasted nigh to naught.[253]

It is scarcely necessary to add that the poor parson never realized his
dream, but the story shows how popular was the belief that carbuncles
or rubies shone with their own light.

A luminous or phosphorescent stone, which has been named the Bologna
stone, is the subject of a treatise published by the physician Mentzel
in 1675.[254] The writer describes various experiments made to test
the peculiar qualities of this mineral, which is partly a radiated or
crystalline sulphate of barytes, and phosphoresces when calcined. It
was sometimes called the “lunar stone” (_lapis lunaris_), because,
like the moon, it gave out in the darkness the light it received from
the sun. Mentzel also relates that the stone was first discovered, in
1604, by Vincenzio Casscioroli, an adept in alchemy, who believed that
it would be a great aid in the transmutation of the baser metals into
gold, on account of its solar quality. The place of its occurrence was
Monte Paterno, near Bologna, where it appeared in the fissures of the
mountain, after torrential rains.


Printed in Cologne in 1680.]

The various phenomena of fluorescence and phosphorescence undoubtedly
explain some at least of the legends regarding luminous stones,
superstition or fantasy having here as in most other cases a certain
substratum of fact. This class of physical phenomena has been made
the subject of special investigation by the author, as many as
13,000 specimens of various minerals having been subjected to the
most searching tests in order to determine their qualities in this
respect.[255] His interest in this field of research was greatly
stimulated by a fortuitous happening. In 1891 his wife, while hanging
up a gown in a closet one evening, saw that the diamond in a ring she
was wearing gave off a faint streak of light which was very noticeable
in the dark, and this fact led to a long series of experiments on
the fluorescence, phosphorescence, and triboluminescence of the
diamond.[256] More than two centuries before, Robert Boyle made a
similar set of experiments at night with a diamond which must have been
an Indian stone, and which he describes as table cut, about one-third
of an inch long and somewhat less in width; he remarks that it was a
dull stone of very bad water, having a blemish with a whitish cloud
covering nearly a third of the stone.[257]

The “Journal des Sçavans” for 1739 gives certain tests of the luminous
quality of diamonds made by Mons. Du Fay. In order successfully to
observe this phenomenon, he prescribes that the experimenter shall
remain in a darkened room for fifteen minutes, taking the additional
precaution of closing one or both of his eyes. The diamond to be
tested should be exposed to the sun’s rays, or to strong daylight, for
less than a minute, and when taken into darkness the luminosity, if
observable, lasts twelve or thirteen minutes at longest. Not all
diamonds show this quality, and nothing in their form or appearance
serves to determine their possession of it. However, Mons. du Fay
observed that the yellow diamonds, of which he tried a considerable
number, were luminous. A single emerald, out of twenty that were
tested, proved to be luminous.[258]

[Illustration: 1. Self-print of upper diamond of No. 4 by
phosphorescence, produced by rubbing briskly with stick covered by
woolen cloth. Exposure one-half minute.

2. Self-print, both diamonds, after one minute’s exposure to
ultra-violet light, electric action eliminated.

3. Self-print, upper diamond. Exposure one-fourth minute.

4. Upper: blue-white Tiffanyite diamond, 14.86 carats; Bagagem Mine,
Brazil. Lower: purple-black diamond, 13.35 carats; Brazil.

5. Self-print, both diamonds; different position.

6. Aspect of both diamonds (No. 4), one minute’s exposure, ultra-violet
light; blue-white phosphorescing white, purple-black having red glow.]

Boyle’s experiments led to the discovery that some diamonds, when
rubbed against wood or other hard substances, and even against cloth or
silk, will emit a ray of light which seems to follow them; this is what
is called triboluminescence.

The power of absorbing sunlight or artificial light and then giving
it off in the dark is only possessed by certain diamonds. These are
Brazilian stones, slightly milky in tint, or blue-white as they are
often termed, and it is an included substance and not the diamond
itself that possesses the power of storing up light and then giving it
out. Willemite, kunzite, sphalerite (sulphide of zinc) and some other
minerals possess the same power. Their peculiar property may be due to
the presence of a slight quantity of manganese or to that of some of
the uranium salts. That it is only the ultra-violet rays that are thus
absorbed by these diamonds is proved by the fact that the phenomenon
is not observable when a thin plate of glass is interposed between the
sunlight or artificial light and the diamond, as glass is not traversed
by these rays. The still undetermined substance to whose presence in
diamonds of this type the special class of phenomena must be due,
was named by the author tiffanyite, in honor of the late Charles L.
Tiffany (1812-1902), founder of the firm of Tiffany & Company.[259]

On the other hand all diamonds phosphoresce when exposed to the rays of
radium, polonium, or actinium, even when glass is interposed. Treating
of some of the aspects of phosphorescence in diamonds, Sir William
Crookes says:[260]

 In a vacuum, exposed to a high-tension current of electricity,
 diamonds phosphoresce of different colours, most South African
 diamonds shining with a bluish light. Diamonds from other localities
 emit bright blue, apricot, pale blue, red, yellowish-green, orange,
 and pale green light. The most phosphorescent diamonds are those
 which are fluorescent in the sun. One beautiful green diamond in my
 collection, when phosphorescing in a good vacuum, gives almost as much
 light as a candle, and you can easily read by its rays. But the time
 has hardly come when diamonds can be used as domestic illuminants!

 By permission of Mrs. Kunz, wife of the well-known New York
 mineralogist, I will show you perhaps the most remarkable of all
 phosphorescing diamonds. This prodigy diamond will phosphoresce in
 the dark for some minutes after being exposed to a small pocket
 electric light, and if rubbed on a piece of cloth a long streak of
 phosphorescence appears.

The luminescence produced by heat is wonderfully marked in the case
of chlorophane, a variety of fluorite. A Siberian specimen of a pale
violet color emitted a white light merely from the heat of the hand;
boiling water caused it to give out a green light, which was so greatly
intensified when the specimen rested on a live coal that the radiance
could be discerned from a considerable distance. Similar phenomena were
observable in the case of chlorophane from Amelia Court House, Va.,
and the writer found that specimens from this source also exhibited
strong triboluminescence, resulting either from contact with one
another, or with any hard substance.[261]

As the terms fluorescence and phosphorescence are sometimes rather
carelessly employed, it may be well to note here that while both terms
are used to denote the luminescence of a non-luminous body resulting
from the action of light rays, of the electric current, or of radiant
energy of any kind, as well as from heat, fluorescence signifies a
luminosity which only continues so long as the exciting cause is
present, while phosphorescence means a luminosity persisting for a
longer or shorter period after the exciting cause has ceased to operate
directly. The latter term therefore denotes a luminous energy stored up
in the formerly non-luminous body and emitted by it for a certain time,
at the expiration of which it again becomes non-luminous. Other special
designations of induced luminosity in minerals are triboluminescence,
the emission of light as a result of friction and thermoluminescence, a
term used to denote light-emission excited by moderate heating, even by
the warmth of the hand.

An old treatise in Greek, said in its title to come from “the sanctuary
of the temple,” and containing material, partly of Egyptian origin,
may help us to understand something of the processes employed by a
temple priest to impress the common people by the sight of luminous
gems. The writer of the treatise declares that for the production of
“the carbuncle that shines in the night” use was made of certain parts
(he says “the bile”) of marine animals whose entrails, scales and
bones exhibited the phenomenon of phosphorescence. If properly treated,
precious stones (preferably carbuncles) would glow so brightly at night
“that anyone owning such a stone could read or write by its light as
well as he could by daylight.”[262]

In the _Annales de Chimie et Physique_, the great French chemist,
M. Berthelot, discusses this matter and expresses the following

 “The texts leave no room for doubt as to the employment by the
 ancients of precious stones rendered phosphorescent in the dark by
 the superficial application of tinctures composed of materials whose
 phosphorescent quality is known to us. Although this luminescence, due
 to an application of organic oxidizable materials, could not well be
 durable, still it might be made to last several hours, perhaps several
 days, and it could always be renewed by repeating the application.”

The use of jewelled ornaments to heighten by their luminosity in
obscurity or in darkness the effect produced by a sacred image, and
to stimulate religious awe in the beholder, is testified to by the
ultra-Protestant traveller, Fynes Moryson, Gent., who went to Italy
in 1594. Of his visit to the Santa Casa in Loreto, he says that he
himself and two Dutchmen, his companions, were permitted to enter the
inner chapel of the sanctuary, “where,” he proceeds, “we did see the
Virgin’s picture, adorned with pretious Jewels, and the place (to
increase religious horror) being darke, yet the Jewels shined by the
light of wax candles.” Although there is no question here of naturally
luminous gems, this might have been the impression produced upon a
more sympathetic pilgrim.[264]

Writing of the traditions in regard to luminous stones, Sir Richard F.
Burton says, “There may be a basis of fact to this fancy, the abnormal
effect of precious stones upon mesmeric sensitives.”[265] However,
while some instances are recorded of psychic impression produced by
precious stones on the minds of persons possessing a highly sensitive
nervous system, it seems likely that some legends of luminous stones
had their origin in the refractive powers of cut gems, by means of
which a dim and distant light would be reflected from the surface of
the stones and would seem to spring from them. Quite possibly, in other
instances, there was a disposition to cater to the popular belief
by placing a light so that the hidden beams traversed the stone and
appeared to emanate from it.


On Crystal Balls and Crystal Gazing

We have evidence of the use of crystal balls as means of divination
in medieval times, and “scrying” in some of its many forms was by no
means rare in the Greek and Roman periods. The essential requisite for
the exercise of this species of divination is a polished surface of
some sort upon which the scryer shall gaze intently; for this purpose
mirrors, globules of lead or quicksilver, polished steel, the surface
of water, and even pools of ink, have been employed and have been found
to insure quite as satisfactory results as the crystal ball. The points
of light reflected from the polished surface (_points de repère_)
serve to attract the attention of the gazer and to fix the eye until,
gradually, the optic nerve becomes so fatigued that it finally ceases
to transmit to the sensorium the impression made from without and
begins to respond to the reflex action proceeding from the brain of the
gazer. In this way the impression received from within is apparently
projected and seems to come from without. It is easy to understand that
the results must vary according to the idiosyncrasy of the various
scryers; for everything depends upon the sensitiveness of the optic
nerve. In many cases the effect of prolonged gazing upon the brilliant
surface will simply produce a loss of sight, the optic nerve will be
temporarily paralyzed and will as little respond to stimulation from
within as from without; in other cases, however, the nerve will be only
deadened as regards external impressions, while retaining sufficient
activity to react against a stimulus from the brain centres. It is
almost invariably stated that, prior to the appearance of the desired
visions, the crystal seems to disappear and a mist rises before the
gazer’s eye.


The Achaians, as Pausanius relates, frequently used a mirror to divine
diseases or to learn whether there was danger of sudden death. Of the
Temple of Demeter, or Ceres, at Patras, he writes:[266]

 In front of the temple of Demeter there is a well. A stone wall
 separates this well from the temple, but steps lead down to it from
 the outside. Here there is an infallible oracle, although it does not
 answer all questions, but only those touching diseases. They attach a
 slender cord to a mirror and let it down into the well, balancing it
 carefully so that the water does not cover the face, but only touches
 the rim. Then, after making a prayer to the goddess and burning
 incense to her, they look into the mirror, and it shows whether the
 sick person will die or recover. Such is the power of truth in this

This sacred well with its oracle of the magic mirror must have been in
Lucian’s mind when, in his description of the palace of the Moon-King,
he says:[267]

 Another wonderful thing I saw in the palace. Suspended over a rather
 shallow well there is a large mirror, and anyone who goes down into
 this well will hear every word that is spoken on earth, while, if he
 gazes on the mirror, he will see there every city and every nation
 just as clearly as though he were looking down upon them from a slight
 elevation. At the time I was there, I saw my native country and its
 inhabitants. Whether I myself was seen by them in turn, I am not sure.

Lucian adds, with a fine touch of irony, “Anyone who doubts this
assertion needs only to go there himself and he will find out that
I speak the truth.” As no one has yet made a trip to the moon, the
assertion is still uncontradicted.

In their religious legends the ancient Mexicans taught that their
god Tezcatlipuco had a magic mirror in which he saw everything that
happened in the world.[268] He was sometimes named Necocyautl, “sower
of discord,” because he often stirred up war and strife among men,
but he was also lord of riches and prosperity, which he bestowed
and took away again at his will. To the influence of this divinity
were attributed many omens and certain strange visions, announced by
repeated knockings.[269]

In the Orphic poem “Lithica,” a magic sphere of stone is described.
The substance is called “sideritis” or “ophitis,” and is said to be
black, round, and heavy; possibly some metal, rather than a stone, is
designated by these names. Helenus, the Trojan soothsayer, is said to
have used this sphere to foretell the downfall of his native city.
He fasted for twenty-one days and then wrapped the sphere in soft
garments, like an infant, and offered sacrifices to it until, by the
magic of his prayers, “a living soul warmed the precious substance.”

A strange variety of divination by means of mirrors placed on the heads
of boys, who, with eyes blindfolded, were supposed to perceive forms
or signs of some description in the mirrors, is noted by Spartianus
in his life of the Emperor Didius Julianus (ca. 133-193). This ruler
is said to have resorted to this form of divination, and the boy
entrusted with the task is asserted to have announced the approaching
accession of Septimius Severus (146-211) and the dethronement of Didius

An indication that the usage of divination by means of a silver cup
existed among the primitive Hebrews has been found in the story of
Joseph and his brethren. In Genesis xliv, 1-5, we read that Joseph
concealed a silver cup in the sack of grain borne away by Benjamin,
making of this a pretext for requiring the return of his brethren.
He sent messengers to overtake them and directed them to demand the
return of the cup, using these words: “Is not this it in which my lord
drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth?”

The Arabic author, Haly Abou Gefar, tells of a golden ball used by
“the Magi, followers of Zoroaster,” in their incantations. It was
incrusted with celestial symbols and set with a sapphire, and one of
these magicians, after attaching it to a strip of bullhide, swung it
around, reciting at the same time various spells and incantations.[271]
Probably the magician, by fixing his gaze upon the brilliant revolving
sphere, gradually fell into a hypnotic trance, during which visions
appeared to him. These he could afterward interpret to those who had
sought his aid to read the future, or obtain information regarding
things that were happening far away.

An important side-light on the beliefs of Western Europe, in the fifth
century, regarding crystal-gazing, is afforded by one of the canons of
the synod held about 450 A.D. by St. Patrick and the bishops Auxilius
and Issernanus. Here it is decreed that any Christian who believes
there is a Lamia (or witch) in the mirror is to be anathematized,
and is not to be again received into the Church unless he shall have
renounced this belief and shall have diligently performed the penance
imposed upon him.[272] In this case, as in many others, the vision in
the crystal or mirror did not represent some former or contemporaneous
happening, but the figure of an evil spirit, who, either by signs or
words, imparted to the scryer the information he was seeking.

The power to see images of evil spirits on the surface of water was
claimed by those called _hydromantii_ in the ninth century. This is
attested in a work composed about 860 A.D. by Hincmar, Archbishop
of Rheims, who characterizes the supposed appearances as “images or
deceptions of the demons.” These diviners asserted that they received
audible communications from the spirits, and they therefore evidently
believed that the appearances were realities.[273]

Although, as we have seen, many different materials were used for
scrying, the preference was often given to polished spheres of beryl;
in modern times, however, the rock-crystal is considered the best
adapted for the purpose.

In his introduction to “Crystal Gazing,” by N. W. Thomas,[274] Andrew
Lang writes of what he terms hypnagogic illusions—images which appear
when the eyes are closed and before sleep supervenes. When faces
appeared to him in this way, they were always unfamiliar ones, with the
single exception of having once seen his own face in profile. The same
was almost invariably true of landscape and inanimate objects. These
forms seemed to grow out of the bright points of light which frequently
appear when the eyes are closed, and Lang suggests a similar origin for
the visions of the “scryers”—namely, the development of the images
from dark or light points in the glass.

In regard to this, we have an interesting passage in the works of Ibn
Kaldoun, a Persian writer, born in 1332, who gives the following very
acute analysis of the phenomena accompanying crystal-gazing.[275]

 Some believe that the image perceived in this way takes form on the
 surface of the mirror, but they are mistaken. The diviner looks at
 this surface fixedly until it disappears, and a curtain, like a mist,
 is interposed between him and the mirror. Upon this curtain are
 designed the forms he wishes to see, and this permits him to give
 indications, either affirmative or negative, concerning the matter on
 which he is questioned. He then describes his perceptions as he has
 received them. The diviners, while in this state, do not see what is
 really to be seen (in the mirror); it is another kind of perception,
 which is born in them and which is realized not by sight but by the

As to the character and quality of the crystal to be used, Abbot
Tritheim, the master of the famous Cornelius Agrippa, says:[276]

 Procure of a lapidary a good, clear, pellucid crystal of the bigness
 of a small orange,—_i.e._, about one inch and a half in diameter;
 let it be globular, or round each way alike; then you have got this
 crystal fair and clear, without any clouds or specks. Get a small
 plate of pure gold to encompass the crystal round one-half; let this
 be fitted on an ivory or ebony pedestal. Let there be engraved a
 circle round the crystal; afterwards the name: Tetragrammaton. On
 the other side of the plate let there be engraved, Michael, Gabriel,
 Uriel, Raphael, which are the four principal angels ruling over the
 Sun, Moon, Venus, and Mercury.

The four letters constituting the Tetragrammaton are the Hebrew
characters _yôdh_, _hê_, _wâw_ and _hê_, יהוה. As this divine name
was regarded in later Judaism as too sacred to be pronounced, the
word lord, _adonai_, was substituted for it in the reading of the
Scriptures. For this reason, when the vowel signs were added to the
text to indicate the traditional pronunciation, the consonants Yhwh
were provided with the vowels of _adonai_ and the name was therefore
read Jehovah by Christian scholars.

The Persian poet Jâmi writes thus of a magic mirror in the poem
“Salamân and Absal”:[277]

    Then from his secret Art the Sage Vizyr
    A Magic Mirror made; a Mirror like
    The bosom of All-wise Intelligence,
    Reflecting in its mystic compass all
    Within the sev’nfold volume of the World
    Involved; and looking in that Mirror’s face
    The Shah beheld the face of his Desire.

Roger Bacon (1214-1292) was probably the most gifted man of the
thirteenth century, and his writings testify to an extraordinarily
clear perception of the essential principles of scientific research.
However, his true greatness was not generally appreciated in his own
age, and popular fancy wove about his name a fabric of legend in which
he appeared as an arch-necromancer and magician. The curious old work
entitled “The Famous Historie of Fryar Bacon” gives a number of the
strange recitals which became current in England in regard to Bacon’s
wonderful powers.


Period of about tenth or twelfth century. Collection of Sir Charles
Hercules Read.]


Period of about tenth or twelfth century. Collection of Sir Charles
Hercules Read.]


Mounted in metal and kept in a box, as a votive or curative stone.
About fourteenth century. British Museum. (See page 149.)]

One of these treats of a marvellous “glass” made by the friar, in
which events happening at far-distant places were mirrored. On one
occasion two young men, between whom the friendliest feelings existed,
came to Bacon and requested him to let them see in the mirror what
their fathers were doing at the time. The friar consented, but the
experiment, while successful, was the cause of a terrible misfortune.
The story is as follows:

 The Fathers of these two Gentlemen (in their Sonnes absence) were
 become great foes: this hatred betweene them was growne to that
 height, that wheresoever they met, they had not onely wordes, but
 blowes. Just at that time, as it should seeme, that their Sonnes were
 looking to see how they were in health, they were met, and had drawne,
 and were together by the eares. Their Sonnes seeing this, and having
 been alwayes great friends, knew not what to say to one another, but
 beheld each other with angry lookes. At last one of their Fathers, as
 they might perceive in the Glasse, had a fall, and the other, taking
 advantage, stood over him ready to strike him. The Sonne of him that
 was downe could then containe himselfe no longer, but told the other
 young man, that his Father had received wrong. He answered againe,
 that it was faire. At last there grew such foule words betweene them,
 and their bloods were so heated, that they presently stabbed the one
 the other with their Daggers, and so fell downe dead.

The sceptre of the Scottish regalia is surmounted by a crystal globe,
two inches and a quarter in diameter, and the mace by a large crystal
beryl. In former times these stones were regarded as amulets and their
use was traced back to the Druids. Sir Walter Scott tells us that
in his time they were still known among the Scottish Highlanders as
“Stones of Power.”[278]

The testimony of John of Salisbury (1120?-1180) shows that in the
twelfth century, in England, divination by means of the arts of the
_specularii_ was often practised. The prelate writes that when a boy,
he himself and a companion a few years older received instruction from
a priest who was addicted to the use of these magic arts. This priest
used to polish the finger-nails of the boys with a consecrated oil or
ointment, and then direct them to look upon the polished surface until
some figure or form should appear. Sometimes the smooth, polished
surface of a basin was used. John of Salisbury regarded it as a mark of
divine favor that he himself saw nothing upon the smooth and lustrous
surface, but he states that his companion observed certain vague
and shadowy forms. Certain names pronounced by the priest on these
occasions terrified the boy, for he believed them to be the names of
evil spirits; indeed, such was his reluctance to participate in the
unholy rites that his presence was believed to interfere with the
production of the phenomena.[279]

In another part of his “Policraticus,” John of Salisbury states that
the specularii claimed that their gift of seeing visions on polished
surfaces was never used to injure any one, but was often useful in the
detection of theft and in counteracting magic spells.[280]

Under the comprehensive chapter heading: “How to conjure the crystal
so that all things may be seen in it,” Paracelsus (1493-1541) declares
that “to conjure” means nothing more than “to observe anything rightly,
to learn and to understand what it is.” The crystal was of the nature
of the air, and hence all things movable and immovable that could be
seen in the air could also be seen in the crystal or _speculum_.[281]

Paracelsus showed keen insight, and his conclusions are excellent. One
might add, however, that it is a fact that these are images condensed
in the double convex lens, forming as it were, an internal crystal
sphere. These images are reversed, distorted and twisted, and when they
become visible to one who is expecting strange things, they form mental
impressions which it is often very difficult to erase. Many crystal
gazers are frequently very highly wrought, nervous and susceptible, and
other influences uniting with the impressions produced, may give the
brain for a time the power to evolve kaleidoscopic effects.

Directions for the use of an Erdenspiegel, or “earth-mirror,” are given
in an old German manuscript written in 1658 by a Capuchin priest.[282]
The mirror is to be set about two inches above a board, and the
questions to be answered are to be placed beneath it. The scryer is
recommended to place three grains of salt upon his tongue, whereupon
he is to repeat a prayer and cross himself. He now takes the mirror in
his hand and breathes upon it three times, repeating the words, “In the
name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

These preliminaries having been accomplished, the following prayer, or
rather invocation, is repeated:

 O thou holy Archangel N. N., I pray to thee most fervently through the
 great and unsearchable name of the Lord of all Lords and King of all
 Kings, Jod, He, Vau, He, Tetragrammaton, Adonay, Schaday, receive my
 greeting and give ear to the humble petition which I offer in the name
 of the great and highest God, Elohim, Zebaoth, that thou shalt appear
 to me in the world-mirror, and give me knowledge and instruction in
 answer to my questions.

The strong religious tone of these directions for the use of the mirror
and the fact that it is a priest who gives them, shows that there was a
disposition to tolerate the employment of such “white magic.”

In medieval times it was believed that the vision in the crystal was
produced through the agency of an indwelling spirit, and, therefore,
it was necessary to use some very potent spell to force this spirit
to enter the stone. Many of these ancient spells have been preserved,
and they contain a strange and incongruous mixture of religious and
magical formulas. In one of these, dating from the end of the fifteenth
century, after a recitation of a long and rambling conjuration, we
read: “And y^{en} ask y^e chylde yf h^e seethe any thyng, and yf no,
let the m^r begin his conjuratyō agayn.” As usual the scrying was done
by a child, the conjuration being spoken by the minister. An important
part of the conjuration consisted in the repetition of a number of
divine names, most of them originally Hebrew, but so much corrupted
by reciters who did not know their meaning that it is now exceedingly
difficult to interpret them correctly.

A proof that this form of magic was often regarded as quite compatible
with religion is offered us in a passage from a sixteenth century
manuscript,[283] where we read that the crystal should be laid on the
altar “on the Side that the gospell is read on. And let the priest say
a mass on the same Side.” If the conjuration is successful, the same
manuscript tells us that “these angells being once appeared will not
depart the glasse or stone untill the Sonne be sett except you licence
them.” It also seems that “scrying” was looked upon as a special gift,
only granted to a favored few as a peculiar privilege, and we read
that “Prayer and a good beleefe prevailed much. For faith is the cay to
this and all other works, and without it nothing can be effected.” The
child scryer, either maid or boy, should not be more than twelve years

That a certain religious spirit, however mistaken, often animated the
crystal-gazers of the sixteenth century, is shown in the case of the
“speculator” of John a Windor, who confessed that when he led an impure
life the “dæmons” would not appear to him in his glass. He would then
proceed to fumigate the apartment, as though believing that the very
air was contaminated by the sins of the operator. We may hope that
the seer was not content with this, but also tried to reform his evil
ways. Another scryer, a woman named Sarah Skelhorn, declared that the
spirits that appeared to her in the glass would often follow her about
the house from room to room, so that she at last became weary of their
presence.[284] Both of these scryers had regular employment, for it was
quite customary for a gentleman to have a household seer, just as he
would have a body-physician, if he could afford it.

A sixteenth century work on magic, the “Höllenzwang” of Dr. Faustus,
whose name has been immortalized for all ages by Goethe, gives very
particular and detailed directions for the preparation and consecration
of a crystal, whether glass or quartz. Faust asks his “Mephistophelis”
whether such crystals can be made, and the spirit replies: “Yes,
indeed, my Faust,” and directs Faust to go, on a Tuesday, to a
glass-maker, and get the latter to form a glass. It was requisite that
this work should be done in the hour of Mars, that is, in the first,
eighth, fifteenth or twenty-second hour of Tuesday. The crystal when
completed must not be accepted as a gift, but a price must be paid
for it. When the object had been secured, Mephistopheles directs that
it be buried in a grave, where it must be left for the space of three
weeks; it was then to be unearthed; if a woman purchased it, she must
bury it in a woman’s grave. However, these preliminaries only served to
prepare the crystal for the final consecration, as the mere material
mass was regarded as inert and possessing no virtue until certain
spirits were summoned to dwell within it. Mephistopheles confesses
that he alone would not be powerful enough, and he directs Faust to
call upon the spirits Azeruel and Adadiel also. Faust is assured that
the three spirits will show him in the crystal whatever he may wish to
know. If anything has been stolen, the thief will appear; if any one is
suffering from disease, the character of his malady will be revealed,

Another way of preparing a crystal glass or mirror is given in the same
work. After the glass has been bought it is to be immersed in baptismal
water in which a first-born male child has been baptized, and therein
it is to remain for three weeks. The water is then to be poured out
over a grave and the sixth chapter of the Revelation of St. John is to
be read. Hereupon the following conjuration should be pronounced:

 O crystal, thou art a pure and tender virgin, thou standest at one
 of the gates of heaven, that nothing may be hidden from thee; thou
 standest under a cloud of heaven that nothing may be hidden from
 thee, whether in fields or meadows, whether master or servant, whether
 wife or maid. Let this be said to thee in the name of God, as a plea
 for thy help.[286]

The visions seen in crystal gazing were often supposed to be the work
of evil spirits, seeking to seduce the souls of men by offering the
promise of riches or by according them an unlawful glimpse into the
future. Here, as in other magical operations, there was both white and
black magic, recourse being had in some cases to good, and in others to
evil spirits. As an illustration of the latter practice, a sixteenth
century writer relates that in the city of Nuremberg, some time during
the year 1530, a “demon” showed to a priest, in a crystal, the vision
of a buried treasure. Believing in the truth of this vision, the priest
went to the spot indicated, where he found an excavation in the form of
a cavern, in the depths of which he could see a chest and a black dog
lying alongside it. Eagerly the priest entered the cavern, hoping to
possess himself of the treasure, but the top of the excavation caved in
and he was crushed to death.[287]

The famous charlatan, Dr. Dee, who was for a time a prominent figure at
the court of Emperor Rudolph II, was highly favored by Queen Elizabeth.
The queen visited him several times, and even appears to have consulted
him on political matters. In his diary the doctor relates that the
queen called at his house shortly after his wife’s death, which took
place March 16, 1575. Of this visit he gives the following details:

 The Queen’s Majestie, with her most honorable Privy Council, and other
 the Lords and Nobility, came purposely to have visited my library: but
 finding that my wife was within four hours before buried out of the
 house, her Majestie refused to come in; but willed to fetch my glass
 so famous, and to show unto her some of the properties of it, which
 I did. Her Majestie being taken down from her horse by the Earle of
 Liecester, Master of the Horse, at the church wall of Mortlake, did
 see some of the properties of that glass, to her Majestie’s great
 contentment and delight.[288]

It was at Mortlake, on December 22, 1581, that Dr. Dee made his first
essay with his crystal ball. The proceedings were conducted with a
certain religious ceremonial, and began with a pious invocation to
the angel of the stone. This celestial being soon graciously deigned
to manifest himself in the stone and—presumably by the voice of the
scryer—answered the questions put by those present.

There can be little doubt that Dee used more than one crystal in
the course of his experiments; that now in the British Museum is of
cairngorm, or “smoky-quartz.” This variety of quartz may have been
chosen because of the Scotch superstitions regarding its virtues; for,
as a rule, charlatans seek to avail themselves of already existing
superstitions in order to make their innovations more acceptable.

[Illustration: DR. DEE’S SHEW STONE.

Natural size. British Museum. This sphere of smoky-quartz came to the
British Museum in 1700 with the Cottonian Library, donated at that time
by the grandson of the original collector, Sir Robert Bruce Cotton


Used by Aztecs and ancient Mexicans for various purposes. British
Museum. Identical in shape and size with that known as “Dr. Dee’s
Mirror,” now in the possession of Prince Alexis Soltykoff, of Russia.
This was enclosed in a leather-covered case.]

To give assurance to those who consulted such crystals that no
diabolical agency was involved in the production of the phenomena, it
was customary that a child should be the crystal-gazer. In Dr. Dee’s
experiments, however, it was usually the notorious Kelley, his _âme
damnée_, who undertook this task of interpreting the crystal visions.
The description given by Dee of a little girl who frequently acted as
the intermediary of the higher powers suggests one of the fanciful
creations of our great novelist Hawthorne. Her mystic name was Madimi,
and she is depicted as a pretty girl about eight years old, and with
long flowing hair. To make her appearance more conspicuous, she was
attired in a silk dress with chatoyant effects in red and green.
At times, during the séances, this gay little figure could be seen
flitting about the study, rendered even more whimsical and strange from
its contrast with the piles of dusty old books, the curiosities, and
the magical instruments collected there.[289]

This visionary maiden Madimi, of whom Dee relates so much in his
diary, was apparently a child of fancy, a creation of Kelley’s fertile
brain. The diary is somewhat obscure in this particular and easily
misunderstood; but there can be little doubt that where Madimi is
represented as speaking, it is Kelley’s voice that transmits to Dee her
revelations. One passage, often overlooked, gives evidence of this.
Madimi has appeared and is addressing her remarks to Kelley and to
Dee by turns; finally, Dee says, “I know you see me often and I see
you only by faith and imagination.” To this Madimi quickly retorts,
“pointing to E. K.” (Kelley), “That sight is perfecter than his.”
Evidently we must understand this to signify something that Kelley has
told Dee, for the latter’s words show that he did not himself see the
little fairy pointing to his friend. In many respects little Madimi may
recall another “spiritual” maiden of whom we heard much a few years
ago, the sprightly little Indian spirit “Bright Eyes,” whose love for
candy and jewelry was so very earthly.

Not only the quality of the crystal had to be considered, but also its
support and surroundings. Of this we have an interesting instance in
the case of Dr. Dee’s crystal. In one of his manuscripts is recorded
the fact that on the 10th of March, 1582, Kelley saw in the crystal
a representation of the form and arrangement of the table on which
it should be set; particular instructions on the matter were also
directly imparted to the scryer by the angel Uriel. The table was to
be square, measuring two cubits each way and two cubits in height;
and it was to have four feet. The material was to be “swete wood” and
upon it was to be placed the Sigillum Dei (Seal of God) impressed upon
the purest, colorless wax, the disk being 1⅛ inches thick and 9
inches in diameter. It bore a cross and the magic letters A. G. L. A.,
a transliteration into Roman characters of the initials of the Hebrew
words signifying “Thou are great forever, O Lord.” Four other and
smaller seals were to be provided, one to be placed under each leg of
the table; each of these seals being impressed with geometrical figures
within or upon which were the seven sacred names of God and the names
of the seven angels ruling the seven planetary heavens; Zabothiel,
Zedekiel, Madiniel, Semeliel [Semeshiel], Nogabiel, Corabiel [Cocabiel]
and Levaniel, the angels, respectively, of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the
Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. There then appeared to the scryer the
figure of the table with the crystal resting upon it. Of this it is

“Under the table did seeme to be layd red sylk to lye four square
somewhat broader than the table, hanging down with four knops or
tassells at the four corners thereof. Uppon the uppermost red silk
did seme to be set the stone with the frame, right over and uppon the
principal seal, saving that the sayd sylk was betwene the one and the

It therefore seems that the prejudice in favor of a black or at least a
dark background for the crystal did not appeal to Dr. Dee, and indeed
the effect of color may perhaps better serve to neutralize troublesome
reflections than does black.

The personages Kelley pretended to see in or around the magic crystal
were described by him to Dr. Dee in the greatest detail, and this
undoubtedly served to lend more reality and authority to their
communications. As an illustration of Kelley’s inventiveness in this
matter, we may take his description of “Nalvage,” a spirit that first
appeared while the doctor and his famulus were in Cracow, April 10,
1584, and was subsequently a frequent visitor. The seer introduces his
new “control” as follows:[291]

 He hath a Gown of white silk, with a Cape with three pendants with
 tassels on the end of them all green; it is fur, white, and seemeth to
 shine, with a wavering glittering. On his head is nothing, he hath no
 berd. His phisiognomy is like the pictures of King Edward the Sixth;
 his hair hangeth down a quarter of the length of the Cap, somewhat
 curling, yellow. He hath a rod or wand in his hand, almost as big as
 my little finger; it is of Gold, and divided into three equal parts,
 with a brighter Gold than the rest. He standeth upon his round table
 of Christal, or rather Mother of Pearl.

When reading the words spoken by Kelley and so carefully preserved by
Dr. Dee, we are reminded, aside from the archaic turn of speech, of the
minute descriptions so glibly given by modern mediums. It is true that
lately, in America, the spirits of the former owners of the land, of
the blameless aborigines, seem to have acquired a quasi monopoly of the
intercourse with the other world.

Most of the early records of crystal-gazing show conclusively
enough that the images revealed in the stone were produced by the
expectations, the hopes, or the fears of the gazer. In many cases,
indeed, the vision is only prophetic because it determines the future
conduct of the person who consults the stone. Fully persuaded that what
has been seen must come to pass, he, or she, proceeds more or less
consciously to make it happen, to fulfil the prediction.

As an instance of this we may take from an old German book[292] the
tale of a lovelorn maiden who seeks the aid of an enchantress to
learn whether she will marry her lover, upon whom her parents look
with disfavor. The mystic crystal is brought out wrapped in a yellow
handkerchief, and is placed in a green bowl beneath which is spread a
blue cloth, the reflections from these different colors being probably
calculated to stimulate the optic nerve and favor the appearance of
some picture upon the polished surface of the crystal. The young
girl, in rapt attention, looks long and earnestly; at last she cries
out that she sees her own form and that of her lover. Both look pale
and sad, and they appear to be about to set forth upon a long and
perilous journey, for the lover wears riding-boots and carries a brace
of pistols. The girl is so terrified at the sight that she faints
away. The sequel of this vision is a runaway match, and we can easily
understand that when the lover proposed this adventure, the girl
believed that it was written in the book of fate and willingly agreed
to undertake it.

The great humorous poem “Hudibras,” wherein all the foibles of the
seventeenth century are castigated, does not fail to make mention of
Dee and Kelley and their crystal. Of the sorcerer whose aid Hudibras
seeks we are told:[293]

    He’d read Dee’s prefaces before,
    The Dev’l and Euclid o’er and o’er;
    And all th’ intrigues ’twixt him and Kelley,
    Lascus and th’ Emperor, would tell ye.

    Kelley did all his feats upon
    The devil’s looking-glass, a stone
    Where, playing with him at bo-peep
    He solved all problems ne’er so deep.

In his experiments in crystal-gazing, Dr. Dee evidently used more than
one crystal, and did not indeed confine the operations of his scryer
or scryers to brilliant spheres. In the collection of Horace Walpole,
at Strawberry Hill, was a polished slab of black stone, obsidian, from
Mexico. This came into the possession of Mr. Smythe Piggott and later
(1853) into that of Lord Londesborough; it is now in the collection
of Prince Alexis Soltykoff. Horace Walpole wrote a label for the
stone, in which he says that it had long been owned by the Mordaunts,
Earls of Peterborough, and was described in the catalogue of their
collection as the black stone into which Dr. Dee used to call his
spirits. Later it was owned by John Campbell, Duke of Argyle, who gave
it to Horace Walpole.[294] Undoubtedly any polished surface, whether
flat or convex, might serve the purpose of the scryer almost equally
well; the possible advantage of a convex or a spherical form consists
in the multiplying of the reflections and light points so that the
sight is induced to wander from point to point, and that forms and
even motions are suggested by the superposition and combination of the
various reflections. Often, too, a light point visible to one eye will
not be so to the other, this sometimes provoking the phenomenon of
binocular vision, which asserts itself for a moment or two, when the
diverse images coalesce again, though imperfectly, giving an impression
of movement. For one gifted with imagination and the natural quality
of visualizing brain-pictures, these shifting light-points and the
more or less definite and repeated reflections of surrounding objects
offer abundant material out of which to construct lifelike pictures
apparently seen in the crystal. That the brain-pictures thus thrown
out, so to speak, upon the crystal, may or may not have a peculiar
psychic value, other than their value as mere phenomena, depends upon
the significance we are inclined to attribute to the processes of the
subconscious intelligence; of its existence, indeed, there can be no
doubt, and many of our best thinkers incline to the belief that through
it the narrow limits of our personality are occasionally transcended.

[Illustration: 1, 2, 3. Rock-crystal spheres having portions of the
surface ground so that they are rendered partially opaque.

4. Natural cross of rock-crystal. On dolomite, Ossining, New York.]

The following history and description of a crystal ball is given by
John Aubrey (1626-1697):

 I have here set down the figure of a consecrated Beryl—now in the
 possession of Sir Edward Harley, Knight of the Bath, which he keeps
 in his closet at Brampton Bryan in Herefordshire amongst his Cimelia,
 which I saw there. It came first from Norfolk; a minister had it
 there, and a call was to be made with it. Afterwards a miller had it
 and he did work great cures with it (if curable), and in the Beryl
 they did see, either the receipt in writing, or else the herb. To this
 minister, the spirits or angels would appear openly, and because the
 miller (who was his familiar friend) one day happened to see them, he
 gave him the aforesaid Beryl and Call; by these angels the minister
 was forewarned of his death. This account I had from Mr. Ashmole.
 Afterwards this Beryl came into somebody’s hand in London who did tell
 strange things by it; insomuch that at last he was questioned for it,
 and it was taken away by authority (it was about 1645). This Beryl
 is a perfect sphere, the diameter of it I guess to be something more
 than an inch; it is set in a ring, or circle, of silver, resembling
 the meridian of a globe; the stem of it is about ten inches high, all
 gilt. At the four quarters of it are the names of four angels, viz:
 Uriel, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel. On the top is a cross patee.[295]

In his “Saducismus Triumphatus,” Joseph Glanvil writes that “one
Compton of Summersetshire, who practised Physick, and pretends to
strange Matters,” demonstrated his power to evoke the image of a
distant person on the surface of a mirror. Glanvil relates that Compton
offered to show to a Mr. Hill any one the latter wished to see. Hill
“had no great confidence in his talk,” but replied that he desired to
see his wife who was many miles distant. “Upon this, Compton took up
a Looking-glass that was in the Room, and setting it down again, bid
my Friend look in it, which he did, and then, as he most solemnly and
seriously professeth, he saw the exact Image of his Wife, in that Habit
which she then wore and working at her Needle in such a part of the
Room (then represented also) in which and about which time she really
was, as he found upon enquiry when he came home. The Gentleman himself
averred this to me, and he is a very sober, intelligent, and credible
Person. Compton had no knowledge of him before, and was an utter
stranger to the Person of his Wife. He was by all accounts a very odd

A contemporary record recites that when a certain Sir Marmaduke
Langdale (of the seventeenth century) was in Italy, he went to a
sorcerer and was shown in a glass his own figure kneeling before a
crucifix. Though a Protestant at this time, he shortly after became
a Catholic.[297] If we exclude all idea of trickery, it is likely
enough that the idea of becoming a Catholic was already present to the
scryer’s mind and called up this picture before him.

The celebrated Cagliostro, a Sicilian whose real name was Giuseppe
Balsamo, among his other arts to excite curiosity and play upon the
superstition of his contemporaries, had recourse to a species of
crystal-gazing. In the only authentic biography of this extraordinary
impostor occurs the following passage, which we give in Carlyle’s

 Cagliostro brought a little Boy into the Lodge, son of a nobleman
 there. He placed him on his knees before a table, whereon stood a
 Bottle of pure water, and behind this some lighted candles: he made
 an exorcism round the boy, put his hand on his head and both, in this
 attitude, addressed their prayers to God for the happy accomplishment
 of the work. Having bid the child look into the Bottle, directly the
 child cried that he saw a garden. Knowing hereby that Heaven assisted
 him, Cagliostro took courage, and bade the child ask of God the grace
 to see the angel Michael. At first the child said: “I see something
 white; I know not what it is.” Then he began jumping, stamping like
 a possessed creature, and cried: “There now! I see a child like
 myself, that seems to have something angelical.” All the assembly, and
 Cagliostro himself, remained speechless with emotion.... The child
 being anew exorcised with the hand of the Venerable on his head, and
 the customary prayer addressed to Heaven, he looked into the Bottle,
 and said he saw his sister at that moment coming down stairs, and
 embracing one of her brothers. That appeared impossible, the brother
 in question being then hundreds of miles off; however, Cagliostro felt
 not disconcerted; said they might send to the country-house where the
 sister was, and see.

Taken all in all this experiment does not seem very satisfactory; but
we have in it all the essential phases of crystal-gazing. Excitement
and expectation produced their usual effect upon an impressionable
child, and suggestion did the rest; the final vision may have been
corroborated in some way, or, if not, it would be explained so as to
convince those present at the experiment that the child had really seen
a representation of some actual happening.

During the Terror, among those upon whom fell the suspicions of the
Jacobins was General Marlière. He knew that a trial and quite probably
a condemnation awaited him. A few days before the date fixed for his
appearance before his judges, he met a colonel in the French army,
who had served in the American Revolutionary War, and who was a firm
believer in the truth of the visions seen in crystal balls. In the
course of the conversation this subject was alluded to, and the general
immediately declared that he was eager to put the matter to the test,
and learn, if possible, what fate was in store for him. The colonel
was at first very unwilling to undertake the experiment, probably he
thought that General Marlière’s doom was sealed, and, believing as
he did in the revelations of the crystal, he dreaded the results;
however, the general insisted and the experiment took place. As usual,
the medium was an “innocent child.” In the crystal appeared a man
wearing a private’s uniform of the National Guard struggling with one
wearing a general’s uniform. The child was much excited and terrified
by the sight, exclaiming that the general’s assailant had thrown him
down and was beheading him. That the vision portended the general’s
execution was clear enough, but the peculiar dress of the executioner
was a mystery to those present at the test, for the official garb bore
no resemblance whatever to a soldier’s uniform. The prediction was,
however, fulfilled to the letter. General Marlière was tried, found
guilty, and guillotined. This in itself did not mean much in view of
the innumerable executions in the time of the Terror; but, on the
day of this execution, Samson, the official executioner, desiring to
gratify his personal vanity and to attract the gaze of the spectators,
dressed himself in the uniform of a national guardsman.[299] That
this altogether unusual circumstance, which could scarcely have been
known to any of those who assisted at the crystal-gazing, should have
been revealed in the crystal, is certainly very mysterious. If we had
positive assurance that the events narrated happened exactly in the way
they are said to have happened, this would be one of the few instances
in which the vision seen in the crystal reproduced something entirely
unknown to the scryer.

Many extraordinary visions are said to have been seen in crystal balls
by a French scryer whose grandmother had clairvoyant powers and was
sometimes consulted by Napoleon I. It is claimed that the grandson has
enjoyed the patronage of many royal personages, and had predicted, in a
more or less definite way, the assassination of King Humbert of Italy,
and the attempted assassination of Alfonso XIII and of his young bride,
when they were returning to the palace after the conclusion of the
marriage ceremony. This French scryer has stated that he is powerfully
affected when he is consulted by any one destined to die a violent
death; on such occasions he feels, in his own organism, a modified form
of the particular kind of suffering they are fated to experience. This
exceptional sensitiveness to occult influences was also shown when the
crystal-gazer went to the Boulaq Museum in Cairo, and gazed upon the
rows of mummies exhibited there; he immediately felt, as intensely as
though it were a personal experience, the mingled sorrow and rage of
the disembodied spirits at seeing their embalmed bodies exposed to the
view of the idle crowd, when they should have been permitted to rest in
their tombs until the hour of the Resurrection.

In England all those who attempted, with a greater or less degree of
success, to reveal the hidden secrets of the future, were expressly
designated as rogues and vagabonds according to the terms of an act
passed June 21, 1824.[300] Such offenders, on being duly convicted
before the Justice of the Peace, could be committed to the House of
Correction, “there to be kept at hard Labour for any time not exceeding
Three Calendar Months.” This class of undesirable citizens comprised
all using “any subtle Craft, Means, or Device, by Palmistry or
otherwise” for the deception of his Majesty’s subjects.

The _h’men_, or diviner, of Yucatan, places great reliance upon his
_zaztun_, or “clear stone.” This may be a quartz crystal, or else some
other translucent stone; but in order to serve for divining purposes
it must be sanctified according to special rites, gum-copal being
burned before it, and certain magic formulas recited, which have been
transmitted from generation to generation in an archaic dialect. When
thus rendered fit for use, the diviner claims to be able to see in the
depths of the crystal the whereabouts of lost articles, and also what
absent persons are doing at the time he makes his observation. Not
only this, but the future is also laid bare before his eyes. As these
stones are supposed to possess such miraculous powers we need not be
surprised that one of them should be found in almost every village in

The Apache medicine-men are also fully persuaded that crystals possess
the virtue of inducing visions, and they have used them for the purpose
of finding lost property. To aid in the recovery of stolen ponies is
one of the most important tasks of the Apache medicine-man, and to
this end his crystal offers great assistance. Capt. John G. Burke
relates that he made a great friend of a medicine-man named Na-a-che by
giving him a large crystal of denticulated spar, much superior to the
crystal he had been in the habit of using for his visions. That this
was thoroughly satisfactory to the medicine-man at least, is shown by
his statement to Capt. Burke that by looking into his crystal he could
see everything he wanted to see. Of the way this came about he did not
attempt any explanation.[302]

The magic power supposed to dwell within rock-crystal has been
recognized in a peculiar way by some natives of New South Wales. They
have the barbarous custom of knocking out one or more of the front
teeth of their boys at the obligatory initiation ceremonies, and on one
occasion Dr. Howitt was entrusted with the care of a number of these
teeth, which are believed to preserve a certain undefined connection
with the health and fortunes of their former possessors, and on this
account great fear was expressed lest the custodian should place the
precious teeth in the same bag with some rock-crystals, for the natives
thought that the magic power of these crystals would injuriously affect
the teeth, and through them the boys, from whose jaws they had been

In a paper entitled “The Origin of Jewelry,” read before the British
Association, Professor W. Ridgeley says:

 Australians and tribes of New Guinea use crystals for rain-making,
 although they cannot bore them, and this stone is a powerful amulet in
 Uganda when fastened into leather. Sorcerers in Africa carry a small
 bag of pebbles as an important part of their equipment. So it was in
 Greece. The crystal was used to light the sacrificial fire and was so
 employed in the church down to the fifteenth century. Egyptians used
 it largely under the XII Dynasty, piercing it along its axis after
 rubbing off the pyramid points of the crystal, sometimes leaving the
 natural six sides, or else grinding it into a complete cylinder. From
 this bead came the artificial cylindrical glass beads made later by
 the Egyptians.

Professor Ridgeley believes that the primary use of all these objects
was because of their supposed magic powers. He holds the same view in
regard to cylinders and rings, considering that the use of these as
signets only became habitual at a later time, and he finds a proof
of this theory in the fact that unengraved Babylonian cylinders and
Mycenean gems have been discovered. This is, of course, perfectly true,
but does not in the least prove that such ornaments may not have been
originally worn simply for purposes of adornment; unquestionably, the
custom of engraving them so as to render them signets must have arisen
at a much later date.

Flacourt stated that the natives of Madagascar used crystals to
aid them in divining. These stones, which were said to have fallen
from heaven, were attached to the corners of the boards whereon the
sorcerers produced their geomantic figures.[304] Here, however, the
crystals were not directly used, but were only supposed to attract
influences propitious to the diviner’s efforts.

In the notes to the 1888 edition of the Chinese criminal code, some
curious details are given of a practice called Yuan-kuang-fuchou (the
magic of the round glittering). While this designation certainly seems
to indicate the use of a polished sphere of some description, the
details given refer to a different practice. We are told that when
anything was stolen appeal was sometimes made to a certain Sun-Yuan
Sheng, who would then hang up a piece of white paper and utter a spell,
while a boy gazed upon the paper until he saw the figure of the thief.
This magician was punished for carrying on an unlawful practice.[305]


Of hematite, rock-crystal, lapis-lazuli, chalcedony, banded agate, and
other stones. From 3000 B.C. to the Christian era. (See page 121.)]

The Mexicans made images of their god Tezcatlipoca of obsidian, and the
name of this divinity is interpreted as signifying “shining mirror.”
This is supposed to refer to, or to have been expressed by, the
brilliant effect of the polished surface of the obsidian. Mirrors
of this material are said to have been used for divination in ancient
Mexico and the neighboring countries.[306] One of these Mexican mirrors
seems to have been employed by Dr. Dee in his experiments in crystal

A remarkable series of tests in the art of scrying, given in the
presence of Lane, the great Arabic scholar, and translator of the
Arabian Nights, illustrates the fallibility of most of the evidence
adduced in such matters, for, at first, Lane was strongly impressed by
the exhibition. Although no crystal was used, the process of scrying
was precisely the same as in crystal-gazing,—that is to say, the
vision called for by the visitors was seen by the scryer on a polished
surface. The master of ceremonies was an Arab magician, though, of
course, he did not do the scrying himself, but employed a boy for this
purpose, for it is generally thought that half-grown boys or girls
are more receptive. Although Lane himself was perfectly familiar with
Arabic, an interpreter was always present in the interest of the other
Europeans who assisted at the experiments.

After invoking many mysterious geniuses and burning incense and scraps
of paper inscribed with magic formulas, the magician drew a magic
square on a large sheet of paper and dropped a quantity of ink in the
centre. On this the boy was directed to fix his gaze, and after he
had shown that he was thoroughly under the magician’s influence, by
describing the images suggested to him, the visitors were permitted
to ask him questions. The answers were successful in most cases; a
single instance will suffice. When the boy was asked to describe
Admiral Nelson, he replied: “I see a man clothed in a dark garb; there
is something strange about him, he has but one arm.” Then, quickly
correcting himself, he added: “No, I was mistaken, he has one of his
arms across his breast.” This correction impressed those present more
than the first statement, for it was well known that Nelson usually
had the empty sleeve of his coat pinned to his breast. It also seemed
as though there could be no collusion, for both the magician and the
boy were ignorant of everything English and evidently knew nothing of
Nelson. Unfortunately, however, for those who would fain believe that
there is something supernatural in scrying, it was later discovered
that the interpreter was a renegade Scotchman, masquerading as an Arab,
and there can be little doubt that he managed to suggest the boy’s
answer. The fact that no satisfactory results were obtained when this
interpreter was absent, makes this explanation almost certainly the
correct one.

The Armenians sometimes practised divination by watching the images
that appeared, or were supposed to appear, on the smooth surface of
the waters of a well, and the person who saw such images was called
_hornaiogh_, “he who looks into a well.” An Arab woman living in the
neighborhood of Constantinople enjoyed a great reputation for her power
in this respect, and was frequently consulted by Armenians and by other
dwellers in the Turkish capital. Whoever wished to question this woman
regarding the cause of an illness, the whereabouts of stolen objects,
etc., usually took along a child of the household, and the actual
scrying was generally performed by this child, who would describe or
identify the forms it saw on the water’s surface. If, however, for
one reason or another, no child was brought, the witch herself did
the scrying. In regard to illness, a distinction was made between
“natural” maladies and those directly caused by some spirit. Should the
spirit (_peri_) supposed to cause the dire malady known as _drsévé_, a
kind of consumption, be seen to glide over the surface of the water,
the sorceress would find it necessary to invoke the whole race of
_peris_ to come to the aid of the patient, who was expected to pay more
than the usual fee for this very special service.[307]

The _peris_ of Armenian legend were sometimes good and sometimes
evil spirits; in the former case these were supposed to perform the
functions of guardian angels, and every one was said to have a peri
especially delegated to watch over him. This found expression in the
fact that when one Armenian felt at first sight an instinctive sympathy
for another, he would say, “My peri loves you dearly (_peris chad
siretz kezi_).” In the contrary case, the feeling of antipathy was
also attributed to the attitude assumed by the guardian spirit toward
the new acquaintance.[308] These spirits were therefore supposed to
encourage or discourage greater intimacy with newcomers in accord with
the true interests of those over whom they watched.

The power to see images in a crystal does not appear to depend to any
great extent upon a morbid nervous condition of the seer, for many
of the most successful experimenters have been of good and even of
exceptionally vigorous physique. Indeed, illness seems to diminish or
destroy this power, at least in the case of those who are habitually
healthy.[309] This does not imply that some highly nervous and even
hysterical individuals have not been favored with “crystal visions.”
Very probably the rule here is the same as in ordinary hypnotism. Those
persons who have a strong will and sound nerves are able to hypnotize
themselves, while those whose nerves are disordered are subject to the
hypnotic influence of others.

A well-known lady in New York City, in conversation with the writer, a
few years ago, on the subject of crystal balls, was advised by him to
try a ball herself and see what results she obtained. At the end of two
years she found that by concentration she had been able to better her
understanding of herself; and this effect is not only obtainable now by
means of a crystal ball, but by fixing her gaze upon any bright object.
This visual fixation has centred her whole being in such a way that her
health has notably improved.

What are the laws that govern the production of these phenomena? That
the “visions” are real enough has been proven time and again, but it
seems almost certain that they do not offer anything but the ideas or
impressions existing in the minds or optic nerves of the gazers. One
of the most painstaking students of the subject, Miss Goodrich-Freer,
gives many instances in proof of this, which show how easy it would
be for a less critical observer to suppose that the crystal revealed
something unknown to the gazer. On one occasion this lady was at a loss
to remember the correct address of a friend whose letter, received a
few days before, she had torn up. She resorted to her crystal, and
after a few minutes saw in it, in gray letters on a white ground, the
address she had forgotten. She mailed her answer to this address, and
the reply came duly to hand, with the address stamped in gray upon
the white paper of the note, which was identical with that she had
first received.[310] The visual impression had been stirred up and
“externalized” itself when she gazed upon the crystal. We believe that
this explains the larger number of such visions, and that the rest are
only inexplicable because the scryer has forgotten the source of the
impression that is projected on the surface of the crystal.

[Illustration: ROCK-CRYSTAL SPHERES. JAPANESE. (See page 217.)]

It is true that both Miss Goodrich-Freer and many other crystal-gazers
note instances in which the vision appears to represent something
the scryer does not and cannot know. However, even in these cases,
when carefully examined, there is little difficulty in finding an
explanation. Coincidence accounts for much, and imagination for more,
since it is not the vision itself, but the memory of the vision, that
is later brought into comparison with actual facts. We all know how
exceedingly hard it is to repeat, after a short lapse of time, all the
circumstances and details of any occurrence. There is a natural growth
and modification of mental impressions, due to association of ideas,
and where there exists the least wish to make the prophecy accord with
the event, or the vision with the coincident happening, this growth and
modification will be in the direction of agreement. This takes place
quite unconsciously, and the informant will be fully persuaded that all
the circumstances are related exactly as they occurred.

The attempt to identify either persons or scenes observed by the scryer
with real persons and real scenes unknown to him, must always be open
to the objection that the one who makes the identification has no
photographic impression upon which to base his judgment, but merely the
words of the scryer. When we remember what mistakes have been made in
identifying individuals from photographs, we can easily appreciate the
great chances of error entailed by the use of a verbal description of
a visionary experience, even when the person giving the description is
both willing and able to make it as exact and adequate as possible.

A very impartial witness, Andrew Lang, states that, in the course of
a series of experiments he made in crystal-gazing, he saw nothing
himself, but found that a surprisingly large proportion of those who
tried were successful in seeing pictures of some sort on the polished
surface. Almost invariably, when the gazer fixed his eyes upon the
sphere, it appeared to grow milky-hued and then became black; upon this
dark background the pictures showed themselves. One of the scryers,
a lady, said that as a child she had seen pictures in ink that she
had spilled for the purpose.[311] This method has been much favored
by Orientals. While Lang does not quite venture to assert that all
the “visions” reported to him were genuine ones, he inclines to the
belief that this was the case with many of them. Experience has shown,
however, that not all of those who see pictures in, or on, a glass or
crystal sphere, can also see them in ink.[312] Nevertheless, in view
of the fact that the crystal sphere is said to appear black to the eye
before the pictures are seen, it would seem that some naturally black
surface would be particularly adapted for the purpose.

An interesting point regarding the phenomena of crystal-gazing is the
effect produced by magnification upon the images seen in, or on, the
crystal ball. As to this matter there is considerable difference of
opinion, for, while some experimenters assert that the interposition
of a magnifying-glass enlarges the image, others have not remarked
any difference in its size under these conditions. Indeed, one of the
most critical witnesses, Mrs. A. W. Verrall, declares that her vision
entirely disappeared when she held a magnifying-glass before her eyes.
On the other hand, we have the case of a subject who had been told,
while in the hypnotic state, that he would see a play-bill on the
crystal. When he was awakened and the crystal ball was placed before
him, he said that he could see only detached letters, but when he
looked through a magnifying-glass he saw all the letters distinctly and
read the name of the play, in perfect accord with the suggestion.[313]

This image may have been reflected from some part of the room where the
gazer had not noticed it, and may have been either before or behind
the operator. The magnifying-glass would naturally make the small,
condensed letters legible, as a play-bill would be many times larger
than a crystal ball, and its minute image naturally too small to read,
being reduced by the circular surface.

Usually, however, the image is not on the surface of the crystal, but
in the beholder’s eye; therefore when this image appears more clearly
under magnification, the result is due to the expectation of the
gazer based upon his experience of an invariable rule. This acts as
a stimulus upon the visual function, which must be in an exceedingly
sensitive state to produce visions at all. When, however, no result
or a negative result follows the use of the glass, then we can safely
assume that the gazer was naturally of a critical turn of mind, and
was disposed to distrust sensual impressions; hence the glass became a
disturbing influence, interfering with or even completely obliterating
the eye-picture.

Many attempts have been made to establish distinctions between the
different materials used for crystals, proceeding on the theory that
subtle emanations from them affected the gazer and played an important
part in producing the desired vision. That the beryl produced a greater
number of these visions than any other mineral was the old belief which
is still upheld in some quarters to-day; one scryer, indeed, asserts
that his clearest and most satisfactory visions were seen in a cube
of blue beryl, the beautiful color appearing to dispose the soul to a
harmonious unfolding of its latent aptitudes.[314]

Among the instructions given to a would-be crystal gazer, the question
of a proper and wholesome diet is not overlooked, as anything which
tends to disturb the serenity of the organism will also interfere with
the due exercise of the special clairvoyant faculty that expresses
itself in crystal visions. A curious special recommendation made
by one of the exponents of the art is that good results can be had
by drinking an infusion of mugwort (_Artemisia vulgaris_), or of
chicory (_Cichorium intybus_), because of their tonic and antibilious
qualities. Moreover, we are told that these herbs are under the
influence of the zodiacal sign Libra, the sign controlling the virtues
of the beryl.[315] Above all the portion of the lunar month when the
moon is on the increase is said to be far the best season for scrying,
as the old astrologers recognized an affinity between the moon and

The claim is made that the adept at crystal-gazing can determine by the
apparent difference in proximity of the visions whether they refer to
the present or to a more or less remote past or future, that is to say,
are nearer or farther removed in time from the period when the vision
appears. The distinction between past and future is admitted to offer
greater difficulty and a decision as to this point must depend upon a
kind of intuitive and undefined impression on the part of the scryer.

Those who have made a sympathetic study of crystal-gazing recognize
that the “visions” seen in or on the crystal differ according to the
mental and psychic temperament of the scryer. Two broad distinctions
are sometimes established, the one class comprising those whose mental
attitude is a “positive” one while the second class includes the
“passive” subjects. In the former case the crystal visions are more apt
to be symbols denoting some past or future event than a clear picture
of the event itself, the mentality of the “positive” subject being,
perhaps, too strong merely to mirror the image cast upon it. Instead
of so doing it transforms the impression received from this image into
some symbolic form. This process is not, however, consciously done, but
the scryer of this type is supposed nevertheless to have an instinctive
appreciation of the fact that what he sees is purely and simply a
symbol, and he proceeds to interpret this in accord with certain
generally received rules, or in accord with his own personal experience.

The passive subject on the other hand is more apt to see a clear and
definite picture of the persons or events revealed to him. Sometimes
that picture is distinctly perceptible on or about the surface of the
crystal, while at other times the visual perception will be rather
indefinite and clouded, although accompanied by a strong mental
impression in itself equivalent to that which would have been induced
by an actual and objective vision.[316]

The proper use of the crystal is the prime factor in the art of
scrying and great attention is paid to this point by all those who
treat seriously of the subject. Among other things they recognize
that freedom from pain, or even from a sense of physical discomfort,
is quite essential, for the mind must assume a purely passive and
receptive attitude, and not be forced to take cognizance of bodily
discomfort. Moreover the nervous system must be in repose, for which
reason a reasonable time should be allowed to lapse after taking a
meal, before trying for crystal visions.[317]

An author on “psychomancy” affirms that fixing the gaze upon a crystal
ball is one of the very best means of bringing out the latent faculty
of astral vision, and he finds a reason for this in the atomic
structure, the molecular arrangement of the material. He does not,
however, impart any definite information as to what special structural
characteristics render glass or rock-crystal particularly efficient in
this direction.[318] The help that may be derived from crystal-gazing
by those who are striving to pierce the veil that separates the “real
life” about us from that spiritual life which is so much more real for
those who believe in it, is also admitted by many.[319]

We cannot refrain from citing here the words spoken by Sir Oliver
Lodge at Birmingham, Sept. 10, 1913, before the British Association
for the Advancement of Science, affirming his conviction, as a result
of scientific investigation of occult phenomena, “that memory and
affection are not limited to that association with matter by which
alone they can manifest themselves here and now, and that personality
persists beyond bodily death.”

One of the latest types of glass balls for crystal-gazing has a small,
circular, flat surface on the sphere. This may possibly be of service
in furnishing a better field for the expected vision, and may also
lessen the troublesome and baffling reflections which interfere so
seriously with the projection of the mental picture.

A method that has been recommended to crystal-gazers is to place the
crystal on a table, protect it from the reflections of surrounding
objects by means of a velvet screen, and set seven candlesticks with
wax tapers in front of the screen. The tapers are then to be lighted,
the room being otherwise in perfect darkness, and the would-be scryer
is to seat himself comfortably before the table, laying his hands flat
upon it, and to gaze fixedly upon the crystal for half an hour or
longer. The light from the tapers will certainly ensure a multitude
of light points in the crystal. That the molecules forming the sphere
may always remain _en rapport_ with the gazer, he is advised to put it
beneath his pillow when retiring to rest.[320]

The crystal gazer is strongly advised by some to limit the duration
of his experiment at first to five minutes, during which he is to
avoid thinking of anything in particular while keeping his eyes fixed
intently upon the ball, but without any undue straining of attention.
Should the eyes “water” after the test is concluded, this is to be
regarded as an indication that the gazer has persisted too long;
for brain-fag is to be strictly avoided, as such a state depresses
instead of arousing the hidden and higher psychic faculties. Even
after considerable practice, the scrying should not be carried on for
more than a few minutes at a time. The faculty of visualization plays
a most important part in crystal-gazing. The image thought to be seen
on, before, or behind the surface of the crystal, is in its essence a
fancied projection of a purely mental image conceived in the brain;
such an image as is present to the consciousness of many when they call
to mind a scene of some vivid past experience, or the face of someone
they have known, and see it as an element of consciousness. When it is
possible to externalize this interior vision, then we have at least a
beginning of successful scrying. That it may go far beyond this, that
it may reveal to the gazer events happening in some distant place, or
even events yet to transpire in the dim future, is often claimed. An
acceptance of this claim must depend largely upon our attitude toward
premonitions and prophecies in general. Here, as in the simple picture
evolved by an image of the past, the crystal is merely the background
upon which are cast the mind-pictures or soul-pictures arising within
our being.[321]

A use of crystal gazing to aid literary composition has been reported
in the case of an English authoress of note, who, if she lost the
thread of the story she was writing, would resort to her crystal, and
would see mirrored therein the scenes and personages of her tale,
the latter carrying on the plot in dramatic action. Aided by this
suggestion she was able to resume her composition and successfully
terminate her story.


In Japan the smaller rock-crystals were believed to be the congealed
breath of the White Dragon, while the larger and more brilliant ones
were said to be the saliva of the Violet Dragon. As the dragon was
emblematic of the highest powers of creation, this indicates the esteem
in which the substance was held by the Japanese, who probably derived
their appreciation of it from the Chinese. The name _suisho_, used both
in China and Japan to designate rock-crystal, reflects the idea current
in ancient times, and repeated even by seventeenth century writers,
that rock-crystal was ice which had been so long congealed that it
could not be liquefied.

For the Japanese, rock-crystal is the “perfect jewel,” _tama_; it is
at once a symbol of purity and of the infinity of space, and also
of patience and perseverance. This latter significance probably
originating from an observation of the patience and skill shown by the
accurate and painstaking Japanese cutters and polishers of rock-crystal.

A crystal ball, one of the largest perfect spheres ever produced, has
been made from rock-crystal of Madagascar. It is a very perfect sphere
and of faultless material. The diameter is 6⅛ inches and the ball
was held at about $20,000.

Many fine crystal balls are made in Japan, the materials being found
in large, clear masses in the mountains on the islands of Nippon and
Fusiyama and also in the granitic rocks of Central Japan. It is stated,
however, that much of the Japanese material really comes from China.
The Japanese methods of working rock-crystals are extremely simple and
depend more upon the skill and patience of the workers than upon the
tools at their command. Our illustration, taken from a sketch made by
an Oriental traveller, shows the process of manufacturing crystal
balls. The rough mass of crystal is gradually rounded by careful
chipping with a small steel hammer. With the aid of this tool alone a
perfect sphere is formed. The Japanese workmen thoroughly understand
the fracture of the mineral, and know just when to apply chipping and
when hammering. The crystal, having been reduced to a spherical form,
is handed to a grinder, whose tools consist of cylindrical pieces of
cast iron, about a foot in length, and full of perforations. These
cylinders are of different curvatures, according to the size of the
crystal to be ground. Powdered emery and garnet are used for the first
polishing. Plenty of water is supplied during the process, and the
balls are kept constantly turning, in order to secure a true spherical
surface. Sometimes they are fixed on the end of a hollow tube and kept
dexterously turning in the hand until smooth. The final polishing
is effected with crocus or rouge (finely divided hematite), giving
a splendid lustrous surface. As hand labor is exclusively used, the
manufacture of crystal objects according to the Japanese methods is
extremely laborious and slow.[322]

[Illustration: By permission of the “Scientific American.”


[Illustration: By permission of the “Scientific American.”


In Germany and France and in the United States, the fabrication of
rock-crystal is accomplished almost entirely by machinery. The crystal
to be shaped into a ball is placed against a semicircular groove worn
in huge grindstones. This is illustrated in the case of the method
practised in Oberstein, Germany. The workman has his feet firmly braced
against a support, and, resting upon his chest, presses the crystal
against the revolving grindstone. It is unnecessary to add that the
practice is extremely unwholesome and develops early consumption
among the workers. A constant stream of water is kept flowing over the
stone so that the crystal shall always be moist, as the friction would
otherwise hurt it, and the subsequent addition of water would be liable
to cause a fracture. The final polishing is done on a wooden wheel with
tripoli, or by means of a leather buffer with tripoli or rouge.[323]

There are three fine crystal balls in the collection of the American
Museum of Natural History. One, apparently perfect, measures 5½
inches in diameter and was cut from a crystal found in Mokolumne,
Calaveras Co., California; the second is 6½ inches in diameter and
is from the same locality, but not entirely perfect. These were shown
in the department of the Tiffany Collection prepared by the author,
and were exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900 as part of the J.
Pierpont Morgan gift to the American Museum of Natural History. Another
fine crystal ball is now to be seen in the American Museum of Natural
History, New York; this was donated to the institution. It measures
4-11/16 inches in diameter, is of wonderful purity, and the cutting
has been executed with such a high degree of precision that an ideally
perfect sphere has been produced.[324]

Crystal balls have been found occasionally in tombs or in funerary
urns, and their presence in sepulchres may perhaps be considered to
have been due to a belief that they possessed certain magic properties.
In the tomb of Childeric (ca. 436-481 A.D.), the father of Clovis,
a rock-crystal sphere was found which was for a time preserved in
the Bibliothèque Royale, Paris, and later in the Louvre Museum; it
measures 1½ inches in diameter.[325] The chance discovery of a
number of crystal balls is related by Montfaucon. Towards the end of
the sixteenth century, the canons of San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome,
wished to have some repairs made to a house they owned, just outside
of the city walls, and sent thither some workmen with the order to
break up or remove two large, superimposed stones, which were much in
the way. The workmen proceeded to break the upper stone, but were much
astonished to find embedded within it an alabaster funerary urn with
its cover. This had been hidden between the two stones, a space for its
reception having been hollowed out in the upper and lower stones, so
that it fitted within them. Opening the urn there were found inside,
mingled with the ashes, twenty crystal balls, a gold ring with a stone
setting, a needle, an ivory comb, and some bits of gold wire. The
presence of the needle was taken to indicate conclusively that the
ashes were those of a woman.[326]

The discovery of the tomb of Childeric was made, May 27, 1653, by a
deaf-mute mason, named Adrien Quinquin, while he was excavating for the
restoration of one of the dependencies of the church of Saint Brice de
Tournai. One of the most interesting objects found in the tomb was the
golden signet of Childeric bearing his head and the legend _Childerici
regis_. The earliest description is given in a work by Chiflet entitled
“Anastasis Childerici,” “Resurrection of Childeric,” published by
Plantin of Antwerp in 1655. The various ornaments were sent by the
Spanish Governor-General of the Netherlands to the Austrian treasury in
Vienna, and were not long afterward, in 1664, graciously donated by
Emperor Leopold I to King Louis XIV, at the instance of Johann Philip
of Schonborn, Archbishop of Mainz, who was under great obligation to
the French sovereign.


Japan, five inches diameter. Morgan collection, American Museum of
Natural History, New York.]

In Paris the various ornaments were preserved in the Bibliothèque
Royale until the night of November 5-6, 1831, when many of them, with
other valuables, were stolen by an ex-convict. Closely pursued by the
police, the thief threw his booty into the Seine; much of the plunder
was subsequently recovered, but the signet of Childeric was lost for
ever. The crystal ball had not seemed of sufficient value to tempt the
thief and was left undisturbed; it was later, in 1852, deposited in the
Louvre Museum.[327]

In a personal communication to Abbé Cochet made in 1858 by Mr. Thomas
Wright, the latter stated that he had seen at Downing in Flintshire
with Lord Fielding five crystal balls, bearing labels declaring that
they came from the sepulchres of the kings of France violated at the
time of the French Revolution. They had been purchased about 1810 at
the sale of the Duchess of Portland’s effects.[328]

Among the crystal balls found in French sepulchres may be noted one
discovered by Rigollot in 1853 at Arras, and preserved in the Museum
of that city; this still has the original gold mounting serving to
attach it to the necklace from which it had been worn suspended.
Another found at or near Levas was in the possession of M. Dancoise, a
notary of Hénin-Liétard, dept. Pas de Calais.[329] In the Bibliothèque
at Dieppe there is a crystal ball, 32 mm. in diameter, found at
Douvrend, dept. Seine-Inferieure, in 1838, in a Merovingian tomb; this
is pierced through.[330] The department of Moselle supplied three
discoveries of this kind, crystal balls having been found in a tomb at
St. Preux-la-Montagne, Sablon and Moineville near Briey, the latter
measuring 36 mm. in diameter.[331]

The Saxon tombs of England have also furnished a contingent of crystal
balls, for example at Chatham, at Chassel Down on the Isle of Wight,
where four were discovered, at Breach Down, Barham, near Canterbury, at
Fairford, Gloucestershire, and also in Kent.[332]

We should also note a crystal ball found in a funerary urn at Hinsbury
Hill, Northamptonshire;[333] this as well as the one found at Fairford
was facetted.[334] From St. Nicholas, Worcestershire, is reported a
crystal ball 1½ inches in diameter.[335]

In his “Hydrotaphia, or Urn Burial,” published in 1658, Sir Thomas
Browne (1605-1682), author of the “Religio Medici,” relates that there
was at that time in the possession of Cardinal Farnese, an urn in
which, besides a number of antique engraved gems, an ape of agate,
and an elephant of amber, there had been found a crystal ball and six
“nuts” of crystal.[336]

One of the largest and most perfect crystal balls is in the Dresden
“Grüne Gewölbe” (Green Vaults). This weighs 15 German pounds and
measures 6⅔ inches in diameter; it was undoubtedly used for purposes
of augury. Ten thousand dollars was the price paid for it in 1780.

A crystal ball known as the Currahmore Crystal, because it is kept
at the seat of that name belonging to the Marquis of Waterford, has
long enjoyed and still enjoys the repute of possessing magical powers.
It is of rock-crystal, and the legend runs that one of the Le Poers
brought it from the Holy Land, where it had been given him by the
great crusader Godefroy de Bouillon (1058-1100). The ball is a trifle
larger than an orange and a silver ring encircles it at the middle.
The chief and much-prized virtue of this crystal is its power to cure
cattle of any one of the many distempers to which they are subject. Its
application for this purpose is rather peculiar, for the cattle are not
touched with it, but driven up and down a stream in which it has been
laid. Not only in the immediate neighborhood of Currahmore is resort
had to this magic stone by the peasants, but requests for its loan are
often made from far distant parts of Ireland. The privilege is almost
always accorded and has never been abused, the crystal being in every
case conscientiously returned to its rightful owner.[337]

The names “ghost-crystals,” “phantom-crystals,” “spectre-crystals,”
“shadow-crystals,” etc., are applied to a form of quartz in which the
crystallization was interrupted from time to time, so that in the
transparent successive layers there is an occasional opaque layer,
often no thicker than the finest possible dusting of a whiter material.
Sometimes as many as fifteen or twenty of these successive growths are
observable, one over the other. When these crystals are in the natural
form, they show beautifully from the sides and ends. Sometimes such
crystals are found after they have been rolled in the beds of mountain
torrents until they have become entirely opaque, but when the surfaces
are polished, the “phantom,” “spectre,” or “ghost,” appears with
wonderful beauty. Occasionally the entire crystal has been worn down
to a small part of the original prism, in which case it is cut into a
ball. The ball may seem to be absolutely pure, but when held in certain
lights little tent-like markings can often be observed; sometimes only
one marking is visible, but there may be as many as twenty. These
are occasionally due to a layer of smoky material, and, though they
add a charm to the ball, they detract from its value. Nevertheless,
crystal-gazers may find an additional interest when the “ghostly” or
“spectral” interior exists in a crystal ball. This growth is similar
in kind to that seen at times in opaque quartz, forming what is known
as cap-quartz; here the crystallizations can frequently be broken
apart so that they fit one over the other in many successive layers.
Occasionally the regular crystalline development will be interrupted,
as it were, and in place of the original crystal continuing its growth
harmoniously, a larger crystal will form on a smaller one, forming a
sort of mushroom, or “cap,” or “stilt” quartz, as it is termed.


In possession of the author.]

[Illustration: 1. Rock-crystal, engraved with a map of the world.
Russian work.

2, 3. Rock-crystal balls (one elipsoidal) mounted in silver. Probably
twelfth or thirteenth century. Used for ornaments and possibly for
scrying purposes. Collection of Sir Charles Hercules Read.]


Religious Uses of Precious Stones, Pagan, Hebrew, and Christian.

The use of stones for the decoration of images of the gods, and in
religious ceremonies, more especially in those connected with the
burial of the dead, can be traced back to a remote antiquity. Indeed,
we may regard this religious use of precious or peculiar stones as the
natural development of the original idea of their talismanic virtue.
If a certain supernatural essence manifested itself in the stone, what
more fit object could be imagined for the decoration of statues of the
gods, or to bear engraved texts from the sacred writings, and to be
placed with the bodies of the dead as “passports” to ensure the safe
entry of the souls of the departed into the better land?

While this employment of mineral substances for religious purposes
is practically universal, the earliest recorded instances come from
Egypt, and concern the Egyptian custom of engraving texts from a very
ancient ritual composition, called the Book of the Dead, upon certain
semi-precious stones which had been cut into various symbolical
forms. This “Book of the Dead,” composed of a number of distinct
chapters, each complete in itself, describes the passage of the soul
of the deceased through the realm of the dead (Amenti). Here the soul
addresses the gods and other beings who receive it, and the prayers
and invocations recited in the chapters are supposed to procure a safe
passage and protection from all evil influences or impediments.

One of the most usual of the engraved amulets is the buckle or tie
(thet). This was generally of red jasper, carnelian, or red porphyry,
or else of red glass or faience or of sycamore wood. The wood was
symbolical of the blood of Isis, and the amulets were sometimes
engraved with the 156th chapter of the Book of the Dead; they were
placed on the mummy’s neck. The formula engraved reads:

 Chapter of the buckle of carnelian which is put on the neck of the

 The blood of Isis, the virtue of Isis; the magic power of Isis, the
 magic power of the Eye are protecting this the Great one; they prevent
 any wrong being done to him.

 This chapter is said on a buckle of carnelian dipped into the juice of
 ankhama, inlaid into the substance of the sycamore-wood and put on the
 neck of the deceased.

 Whoever has this chapter read to him, the virtue of Isis protects him;
 Horus, the son of Isis, rejoices in seeing him, and no way is barred
 to him, unfailingly.[338]

Another amulet is the _tet_. The hieroglyph represents a mason’s
table and the word signifies “firmness, stability, preservation.”
These figures, made of faience, gold, carnelian, lapis-lazuli, and
other materials, were placed on the neck of the mummy to afford

The “papyrus scepter,” _uat_, is usually cut from matrix-emerald or
made of faience of similar hue. _Uat_ means “verdure, flourishing,
greenness”; placed on the neck of the mummy it was regarded as
emblematic of the eternal youth it was hoped the deceased would enjoy
in the realm of the dead. In the 159th chapter of the Book of the Dead,
we read of an _uat_ of matrix-emerald; it was believed to be the gift
of Thoth, serving to protect the limbs of the deceased.[340]

The amulet representing the pillow, _urs_, was generally made of
hematite. The 166th chapter of the Book of the Dead is sometimes
engraved thereon. Dr. Budge renders this as follows:

 Rise up from non-existence, O prostrate one! They watch over thy
 head at the exalted horizon. Thou overthrowest thine enemies; thou
 triumphest over what they do against thee, as Horus, the avenger of
 his father, this Osiris[341] has commanded to be done for thee. Thou
 cuttest off the heads of thine enemies; never shall they carry off
 from thee thy head (?). Verily Osiris maketh slaughter at the coming
 forth of the heads of his enemies; may they never remove his head from

Of all these amulets, the type most frequently encountered has the
shape of a heart, _ab_. These are found of carnelian, green jasper,
basalt, lapis-lazuli, and other hard materials. The heart, regarded
in ancient Egypt as the seat of life, was the object of especial care
after death. Enclosed in a special receptacle it was buried with the
mummy, and the belief was that only after it had been weighed in the
balance of the underworld, against the symbol of law, could it regain
its place in the body of the deceased. The heart was symbolically
represented by the scarab.[342]

A fine example of a heart amulet shows on one side the figure of
the goddess Neith with the pennu bird or phœnix, an emblem of the
resurrection, and bears inscribed the chapter of the heart.[343]

The following extract from the Book of the Dead treats of the formula
to be recited over a funeral scarab cut from a hard stone, perhaps the
lapis-lazuli. Egyptian tradition assigned this chapter to the reign of
Semti, the fifth king of the 1st Dynasty, about 4400 B.C.[344]

 Chapter of not allowing a man’s heart to oppose him in the divine
 regions of the nether world.

 My heart which came from my mother, my heart necessary for my
 existence on earth, do not rise up against me, do not testify as an
 adversary against me among the divine chiefs in regard to what I have
 done before the gods; do not separate from me before the great lord of
 Amenti. Hail to thee, O heart of Osiris, dwelling in the West! Hail
 to you, gods of the braided beard, august by your sceptre! Speak well
 of the Osiris N; make him prosper by Nehbka. I am reunited with the
 earth, I am not dead in Amenti. There I am a pure spirit for eternity.

 To be said over a scarabæus fashioned from a hard stone, coated with
 gold, and placed on the heart of the man after he has been anointed
 with oil. The following words should be said over him as a magic
 charm: “My heart which came from my mother, my heart is necessary for
 me in my transformations.”

 Take your aliments, pass around the turquoise basin, and go to him who
 is in his temple and from whom the gods proceed.

The most ancient inscription of this especially favorite text is on
the plinth of a scarab in the British Museum bearing the cartouche of
Sebak-em-saf, a king of the XIV Dynasty, 2300 B.C. It is made from an
exceptionally fine piece of green jasper, the body and head of the
beetle being carefully carved out of the stone, while the legs are of
gold, carved in relief. The scarab is inserted into a gold base of
tabloid form, and was found at Kurna (Thebes) by Mr. Salt. As green
jasper was believed to possess altogether exceptional virtues as an
amulet, this particular scarab was probably regarded as especially


Italian, seventeenth century.]


The Scribe Pa-bak: Let him say: “O Heart that I received from my mother
(to be said twice), O Heart that belongs to my spirit, rise not against
me as witness, oppose me not before the judges, contradict me not in
the presence of the Guardian of the Scales. Thou art the spirit that is
in my body, Khnum that makest sound my limbs. When thou comest to the
place of judgment whither we go, cause not my name to be rejected by
the assessors, but let the pronouncement of judgment be favorable, and
such as causes joy to the heart.”]

It appears to have been the rule to engrave certain special chapters
of the Book of the Dead, among those referring to the heart, upon
particular stones. Thus, for instance, the 26th chapter was engraved on
lapis-lazuli, the 27th upon feldspar, the 30th upon serpentine, and the
29th upon carnelian.[345] This may perhaps have been originally due to
some association of the god principally invoked in the text with the
precious substance upon which the text was engraved.

The form of an eye, fashioned out of lapis-lazuli and ornamented with
gold, constituted an amulet of great power; it was inscribed with the
140th chapter of the Book of the Dead. On the last day of the month
Mechir, an offering “of all things good and holy” was to be made before
this symbolic eye, for on that day the supreme god Ra was believed to
place such an image upon his head. Sometimes these eyes were made of
jasper, and could then be laid upon any of the limbs of a mummy.[346]

Of the image of Truth, made from a lapis-lazuli and worn by the
Egyptian high-priest, Ælian aptly says that he would prefer the judge
should not bear Truth about with him, fashioned and expressed in an
image, but rather in his very soul.[347]

Among the Assyrian texts giving the formulæ for incantations and
various magical operations, there is one which treats of an ornament
composed of seven brilliant stones, to be worn on the breast of the
king as an amulet; indeed, so great was the virtue of these stones that
they were supposed to constitute an ornament for the gods also. The
text, as rendered by Fossey, is as follows:[348]

 Incantation. The splendid stones! The splendid stones! The stones of
 abundance and of joy.

 Made resplendent for the flesh of the gods.

 The _ḥulalini_ stone, the _sirgarru_ stone, the _ḥulalu_ stone, the
 _sându_ stone, the _uknû_ stone.

 The _dushu_ stone, the precious stone _elmêshu_, perfect in celestial

 The stone of which the _pingu_ is set in gold.

 Placed upon the shining breast of the king as an ornament.

 Azagsud, high-priest of Bêl, make them shine, make them sparkle!

 Let the evil one keep aloof from the dwelling!

The names of two of these gems, the _ḥulalu_ and the _ḥulalini_,
suggest that they were of similar class. As the fundamental meaning of
the root whence the names are formed is “to perforate,” it is barely
possible that we have here the long-sought Assyrian designation for
the pearl, which was commonly regarded in ancient times as a stone.
In Arabic the perforated pearl has a special name to distinguish it
from the unperforated, or “virgin pearl.” All we know of the _sându_
is that it must have been a dark-colored stone. The _uknû_, however,
is almost certainly the lapis-lazuli. It is often mentioned in the Tel
el Amarna tablets as having been among the gifts sent by the kings
of Babylonia and Assyria to the Pharaohs of Egypt, and also by the
latter to friendly Asiatic monarchs. Of the _sirgarru_ and _dushu_
stones nothing is known, but the _elmêshu_, the seventh in the list,
was evidently regarded as the most brilliant and splendid of all;
indeed, Prof. Friedrich Delitzsch hazards the conjecture that it is
the diamond. In any case this stone must have been set in rings and
considered very valuable, for in an Assyrian text occurs the following
passage: “Like an _elmêshu_ ring may I be precious in thine eyes.”[349]
The fact that this stone is described as having “a celestial beauty”
might incline us to believe that it was a sapphire.

The idea of this mystic ornament, composed of seven gems, probably
originated in Babylonia, where the number seven was looked upon as
especially sacred. As we shall see, there is some reason to attribute
a Hindu origin to the nine gems, “the covering” of the King of Tyre,
enumerated by Ezekiel, while the breastplate on the ephod of the Hebrew
high-priest, with its twelve stones, symbolizing the twelve months
of the year, appears to be of later date, and seems to belong to the
time of the return from the Babylonian Captivity and the building of
the second temple. Certainly, the historic and prophetic books of the
Old Testament know nothing of it, although the Urim and Thummim are
mentioned and the elaborate description given in Exodus is generally
regarded by Biblical scholars as belonging to the so-called “Priestly
Codex,” the latest part of the Pentateuch, gradually evolved during the
Exile and given its final form in the fifth century B.C.

In the very ancient Assyrio-Babylonian epic narrative of the descent
of the goddess Ishtar to Hades, the guardian of the infernal regions
obliges the goddess to lay aside some part of her clothing and
ornaments at each of the seven gates through which she passes. At the
fifth, we are told that she stripped off her girdle of _aban alâdi_, or
stones which aided parturition.[350] It has been asserted, and perhaps
with some reason, that of the many mineral substances supposed to
possess this virtue, jade (nephrite) or jadeite was the earliest known.

The Babylonian legends also tell of trees on which grow precious
stones. In the Gilgamesh epic a mystic cedar tree is described. This
grew in the Elamite sanctuary of Irnina and was under the guardianship
of the Elamite king Humbaba. Of this tree an inscription relates:

    It produces _samtu_-stones as fruit;
    Its boughs hang with them, glorious to behold;
    The crown of it produces lapis-lazuli;
    Its fruit is costly to gaze upon.

Another tree bearing precious stones was seen by the hero Gilgamesh,
after he had passed through darkness for the space of twelve hours.
This must have been a most resplendent object, to judge from the
following description on a cuneiform tablet:[351]

    It bore precious stones for fruits;
    Its branches were glorious to the sight;
    The twigs were crystals;
    It bore fruit costly to the sight.

One of the rarest and most significant specimens illustrating the use
of valuable stones for religious ceremonial purposes in the pagan
world is in the Morgan-Tiffany collection. It is an ancient Babylonian
axe-head made of banded agate. So regular, indeed, is the disposition
of the layers in this agate that one might be justified in denominating
it an onyx. Its prevailing hue is what may be called a “deer-brown”;
some white splotches now apparent are evidently due to the action of
fire or that of some alkali. This axe-head bears an inscription in
archaic cuneiform characters, and presumably in the so-called Sumerian
tongue, that believed to have been spoken by the founders of the
Babylonian civilization. The form of the inscription indicates that the
object dates from an earlier period than 2000 B.C.


Agate, with inscription. Morgan collection, American Museum of Natural
History, New York.]

While the characters are clearly cut and can be easily deciphered,
the inscription is nevertheless exceedingly difficult to translate.
It is evident that the axe-head was a votive offering to a divinity,
probably on the part of a certain governor named Adduggish; but whether
the divinity in question was Shamash (the sun-god), or the god Adad,
or some other member of the Babylonian pantheon, cannot be determined
with any finality. The French assyriologist, François Lenormant, who
first described this axe-head in 1879, and Prof. Ira Maurice Price, of
the Semitic Department of Chicago University, both admit that it may
have been consecrated to Adad. As the weather-god, the thunderer, the
axe-symbol would have been more especially appropriate to him in view
of the usage, almost universal among primitive peoples, of associating
stone axe-heads or axe-shaped stones with the thunderbolt, and hence
with the divinity who was believed to have launched it toward the earth.

This Sumerian axe-head measures 134.5 mm. in length (5.3 inches), 35.5
mm. in width (1.4 inches), and 31 mm. in thickness (1.22 inches).
It was originally secured by Cardinal Stefano Borgia (1731-1804),
for some time secretary of the College of the Propaganda in Rome,
who probably acquired it from some missionary to the East. From the
cardinal’s family it passed for 15,000 lire ($3000) to the Tyszkiewicz
Collection, and when the objects therein comprised were disposed of at
public sale, the writer purchased it for the American Museum of Natural
History in New York, April 16, 1902.[352]

At Alicante, in Spain, cut upon the pedestal of an ancient statue,
supposed to have been that of Isis, was found an inscription giving a
list of the offerings dedicated by divine command, by a certain Fabia
Fabiana in honor of her granddaughter. Evidently the fond grandmother
had given of her best and choicest jewels which were used to adorn the
statue. They consisted of a diadem set with a “unio” (a large round
pearl) and six smaller pearls, two emeralds, seven beryls, two rubies,
and a hyacinth. In each ear of the statue was inserted an ear-ring
bearing a pearl and an emerald; about the neck was hung a necklace
consisting of four rows of emeralds and pearls, eighteen of the former
and thirty-six of the latter. Two circlets bound around the ankles
contained eleven beryls and two emeralds, while two bracelets were
set with eight emeralds and eight pearls. The adornment was completed
by four rings, two bearing emeralds, while two, placed on the little
finger, were set with diamonds. On the sandals were eight beryls.[353]

A notable instance of an antique votive offering is the necklace
of valuable precious stones dedicated to the statue of Vesta. The
Byzantine historian Zosimus attributes the tragic end of Stilicho’s
widow, Serena, to her having despoiled the image of Vesta of this
costly ornament, and finds a sort of poetic justice in the manner of
her death, since she was strangled by a cord which encircled her neck.

It is not only in the works of the Fathers of the Christian Church
that we find precious stones used as similes of religious virtue, in
Buddhist writings also we have examples of this. In the “Questions of
King Milinda,” composed perhaps as early as the third century of our
era, occur the following passages:[354]

 Just, O King, as the diamond is pure throughout; just so, O King,
 should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be perfectly pure in
 his means of livelihood. This, O King, is the first quality of the
 diamond he ought to have.

 And again, O King, as the diamond cannot be alloyed with other
 substance; just so, O King, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in
 effort, never mix with wicked men as friends. This, O King, is the
 second quality of the diamond he ought to have.

 And again, O King, just as the diamond is set together with the most
 costly gems; just so, O King, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest
 in effort, associate with those of the highest excellence, with men
 who have entered the first or second or third stage of the Noble
 Path, with the jewel treasures of the Arahats, of the recluses of
 the threefold wisdom, or of the sixfold insight. This, O King, is
 the third quality of the diamond he ought to have. For it was said,
 O King, by the Blessed one,[355] the god over all gods, in the Sutta

    Let the pure associate with the pure,
    Ever in recollection firm;
    Dwelling harmoniously wise,
    Thus shall ye put an end to griefs.

The description of the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelations finds a
curious parallel in the Hindu Puranas. Here we are told that the divine
Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, took up his abode in the
wonderful city Devârakâ, and was visited there by the various orders of
gods and geniuses.[356]

 Gods, Asuras, Gandharas, Kinnaras began to pour into Dwáraká, to see
 Krishna and Valaráma.

 Some descended from the sky, some from their cars—and alighting
 underneath the banyan tree, looked on Dwáraká, the matchless.

 The city was square,—it measured a hundred _yojonas_, and over all,
 was decked in pearls, rubies, diamonds, and other gems.

 The city was high,—it was ornamented with gems; and it was furnished
 with cupolas of rubies and diamonds,—with emerald pillars, and
 with court-yards of rubies. It contained endless temples. It had
 cross-roads decked with sapphires, and highways blazing with gems. It
 blazed like the meridian sun in summer.

As compared with the description in Revelations we cannot fail to note
the lack of definiteness. Instead of the well-ordered scheme of color
as represented by the twelve precious stones dedicated to the twelve
tribes of Israel, the mystic Hindu city is simply a gorgeous mass of
the most brilliant gems known in India.

The poetic description of the royal city Kusavati, given in the Maha
Sudassana Suttanta, may perhaps have originated in some tradition
regarding Ecbatana or Babylon. Seven ramparts surrounded Kusavati,
the materials being respectively gold, silver, beryl, crystal, agate,
coral and (for the last) “all kinds of gems.” In these ramparts
were four gates—one of gold, one of silver, one of crystal and one
of jade—and at each gate seven pillars were fixed, each three or
four times the height of a man and composed of the seven precious
substances that constituted the ramparts. Beyond the ramparts were
seven rows of palm trees, the fourth row having trunks of silver and
leaves and fruit of gold; then followed palms of beryl, with leaves
and fruit of beryl; agate palms, whose fruit and leaves were of coral,
and coral palms, with leaves and fruit of agate; lastly, the palms
whose trunks were composed of “all kinds of gems,” had leaves and
fruits of the same description, “and when these rows of palm trees were
shaken by the wind, arose a sound sweet and pleasant, and charming and

In Greek literature also there is a “gem-city,”—namely, the city
of the Islands of the Blessed, described by Lucian in his Vera
Historia.[358] The walls of this city were of emerald, the temples
of the gods were formed of beryl, and the altars therein of single
amethysts of enormous size. The city itself was all of gold as a fit
setting for these marvellous gems.

Hindu mythology tells of a wonderful tank formed of crystal, the
work of the god Maya. Its bottom and sides were encrusted with
beautiful pearls and in the centre was a raised platform blazing with
the most gorgeous precious stones. Although it contained no water,
the transparent crystal produced the illusion of water, and those
who approached the tank were tempted to plunge into it and take a
refreshing bath in what appeared to be clear, fresh water.[359]

The Kalpa Tree of Hindu religion, a symbolical offering to the gods, is
described by Hindu poets as a glowing mass of precious stones. Pearls
hung from its boughs and beautiful emeralds from its shoots; the tender
young leaves were corals, and the ripe fruit consisted of rubies. The
roots were of sapphire; the base of the trunk of diamond, the uppermost
part of cat’s-eye, while the section between was of topaz. The foliage
(except the young leaves) was entirely formed of zircons.[360]

The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Heuen Tsang, who visited India between 629
and 645 A.D., tells of the wonderful “Diamond Throne” which, according
to the legend, had once stood near the Tree of Knowledge, beneath whose
spreading branches Gautama Buddha is said to have received his supreme
revelation of truth. This throne had been constructed in the age called
the “Kalpa of the Sages”; its origin was contemporaneous with that of
the earth, and its foundations were at the centre of all things; it
measured one hundred feet in circumference, and was made of a single
diamond. When the whole earth was convulsed by storm or earthquake this
resplendent throne remained immovable. Upon it the thousand Buddhas of
the Kalpa had reposed and had fallen into the “ecstasy of the diamond.”
However, since the world has passed into the present and last age, sand
and earth have completely covered the “Diamond Throne,” so that it can
no longer be seen by human eye.[361]

In the Kalpa Sutra, written in Prakrit, one of the sacred books of the
Jains, the rivals of the Buddhists, it is said that Harinegamesi, the
divine commander of the foot troops, seized fourteen precious stones,
the chief of which was _vajra_, the diamond, and rejecting their
grosser particles, retained only the finer essence to aid him in his
transformations. In the same sutra the following glowing description is
given of the adornment of the surpassingly beautiful goddess Sri:[362]

 On all parts of her body shone ornaments and trinkets, composed
 of many jewels and precious stones, yellow and red gold. The pure
 cup-like pair of her breasts sparkled, encircled by a garland of
 Kunda flowers in which glittered a string of pearls. She wore
 strings of pearls made by clever and diligent artists, strung with
 wonderful strings, a necklace of jewels with a string of Dinaras, and
 a trembling pair of ear-rings, touching her shoulders, diffused a
 brilliancy; but the united beauties and charms of these ornaments were
 only subservient to the loveliness of her face.

As engraved decoration of a fine Chinese vase of white jade with
delicate crown markings, appear eight storks, each of which bears
in its beak an attribute of one of the Eight Taoist Immortals. Thus
we have the double gourd as attribute of the most powerful of these
demi-gods known as “Li with the Iron Crutch,” whose aid is sought by
magicians and astrologers; the magic sword, with which Lu T’ung-pin
vanquished the spirits of evil that roamed through the Chinese Empire
in the form of terrible dragons; the basket of flowers, attribute of
Lan Ts’ai-ho, the patron of gardeners and florists; the royal fan used
by Han Chung-li, of the Chow Dynasty (1122-220 B.C.), to call again to
life the spirits of the departed; the lotus flower, emblematic of the
virgin Ho Hsien-Ku, venerated somewhat as a patron saint by Chinese
housewives, and who acquired the gift of immortal life by the help of
a powder of pulverized jade and mother-of-pearl; the bamboo tubes and
rods with which the mighty necromancer Chang Kuo, patron of artists,
evoked the souls of the dead; the flute of the musicians’ patron,
Han Hsiang-tzu, who owed his immortality to his craft in stealthily
entering the Taoist paradise and securing a peach from the sacred
tree of life; and, lastly, the castanets of Tsao Kuo-chin, especially
revered by Chinese actors.

The prevailing belief in India, that treasures offered to the images
or shrines of the gods will bring good fortune to the generous donor,
finds expression in many ancient and modern Hindu writings. In the Rig
Veda it is said that “by giving gold the giver receives a life of light
and glory.” In the Samaveda Upanishad we read: “Givers are high in
Heaven. Those who give horses live conjointly with the sun; givers of
gold enjoy eternal life; givers of clothes live in the moon.” Another
text (Hâiti Smriti) reads:[363]

 Coral in worship will subdue all the three worlds. He who worships
 Krishna with rubies will be reborn as a powerful emperor; if with a
 small ruby, he will be born a king. Offering emeralds will produce
 Gyana or Knowledge of the Soul and of the Eternal. If he worships with
 a diamond, even the impossible, or Nirvâna, that is Eternal Life in
 the highest Heaven, will be secured. If with a flower of gold a man
 worships for a month, he will get as much wealth as Kuvera, the Lord
 of Rubies, and will hereafter attain to Nirvâna and to Muskwa, or

At Multan, one of the most ancient cities of India, situated in the
Punjab, 164 miles southwest of Lahore, there was in the Hindu temple
an idol having for eyes two great pearls. The eyes of the rude image
of Jagganath at Puri, in Bengal (Orissa), are said to have at one
time been formed of precious stones, as were also those of the idols
of Vishnu at Chandernagore and in the great seven-walled temple at
Srirangam, whence appears to have come the Orloff diamond.

In ceremonial worship the Hindus recognize sixteen offerings, the ninth
consisting of gems and jewelry, and a divine assurance of adequate
return to the giver appears in the Bhagavat Purana, where Krishna
says, “Whatever is best and most valued in this world and that which
is most dear to you should be offered to me, and it will be received
back in immense and endless quantity.” On certain appointed days the
holy images are decorated with the choicest garments and the richest
jewelry in the temple treasury; this is especially the case on the
day celebrated as the birthday of the respective divinity. However,
the gifts are believed to retain their sacred character as dedicated
objects only for a comparatively brief period, varying from a month or
more for garments and vestments, to ten or twelve years for jewels,
such as the naoratna or the panchratna, the prized and revered jewels,
composed respectively of nine and five gems. The panchratna usually
consists of gold, diamond, sapphire, ruby, and pearl. After the gifts
have ceased to be worthy of use in the temples, they may be disposed
of to defray the expenses of the foundation, including the cost of
supporting the numerous priests and attendants. As the objects still
retain their sacred associations, they are eagerly bought by pious
Hindus, who undoubtedly regard them as valuable talismans. Thus they
not only serve to bring blessings upon the donors, but also constitute
one of the chief sources of income for the temples.[364]

One of the oldest and perhaps the most interesting talismanic jewel
is that known as the naoratna or nararatna, the “nine-gem” jewel. It
is mentioned in the old Hindu ratnaçastras, or treatises on gems,
for example, in the Nararatnaparîkshâ, where it is described as

Manner of composing the setting of a ring:

  In the centre     The Sun              The Ruby
  To the East       Venus                The Diamond
  To the Southeast  The Moon             The Pearl
  To the South      Mars                 The Coral
  To the Southwest  Râhu                 The Jacinth
  To the West       Saturn               The Sapphire
  To the Northeast  Jupiter              The Topaz
  To the North      The descending node  The Cat’s-eye
  To the Northwest  Mercury              The Emerald
                  Such is the planetary setting.

From this description we learn that the jewel was designed to combine
all the powerful astrological influences. The gems chosen to correspond
with the various heavenly bodies, and with the aspects known as the
ascending and descending nodes, differ in some cases from those
selected in the West. For instance, the emerald is here assigned to
Mercury, whereas in Western tradition this stone was usually the
representative of Venus, although it is sometimes associated with
Mercury also.[366] On the other hand, the diamond is dedicated to
Venus, instead of to the Sun as in the Western world.


Comprising diamond, ruby, cat’s-eye, pearl, zircon, coral, emerald,
topaz, sapphire, chrysoberyl, garnet, carnelian, quartz and
rock-crystal. A pendant is the naoratna, or “nine-gem” ornament,
suspended from which is a pear-shaped pearl.

In possession of the late Rajah Sir Surindro Mohun Tagore, of Calcutta.
From his “Mani Málá,” Calcutta, 1879, Vol. I, iv-506 pp., 2 plates,
portrait and plate; Vol. II, xiv + ii 507-1046 pp. Contains 49 figures
on 10 plates.]

In the naoratna the five gems known to the Hindus as the mahâratnâni,
or “great gems,”—the diamond, pearl, ruby, sapphire, and
emerald,—were, as we see, associated with the Sun and Moon, Venus,
Mercury, and Saturn, while the four lesser gems (uparatnâni)—namely,
the jacinth, topaz, cat’s-eye, and coral—represent Mars, Jupiter,
Râhu, and the descending node. The two last named are very important
factors in astrological calculations and are often called the Dragon’s
Head and the Dragon’s Tail. These designations signify the ascending
and descending nodes, indicating the passage of the ecliptic by the
Moon in her ascent above and descent below this arbitrary plane.

In three somewhat obscure passages of the Rig Veda there are references
to the seven ratnas. Whether these were gems cannot be determined,
since the primary meaning of the word ratna is “a precious object,” not
necessarily a precious stone; but it is possible that we may have here
an allusion to some earlier form of talisman, in which only the Sun,
Moon, and the five planets were represented.

It is easy to understand that such a talisman as the naoratna,
combining the favorable influences of all the celestial bodies supposed
to govern the destinies of man, must have been highly prized, and we
may well assume that only the rich and powerful could own this talisman
in a form ensuring its greatest efficacy. For the Hindus believed that
the virtue of every gem depended upon its perfection, and they regarded
a poor or defective stone as a source of unhappiness and misfortune.

In modern times this talisman is sometimes differently composed. A
specimen shown in the Indian Court of the Paris Exposition of 1878
consisted of the following stones: coral, topaz, sapphire, ruby, flat
diamond, cut diamond, emerald, amethyst, and carbuncle. Here the cut
diamond, amethyst, and carbuncle take the place of the jacinth, pearl,
and cat’s-eye.

Instead of uniting the different planetary gems in a single ring, they
have sometimes been set separately in a series of rings to be worn
successively on the days originally named after the celestial bodies.
We read in the life of Apollonius of Tyana (first century A.D.) by
Philostratus: “Damis also relates that Iarchas gave to Apollonius seven
rings named after the planets, and the latter wore these, one by one,
in the order of the weekdays.”[367] Although it is not expressly stated
that the appropriate stones were set in the rings, the custom of the
time makes it probable that this was the case.


  English    Sanskrit    Burmese  Chinese (Canton) Arabic

  Diamond    Vajra       Chein    Chun-syak        Mâs
  Ruby       Manikya     Budmiya  Se-fla-yu-syak   Yâkût bihar
  Cat’s-eye  Vaidûrya    Châno    Mâu-ji gan       Ain al-hirr
  Zircon     Gomeda      Gomok    Pi-si            Hajar yamânî
  Pearl      Muktâ       Pa-le    Chun-ti          Lûlû
  Coral      Pravâla     Tadâ     Sau-ho-chi       Murjân
  Emerald    Marakata    Mujâ     Luk-syak         Zumurrud
  Topaz      Pushyaraga  Outfiyâ  Si-lang-syak     Yâkût al-azrak
  Sapphire   Nîla        Nîlâ     Chang-syak       Yâkût al-açfar

Among the Burmese the value for occult purposes of the nine gems
composing the naoratna, or nararatna, is strictly determined in the
following order: first, the ruby; second, the diamond, or rock-crystal;
third, the pearl; fourth, the coral; fifth, the topaz; sixth, the
sapphire; seventh, the cat’s-eye; eighth, the amethyst; and ninth, the
emerald.[368] That the ruby, diamond and pearl should occupy places of
honor is quite natural, but the relegation of the sapphire to sixth
place, after coral and topaz, seems to be a rather unfair treatment of
this beautiful stone.


Probably the largest mass of sculptured jade in existence. The design
commemorates the meetings of a literary club of the fourth century. The
Chinese characters (colored red) in the side of the cliff express the
famous _Lan Ting Hsu_, or “Epidendron Pavilion Essay,” by Wang Hi-che
(A.D. 321-379), ever since used by the Chinese as a model of elegant
caligraphy, and were engraved directly from the autograph of the
Emperor Ch’ien-lung, written by him in 1784. Height 23 inches, width
38½ x 18½ inches; weight 640 pounds. From the Summer Palace, west
of Peking. Collection of T. D. Walker, of Minneapolis, Minn.]

The yellow girdles worn by the Chinese emperors of the Manchu dynasty
were variously ornamented with precious stones according to the
different ceremonial observances at which the emperor presided. For
the services in the Temple of Heaven, the very appropriate choice
of lapis-lazuli ornaments was made; for the Altar of Earth, yellow
jade was favored; for a sacrifice on the Altar of the Sun, the gems
were red corals, while white jade was selected for the ceremonies
before the Altar of the Moon. Jade of different colors was used for
the six precious tablets employed in the worship of heaven and earth
and the four cardinal points. For the worship of Heaven there was
the dark-green round tablet; for that of Earth, an octagonal tablet
of yellow jade. The East was worshipped with a green pointed tablet;
the West was worshipped with the white “tiger-tablet”; the North with
a black, semi-circular tablet, and the South with a tablet of red

Of all the Chinese works on jade the most interesting and remarkable
is the _Ku yü t’ou pu_ or “Illustrated Description of Ancient Jade,”
a catalogue divided into a hundred books and embellished with upward
of seven hundred figures. It was published in 1176, and lists the
magnificent collection of jade objects belonging to the first emperor
of the Southern Sung dynasty. One of the treasures here described was
a four-sided plaque of pure white jade over two feet in height and
breadth, and it was regarded as of altogether exceptional value, for
on it was a design miraculously engraven. This was a figure, seated on
a mat, with a flower-vase on its left and an alms-bowl on the right,
in the midst of rocks enveloped in clouds. The figure was an image of
the Buddhist saint, Samantabahadra, and the plaque is said to have
been washed out of a sacred cave in the year 1068, by a violent and
mysterious current.[370]

Jade talismans are very popular at the present day in the Mohammedan
world, and among the Turks they are so highly prized as heirlooms that
it is difficult to secure any of them. There is an orthodox Mohammedan
sect, whose members call themselves Pekdash, and who during their whole
lifetime carry about with them a flat piece of jade as a protection
against injury or annoyance of every kind.[371]

The four rain-making gods are shown wearing necklaces of coral and
turquoise in the ceremonial sand-paintings of the Navajos. These four
gods are respectively colored to denote the four cardinal points;
black for North, blue for South, yellow for West, and white for East.
The whole painting, measuring nine by thirteen feet, is guarded on
three sides by magic wands; toward the East it is left unprotected,
as only good spirits are believed to dwell in this direction. Each of
the rain-gods carries suspended from his right wrist an elaborately
decorated tobacco pouch, bearing the figure of a stone pipe. The
Navajos believe that in this pouch the god places a ray of sunlight
with which he lights his pipe; when he smokes, clouds form in the sky
and the rain descends. In the sand-picture representing the God of
the Whirlwind this divinity also wears ear-pendants and a necklace of

Of the turquoise in Aztec times we have the testimony of the missionary
Bernardino de Sahagun that one variety, presumably that regarded as the
finest and most attractive, bore the name _teuxivitl_, which signified
“turquoise of the gods.” No one was allowed either to own or wear this
as it was exclusively devoted to the service of the gods, whether as a
temple offering, or for the decoration of the divine images. Sahagun
describes this turquoise as “fine, unspotted and very clear. It was
very rare and was brought to Mexico from afar. Some specimens were of
rounded shape, like a hazel-nut cut in half; others were broad and
flat, and some were pitted as though in a state of decomposition.”[373]

The god of fire, Xiuhtecutli, or Ixçocauhqui, presided over the
ceremony of piercing the ears of the young boys and girls. The image
of this god was decorated with ear-rings encrusted with a mosaic of
turquoise. He held in his left hand a buckler on which were five large
green stones called _chalchiuitl_ (jadeite), placed in the form of a
cross on a plate of gold almost covering the shield.[374]

At the time of the Spanish Conquest an immense emerald, almost as large
as an ostrich egg, was adored by the Peruvians in the city of Manta.
This “emerald goddess” bore the name of Umiña, and, like some of the
precious relics of the Christian world, was only exhibited on high
feast days, when the Indians flocked to the shrine from far and near,
bringing gifts to the goddess. The wily priests especially recommended
the donation of emeralds, saying that these were the daughters of the
goddess, who would be well pleased to see her offspring. In this way
an immense store of emeralds rewarded the efforts of the priests, and
on the conquest of Peru all these fine stones fell into the hands of
Pedro de Alvarado,[375] Garcilasso de la Vega, and their companions.
The mother emerald, however, had been so cleverly concealed by the
priests of the shrine that the Spaniards never succeeded in gaining
possession of it. Many of the other emeralds were destroyed because of
the ignorance and stupidity of some of their new owners, who, supposing
that the test of a true emerald was its ability to withstand hard
blows, laid the stones on an anvil and hammered them to pieces. The old
and entirely false notion that the genuine diamond could endure this
treatment may have suggested the unfortunate test.

Garcilasso likens the growth of the emerald in its mine to that of
a fruit on a tree, and he believed that it gradually acquired its
beautiful green hue, that part of the crystal nearest the sun being
the first to acquire color. He notes an interesting specimen found in
Peru, half of which was colorless like glass, while the other half was
a brilliant green; this he compares with a half-ripened fruit.[376]


a, Front view. b, Side view. c, Rear view. Kunz Collection, American
Museum of Natural History, New York. 10-13/16 × 6 × 4-5/8 inches,
Weight, 19 pounds Troy.]

The remarkable jade adze, generally known as the “Kunz adze,” was
found in Oaxaca, Mexico, brought to the United States about 1890, and
is now in the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Of a light
greenish-gray hue, with a slight tinge of blue, this jade artefact is
272 mm. long (10-13/16 inches), 153 mm. wide (6 inches) and 118 mm.
thick (4-5/8 inches); its weight is 229.3 Troy ounces, nearly sixteen
pounds avoirdupois. Rudely, but not unskilfully, carved upon its face
is a grotesque human figure. Four small, shallow depressions, one under
each eye and one near each hand, may have served to hold in place
small gold films, but no trace of gold decoration is now extant. In
its mechanical execution this adze offers evidence of considerable
skill on the part of the Aztec lapidary, the polish equalling that of
modern workers. In the fact that a large piece, which must apparently
have weighed at least two pounds, has evidently been cut out of this
implement by some one of its Indian owners, we can see a proof of the
talismanic power ascribed to jadeite in Aztec times, for there can be
little doubt that nothing less than a belief in the great virtue of
jadeite coupled with the rarity of the material could have induced the
mutilation of what must have been regarded in its time as a remarkable
work of art.[377]

The source of the prehistoric jade (nephrite and jadeite) found in
Europe, and also of that worked into ornaments by the Indians before
the Spanish Conquest of America, was long the subject of contention
among mineralogists and archæologists. In Germany this question was
denominated the _Nephritfrage_, and the most notable contribution to
the discussion was the great scientific and scholarly work issued by
Heinrich Fischer.[378] His conclusion was that as there was no evidence
of the existence of these minerals outside of a few localities in
Asia, the European and American supply must have been brought to these
parts of the world from Asia, and that hence the presence of these
jade artefacts in America clearly pointed to commercial intercourse at
an early period between the American continent and Asia, and might be
regarded as offering a strong argument in favor of an Asiatic origin
for an American civilization. According to this theory the prehistoric
jade objects found in Europe must have had a similar source, and would
constitute a proof of the existence of traffic with remote points in
Asia at a date long previous to that commonly accepted.

This view was strongly opposed by Prof. A. B. Meyer, of Dresden, and
recent discoveries have effectively disproved the theory in the case
of Europe at least, for nephrite has been found there _in situ_ in
several places. The largest mass of this material that has been taken
from a European deposit is that found by the writer at Jordansmühl in
Silesia, in April, 1899, and which weighed 4704 pounds.[379] The origin
of American jade in the forms of nephrite and jadeite has not yet
been definitely determined, but we have every reason to suppose that
deposits of these minerals will eventually be discovered in various
parts of the American continent, as they have already been in Europe.
Indeed, the existence of nephrite in Alaska is already well attested.

The peculiar and characteristic qualities of these substances have
made them favorite materials for ornamental objects from the earliest
ages down to our own day, and in almost all parts of the world. A most
important element contributing to the popularity of jade has been its
supposed possession of wonderful talismanic and therapeutic virtues,
and while the Western world has not the same belief in these matters
as the Eastern world, a more or less definite appreciation of what
jade still signifies for many in the Orient, continues to exercise an
influence over both Americans and Europeans, making objects of nephrite
or jadeite highly prized everywhere at the present time.

The term _chalchihuitl_ was indifferently applied by the ancient
Mexicans to a number of green or greenish-white stones; _quetzal
chalchihuitl_, which was regarded as the most precious variety, may
perhaps have more exclusively denoted jadeite. This is somewhat
indefinitely described by Sahagun as being “white, with much
transparency, and with a slight greenish tinge, something like jasper.”
Of eight ornamental objects of green stone examined some years ago by
the writer, four were of jadeite, one of serpentine, another of green
quartz, and the remaining two of a mixture of white feldspar and green
hornblende. An inferior kind of _chalchihuitl_, said by Sahagun to have
come from quarries in the vicinity of Tecalco, appears to have been
identical with the so-called “Mexican onyx” which is found in veins in
that place and is an aragonite stalagmite. This material, from which
figures, ornaments and beads were made by the ancient Mexicans, is
to-day greatly valued as an ornamental stone.

The greater number of ancient Mexican jadeite beads appear to have been
rounded pebbles of this material, assorted as to size and drilled for
use in making necklaces. Other green stones used at this time in Mexico
were green jasper, green plasma, serpentine and also the “Tecalco
onyx” or “marble” above mentioned. In many cases these substances are
of such rich green that they might easily be mistaken for jadeite by
those who lacked the tests or the experience at the command of modern
mineralogists. Should jadeite ever be found _in situ_ in Mexico, it
seems probable that the discovery will be made in the State of Oaxaca,
whence came the finest ancient specimens, including the splendid
votive adze. Moreover, one of the few materials by which jadeite can
be worked is furnished by the streams of this region, whence have been
taken several rolled pebbles which the writer has identified as yellow
and blue corundum, the quality being equal to that of specimens from

Gesner describes one of the lip ornaments worn by the aborigines of
South America in the following words:[381]

 A green stone or gem which the inhabitants of the West Indies use.
 They pierce their lips and insert this stone so that the thicker
 part adheres to the hole and the rest protrudes. We might call these
 ornaments _oripenduli_ [mouth-pendants]. This stone was given me by
 a learned Piedmontese, Johannes Ferrerius, and he wrote of it as
 follows: “I send a cylindrical green stone, as long as a man’s middle
 finger, and having at one extremity two ridges. It is stated that the
 Brazilians of high rank wore these, from their youth, in their pierced
 lips; one or more being worn according to the dignity of the wearer.
 While eating, or whenever they so wish for any other reason, these
 ornaments are removed from the lips.”

Similar ornaments, made of a green quartz and of beryl, are in the Kunz
collection in the Field Museum of Chicago.

The reason for these strange mutilations, which often cause serious
discomfort to those who practice them, is not at all easy to determine.
Some have conjectured that by the insertion of bright, colored objects
in the ears, nose and lips, members of the same tribe were enabled
to recognize each other at a distance; each tribe having selected a
particular color. However, although certain local preferences are shown
in the matter of color or material, there is no hard and fast rule
in this matter, and frequently neighboring tribes will employ stones
or shells of the same or similar hue and appearance. Others find in
this custom a religious significance and suppose that the mutilation
represents a form of sacrifice to the spirits, good or bad, who must
be rendered favorable to man by some act on his part showing his
unconditional submission to them. Originating in this way the idea of
adornment was a secondary impulse. It is a fact that ancient peoples
regarded the wearing of ear-rings as a badge of slavery, and, according
to a Rabbinical legend, Eve’s ears were pierced as a punishment for her
disobedience, when she was driven from the Garden of Eden.

A curious theory was advanced by Knopf.[382] He calls attention to the
habit children have of thrusting small bright objects into their noses
and ears, and suggests that this indicates a natural propensity which,
coupled with the early-developed love of adornment, induced primitive
man to affix ornamental objects on or in the nose, ear, or mouth. There
may be more in this than we are willing to admit, but on the whole it
seems most probable that ceremonial and religious considerations gave
rise to the custom.

One of the largest masses of sculptured Chinese jade is in the
collection of T. B. Walker, Esq., of Minneapolis. This shows a jade
mountain, with groups of figures artistically placed at its base, and
winding pathways up to its summit. On the face of the rock is inscribed
in beautiful Chinese characters the Epidendron Pavilion Essay of Wang
Hi-che, a masterpiece of Chinese calligraphy.

An enormous mass of New Zealand jade (punamu, “green stone”) weighing
7000 pounds, found in South Island in 1902, is to be seen in the
Museum of Natural History, New York; it was secured by the writer and
was donated to the Museum by the late J. Pierpont Morgan. This is
the largest mass of jade known, or of which we have any record. On
it is placed a remarkable and, in its own peculiar way, an artistic
decoration, serving as a type of old Maori life, and at the same
time designating the geographic source of the jade in a striking and
unmistakable manner calculated to appeal to the least intelligent
visitor. This is a statue of a Maori warrior of the old days, executing
a war dance, characteristics of which were a distortion of the features
and a thrusting out of the tongue intended to express defiance and
contempt of the enemy; the time or cadence of the dance was marked by
slapping the thigh with the flat of the left hand. This figure was
executed from life by Sigurd Neandross; indeed it was actually cast
from the model, so that there can be no doubt as to its fidelity.

Rock-crystal is included among the various objects used as fetiches by
the Cherokee Indians. This stone is believed to have great power to
give aid in hunting and also in divining. One owner of such a crystal
kept his magic stone wrapped up in buckskin and hid it in a sacred
cave; at stated intervals he would take it out of its repository and
“feed” it by rubbing over it the blood of a deer. This goes to prove
that the stone, as a fetich, was considered to be a living entity and
as such to require nourishment.[383]


The base is a block of New Zealand jade from South Island, weighing
three tons. It was donated by Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan to the American
Museum of Natural History.]

Precious stones have been everywhere regarded as especially appropriate
offerings at the shrine of a divinity, for the worshipper naturally
thought that what was most valuable and beautiful in his eyes must also
be most pleasing to the divinity he worshipped. However, we rarely find
the usage which was remarked by Francisco Lopez de Gomara among the
Indians of New Granada about the time of the Spanish Conquest.[384]
These natives “burned gold and emeralds” before the images of the sun
and moon, which were regarded as the highest divinities. Certainly to
use precious stones for a “burnt offering” was an original and curious
idea, although we have abundant proof that pearls were offered in this
way by the mound-builders of the Mississippi Valley. In this case great
quantities of pearls were burned at the obsequies of the chiefs of the
tribes, or at those of any one belonging to the family of a chief.

In ancient Mexico the lapidaries adored the four following divinities
as their tutelary gods: Chiconaui Itzcuintli (“nine dogs”), Naualpilli
(“noble necromancer”), Macuilcalli (“five horses”), and Cintectl
(“the god of harvest”). A festival was celebrated in honor of the
three last-named divinities when the zodiacal sign called _chiconaui
itzcuintli_ was in the ascendant. A feminine divinity represented this
sign and to her was attributed the invention of the garments and the
ornaments worn by women. The four gods of the lapidaries were looked
upon as the discoverers and teachers of the art of cutting precious
stones and of piercing and polishing them, as well as of the making of
labrets and earflaps of obsidian, rock-crystal, or amber. They also
were the inventors of necklaces and bracelets.[385]

The stones worn by Chinese mandarins as a designation of their rank
were undoubtedly determined originally by religious or ceremonial
considerations. They are as follows; it will be noticed that red stones
are given the preference:

  Red or pink tourmaline, ruby (and rubellite)      1st rank.
  Coral or an inferior red stone (garnet)           2d rank.
  Blue stone (beryl or lapis-lazuli)                3d rank.
  Rock-crystal                                      4th rank.
  Other white stones                                5th rank.

The knowledge of classical mythology was so slight among the
ecclesiastics of the Middle Ages that some very queer attributions of
the subjects engraved on Greek and Roman gems were made during this
period. A reliquary containing a tooth of the Apostle Peter, preserved
in the Cathedral of Troyes, was set with antique gems which had been
plundered by French and Venetian crusaders from the treasure-house
of the Greek Emperor in Constantinople, when that city was sacked in
1204 during the Fourth Crusade. Among these gems was one representing
Leda and the Swan—certainly a curious subject for the adornment of
a Christian reliquary. Another Greek or Roman gem, long preserved in
a church, was furnished by its Christian owners with an inscription
indicating that the figure engraved upon it was that of St. Michael,
while in reality it was a representation of the god Mercury. Still
another gem was provided with an inscription signifying that the
subject was the temptation of Mother Eve in the Garden of Eden, but the
Greek gem engraver’s intent had been to carve the figures of Zeus and
Athena, standing before an olive tree, a design which appears on some
Athenian coins; at the feet of the divinities appears a serpent. In a
similar way the grain-measure crowning the head of Jupiter-Serapis led
to the attribution of a gem so engraved to the patriarch Joseph.[386]

An engraved amethyst bearing the figure of a little Cupid is said to
have been worn in a ring by St. Valentine. While this may be somewhat
doubtful, it is by no means impossible, for many pagan gems were worn
by pious Christians, who reconciled their consciences to the use of
these beautiful but scarcely religious ornaments by giving to the pagan
symbols a Christian meaning. Certainly, in view of the time-honored
customs connected with St. Valentine’s Day, there seems something
peculiarly appropriate in the design of the ring supposed to have been
worn by St. Valentine.

That precious stones had sense and feeling was quite generally believed
in medieval times, and a legend told of St. Martial illustrates this
idea. The gloves worn by this saint were studded with precious stones,
and when on a certain occasion a sacrilegious act was committed in
his presence, the gems, horrified at the sight, sprang out of their
settings and fell to the ground before the eyes of the onlookers.


The upper one of the two rings figured is set with a natural pointed
diamond, the lower one with a piece of amber enclosing an insect;
grouped around are twelve stones representing those of the Breastplate.]

The St. Sylvester or St. James stone is a banded agate in two colors,
the one dark and the other light, with a cat’s-eye effect so that both
colors are equally visible. The light side represents the old year,
with its known occurrences, and the opaque side represents the new
year, which is dark like futurity. This is a typical stone for a New
Year’s present or for one born on St. Sylvester’s Day, the last day of
the year. The popular tradition is that the member of a family or a
household who is last to arise on that day will be the last to arise
all the year around.

The famous “Sacro Catino” preserved in Genoa was long believed to be
made of a single immense emerald, but careful investigation proved that
it was of no more valuable material than green glass. A legend still
current in the early part of the sixteenth century represented this
cup, or dish, as having been used by Christ at the Last Supper, and
stated that it was one of the utensils which King Herod ordered to be
brought from Galilee to Jerusalem for the celebration of the paschal
feast; but his purpose having been changed by Divine Providence, he
made other use of it.[387]

A queer story has been told regarding the Genoese emerald. At one
time when the government was hard pressed for money, the Sacro Catino
was offered to a rich Jew of Metz as pledge for a loan of 100,000
crowns. He was loath to take it, as he probably recognized its spurious
character, and when his Christian clients forced him to accept it under
threats of dire vengeance in case of refusal, he protested that they
were taking a base advantage of the unpopularity of his faith, since
they could not find a Christian who would make the loan. However, when
some years later the Genoese were ready to redeem this precious relic,
they were much puzzled to learn that a half-dozen different persons
claimed to have it in their possession, the fact being that the Jew had
fabricated a number of copies which he had succeeded in pawning for
large sums, assuring the lender in each case that the redemption of the
pledge was certain.

Among the celebrated emeralds noted by George Agricola[388] (1490-1555)
was a large one preserved in a monastery near Lyons, France. This is
also mentioned by Gesner, who states that it was shaped as a dish,
or shallow cup, and was held to be the Holy Grail, like its rival at
Genoa.[389] Another of Agricola’s emeralds was somewhat smaller, but
nevertheless measured nine inches in diameter and was in the chapel
of St. Wenceslaus, at Prague; this may have been a chrysoprase, as
at the present day many fine specimens of this stone can be seen in
St. Wenceslaus, where the walls are inlaid with the golden green
gem-stone. Still another, larger than the last named, was set in the
gold monstrance in Magdeburg, and was believed to have been the handle
of Emperor Otho I’s knife, since it was perforated. Possibly, however,
the emerald, if genuine, was an Oriental stone, for it was customary to
pierce rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc., in the East so as to string
them for necklaces or attach them as pendants to a jewel.

In the convent-church of St. Stephan, in Persian Armenia, erected about
the middle of the seventeenth century, it is related by the French
traveller Tavernier that there was preserved a cross said to be made
out of the basin in which Christ washed the feet of the Apostles. Set
in this cross was a white stone, and the priests asserted that when the
cross was laid upon the body of one seriously ill, this stone would
turn black if he were about to die, but would regain its white hue
after his death.[390]

No jewelled sacred image has been the object of greater reverence than
has been accorded to the rude little wooden carving popularly known as
the “Sacro Bambino” or “Sacred Baby,” in the old church of Ara Coeli
in Rome. This figure was carved, in 1847, by a monk, out of a piece of
olive-wood from one of the ancient trees growing on the Mount of Olives
near Jerusalem. The carving was executed in the Holy Land and was sent
thence to Italy, and although the ship bearing it was shipwrecked, this
precious freight was miraculously preserved and is supposed to have
been conveyed to its destination in some mysterious way. The reverence
of the thousands of pilgrims who in the course of time have gazed
with veneration upon this quaint and curious work of art, has found
expression in the bestowal of a wealth of gems and jewels, including
necklaces, brooches, rings, etc., with which the silken dress of the
image is studded. A crown of gold adorned with precious stones rests
upon the head of the olive-wood figure, which is jealously guarded
by the priests and only shown to the faithful as a particular favor,
except on the occasion of certain religious festivals.

One of the most renowned emeralds in the world surmounted the
elaborately jewelled imperial crown that was placed upon the head of
the venerated image of the Virgen del Sagrario in the Cathedral of
Toledo. This emerald, of a rich green color, was cut as a perfect
sphere and measured about 40 millimetres, or 1½ inches, in diameter.
The crown itself was the work of the Toledan goldsmith, Don Diego Alejo
de Montoya, who began his task in 1574 and devoted twelve years to its
completion. It is described as being of almost pure gold and executed
in the Renaissance style. Curiously chased in arabesque designs and
enamelled in various colors, the framework of the crown served as a
magnificent background for the gems constituting its adornment, which
comprised rubies, emeralds, and Oriental pearls; a row of angels and
cherubs sustained the arches which bore at their summit the allegorical
figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity; upon that representing Faith
rested the splendid emerald. This precious ornament was still preserved
in the Cathedral in 1865, but was so carelessly guarded that it was
stolen in 1869.[391]

If we are to believe the following anecdote, the emerald disappeared
at an earlier date: It is said that in 1809, during the French
occupation of Spain, Marshal Junot visited this cathedral, and the
emerald was pointed out to him as one of the chief glories of the
shrine. As soon as the marshal’s covetous glance rested upon the gem,
he plucked it from its setting, remarking, coolly, to the astonished
and horrified bystanders, “This belongs to me.” Then, smiling and
bowing, he left the cathedral with the emerald safely ensconced in his
waistcoat pocket. Later, it was replaced by an imitation in glass.

The famous collection of jewels gathered together in the treasury of
the Santa Casa, at Loreto, Italy, was plundered during the French
occupation in 1797, and all trace of most of the magnificent ornaments
has been lost. These represented the gifts of many crowned heads and
titled personages; among the former was the unfortunate Henrietta
Maria, wife of Charles I, who donated a golden heart-shaped jewel with
the words “Jesus Maria” incrusted in diamonds. This jewel is described
as being “as big as both a man’s hands, opened onto two leaves, on
one of which was the figure of the Blessed Virgin and on the other a
portrait of the queen herself.”[392] Of the many rich vestments for
decorating the statue of the Virgin in the sanctuary, the most splendid
was the gift of the Infanta Isabel of Flanders, and was valued at
40,000 crowns. In a seventeenth-century account by an English traveller
it is thus described:[393]

 Its set thick with six rows of diamonds downe before, to the number of
 three thousand, and its all wrought over with a kinde of embroidery of
 little pearle set thick everywhere within the flowers with great round
 pearle, to the number twenty thousand pearles in all.

The same writer tells us the niche in which the statue was placed was
bordered with a row of precious stones of great number, size, and
value, the colors being so varied that this bordering formed “a rich
Iris of several colors.” There is also said to have been a great pearl,
set in gold, and engraved with the image of the Virgin and Child.[394]
It seems probable that this was a jewel made of a baroque pearl, or
pearls, completed by enamel-work so as to represent the sacred figures.

The pectoral cross worn in solemn processions by the prior of the
monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial was adorned with eight perfect
emeralds, five diamonds, and five pearls. From it hung a splendid
pear-shaped pearl, the gift of Philip II in 1595, and one of the
finest of those acquired by this monarch. In 1740 the cross was valued
at 50,000 crowns, Philip’s great pearl not being included in this

The monastery of Streoneshalh, later Whitby Abbey, was founded
about 656 A.D. by Oswy, King of Northumbria, in fulfilment of a vow
made before his victory over the pagan king Penda, at the battle of
Winwidfield, fought in November, 654. St. Hilda was made abbess of this
monastery, and Oswy’s daughter Aelfleda took the veil and eventually,
in 680, succeeded Hilda as abbess; she died in 713.[396] Tradition
relates that at this early date crosses and rosaries were made for the
inmates of the monastery from the jet found in the neighborhood. The
“Whitby jet,” so popular and fashionable in the eighteenth century, was
largely derived from the same source, and since then has had several
revivals, until replaced by black-stained chalcedony, the so-called
onyx, and, later still, by steel carved with glass and glass itself.

In the sixteenth century jet was popularly called “black amber,” and
Cardano states that in his time beads of this material were made up
into rosaries. He also says that curious figures made of jet were
brought from Spain to Italy.[397]

Many are unaware of the fact that a number of ornamental objects made
of nephrite and jadeite—unquestionably of European origin—are to be
seen in the quiet little town of Perugia. These objects, collected
principally in central and southern Italy, constitute the Belucci
Collection, in that city. This collection also contains other specimens
of worked jadeite, which must have been brought to Europe at the time
of the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Peru. A very interesting example
shows us the utilization of a pagan celt to form a Christian emblem.
By the removal of a rectangular piece from each of the four corners of
the jadeite celt, a perfect cross has been made, the back and front of
which still offer the original polish given to the material centuries
ago by the native American worker. The superstitious belief propagated
in Europe by the returning Spanish sailors, very probably an invention
of their own to enhance the value of their jade and jadeite, that
these minerals were worn by the natives as a cure for diseases of the
kidneys, whence the name _lapis nephriticus_, rendered the material
exceptionally precious in the eyes of many, and quite possibly it may
have been thought that, by transforming this object into the sacred
form of the cross, a talisman would be produced that would not only
effect the cure of a special disease, but would also by its superior
virtue guard the wearer from harm and danger of all kinds. Here may
also be seen some celts of European jade sewed up in little bags to be
worn on the loins.

[Illustration: 1. Cross made from a celt of jadeite (Mexican), bought
from a peasant in Perugia. This was originally a celt and was divided
into four pieces. Of Mexican origin and brought to Italy in sixteenth
century. Belluci Collection.

2. Jadeite celt, from Guatemala.

3. Celt, Aboriginal. A small stone hatchet made of jade nephrite, of
the kind believed by the peasants to be thunderbolts. Mounted in silver
to be worn as a charm. This specimen, tied over the loins, is said to
have been worn as recently as fifty years ago by a Scottish gentleman
as a cure for kidney disease. British Museum.]

Certain curious amulets called _magatama_ (crooked jewels) have been
found in Japanese graves of the iron age;[398] they are formed of
various materials, among others of steatite, jasper, carnelian, agate,
rock crystal, chrysoprase and nephrite (jade). In the shell heaps of
a period preceding the iron age, the magatama are frequently made of
horn, or of boar’s or wolf’s teeth, and their peculiar form, which
is variously explained as a symbol, may have been conditioned by the
shape of the materials originally used. The _magatama_ were evidently
regarded as amulets. “They are generally perforated at the thick end,
and were worn on a string, together with beads and bugles of the same
material.” These peculiar ornaments were used to adorn the statues of
the gods and were also employed as imperial insignia and distinctive
marks of high rank. At the present day they are numbered among the
three emblems of sovereignty in Japan.

A green and a red magatama are combined in the national emblem of Korea
and a similar figure is used in China to symbolize the union of the
masculine and feminine principles (Yang and Yin) in nature. Dr. Baelz
believes that the swastika emblem, encountered in so many different
parts of the world, belongs to the same order of ideas.

The Bghai tribes of Burma have many superstitions in regard to stones,
such as garnets, rock-crystal, chalcedony, carnelian, agate, onyx
and others of less value, their repute not depending entirely or
principally upon their quality as gem-stones. In almost every household
is installed a stone fetish, and blood offerings are on occasion made
to this. A question as to the reason for this offering elicited the
following reply: “If we do not give it blood to eat it will eat us.” A
common belief was that spirits good or bad dwelt in the stones, and in
case a great misfortune befell a family, this was sometimes laid to the
charge of such a spirit. The father of a family having died, his widow
commanded her son to throw away their magic stone. This he did, but the
spirit was not to be denied, for shortly afterward this very stone was
found to have returned to its accustomed place, and had even brought
two companion stones with it![399]

Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, who travelled in the East during the years
1403-1406, gives a description of a slab of stone bearing the outlines
of a “natural picture,” and placed in the church of St. Sophia, in

 In the wall, on the left-hand side, there is a very large white
 slab, on which, among many other figures, was drawn, very naturally,
 without any human artifice of sculpture or painting, the most sacred
 and blessed Virgin Mary, with our Lord Jesus Christ in her most holy
 arms, with his most glorious forerunner, St. John the Baptist, on one
 side. These images, as I said before, are not drawn or painted with
 any color, or inlaid, but the stone itself gave birth to this picture,
 with its veins, which may be clearly seen; and they say that when this
 stone was cut, to be placed in this most holy place, the workman saw
 these most wonderful and fortunate images on it, and, as this church
 was the most important one in the city, that stone was deposited in
 it. The said images appear as if they were in the clouds of heaven,
 and as if there was a thin veil before them.

Many other examples of these “natural gems” are noted by early writers.
Among them was an agate gem in the treasury of the Basilica of St.
Mark, in Venice. Upon this gem appeared the head of a king, adorned
with a diadem, the whole design being figured naturally by the veining
of the agate, and not owing anything to artifice. In the same city,
upon a column in the church of San Georgio Maggiore, could be seen the
likeness of Our Lord, hanging from the Cross.[401]

Such stones, with peculiar markings indicating the form of human heads
and figures, were regarded as the work of higher powers.

Another remarkable example is described by Kircher as follows:[402]

 In Rome, in the Chapel of the Sacred Virgin, near the organ to the
 right hand of those who enter the Church of St. Peter, an image may be
 seen in which the Blessed Virgin of Loreto is so artistically depicted
 by Nature that it appears to be the work of an artist’s hand. She is
 attired in a triple garment, divided by a zone, and holds in her arms
 the child, who is distinguished by a crown, as is the mother. Around
 may be seen the figures of angels.

The red spots upon the bloodstone were said in Christian legend to
represent the blood of Christ. This idea has been beautifully utilized
in some gems cut from this stone, whereon the thorn-crowned head of
Christ is so placed that the red spots of the bloodstone figure the
drops of blood trickling down the hair and face of the Saviour. Such a
gem might well be looked upon as a Christian amulet and one that could
be reverently worn by any believer.

The ignorance in the Middle Ages of the art of gem-engraving often
induced the belief that engraved stones were the work of nature. A
striking instance of this was the celebrated stone over the figure of
the Mother of Jesus, on the tomb of St. Elizabeth of Marburg. On this
gem appeared two heads touching each other, and it was, according to
tradition, not a work of art, but a freak of the sculptress Nature. An
oft-repeated legend tells us that a former Elector of Mainz offered the
whole district of Amöneberg for this costly stone, which robber hands
removed at Cassel. It is in reality a fine onyx engraved with the heads
of Castor and Pollux.[403]

We might be disposed to regard rather sceptically the tales regarding
wonderful stones bearing the image of Christ, or that of the Virgin
Mary, and we may be inclined to believe that the old accounts are
exaggerated or distorted by the pious imaginations of the writers.
Nevertheless, in our own time we have a well-attested case of the
discovery of such a stone.

In 1880, while visiting the village of Oberammergau, Bavaria, to
witness the Passion Play, Mrs. Eugenia Jones-Bacon, of Atlanta,
Georgia, found on Mount Kopfel, which overlooks the village, a small
stone composed of chert and limestone, and having on its surface
excrescences so disposed that, when the stone was held at a certain
angle, the shadows cast by them formed a striking likeness of the head
of Christ as depicted in Christian art. This peculiar freak specimen
has been carefully examined by experts and has been pronounced to be
entirely a work of nature. The mineralogist is not disposed to see here
anything more than coincidence, and yet the most sceptical cannot fail
to be impressed by the fact that such a stone was found at the time
and place of the Passion Play. As Max Müller said, in commenting on
this strange discovery: “The chapter of accidents is much larger than
we imagine,” and the present writer feels disposed to add that it is
remarkable how often we find what we are looking for, especially if we
are only looking or thinking of one object or subject.

The religious symbolism of the diamond was a favorite theme with the
thirteenth century “lapidaria,” or rhymed treatises on precious stones.
Just as it could only be discovered by night—an old fancy—so was the
Incarnation a hidden mystery; it gave forth a great light, just as
Jesus illumined the depths of Hades when he descended thither; it was
unconquerably hard, and who can resist the might of God?[404]

The mediæval Italians who were fond of seeking some hidden and
significant meaning in the names of precious stones, in the case of
the diamond (diamante), read the phrase _amante di Dio_, or “lover
of God.”[405] This was a reason for regarding the brilliant gem as a
sacred stone and one especially suitable for religious use.

The Rosicrucians, who sought to combine pagan with Christian types and
figures, saw in the amethyst and the amethystine color a symbol of the
divine male sacrifice, since the stone and the color were typical of
love, truth, passion, suffering, and hope. The love of Christ led him
to make the supreme sacrifice and suffer the agony of the Cross, and
the Crucifixion was followed by the Resurrection, whence came the hope
of mankind to enjoy eternal happiness in heaven.

The chiastolite, or macle, shows the representation of a cross on
its surface, this effect being produced by the regular arrangement
of carbonaceous impurities along the axes of the crystal. The name
signifies a marking resembling the Greek letter Χ (chi). This marking
is often very striking in appearance, and the crystal was naturally
regarded as having a mystical and religious significance. It was said
to stanch the flow of blood from any part of the body if worn so as to
touch the skin, and it was also believed to increase the secretion of
milk. All kinds of fevers were cured by this mineral if it were worn
suspended from the neck, and the divine symbol it bore served to drive
away evil spirits from the neighborhood of the wearer.

This very interesting mineral occurs very frequently in mica schists.
When found, it appears about the thickness of a small finger, tapering
slightly at each edge. If broken near one end, it often shows a white
cross with a veined outline of black, making a distinct cross with
black markings. The crystals frequently measure from two to four inches
in length, and are found in Massachusetts, California, and other
places. If small segments are broken off, it will be found that the
black outline will become stronger, and the white less marked, until
finally a black cross will appear, with white markings. The white
material is the result of two white wedges pushed point onward until
the ends meet, the narrow end of one wedge being crossed by the broad
end of the second wedge, and the black filling in the balance of the
square. No two of these square crosses can thus ever be exactly alike,
and, when polished, the crystals naturally form an interesting stone
that was known as _lapis crucifer_, or cross-stone by the ancients.


Patrick County, Virginia.]

The peculiar form of the mineral known as staurolite (from the Greek
σταυρός cross) is due to the twinning of two crystals at right angles.
In Cronstedt’s treatise on mineralogy, published in Stockholm in 1758,
we are told that the staurolite was sometimes called Baseler Taufstein
(baptismal-stone) or _lapis crucifer_, the former name being used in
Basel, where the stone was employed as an amulet at baptisms. However,
the _lapis crucifer_ of De Boot appears from his description to have
been the chiastolite. In Brittany these twin crystals were worn as
charms, and local legends state that they had dropped from the heavens.

Fine crystals of staurolite have been found in Patrick County,
Virginia, and there is said to be a beautiful local legend in regard
to their origin. Near where they are found there wells up a spring of
limpid water, and the story goes that one day, long, long ago, when the
fairies were dancing and playing around this spring, an elfin messenger
winged his way through the air and alighted among them. He bore to
them the sad tidings of the crucifixion of Christ in a far-off city.
So mournful was his recital of the sufferings of the Saviour that the
fairies burst into tears, and these fairy tear-drops, as they fell to
earth, crystallized into the form of the cross. These natural crosses
are in great demand as charms, and ex-President Roosevelt is said to
wear one of them mounted as a watch-charm.

There has been found in the southern part of New Mexico, and in
northern Mexico, a blue variety of calamine, a hydrous silicate of
zinc, colored blue by an admixture of copper. This stone has been cut
into gem form and has been sold to a certain extent as a cheap gem.
It is translucent and is sometimes veined with white wavy lines. The
Mexican Indians employed in the mines often set up a cross and a candle
near where they are working, so that they may pay their devotions at
this improvised shrine. In Sonora and Western Chihuahua the Indians
frequently place a piece of the stone to which we have alluded
alongside the cross. They may be attracted by its beautiful blue color,
or they may believe that it is a turquoise, although it does not
resemble this latter stone, which is more opaque, of a different shade
of blue and of a different composition.

In some epitaphs the hope of the resurrection finds expression in
likening the body enclosed in its narrow coffin to a precious jewel in
its casket. The following lines from a tombstone erected in 1655 to
the memory of Mary Courtney, at Fowell, Cornwall, England, give a good
example of this class of inscription:[406]

    Near this a rare jewell’s set,
    Clos’d up in a cabinet.
    Let no sacrilegious hand
    Breake through—’tis y^e strickte comaund
    Of the jeweller: who hath sayd
    (And ’tis fit he be obey’d)
    I’ll require it safe and sound
    Both above and under ground.

In a churchyard at Prittlewell, Essex, England, a rather whimsical
treatment of the same idea is offered by some verses engraved on the
stone marking the graves of two wives of a certain Freeborne, the first
of whom died in 1641 and the second in 1658. The bereaved husband
seems to have been perfectly willing to await the Day of Judgment for
the return of his lost spouses:[407]

    Under this stone two precious gems do ly
    Equall in weight, worth, lustre, sanctity:
    Yet perhaps one of them do excell;
    Which was’t who knows? ask him y^t knew y^{em} well
    By long enjoyment. If he thus be prest,
    He’el pause, then answere: truly both were best:
    Were’t in my choice that either of y^e twain
    Might be returned to me to enjoy agayne,
    Which should I chuse? Well, since I know not whether;
    Ile mourne for the losse of both, but wish for neither,
    Yet here’s my comfort, herein lyes my hope,
    The tyme a comeinge cabinets shall ope
    Which are lockt fast: then shall I see
    My Jewells to my joy, my Jewells mee.

The Christian symbolism of colors has in many cases determined the
use of certain colored gems for religious ornaments, and therefore
the following summary of their principal significance is of interest

 WHITE is regarded as the first of the canonical colors, and as
 emblematic of purity, innocence, virginity, faith, life, and light.
 For this reason it is used in the ceremonies of Easter and Christmas,
 as in those of the Circumcision and Epiphany of Our Lord. As the
 color of virginity it is especially appropriate for the festival of
 the Virgin Mary, and as that of faith not sealed with blood, for the
 festivals of the saints who were not martyred. The heavenly host of
 angels and saints wear white robes, and in pictures of the Assumption
 of the Virgin she is frequently clad in white.

 RED is used at the feasts of the Exaltation and Invention of the
 Cross, at Pentecost, and at the Feast of Martyrs. It suggests and
 symbolizes suffering and martyrdom for the faith, and the supreme
 sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross. Divine love and majesty are also
 typified by this color.

 BLUE is an emblem of the celestial regions and of the celestial
 virtues. Nevertheless, as this is not one of the five canonical
 colors, it is not employed for the decoration of churches or for
 ecclesiastical vestments. In Christian art, however, the Virgin and
 the saints and angels are often robed in blue.

 YELLOW of a golden hue is emblematic of God’s goodness and of faith
 and good works, but it is not a canonical color. A dull yellow,
 however, has the opposite signification, and is a type of treachery
 and envy. Hence Judas is garbed in yellow of a dull hue, and heretics
 wore garments of this shade when they were condemned to the stake.

 GREEN is the canonical color for use on Sundays, week-days, and
 ordinary festivals. Hope and joy and the bright promises of youth are
 signified by green.

 VIOLET, another canonical color, is appropriate for use on
 Septuagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays, during Lent, and on Advent
 Sunday. The chastening and purifying effects of suffering find
 expression in this color.

 BLACK, also a canonical color, is a symbol of death and of the
 mourning and sorrow inspired by death. Therefore it is only used in
 the Church on Good Friday, to symbolize the sorrow and despair of the
 Christian community at the death of Christ, a sorrow soon to be turned
 to joy by His glorious resurrection.


The vignettes at the top illustrate the source of the materials of
the vestments, etc.; as the nopal, source of the cochineal insect;
gold-thread; linen; a sheep for wool; Tyre and the purple murex. The
other vignettes show separate parts of the high-priest’s attires and
in the centre appear two figures of the high-priest, each garbed in
different sets of vestments.]


On the High-Priest’s Breastplate

Very early, and very naturally, the religious nature of man led to
the use of precious stones in connection with worship—the most
valuable and elegant objects being chosen for sacred purposes. Of
this mode of thought, we have a striking instance in the accounts
given, in the book of Exodus, of the breastplate of the High-priest,
and the gems contributed for the tabernacle by the Israelites in the
wilderness. Another religious association of such objects is their use
to symbolize ideas of the Divine glory, as illustrated in the visions
of the prophet Ezekiel and in the description of the New Jerusalem
in the book of Revelation. Apart from such legitimate uses, however,
gems have become associated with all manner of religious fancies and
superstitions, traces of which appear in the Talmud, the Koran, and
similar writings; they have also been dedicated to various heathen
deities. Even in modern times, some trace of the same ideas remains in
the ecclesiastical jewelry and its supposed symbolism.

In the vision of Ezekiel i, 26, and in a brief allusion to the similar
appearance of the God of Israel in Exodus xxiv, the throne of Jehovah,
or the pavement beneath his feet, is compared to a sapphire, and the
Apostle John, in the Apocalypse, describes the Great White Throne as
surrounded by a rainbow like an emerald.

The Rabbinical writings, instead of the simple grandeur of these
biblical comparisons, give us many fanciful ideas. The stones of the
breastplate are here represented as sacred to twelve mighty angels
who guard the gates of Paradise, and wondrous tales are told of the
luminous gems in the tent of Abraham and the ark of Noah. Mohammedan
legend represents the different heavens as composed of different
precious stones, and in the Middle Ages these religious ideas became
interwoven with a host of astrological, alchemistic, and medical

The following is the description of the breastplate given in Exodus
(xxviii, 15-30):

 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work;
 after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and
 of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen shalt thou make it.

 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length
 thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.

 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones:
 the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall
 be the first row.

 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.

 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.

 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be
 set in gold in their enclosings.

 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel,
 twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet;
 every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of
 wreathen work of pure gold.

 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt
 put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.

 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings
 which are on the ends of the breastplate.

 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten
 in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod
 before it.

 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon
 the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the
 side of the ephod inward.

 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the
 two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over
 against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the

 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the
 rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the
 curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed
 from the ephod.

 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the
 breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy
 place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.

 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of Judgment the Urim and the
 Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before
 the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel
 upon his heart before the Lord continually.

Of the miraculous quality of the stones worn by the high-priest, the
Jewish historian Josephus (37-95 A.D.) says:[409]

 From the stones which the high-priest wore (these were sardonyxes,
 and I hold it superfluous to describe their nature, since it is known
 to all), there emanated a light, as often as God was present at the
 sacrifices; that which was worn on the right shoulder instead of a
 clasp emitting a radiance sufficient to give light even to those
 far away, although the stone previously lacked this splendor. And
 certainly this in itself merits the wonder of all those who do not,
 out of contempt for religion, allow themselves to be led away by a
 pretence of wisdom. However, I am about to relate something still more
 wonderful, namely, that God announced victory in battle by means of
 the twelve stones worn by the high-priest on his breast, set in the
 pectoral. For such a splendor shone from them when the army was not
 yet in motion, that all the people knew that God himself was present
 to aid them. For this reason the Greeks who reverence our solemnities,
 since they could not deny this, called the pectoral λόγιον or oracle.
 However, the pectoral and the onyxes ceased to emit this radiance
 two hundred years before the time when I write this, because God was
 displeased at the transgressions of the Law.

This writer, who must have seen the high-priest wearing his elaborate
vestments, says that the breastplate was adorned “with twelve stones of
exceptional size and beauty, a decoration not easily to be acquired, on
account of its enormous value.”[410] However these gems were not merely
rare and costly; they also possessed wonderful and miraculous powers.
Writing about 400 A.D., St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, tells of
a marvellous _adamas_ which was worn on the breast of the high-priest,
who showed himself to the people, arrayed in all his gorgeous
vestments, at the feasts of Pascha, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. This
adamas was termed the δήλωσις or “Declaration,” because, by its
appearance, it announced to the people the fate that God had in store
for them. If the people were sinful and disobedient, the stone assumed
a dusky hue, which portended death by disease, or else it became the
color of blood, signifying that the people would be slain by the sword.
If, however, the stone shone like the driven snow, then the people
recognized that they had not sinned, and hastened to celebrate the

There seems to be little doubt that this account is nothing more than
an elaboration and modification of the passage in Josephus. Evidently
the λόγιον (oracle) of Josephus has become the δήλωσις (declaration).

When Moses wished to engrave on the stones of the breastplate the
names of the twelve tribes of Israel, he is said to have had recourse
to the miraculous _shamir_. The names were first traced in ink on the
stones, and the shamir was then passed over them, the result being
that the traced inscriptions became graven on the stones. In proof of
the magical character of this operation, no particles of the gems were
removed in the process.[412] The name really designates “emery.”


(From Johann Braun’s “Vestitus Sacerdotum Hebræorum,” Amsterdam, 1680,
opp. p. 822.)]

An argument against the use of especially rare and costly stones in the
decoration of the breastplate has been found in its probable size.[413]
We are told that when folded it measured a span in each direction, and
this would indicate that its length and breadth were each from eight
to nine inches. In this case the stones themselves might have measured
two by two and a half inches, and, in view of the number of characters
required to express some of the tribal names, these dimensions do not
seem excessive. It is highly improbable that in the time of Moses
precious stones like the ruby, the emerald, or the sapphire would have
been available in these dimensions. The difficulty of engraving very
hard stones with the appliances at the command of the Hebrews of this
period must also be taken into consideration. As we shall see, however,
there is good reason to believe that after the Babylonian Captivity a
new breastplate was made, and at that time it may have been easier to
secure and work precious stones of great value and a high degree of
hardness. We must also bear in mind that in those periods perfection
was not so great a requisite as rich color.


_A_, lower fold; _B, B, B, B_, rings for attachment to Ephod; _C_,
the twelve gems in their settings; _D, D_, hooks for attachment to
shoulder; _E, E_, bands to pass through rings in Ephod.


_G, G_, rings through which pass bands of Breastplate; _H, H_, bands of
Ephod. From Johann Braun’s “Vestitus Sacerdotum Hebræorum,” Amsterdam,

In his commentary on Exodus xxviii, Cornelius à Lapide (Cornelius Van
den Steen) discusses the question of the diamond in the high-priest’s
breastplate. In the first place, he notes that the diamond was very
costly, and that a large stone would have been needed to bear the
name of Judah or that of any other tribe. He considers that a stone
of the requisite size would have cost a hundred thousand gold crowns,
and he asks, “Whence could the poor Hebrews have obtained such a sum
of money, and where could they have found such a diamond?” He proceeds
to give still another reason for doubting that the diamond was in the
breastplate,—namely, that it would have marked too great a distinction
between the tribes, the result being that the tribe to which the
diamond was assigned would have been puffed up with pride, while the
others would have been filled with hatred and envy, “for the diamond is
the Queen Gem of all the gems.”[414]

The use of the breastplate to reveal the guilt of an offender is
testified to in a Samaritan version of the book of Joshua, which has
been discovered by Dr. Moses Gaster, chief rabbi of the Spanish and
Portuguese Jews in England. According to this version, Achan steals
a golden image from a heathen temple in Jericho. The high-priest’s
breastplate reveals his guilt, for the stones lose their light and grow
dim when his name is pronounced.

Many conjectures have been made as to the origin of the breastplate
with the mystic Urim and Thummim enclosed within it. That an Egyptian
origin should be sought seems most probable. A breast-ornament worn
by the high-priest of Memphis, as figured in an Egyptian relief,
consists of twelve small balls, or crosses, intended to represent
Egyptian hieroglyphics. As it cannot be determined that these figures
were cut from precious stones, the only definite connection with the
Hebrew ornament is the number of the figures; this suggests, but fails
to prove, a common origin. The monuments show that the high-priest
of Memphis wore this ornament as early as the fourth Dynasty, or,
approximately, 4000 B.C.[415]

Of the Urim and Thummim, the mysterious oracle of the ancient Hebrews,
St. Augustine (354-450 A.D.), after acknowledging the great difficulty
of interpreting the meaning of the words and the character of
the oracle, adds that some believed the words to signify a single
stone which changed color according as the answer was favorable or
unfavorable, while the priest was entering the sanctuary; still he
thought it possible that merely the letters of the words Urim and
Thummin were inscribed upon the breastplate.[416]

After the capture of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D., the treasures of
the temple were carried off to Rome, and we learn from Josephus that
the breastplate was deposited in the Temple of Concord, which had
been erected by Vespasian. Here it is believed to have been at the
time of the sacking of Rome by the Vandals under Genseric, in 455,
although Rev. C. W. King thinks it is not improbable that Alaric,
king of the Visigoths, when he sacked Rome in 410 A.D., might have
secured this treasure.[417] However, the express statement of Procopius
that “the vessels of the Jews” were carried through the streets of
Constantinople, on the occasion of the Vandalic triumph of Belisarius,
in 534, may be taken as a confirmation of the conjecture that the
Vandals had secured possession of the breastplate and its jewels.[418]

It must, however, be carefully noted that Procopius nowhere mentions
the breastplate and that it need not have been included among “the
vessels of the Jews.” It appears that this part of the spoils of
Belisarius was placed by Justinian (483-565) in the sacristy of the
church of St. Sophia. Some time later, the emperor is said to have
heard of the saying of a certain Jew to the effect that, until the
treasures of the Temple were restored to Jerusalem, they would bring
misfortune upon any place where they might be kept.[419] If this story
be true, Justinian may have felt that the fate of Rome was a lesson for
him, and that Constantinople must be saved from a like disaster. Moved
by such considerations, he is said to have sent the “sacred vessels” to
Jerusalem, and they were placed in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

This brings us to the last two events which can be even plausibly
connected with the mystic twelve gems,—namely, the capture and sack
of Jerusalem by the Sassanian Persian king, Khusrau II, in 615, and
the overthrow of the Sassanian Empire by the Mohammedan Arabs, and the
capture and sack of Ctesiphon, in 637.[420] If we admit that Khusrau
took the sacred relics of the Temple with him to Persia, we may be
reasonably sure that they were included among the spoils secured by the
Arab conquerors, although King, who has ingeniously endeavored to trace
out the history of the breastplate jewels after the fall of Jerusalem
in 70 A.D., believes that they may be still “buried in some unknown
treasure-chamber of one of the old Persian capitals.”

A fact which has generally been overlooked by those who have embarked
on the sea of conjecture relative to the fate of the breastplate stones
is that a large Jewish contingent, numbering some twenty-six thousand
men, formed part of the force with which the Sassanian Persians
captured Jerusalem, and they might well lay claim to any Jewish
vessels or jewels that may have been secured by the conquerors. In this
case, however, it is still probable that these precious objects fell
into the hands of the Mohammedans who captured Jerusalem in the same
year in which they took Ctesiphon.

One circumstance which may have contributed to the preservation of
these gems in their original form after they fell into the hands of
the Romans is the fact that each one was engraved with the name of
one of the Jewish tribes, the inscription being probably in the older
form of Hebrew writing, which was used in the coinage even as late as
the last revolt in 137 A.D. Hence, recutting would have been necessary
to fit them for use as ornaments, a process not easily accomplished,
and involving a great loss of size. We must also bear in mind that
the intrinsic value of the gems may not have been so great as many
suppose, since all of them were probably of the less perfect forms of
the precious and semi-precious varieties. It is very likely that the
enthusiastic statements of Josephus in this connection were dictated
by national pride, or arose from the tendency to exaggeration so
common among the Oriental writers. Certainly, if the breastplate known
to Josephus was made not long after the return of the Jews from the
Babylonian Captivity, their financial resources at the time of its
fabrication were quite restricted.

Admitting as a possibility that the Arabs may have secured possession
of the breastplate, how would they have regarded it? The heroes of the
Old Testament, and especially Moses, were such sacred personalities in
the eyes of Mohammedans that this relic would have been as precious
for them as for us. However, the victorious Arabs who overran the
Sassanian Empire, although filled with religious zeal, were no students
of archæology, and would have been quite unable to decipher the
strange characters engraved on the stones. They would most probably
have supposed them to be Persian characters, and would, therefore, have
valued these stones no higher than others in the Persian treasure.
This can serve as an explanation of the fact that no allusion to the
breastplate with its adornment can be found in the works of those
Mohammedan writers, such as Tabari, who treat of the overthrow of the
Sassanian Empire. We may be sure that the Persians themselves would
have accorded no special honor to objects connected with the Hebrew
religion, since their own Zoroastrian faith had no connection with it.

In 628, not long before the date of the Arab invasion, the most
precious relic of Christendom, the cross discovered by Helena, mother
of Constantine the Great, and believed to be the very cross on which
Christ died, was surrendered to the Greek Emperor Heraclius by Kobad
II, son of Khusrau II, on the conclusion of a treaty of peace between
the Eastern and Sassanian Empires. This cross was one of the sacred
objects borne away to Persia from Jerusalem by Khusrau in 615 A.D.
It is said to have been guarded carefully through the influence of
Sira, Khusrau’s Christian wife. There is a bare possibility that
other objects of religious veneration, taken from Jerusalem, may have
been given up by the Persians at the same time, and that the unique
character of the most important relic so overshadowed all others that
historians have failed to note the fact. The cross was restored to
Jerusalem by Heraclius in 629, only to fall into the hands of the
Mohammedans when that city was taken by the Arabs under Omar, in 637.
Hence, if the jewelled breastplate had also been surrendered by Kobad,
it would probably have shared the same fate.


Russian, sixteenth century. Collection of Mrs. Henry Draper.]


From the “Metallotheca Vaticana” of Mercatus, Rome, 1719, p. 238. In
the author’s library.]

We have here a wide field for conjecture,—but, unfortunately,
nothing more. Still, in the absence of any definite and trustworthy
information, there is a kind of romantic interest in viewing the
various possible relations of the mystery surrounding the fate of the
most precious gems, historically at least, that have ever existed.
More especially is this interest justified in the case of all who are
disposed to prize gems and jewels for their symbolic significance, for,
as we have shown, this significance, as far as concerns natal stones
and the spiritual interpretation of the qualities of the heart and
soul symbolized by the color and character of the principal precious
and semi-precious stones, has its root in the veneration felt by early
Christian writers, beginning with the author of the Apocalypse, for
the unforgotten and unforgettable gems that were worn by the Hebrew

A rather ingenious utilization of the reputed powers of Aaron’s
breastplate comes to us in a book printed in Portland, Maine.[421] The
writer assumes that the Urim and Thummim enclosed in the folds of the
breastplate consisted of twelve stones, duplicates of those engraved
with the names of the tribes, and so disposed that, when they were
shaken to and fro and then allowed to come to rest, three of them
would become visible through an aperture in the ephod just beneath
the rows of set stones. The signification of the oracle is given by
the various combinations of color offered by the three stones that
reveal themselves; to each combination a prearranged meaning is given.
That anything of the kind could have been true of the original Urim
and Thummim is scarcely worthy the trouble of refutation, but the
practical result of this modern experiment is a clever oracle which
will probably enjoy a certain vogue.

For those who, with the late lamented Lieutenant Totten, see in the
tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim the Anglo-Saxons of England and the
United States, and who look upon George V as the king who sits upon the
throne of David, these symbolical stones of the breastplate acquire an
added significance. While not pretending to be able to follow all the
intricate and certainly most ingenious and interesting speculations
of this school of Biblical exegesis, we cannot help expressing some
astonishment that Ephraim should be thought to prefigure England and
Manasseh the United States, instead of _vice versa_. In Gen. xlviii,
17-20, the text more especially referred to in these speculations,
Jacob’s blessing is bestowed upon Ephraim, in spite of Joseph’s protest
that it should go to the _eldest_ son, Manasseh. To this protest Jacob
answers: “I know it, my son, I know it: he also [Manasseh] shall become
a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother
shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of
nations.” Certainly the very composite population of the United States
perfectly merits this description. As a general rule, the Hebrews, when
using the names Ephraim and Manasseh as tribal designations, maintained
the twelve-fold division of the people, by substituting these tribes
for Joseph and by dropping the name of Levi from the list, the tribe of
Levi being assigned as priests to the care of the sanctuary, and not
participating in the division of the Land of Promise.

In the Midrash Bemidbar, the Rabbinical commentary on Numbers, the
tribes are given in their order, with the stone appropriate to each
and the color of the tribal standard pitched in the desert camp, this
color corresponding in each, case with that of the tribal stone.
This list represents a tradition dating back to at least the twelfth
century and possibly much earlier than that; hence its value should
not be underestimated, although we may not accept it without some

  Odem      Reuben    Red
  Pitdah    Simeon    Green
  Bareketh  Levi      White, black and red
  Jophek    Judah     Sky-blue
  Sappir    Issachar  Black (like stibium)
  Yahalom   Zebulun   White
  Leshem    Dan       Sapphire-color
  Shebo     Gad       Gray
  Ahlamah   Naphtali  Wine-color
  Tarshish  Assher    Pearl-color (?)
  Shoham    Joseph    Very black
  Yashpheh  Benjamin  Colors of all the stones

In the attempt to determine the identity of the stones enumerated
in Exodus xxviii and xxxix, as adorning the breastplate of the
high-priest, we must bear in mind that this “breastplate of Aaron”
and the one described by Josephus, and brought by Titus to Rome after
the capture of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., are in all probability entirely
distinct objects. The former, if it ever existed, except in the ideal
world of the authors of the Priestly Codex, must have been composed
of the stones known to and used by the Egyptians of the thirteenth
or fourteenth century, B.C., some of them being, perhaps, set in the
“jewels of gold and jewels of silver” borrowed by the Israelites from
the Egyptians just before the Exodus; on the other hand, the most
trustworthy indications regarding the stones of the breastplate of
the Second Temple, made perhaps in the fifth century B.C., should be
sought in the early Greek and Latin versions of the Old Testament, and
in the treatise on precious stones by Theophrastus, who wrote about 300
B.C. The Natural History of Pliny, that great storehouse of ancient
knowledge, and other early writers, may also be used with profit.


Shows the figure of the High-priest and the names and tribal
attributions of twelve stones of the Breastplate.]

I. Odem. [אֹדֶם.] The etymology of this word clearly indicates that
we have to do with a red stone, most probably the carnelian. We know
that in ancient Egypt hieroglyphic texts from the Book of the Dead were
engraved upon amulets made from this stone, and it was also used for
early Babylonian cylinders. Fine specimens of carnelian were obtained
from Arabia. The Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, as well as
Josephus, in the “Wars of the Jews” (V, 5, 7), and Epiphanius, all
translate _sardius_, the ancient designation of carnelian; in his
“Antiquities,” however, Josephus renders _odem_ by “sardonyx.” The
Egyptian word _chenem_ was used to designate red stones, and seems to
have been applied indifferently to red jasper and red feldspar as well
as to carnelian; indeed, the first-named material was more freely used
in early Egyptian work than the carnelian. It is, therefore, probable
that in Mosaic times _odem_ signified red jasper, while for the fifth
century B.C. “carnelian” would be the better rendering. This modern
name of the _sardius_, signifying the “flesh-colored” stone, first
appears in the Latin translation of a treatise by Luca ben Costa, who
wrote in the tenth century A.D. The name of Reuben is said to have been
engraved on the _odem_ stone, which occupied the first place on the

II. Piṭdah. [פַּטְדָה.] There seems to be little doubt that this is the
_topazius_ of ancient writers, which usually signified our chrysolite,
or peridot, not our topaz; for Pliny and his successors describe the
topazius as a stone of a greenish hue. A legend related by Pliny gives
as the place of origin an island in the Red Sea, called Topazos, from
_topazein_, “to conjecture,” because it was difficult to find. However,
the Hebrew _piṭdah_ appears to have been derived from the Sanskrit
_piṭa_, “yellow,” and should, therefore, have originally signified
a yellow stone, perhaps our topaz. W. M. Flinders Petrie, probably
influenced by this Sanskrit etymology, sees in it the yellow serpentine
used in ancient Egypt. If, nevertheless, we admit that a light green
stone occupied the second place on the Mosaic breastplate, it was
perhaps the light green serpentine. This was called _meh_ in Egyptian,
and was often used for amulets. In the case of the later breastplate we
may substitute the peridot. On this second stone was engraved the name

III. Bareketh. [בָּרֶקֶת.] Here the Septuagint, Josephus, and the
Vulgate agree in translating _smaragdus_, and as we know that emerald
mines were worked at Mount Zabarah, in Nubia, before the beginning
of our era, and that the emerald was known and used in Egypt, there
does not seem to be any reason for rejecting the usual translation
“emerald.” Still it must be admitted that _smaragdus_ often designates
other green stones than the emerald. The suggestion has been made
(by Myers and Petrie) that the passage in Revelation iv, 3, where
the rainbow is likened to the _smaragdus_, indicates that the writer
used this name for rock-crystal; but this conjecture is scarcely
satisfactory, since it confuses the prismatic effects of light which
has traversed the crystal with the crystal itself. There can be little
doubt that a stone of brilliant coloration, like the emerald, not a
colorless one, like rock-crystal, would be used as a simile of the
rainbow. Whether the Mosaic breastplate already contained the emerald
is another question, and it seems rather more likely that green
feldspar, freely used in ancient Egypt for amulets, and known as _uat_,
was the third stone of the proto-breastplate. The Authorized Version
makes “the carbuncle” the third instead of the fourth stone. Upon the
_bereketh_ was engraved the name Levi.

IV. Nophek. [נֹפֶךּ.] This name is rendered ἄνθραξ by the Septuagint
and Josephus, and “carbunculus” by the Vulgate. This designation,
signifying literally “a glowing coal,” was used for certain stones
distinguished by their peculiarly brilliant red color, such as the ruby
and certain fine garnets. While it is quite possible that the Oriental
ruby may have been in the breastplate seen by Josephus, it is almost
certain that it could not have been in the original breastplate of
Mosaic times, since there is absolutely no proof that this stone was
known in ancient Egypt. Hence we are inclined to believe that in the
thirteenth century B.C. the name _nophek_ designated the almandine
garnet, or some similar variety of that stone. The Authorized Version
has “emerald” here instead of in the third place. On this fourth stone
of the breastplate was engraved the tribal name of Judah.


Forming part of the treasure discovered in 1858 at Guarrazar in Spain.
Now in Musée de Cluny, Paris. The cross proper is set with fine
sapphires cut en cabochon and eight large pearls. Natural size.]

V. Sappir. [סַפִּיר] This is rendered _sapphirus_ in all the old
versions.[423] The stone cannot have been our sapphire, for both
Theophrastus and Pliny describe the _sapphirus_ as a stone with golden
spots, thus showing that they meant the lapis-lazuli, which is often
spotted with particles of pyrites having a golden sheen. This stone
was named _chesbet_ by the Egyptians, and was highly prized by them, a
quantity of lapis-lazuli often appearing as an important item in the
lists of tribute paid to Egypt and among the gifts sent by Babylonia
to the Egyptian monarchs, and obtained from the oldest mines in the
world. These were worked at a period 4000 B.C. and still are worked
to this day. From this material amulets and figures were made, many
of which have been preserved for us, and the Egyptian high-priest
is said to have worn, suspended from his neck, an image of Mat, the
Goddess of Truth, made of lapis-lazuli. The name is composed of the
Latin _lapis_, “a stone,” and _lajuward_, the name of the stone in
Persian. From this latter word is also derived our “azure.” In ancient
times the lapis-lazuli was the blue stone _par excellence_, because
of its beautiful color and the valuable ultramarine dye derived from
it. Although Pliny writes (xxxvii, 39) that this stone was too soft
for engraving, this fact need not have prevented its use in the
breastplate, since the stones set therein were not intended for use as
seals and hence were not subjected to any wear. In this connection,
however, it is somewhat strange that the Hebrew word _sappir_ appears
to indicate a stone especially adapted to receive inscriptions. The
fact that the lapis-lazuli was greatly esteemed in ancient Egypt,
and was still much used as an ornamental stone in Greek and Roman
times, renders it probable that it was set not only in the original
breastplate, but also in that of a later age. Upon this fifth stone the
name Issachar was inscribed.

VI. Yahalom. [יַהֲלֹם] The sixth stone of the Septuagint version and
of Josephus is the ἴασπις, probably green jasper, or jade, and this
has been assumed to show that in the original Hebrew text _yashpheh_
was the sixth stone, in place of _yahalom_. The twelfth stone of the
Greek version is the ὀνύχιον or “onyx,” and this seems to be the most
probable equivalent of the Hebrew _yahalom_. Some Hebrew sources,
however, render it “diamond,” and Luther in his German version of the
Bible, as well as our own Authorized Version, translates it thus. This
rendering is based upon the derivation of the word _yahalom_ from a
verb meaning “to smite,” thus making the name of the stone signify
“the smiter,” a designation not inappropriate for the diamond, which,
because of its extreme hardness, has the power to cut, or “smite,”
all other stones. However, for this purpose the emery corundum, or
smiris-point _shamir_, mentioned in Zechariah, was most likely used.
The diamond was certainly not used in this way in very early times,
although it is possible that the stone was employed in engraving in
the fifth century B.C. These considerations induce us to prefer the
traditional interpretation of _yahalom_, and translate it “onyx.” In
this case “the smiter” could be explained as denoting the use of the
engraved onyx for sealing, as the engraved figure or letters were
struck upon some soft material to make an impression. Zebulun was the
tribal name inscribed on the _yahalom_.

VII. Leshem. [לֶשֶׁם] No stone in the breastplate is more difficult
to determine than this one. The Septuagint, Josephus, and the Vulgate
all translate _ligurius_, an appellation sometimes applied to amber,
a substance quite unfitted for use in the breastplate among the other
engraved stones. Probably the original significance of _ligurius_ was
amber, this name being used because Liguria, in northern Italy, was
the chief source of supply for Greece and the Orient; amber which had
been gathered on the shores of the Baltic being brought by traders to
Liguria and forwarded thence to other lands. As, however, the Greeks
had another name for amber, _electron_, the name _ligurion_ appears to
have been applied later to a variety of the jacinth somewhat resembling
amber in color, and then to other varieties of the same stone. The
original form of the name was evidently _ligurion_, which was later
changed to _lyncurion_, and was then explained as meaning the urine
of the lynx (from λύγξ, and οὖρον, urine). This fanciful etymology
gave rise to the story that the _ligurios_, or rather _lyncurius_,
was the solidified urine of the lynx. The term _lyncurion_, as used
by Theophrastus, may possibly have included the sapphire as well
as the jacinth, since he lays especial stress upon the coldness of
this substance, a quality characteristic of the sapphire, and also
of the still denser jacinth. Hence, it appears that we have, even in
the name _ligurius_, some justification for accepting the rendering
_hyacinthus_, suggested by the list of foundation stones in Revelation
xxi, 20, and already proposed by Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia,
about 400 A.D. Whether _hyacinthus_ should be rendered “sapphire”
or “jacinth” is not easy to determine, as this name seems to have
been used indifferently for both stones; with the Arabs, under the
form _yakut_, it became a generic term for all the varieties of the
corundum gems. The sapphire was engraved in Greek and Roman times and
is, perhaps, the _leshem_ stone of the Second Temple. For the Mosaic
breastplate we are forced to seek for some stone known in ancient
Egypt, where the sapphire does not seem to have been introduced at
an early date. If we could accept the suggestion of Brugsch that the
Egyptian _neshem_ stone, reputed to have wonderful magic virtues, was
the same as the Hebrew _leshem_, a brown agate would have been the
seventh stone in the original breastplate, as Wendel gives very strong
reasons for rendering _neshem_ in this way. The color designations were
very freely used in Egyptian, and therefore a reddish or a yellowish
brown agate may have been used. The _leshem_ bore the tribal name

VIII. Shebo. [שְׁבוֹ.] This is uniformly rendered in the ancient
versions and in Josephus by “agate,” a composite stone highly esteemed
in very ancient times, and hence worthy of a place among the stones of
the breastplate; at a later period, as Pliny notes (xxxvii, 54), it
became so common that it was but little regarded. Nevertheless the fact
that the various kinds of agates were believed to have many talismanic
and therapeutic virtues, the great variety of coloration observable in
these stones, and the curious figures and markings displayed by many of
them, served to make them favorite objects. The etymology of the word
_shebo_ suggests that it designated more especially a banded agate,
and that set in the proto-breastplate was most probably one with gray
and white bands, as this variety often appears in Egyptian work. There
would have been no lack of contrast between this stone and the reddish
or yellowish-brown agate, of uniform color, which may have occupied the
seventh place. For the later breastplate we may choose any one of the
many kinds of banded agate. This stone had engraved upon it the name

IX. Aḥlamah. [אַחְלָמָה.] As to this stone also, all the authorities
are in agreement, and render _aḥlamah_ by “amethyst.” This was not,
however, the Oriental amethyst, a variety of corundum, but a dark
blue or purple variety of quartz. Both Arabia and Syria furnished
a supply of amethysts. The Hebrew name shows that this stone was
believed to possess the virtue of inducing dreams and visions
(cf. _halom_—“dream”), while, as is well known, the Greek name
characterizes it as an enemy or preventive of inebriety. The amethyst
was known in ancient Egypt and probably was named _hemag_. In the
Book of the Dead a heart made of _hemag_ is mentioned, and two such
heart-shaped amulets of amethyst are preserved in the Boulaq Museum. As
the amethyst retained its repute as a stone of beauty and power through
the Greek and Roman periods, we may safely assert that it was set in
both the first and second breastplates. Upon the _aḥlamah_ was engraved
the name Dan.

X. Tarshish. [תַרשִׁישׁ.] The Septuagint renders this word
“chrysolite,” where it is used in the description of the breastplate,
as does Josephus also. In the Authorized Version, “beryl” is the
rendering. We have already stated that the topaz of the ancients was
usually our chrysolite, or peridot, and the name “chrysolite” appears
to have been used to designate our topaz. This is indeed indicated
by the literal meaning of the word, “golden-stone.” The _tarshish_
received its name from Tartessus, in Spain, an important commercial
station of the Phœnicians. The stone derived from this source was not,
of course, our Oriental topaz, a variety of corundum, nor was it
the true topaz; neither is it at all likely that the name _tarshish_
signified, at least originally, the genuine topaz; most probably it
denoted a variety of quartz which occurs in Spain. This is originally
black, but is decolorized by heating to a deep brown, and if the
heating be prolonged the stone becomes paler and eventually entirely
transparent. The ancients were familiar with this property. In ancient
Egyptian records a stone called _thehen_ is frequently mentioned as a
material from which amulets were made. This Egyptian name signified
primarily a “yellow stone,” and might designate either the topaz or
the yellow jasper, known and used in Egypt at a very early date; the
topaz was probably not known there earlier than 500 or 600 B.C. Hence,
in spite of the unquestionable difficulty offered by the geographical
name _tarshish_, which might seem to confine us to a Spanish origin for
the stone, the probabilities favor the selection of the yellow jasper
as the tenth gem in Aaron’s breastplate. For that made with pious zeal
by those who labored to renew the glories of the Old Jerusalem, we
choose the topaz,—possibly, indeed, a fine specimen of the genuine
topaz,—for whatever the quality of the yellow stone originally brought
from Tartessus, the name may well have been applied to the genuine
topaz when that stone became known to the Jews, either in Babylonia, or
after their return to Palestine. The _tarshish_ was engraved with the
name Naphtali.

XI. Shoham. [שֹׁהַם.] The Septuagint translates “beryl,” but in our
Authorized Version and in that used by Roman Catholics, the so-called
Douai Version, the word is invariably rendered “onyx.” Diodorus
Siculus and Dionysius Periegetes, writing in the first century B.C.,
are the first classical authors who use the name beryl. While this
name does not appear in the treatise of Theophrastus, he evidently
includes the beryl among his _smaragdi_; indeed, the true emerald is
simply a variety of the beryl, and owes its beautiful coloration to
a slight admixture of chromium. The finest beryls were brought from
India. Besides the specimen set in the breastplate, the high-priest
wore on his shoulders two _shoham_ stones, each engraved with the
names of six of the tribes. After carefully weighing the evidence, we
believe that the stones worn by the high-priest of the Second Temple
were aquamarines (beryls). In our endeavor to determine the _shoham_
stones used in Mosaic times, we have no very definite information to
guide us; on the whole, the conjecture of J. L. Myers, that they were
malachites, seems to have much in its favor, for this material was
known to the ancient Egyptians and appears to have been often used
for amulets. The Egyptian name for malachite, as well as for other
green stones, was _mafek_, and a ring of _mafek_ is mentioned in an
Egyptian text; undoubtedly, at a later period in Egyptian history,
_mafek_ may also have denoted the beryl. In view of the fact that the
turquoise was unquestionably known to the Egyptians at a very early
date, the supply being derived from mines in the Sinai Peninsula,
which were rediscovered by Macdonald, we might be tempted to suggest
that the _shoham_ stones were turquoises. The light blue or blue-green
of the specimens of this stone found on Mt. Sinai would make an even
better contrast with the neighboring jade than would the bright green
malachite. On the shoham of the breastplate the name Gad was engraved.

XII. Yashpheh. [יָשְׁפֶה.] If, as appears almost certain, this name
originally occupied the sixth place in the original Hebrew text, all
the ancient versions agree in translating it “jasper.” An Assyrian
form of the name was _yashpu_, as is shown by the Tell el Amarna
letters in the cuneiform writing dating from not long before the
Exodus. Of all the so-called jaspers none were so highly valued as
those of a green color. The talismanic and therapeutic qualities of
the “green jaspers” are often noted by ancient writers, and, according
to Galen, these stones were recommended for remedial use by Egyptian
writers on medicine. Abel Remusat, the great French Orientalist,
writing in 1820, was one of the first to see in the _yashpheh_ of
the Hebrews and in the green jasper of the Greeks and Romans, the
material jade (nephrite or jadeite), the Chinese _yu_-stone. These
minerals were used both in the Old and the New World, and were
everywhere believed to possess wonderful virtues. Very likely the
powers supposed to characterize jade were later attributed to green
jasper, but there is every reason to suppose that the true jade was
always more highly prized than its jasper substitute, for it was much
rarer, and was easily distinguishable, by its translucency, from jasper
of a similar color. Until quite recently only Turkestan, Burma and
New Zealand have supplied jade and most of that used in other lands
came from prehistoric relics or from sources unknown to us. It seems
highly probable that the _yashpheh_ which adorned the breastplate
made for Aaron was a piece of nephrite or jadeite; possibly in the
later breastplate green jasper may have been employed. This stone was
inscribed with the tribal name Assher.

In the following lists of the precious and semi-precious stones
contained in the earlier and later breastplates, the writer does not
claim to have finally solved the problem presented by the Hebrew
accounts of the high-priest’s adornment, but he hopes that the
distinction established here between the Mosaic breastplate and that
of the Second Temple, separated from each other by an interval of eight
centuries, may serve to clear up some of the difficulties encountered
in the treatment of this subject.

  The Breastplate of Aaron.    The Breastplate of the Second Temple.

     I  Red jasper               Carnelian
    II  Light-green serpentine   Peridot
   III  Green feldspar           Emerald
    IV  Almandine garnet         Ruby
     V  Lapis-lazuli             Lapis-lazuli
    VI  Onyx                     Onyx
   VII  Brown agate              Sapphire or jacinth
  VIII  Banded agate             Banded agate
    IX  Amethyst                 Amethyst
     X  Yellow jasper            Topaz
    XI  Malachite                Beryl
   XII  Green jasper, or jade    Green jasper, or jade

The following lists show the variations of the different ancient
authorities in regard to the names of the gems in the breastplate:

               Septuagint.  Josephus     Vulgate      Authorized  Revised
     Hebrew.    (Greek)     (Greek)      (Latin)       Version    Version
                 About       About        About       1611 A.D. 1884 A.D.
                250 B.C.    90 A.D.      400 A.D.

  1  Odem      Sardion      Sardonyx     Sardius      Sardius     Sardius
                                                                 (or Ruby)

  2  Piṭdah    Topazion     Topazos      Topazius     Topaz       Topaz

  3  Bareḳeth  Smaragdos    Smaragdos    Smaragdus    Carbuncle  Carbuncle
                                                              (or Emerald)

  4  Nophak    Anthrax      Anthrax      Carbunculus  Emerald     Emerald
                                                            (or Carbuncle)

  5  Sappir    Sappheiros   Iaspis       Sapphirius   Sapphire    Sapphire

  6  Yahalom   Iaspis       Sappheiros   Jaspis       Diamond     Diamond
                                                              (or Sardonyx)

  7  Leshem    Ligurion     Liguros      Ligurius     Ligure      Jacinth
                                                                (or Amber)

  8  Shebo     Achatês      Amethystos   Achatês      Agate       Agate

  9  Aḥlamah   Amethystos   Achatês      Amethystus   Amethyst    Amethyst

 10  Tarshish  Chrysolithos Chrysolithos Chrysolithus Beryl       Beryl
                                                            (or Chalcedony)

 11  Shoham    Bêryllion    Onyx         Onychinus    Onyx        Onyx
                                                                (or Beryl)

 12  Yashpheh  Onychion     Bêryllos     Bêryllus     Jasper      Jasper

The high-priest’s breastplate, as described in Hebrew tradition, was
regarded by the Jews with peculiar reverence, and the stones set in
it were believed to be emblematic of many things. It is, therefore,
quite natural that these stones are described in the book of Revelation
as the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem. The names are in some
cases not identical with those given in Exodus, but this may arise from
various renderings of the Hebrew names in the Targums or in the Greek

The text in Revelation (xxi, 9-21) is as follows:

 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven
 vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come
 hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife:

 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain,
 and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of
 heaven from God.

 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most
 precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal;

 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates
 twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the
 twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

 On the east, three gates; on the north, three gates; on the south,
 three gates; and on the west, three gates.

 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names
 of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and
 the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the
 breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand
 furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four
 cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was
 pure gold, like unto clear glass.

 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all
 manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the
 second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;

 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the
 eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the
 eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of
 one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were
 transparent glass.

It is easy to trace in this description the substitution of the
twelve apostles for the twelve tribes in connection with the precious
stones enumerated, and, besides this, we also have the twelve angels,
associated at a later date with the months and the signs of the zodiac.

Of the twelve foundation stones the Revelation of St. John expressly
states that they had “in them the names of the twelve apostles of the
Lamb.” The assignment of each stone to the respective apostle was
made in later times according to the order given in the lists of the
apostles contained in the so-called Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark,
and Luke. These lists are not quite identical—Andrew, for instance,
being placed second in Matthew and Luke, but fourth in Mark—and the
same stone was not always assigned to a given apostle. Frequently
the list was modified by the addition of the apostle Paul, really
the thirteenth apostle. In this case he was usually given the second
place immediately after St. Peter, and to the brothers James and John,
the “Sons of Thunder,” was assigned a single stone; in some later
arrangements St. Paul occupies the last place, after St. Matthias, who
was chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot, and whose name as an
apostle first appears in the Acts.


  Gospel of          Gospel of         Gospel of
  St. Matthew        St. Mark          St. Luke
  x, 2-4.            iii, 16-19.       vi, 14-16.

  Peter              Peter             Peter
  Andrew             James             Andrew
  James              John              James
  John               Andrew            John
  Philip             Philip            Philip
  Bartholomew        Bartholomew       Bartholomew
  Thomas             Matthew           Matthew
  Matthew            Thomas            Thomas
  James the Less     James the Less    James the Less
  Thaddeus           Thaddeus          Simon Zelotes
  Simon Zelotes      Simon Zelotes     Judas
  Judas Iscariot     Judas Iscariot    Judas Iscariot

The passage in Revelation xxi, 19, 20, is not the only one in that book
treating of precious stones, for we read in chapter iv, 2, 3:

 And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in
 heaven, and _one_ sat on the throne.

 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone:
 and _there was_ a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto
 an emerald.

The commentators, both ancient and modern, have given many different
explanations of the symbolic meaning of the similes employed here. Some
have seen in the two stones a type of the two judgments of the world,
by fire and by water; others find that they signify the holiness of
God and his justice. Of the rainbow “like unto an emerald,” Alford
says we should not think it strange that the bow is green, instead of
prismatic: “the _form_ is that of the covenant bow, the color even more
refreshing and more directly symbolizing grace and mercy.”[424]

The significance of the twelve Apocalyptic gems is given by Rabanus
Maurus, Archbishop of Mainz (786-856), in the following words:[425]

 In the jasper is figured the truth of faith; in the sapphire, the
 height of celestial hope; in the chalcedony, the flame of inner
 charity. In the emerald is expressed the strength of faith in
 adversity; in the sardonyx, the humility of the saints in spite of
 their virtues; in the sard, the venerable blood of the martyrs. In
 the chrysolite, indeed, is shown true spiritual preaching accompanied
 by miracles; in the beryl, the perfect operation of prophecy; in the
 topaz, the ardent contemplation of the prophecies. Lastly, in the
 chrysoprase is demonstrated the work of the blessed martyrs and their
 reward; in the hyacinth, the celestial rapture of the learned in their
 high thoughts and their humble descent to human things out of regard
 for the weak; in the amethyst, the constant thought of the heavenly
 kingdom in humble souls.

The origin of the foundation stones named in Revelation xxi, 19, 20,
may be found in the text, Isaiah liv, 11, 12, where we read:

 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, _and_ not comforted, behold, I
 will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with

 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles,
 and all thy borders of pleasant stones.

As we see, only three stones are mentioned by name: the sapphire, the
carbuncle, and “agates.” This last rendering is quite doubtful, as the
Hebrew word (_kodkodim_) signifies shining or gleaming stones, and
their use for windows indicates that they must have been transparent.
It is easy to understand that in later times the twelve stones of the
breastplate, dedicated to the twelve tribes of Israel, were used to
fill out and complete the picture, following the indication given by
the general terms “stones with fair colours” and “pleasant stones.”

In commenting on this text Rabbi Johanan is quoted in the Babylonian
Talmud as saying that God would bring jewels and pearls thirty ells
square (twenty ells in height and ten in width) and would place them
on the gates of Jerusalem. There may be in this some reminiscence of
the Apocalyptic foundation stones. A sceptical disciple said to the
Rabbi, “We do not ever find a jewel as large as the egg of a dove.”
But not long afterward, when this same disciple was sailing in a boat
on the sea, he saw angels sawing stones as immense as those described
by Rabbi Johanan, and when he asked for what they were designed, the
reply was, “The Holy One, blessed be He, will place them on the gates
of Jerusalem.”[426]



The origin of the belief that to each month of the year a special stone
was dedicated, and that the stone of the month was endowed with a
peculiar virtue for those born in that month and was their natal stone,
may be traced back to the writings of Josephus, in the first century
of our era, and to those of St. Jerome, in the early part of the fifth
century. Both these authors distinctly proclaim the connection between
the twelve stones of the high-priest’s breastplate and the twelve
months of the year, as well as the twelve zodiacal signs. Strange to
say, however, in spite of this early testimony, we have no instance of
the usage of wearing such stones as natal stones until a comparatively
late date; indeed, it appears that this custom originated in Poland
some time during the eighteenth century. The reason for this seems to
have been that the virtues attributed to each particular stone, more
especially the therapeutic virtues, rendered it necessary to recommend
the wearing of one or the other, according to the disease from which
the person was suffering, for his natal stone might not have the power
to cure his particular ailment, or might not bring about the fulfilment
of his dearest wish. In other words, the belief in the special virtues
of the stone was paramount, and it was long before the mystic bond
between the stone of the month and the person born in that month was
fully realized.

The order in which the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem are given
in the book of Revelation determined the succession of natal stones
for the months. The first stone was assigned to St. Peter and to the
month of March, to the leader of the apostles and to the month of the
spring equinox; the second to the month of April; the third to May,
etc. When, however, many centuries later,—probably in Poland, as we
have stated,—with the aid of the rabbis or the Hebrew gem traders,
the wearing of natal stones became usual, certain changes had been
made in this order and some stones not mentioned among those of the
breastplate, or of the New Jerusalem, were substituted for certain of
these,—notably the turquoise for the month of December, the ruby for
July, and the diamond for April. In modern times the turquoise has
become the stone for July while the ruby has been assigned to December.

There is some evidence in favor of the theory that at the outset all
twelve stones were acquired by the same person and worn in turn, each
one during the respective month to which it was assigned, or during the
ascendancy of its zodiacal sign. The stone of the month was believed to
exercise its therapeutic or talismanic virtue to the fullest extent at
that period. Perhaps the fact that this entailed a monthly change of
ornaments may rather have been a recommendation of the usage than the

It seems highly probable that the development of the belief in natal
stones that took place in Poland was due to the influence of the Jews
who settled in that country shortly before we have historic notice of
the use of the twelve stones for those born in the respective months.
The lively interest always felt by the Jews regarding the gems of the
breastplate, the many and various commentaries their learned men have
written upon this subject, and the fact that the well-to-do among the
chosen people have always carried with them in their wanderings many
precious stones, all this seems to make it likely that to the Jews
should be attributed the fashion of wearing natal stones.

However, whether this conjecture be correct or erroneous, the fashion
once started became soon quite general and has as many votaries
to-day as ever before. There can be no doubt that the owner of a
ring or ornament set with a natal stone is impressed with the idea
of possessing something more intimately associated with his or her
personality than any other stone, however beautiful or costly it may
be. If it be objected that this is nothing but imagination due to
sentiment, we must bear in mind that imagination is one of the most
potent factors in our life; indeed, the great Napoleon is quoted as
saying that it ruled the world.

Probably the very earliest text we have in which the stones of the
breastplate are positively associated with the months of the year is to
be found in the “Antiquities of the Jews,” by Flavius Josephus.[428]
This runs as follows:

 Moreover, the vestments of the high-priest being made of linen
 signifies the earth, the blue denotes the sky, being like lightning in
 its pomegranates, and resembling thunder in the noise of the bells.
 And as for the ephod, it showed that God had made the universe of four
 elements, and as for the gold interwoven in it, I suppose it related
 to the splendor by which all things are to be enlightened. He also
 appointed the breastplate to be placed in the middle of the ephod to
 resemble the earth, for that occupies the middle place in the world;
 and the girdle, which encompassed the high priest about, signifies
 the ocean, for that goes about everything. And the two sardonyxes
 that were in the clasps on the high-priest’s shoulders, indicate
 to us the sun and the moon. And for the twelve stones, whether we
 understand by them the months, or the twelve signs of what the Greeks
 call the zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning. And for
 the cap, which was of a blue color, it seems to me to mean heaven, for
 otherwise the name of God would not have been inscribed upon it. That
 it was also adorned with a crown, and that of gold also, is because of
 the splendor with which God is pleased.

This passage was adapted by St. Jerome, three hundred years later, in
his letter to Fabiola,[429] and undoubtedly laid the foundation for the
later custom of wearing one of these stones as a natal or birth-stone
for a person born in a given month, or for an astral or zodiacal stone
for one born under a given zodiacal sign. As we see, both uses are
indicated by the passage of Josephus. In the later centuries, as the
book of Revelation, which was generally less favored at the outset
than the other parts of the New Testament, became a subject of devout
study, and a mine of mystical suggestions, the twelve foundation
stones (Rev. xxi, 19) of the New Jerusalem largely took the place of
the stones of the breastplate. While this list of foundation stones is
unquestionably based upon the much earlier list of the stones adorning
Aaron’s breastplate, the ordering differs considerably and there are
some changes in the material; possibly many, if not all, of these
differences may be due to textual errors or to a transcription from

That the foundation stones were inscribed with the names of the
apostles is expressly stated (Rev. xxi, 14), but it was not until the
eighth or ninth century that the commentators on Revelation busied
themselves with finding analogies between these stones and the
apostles. At the outset, the symbolism of the stones was looked upon
from a purely religious standpoint. Few of the early fathers—we may
except Epiphanius—thought or cared much for the stones themselves,
or knew much of them; but, in time, their natural beauty became more
and more highly developed as the lapidarian art demanded better cut
and choicer material, their supposed virtues came to the fore, and
the symbolism was strengthened and emphasized by a reference to their
innate qualities and also to their peculiar powers. The fact that
this part of the tradition was rather of pagan than of Christian
origin probably contributed to render it less attractive to the
early Christians, so that it was not until Christianity had become
practically universal in the Greek and Roman world and the opposition
to pagan traditions, as such, was weakened and, indeed, largely
forgotten, that the virtues of the stones were made prominent, and
certain parts of these superstitions were retained, as were some of the
pagan ceremonies in the Christian religion.

One of the earliest writers to associate directly with the apostles the
symbolism of the gems given as foundation stones of the New Jerusalem
by St. John in Revelation xxi, 19, is Andreas, bishop of Cæsarea.
This author was at one time assigned by critics to the fifth century
A.D.,[430] but more recent investigation has shown that he probably
belonged to the last half of the tenth century. His exposition reads as

 The jasper, which like the emerald is of a greenish hue, probably
 signifies St. Peter, chief of the apostles, as one who so bore
 Christ’s death in his inmost nature that his love for Him was always
 vigorous and fresh. By his fervent faith he has become our shepherd
 and leader.

 As the sapphire is likened to the heavens (from this stone is made a
 color popularly called lazur), I conceive it to mean St. Paul, since
 he was caught up to the third heaven, where his soul was firmly fixed.
 Thither he seeks to draw all those who may be obedient to him.

 The chalcedony was not inserted in the high-priest’s breastplate, but
 instead the carbuncle, of which no mention is made here. It may well
 be, however, that the author designated the carbuncle by the name
 chalcedony. Andrew, then, can be likened to the carbuncle, since he
 was splendidly illumined by the fire of the Spirit.

 The emerald, which is of a green color, is nourished with oil, that
 its transparency and beauty may not change; we conceive this stone to
 signify John the Evangelist. He, indeed, soothed the souls dejected
 by sin with a divine oil, and by the grace of his excellent doctrine
 lends constant strength to our faith.

 By the sardonyx, showing with a certain transparency and purity the
 color of the human nail, we believe that James is denoted, seeing that
 he bore death for Christ before all others. This the nail by its color
 indicates, for it may be cut off without any sensible pain.

 The sardius with its tawny and translucent coloring suggests fire,
 and it possesses the virtue of healing tumors and wounds inflicted
 by iron; hence I consider that it designates the beauty of virtue
 characterizing the apostle Philip, for his virtue, animated by the
 fire of the Holy Spirit, cured the soul of the wounds inflicted by the
 wiles of the devil, and revived it.

 The chrysolite, gleaming with the splendor of gold, may symbolize
 Bartholomew, since he was illustrious for his divine preaching and his
 store of virtues.

 The beryl, imitating the colors of the sea and of the air, and not
 unlike the jacinth, seems to suggest the admirable Thomas, especially
 as he made a long journey by sea, and even reached the Indies, sent by
 God to preach salvation to the peoples of that region.

 The topaz, which is of a ruddy color, resembling somewhat the
 carbuncle, stops the discharge of the milky fluid with which those
 having eye-disease suffer. This seems to denote Matthew, for he was
 animated by a divine zeal, and, his blood being fired because of
 Christ, he was found worthy to enlighten by his Gospel those whose
 heart was blinded, that they might like new-born children drink of the
 milk of the faith.

 The chrysoprase, more brightly tinged with a golden hue than gold
 itself, symbolizes St. Thaddæus; the gold (_chrysos_) symbolizing the
 kingdom of Christ, and the _prassius_, Christ’s death, both of which
 he preached to Abgar, King of Edessa.

 The jacinth, which is of a celestial hue, signifies Simon Zelotes,
 zealous for the gifts and grace of Christ and endowed with a celestial

 By the amethyst, which shows to the onlooker a fiery aspect, is
 signified Matthias, who in the gift of tongues was so filled with
 celestial fire and with fervent zeal to serve and please God, who had
 chosen him, that he was found worthy to take the place of the apostate

Some theologians were opposed to the assignment of the foundation
stones to the apostles, for they held that only Christ himself could be
regarded as the foundation of his Church. Hence the symbolism of these
stones was made to apply to Christ alone, the color of the stone often
guiding the commentator in his choice of ideas denoted by the different
gems. Thus, one writer, applying all the meanings to Christ, finds that
the greenish Jasper denotes satisfaction; the sky-blue Sapphire, the
soul; the bright-red Chalcedony, zeal for truth; the transparent green
Emerald, kindness and goodness; the nail-colored Sardonyx, the strength
of spiritual life; the red Sardius, readiness to shed His blood for the
Church; the yellow Chrysolite, the excellence of His divine nature;
the sea-green Beryl, moderation and the control of the passions;
the glass-green Topaz (chrysolite?), uprightness; the harsh-colored
Chrysoprase, sternness towards sinners; the violet or purple Jacinth,
royal dignity, and, lastly, the purple Amethyst, with a touch of red,

Andreas of Cæsarea freely recognizes his indebtedness to the much more
ancient source, St. Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, who
died in 402 A.D., and who wrote a short but very valuable treatise on
the stones of the breastplate, noting in several cases the therapeutic
and talismanic virtues of these stones and giving his opinion as to the
order in which the names of the tribes were inscribed upon them.[433]
As the foundation stones of Revelation are rightly called “apostolic
stones,” so those of the breastplate merit the designation of “tribal
stones,” as well as that of astral stones; indeed, the Jews of medieval
times definitely associated the tribes with the zodiacal signs in the
following order:

  Judah          Aries
  Issachar       Taurus
  Zebulun        Gemini
  Reuben         Cancer
  Simeon         Leo
  Gad            Virgo
  Ephraim        Libra
  Manasseh       Scorpio
  Benjamin       Sagittarius
  Dan            Capricorn
  Naphtali       Aquarius
  Asher          Pisces

For Rabanus Maurus the nine gems of the king of Tyre named in Ezekiel
xxxviii, 13, are types of the nine orders of angels, just as the twelve
foundation stones of Revelation signify the twelve apostles.[434]

It is evident, from early and later usage, that, at the place and time
where and when these stones were first utilized for birth-stones, the
year must have begun with the month of March. This will be apparent
when we compare the following eight lists, carefully gathered from
various sources:

                                     Bishop of
  Month       Jews       Romans      Seville     Arabians

  January    Garnet      Garnet      Hyacinth    Garnet

  February   Amethyst    Amethyst    Amethyst    Amethyst

  March      Jasper      Bloodstone  Jasper      Bloodstone

  April      Sapphire    Sapphire    Sapphire    Sapphire

  May        Chalcedony  Agate       Agate       Emerald

  June       Emerald     Emerald     Emerald     Agate

  July       Onyx        Onyx        Onyx        Carnelian

  August     Carnelian   Carnelian   Carnelian   Sardonyx

  September  Chrysolite  Sardonyx    Chrysolite  Chrysolite

  October    Aquamarine  Aquamarine  Aquamarine  Aquamarine

  November   Topaz       Topaz       Topaz       Topaz

  December   Ruby        Ruby        Ruby        Ruby

 ———————————-Table split————————————

                                                 15th to 20th
              Poles       Russians    Italians     Century

  January     Garnet      Garnet      Jacinth      Garnet
                          Hyacinth    Garnet

  February    Amethyst    Amethyst    Amethyst     Amethyst

  March       Bloodstone  Jasper       Jasper      Jasper

  April       Diamond     Sapphire     Sapphire    Diamond

  May         Emerald     Emerald      Agate       Emerald

  June        Agate       Agate        Emerald     Cat’s-eye
              Chalcedony  Chalcedony               Turquoise

  July        Ruby        Ruby         Onyx        Turquoise
                          Sardonyx                 Onyx

  August      Sardonyx    Alexandrite  Carnelian   Sardonyx

  September   Sardonyx    Chrysolite   Chrysolite  Chrysolite

  October     Aquamarine  Beryl        Beryl       Beryl

  November    Topaz       Topaz        Topaz       Topaz

  December    Turquoise   Turquoise    Ruby        Ruby
              Chrysoprase                          Bloodstone

It may be interesting to show in these eight lists the stones which
are most favored in each month in the following way, the numerals
indicating the number of lists in which the stones appear (including
the alternate stones):

  January    Garnet 7, hyacinth 2.
  February   Amethyst 8, hyacinth 1, pearl 1.
  March      Jasper 5, bloodstone 4.
  April      Sapphire 7, diamond 2.
  May        Agate 5, emerald 4, chalcedony 1, carnelian 1.
  June       Emerald 4, agate 4, chalcedony 3, turquoise 1, pearl 1,
                                                        cat’s-eye 1.
  July       Onyx 5, sardonyx 1, carnelian 1, ruby 1, turquoise 1.
  August     Carnelian 5, sardonyx 3, moonstone 1, topaz 1, alexandrite 1.
  September  Chrysolite 6, sardonyx 2.
  October    Beryl, 8, aquamarine 5, opal 1.
  November   Topaz 8, pearl 1.
  December   Ruby 6, turquoise 2, chrysoprase 1, bloodstone 1.

With the exception of January, where we have the garnet instead of
the jacinth, and of December, which gives us the ruby instead of the
chrysoprase, the first choices are practically identical with the
foundation stones, bearing in mind that the eleventh stone is that for
January, the twelfth that for February, the first that for March and so

Of the assignment of the natal stones to the different months of the
year or to the zodiacal signs, Poujet fils, writing in 1762, states
that in his opinion this fashion started in Germany—others say in
Poland—some two centuries before his time, and he adds that, though
this arrangement was purely imaginary, and unknown to ancient writers,
it soon became popular, and many, more especially of the fair sex,
seeing in it an element of mystery, wished to wear rings set with the
stone appropriate to the month of their birth, the stone being
engraved with the appropriate zodiacal sign.[435] However correct
Poujet may be regarding the period at which the fashion of wearing
natal rings was introduced, he is, as we have already shown, quite
wrong in believing that the serial arrangement of the stones and
their assignment to months or signs was purely imaginary, for it is
unquestionably based on the list in Revelation, which in its turn goes
back to the twelve stones of the high-priest’s breastplate.


The original ring, which is of chalcedony, is shown on St. Agatha’s
Day, July 29, to cure ailments of mothers. This cord and facsimile of
ring acquired by the author at Perugia, May 6, 1902.]

The fashion of wearing a series of twelve stones denoting (or bearing)
the zodiacal signs seems to have existed in the sixteenth century, for
Catherine de’ Medici is said to have worn a girdle set with twelve
stones, among which were certain onyxes as large as crownpieces, upon
which talismanic designs had been engraved. Two hundred years later
this girdle is stated to have been in the possession of a M. d’Ennery,
whose collection of antique medals was regarded as the finest in Paris
at the time.[436] It is not, however, certain that the twelve stones of
Catherine’s girdle were those attributed to the zodiacal signs both at
an earlier and later period.

Though the substitution of a new schedule for the time-honored list of
birth-stones has received the approval of the National Association of
Jewellers at the meeting in Kansas City August, 1912, it can scarcely
be said to offer a satisfactory solution of the question, which has
its importance not only from a commercial point of view, but also
because the idea that birth-stones possess a certain indefinable,
but none the less real significance, has long been present and still
exercises a spell over the minds of all who are gifted with a touch of
imagination, or romance, if you will. The longing for something that
appeals to this sense is much more general than is commonly supposed,
and is a not unnatural reaction against the progress of materialism,
against the assertion that there is nothing in heaven or earth but what
we can definitely apprehend through our senses.

It is this persuasion that should be chiefly considered in any
attempt to tamper with the traditional attribution of the stones to
particular months or to the zodiacal signs. Once we allow the spirit
of commercialism pure and simple to dictate the choice of such stones,
according to the momentary interest of dealers, there is grave danger
that the only true incentive to acquire birth-stones will be weakened
and people will lose interest in them. Sentiment, true sentiment, is
one of the best things in human nature. While if darkened by fear it
may lead to pessimism, with all the evils which such a state of mind
implies, if illumined by hope it gives to humanity a brighter forecast
of the future, an optimism that helps people over difficult passages in
their lives. Thus, sentiment must not be neglected, and nothing is more
likely to destroy it than the conviction that it is being constantly
exploited for purposes of commercialism. For this reason, the interest
as well as the inclination of all who are concerned in this question of
birth-stones should induce a very careful handling of the subject.

Quite true it is that there are now, and have been in the past, several
lists of these stones, differing slightly from one another, but all are
based essentially either upon the list of foundation stones given in
Revelation (xxi, 19) or upon that of the gems adorning the breastplate
of Aaron and enumerated in Exodus (xxxix, 10-13). For convenient
reference, we give the latter according to the Authorized Version of
the Scriptures, and also as corrected by later research, and the former
according to the Authorized Version.

                    Breastplate.               Foundation Stones.
       Authorized Version.  Later Correction.  Authorized Version.

     I       Sardius            Carnelian           Jasper
    II       Topaz              Chrysolite          Sapphire
   III       Carbuncle          Emerald             Chalcedony
    IV       Emerald            Ruby                Emerald
     V       Sapphire           Lapis-lazuli        Sardonyx
    VI       Diamond            Onyx                Sardius
   VII       Ligure             Sapphire            Chrysolite
  VIII       Agate              Agate               Beryl
    IX       Amethyst           Amethyst            Topaz
     X       Beryl              Topaz               Chrysoprasus
    XI       Onyx               Beryl               Jacinth
   XII       Jasper             Jasper              Amethyst

While the arrangement differs in Revelation, the stones are nearly
identical. For chalcedonius, we should probably read _carchedonius_,
a name of the ruby; sardonyx is the onyx of Exodus; the jacinth
(sapphire) is probably the “ligure”; the sapphire was the lapis-lazuli,
and sardius is equivalent to carnelian. There thus remains only the
chrysoprase, which for some reason has substituted the agate. In the
eventual association of the foundation stones with the months, the
first, the jasper, was assigned to March, with which month the year was
reckoned to begin.

The list suggested and adopted in Kansas City reads as follows:

  Month.        Birth-stone.      Alternate Stone.

  January        Garnet
  February       Amethyst
  March          Bloodstone       Aquamarine
  April          Diamond
  May            Emerald
  June           Pearl            Moonstone
  July           Ruby
  August         Sardonyx         Peridot
  September      Sapphire
  October        Opal             Tourmaline
  November       Topaz
  December       Turquoise        Lapis-lazuli

Among the many changes in this list from that habitually followed,
it will be noted that the ruby is transferred from December to July,
changing places with the turquoise, which became the gem of December.
This has been favored on the ground that the warmer-colored gem was
best adapted for a July birth-stone, while the paler turquoise was best
suited to a winter month, when the sun’s rays are feeble. The contrary,
however, is true; for it is in winter that we seek for warmth, while
in the heat of summer nothing is more grateful than coolness. This
transposition is, in effect, simply a return to the ordering of these
stones in the Polish list, which may perhaps have become popular in
Europe in the eighteenth century through Marie Leczinska, the queen of
Louis XV. Another undesirable change takes the chrysolite (peridot)
from the place it has always occupied as the gem of September, and
makes of it an alternate for August, with the sardonyx, while the
sapphire, properly the gem for April, is made the birth-stone for
September. For October neither the tourmaline nor the opal is as
appropriate as the beryl, while for June we should prefer the asteria
to the moonstone as a substitute for the pearl.

This suggested radical change or violation cannot be permitted. The
time-honored ordering is familiar now to all who are interested in
the matter, and any change, even if one apparently for the better, is
liable to disturb the popular confidence in those who are supposed
to be familiar with the subject. Above all, there should be no
duplication or triplication of birth-stones for any given month, the
choice between a birth-stone or an astral or zodiacal stone or the
combination of these affording all the variety that is necessary or
should be desired.

As the diamond does not appear to have been known to the ancients
and is not given in any of the lists of birth-stones before the last
century, and as diamonds, like gold and platinum, may easily be used as
accessories to other stones, would it not perhaps be better to omit the
diamond from the list of the stones of the months, and rather use these
gems as a bordering or other ornate addition to the stone of the month?
The pearl, which is not a stone in any sense of the word, should not
appear in the list at all; but it can be worn in some device suggesting
a sentiment, as, for instance, an emblem of purity, etc.

The tourmaline, as a gem only known in modern times or since the
eighteenth century, seems out of place in the list of birth-stones,
which ought only to comprise precious or semi-precious stones which
have been known and worn from ancient times.

“Astral stones” or “zodiacal stones” are terms used to designate those
gems which were believed to be peculiarly and mystically related to the
zodiacal signs. While these signs constitute a twelve-fold division of
the year just as do the months, they do not exactly coincide with the
latter as now reckoned, but overlap them, so that the sign Aquarius,
for instance, covers the period from January 21 to February 20, that of
Pisces from February 21 to March 20, that of Aries, the spring sign,
from March 21 to April 20, and so on down to Capricornus, which begins
at the winter solstice. Thus, every necessary opportunity is afforded
for enlarging the selection of natal stones while preserving the
traditional order of those appropriate to the months, an order which
in its origin dates back to the early Christian centuries and which,
from the close relation with the sacred gems of the Scriptures, it
seems almost sacrilegious to violate by arbitrary changes.


Referred to the nativity of Augustus and to a comet which appeared
shortly after the assassination of Julius Cæsar. From De Mairan’s
“Lettres au R. P. Parrenin,” Paris, 1770, opp. p. 274.]

Then, in addition, we have the “talismanic gems,” or the stones of the
twelve guardian angels, one set over all those born in each month.
Here we have another time-honored list, differing from either of those
mentioned above, so that, in almost if not quite every case, each
person has the choice between three different stones as “birth-stones,”
or can have them combined in an artistic jewel so as to profit by all
the favorable influences promised by the old authorities Thus, there
is absolutely no excuse for playing fast and loose with an ancient,
popular, and quasi-religious belief in the special virtue of _one
particular stone_ for each month, and that one the gem long prescribed
by usage

As it might seem appropriate that one born in the United States should
wear a gem from among those which our country furnishes, the following
list was some time since prepared by the writer, not in any sense as a
substitute for the real birth-stones, but as possible accessory gems
(when they were not identical), gems which might be worn from a spirit
of patriotism Of course where the stone in question is really that
traditionally recommended, the fact that it is at the same time an
American gem-stone is an added argument in its favor

    Month.        Stones.                Where found.

  January      Garnet, rhodolite    Montana, New Mexico, Arizona,
                                      North Carolina
  February     Amethyst             North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia
  March        Californite          California
  April        Sapphire             Montana, Idaho
  May          Green tourmaline     Lake Superior
  June         Moss-agate           California, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona
  July         Turquoise            New Mexico, California, Arizona
  August       Golden beryl         California, Connecticut,
                                      North Carolina
  September    Kunzite              California
  October      Aquamarine           North Carolina, Maine, California
  November     Topaz                Utah, California, Maine
  December     Rubellite            Montana

The year is divided into four seasons or cycles,—spring, summer, fall,
and winter,—and each season has its particular gem The emerald is the
gem of the spring, the ruby the gem of summer, the sapphire the gem of
autumn, and the diamond the gem of winter

For spring, no precious stone is more appropriate than the emerald.
Its beautiful color is that of Nature, for Nature clothes herself with
green when she awakens from her long rest of winter. Having decked
herself with green of the various tints and colors, she has selected
a background by which a contrast is made for the flowers that come in
the spring and summer and ripen into fruit and seeds of autumn. To be a
seasonable gem it must be rare, and the emerald is rare. Whether found
in the mines of Bogotá, whether mined in ancient times at Zabarah in
Egypt, or in the past century in the Ural Mountains, it has never been
found in abundance. It is softer in color than the ruby and less hard
in structure.

The ruby, although as a natal stone it belongs to December, is the gem
of summer. It is born in the hot climates,—the pigeon’s-blood ruby in
Burma, the pomegranate-red in Ceylon, and the more garnet-hued type
in Siam,—these three equatorial countries produce the ruby. Those
of large size are always rare, and this is the gem which Job valued
more highly than any other, although “garnet” may perhaps be a better
rendering. It is on an equal plane in hardness, in composition, in
crystalline structure, and in every way, with the sapphire. These are
sister gems, structurally alike, yet varying in complexion, due to a
slight difference which some scientists think is not even dependent
upon the coloring matter.

The sapphire—the gem of autumn, the blue of the autumn sky—is a
symbol of truth, sincerity, and constancy. Less vivid than its sister
gem, the ruby, it typifies calm and tried affection, not ardent
passion; it is therefore appropriate to the autumn season, when the
declining sun no longer sends forth the fiery rays of summer but shines
with a tempered brilliancy.

The diamond, the gem of winter, typifying the sun, is the gem of
light. Its color is that of ice, and as the dewdrop or the drop of
water from a mountain stream sparkles in the light of the sun, as the
icicle sparkles in winter, and the stars on a cold winter night, so
the diamond sparkles, and it combines and contrasts with all known
gems. Like light, it illumines them just as the sun does the plants
of the earth. The diamond, the gem of light, like light itself when
broken into a spectrum, gives us all known colors, and by combining all
these colors it gives us white. Like gold, the diamond was made rare,
so that it must be searched for, and the mines and deposits contain
less of these two substances in a given area than of any other known
materials. It is thirty to a hundred times more rare than gold, for if
gold occurs one part in 250,000, it can scarcely be worked with profit,
while the diamond can be worked to advantage when found only one part
in 10,000,000,—yes, even one part in 25,000,000—and, like gold, it
sometimes spurs the searcher on to wealth or to ruin. As great nuggets
of gold have occasionally been found, so has a diamond been discovered
large enough to make the greatest ruler pause to pay its price, and one
which it took an entire country to give to that ruler who sways his
sceptre over countries in which the world’s greatest diamonds have been

When the God of the Mines called his courtiers to bring him all known
gems, he found them to be of all colors and tints, and of varying
hardnesses, such as the ruby, emerald, sapphire, etc., etc. He took
one of each; he crushed them; he compounded them, and said: “Let this
be something that will combine the beauty of all; yet it must be pure,
and it must be invincible.” He spoke: and lo! the diamond was born,
pure as the dewdrop and invincible in hardness; but when its ray
is resolved in the spectrum, it displays all the colors of the gems
from which it was made. “Mine,” said the god, “must be the gem of the
universe; for my queen I will create one that shall be the greatest gem
of the sea,” and for her he created the pearl.

  Gems of Spring              Gems of Summer

  Amethyst                    Zircon
  Green diamond               Garnet (demantoid and ouvarite)
  Chrysoberyl                 Chrysoberyl (alexandrite)
  Spinel (rubicelle)          Spinel
  Pink topaz                  Pink topaz
  Olivine (peridot)           Ruby
  Emerald                     Fire opal

  Gems of Autumn              Gems of Winter

  Hyacinth                    Diamond
  Topaz                       Rock-crystal
  Sapphire                    White sapphire
  Jacinth                     Turquoise
  Cairngorm                   Quartz
  Adamantine spar             Moonstone
  Tourmaline                  Pearl
  Oriental chrysolite         Labradorite



  _Natal stone_                              Garnet.
  _Guardian angel_                           Gabriel.
  _His talismanic gem_                       Onyx.
  _Special apostle_                          Simon Peter.
  _His gem_                                  Jasper.
  _Zodiacal sign_                            Aquarius.
  _Flower_                                   Snowdrop.

        No gems save garnets should be worn
        By her who in this month is born;
        They will insure her constancy,
        True friendship and fidelity.

    The gleaming garnet holds within its sway
    Faith, constancy, and truth to one alway.


  _Natal stone_                            Amethyst.
  _Guardian angel_                         Barchiel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Jasper.
  _Special apostle_                        Andrew.
  _His gem_                                Carbuncle.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Pisces.
  _Flower_                                 Primrose.

          The February-born may find
          Sincerity and peace of mind,
          Freedom from passion and from care,
          If she an amethyst will wear.

    Let her an amethyst but cherish well,
    And strife and care can never with her dwell.


  _Natal stone_                            Jasper, bloodstone.
  _Guardian Angel_                         Malchediel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Ruby.
  _Special apostles_                       James and John.
  _Their gem_                              Emerald.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Aries.
  _Flower_                                 Ipomœa, violet.

        Who on this world of ours her eyes
        In March first opens may be wise,
        In days of peril firm and brave,
        Wears she a bloodstone to her grave.

    Who wears a jasper, be life short or long,
    Will meet all dangers brave and wise and strong.


  _Natal stone_                            Diamond, sapphire.
  _Guardian angel_                         Ashmodei.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Topaz.
  _Special apostle_                        Philip.
  _His gem_                                Carnelian.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Taurus.
  _Flower_                                 Daisy.

      She who from April dates her years
      Diamonds should wear, lest bitter tears
      For vain repentance flow This stone
      Emblem of innocence is known.

    Innocence, repentance—sun and shower—
    The diamond or the sapphire is her dower.


  _Natal stone_                            Emerald.
  _Guardian angel_                         Amriel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Carbuncle.
  _Special apostle_                        Bartholomew.
  _His gem_                                Chrysolite.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Gemini.
  _Flower_                                 Hawthorn.

        Who first beholds the light of day
        In spring’s sweet flow’ry month of May,
        And wears an emerald all her life,
        Shall be a loved and happy wife.

    No happier wife and mother in the land
    Than she with emerald shining on her hand.


  _Natal stone_                            Agate.
  _Guardian angel_                         Muriel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Emerald.
  _Special apostle_                        Thomas.
  _His gem_                                Beryl.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Cancer.
  _Flower_                                 Honeysuckle.

      Who comes with summer to this earth,
      And owes to June her hour of birth,
      With ring of agate on her hand
      Can health, long life, and wealth command.

    Thro’ the moss-agate’s charm, the happy years
    Ne’er see June’s golden sunshine turn to tears.


  _Natal stone_                            Turquoise.
  _Guardian angel_                         Verchiel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Sapphire.
  _Special apostle_                        Matthew.
  _His gem_                                Topaz.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Leo.
  _Flower_                                 Water-lily.

      The heav’n-blue turquoise should adorn
      All those who in July are born;
      For those they’ll be exempt and free
      From love’s doubts and anxiety.

    No other gem than turquoise on her breast
    Can to the loving, doubting heart bring rest.


  _Natal stone_                            Carnelian.
  _Guardian angel_                         Hamatiel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Diamond.
  _Special apostle_                        James, the son of Alpheus.
  _His gem_                                Sardonyx.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Virgo.
  _Flower_                                 Poppy.

      Wear a carnelian or for thee
      No conjugal felicity;
      The August-born without this stone,
      ’Tis said, must live unloved, alone.

    She, loving once and always, wears, if wise,
    Carnelian—and her home is paradise.


  _Natal stone_                            Chrysolite.
  _Guardian angel_                         Tsuriel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Jacinth.
  _Special apostle_                        Lebbeus Thaddeus.
  _His gem_                                Chrysoprase.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Libra.
  _Flower_                                 Morning-glory.

    A maid born when September leaves
    Are rustling in the autumn breeze,
    A chrysolite on brow should bind—
    ’Twill cure diseases of the mind.

    If chrysolite upon her brow is laid,
    Follies and dark delusions flee afraid.


  _Natal stone_                            Beryl.
  _Guardian angel_                         Bariel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Agate.
  _Special apostle_                        Simon. (Zelotes.)
  _His gem_                                Jacinth.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Scorpio.
  _Flower_                                 Hops.

      October’s child is born for woe,
      And life’s vicissitudes must know;
      But lay a beryl on her breast,
      And Hope will lull those woes to rest.

    When fair October to her brings the beryl,
    No longer need she fear misfortune’s peril.


  _Natal stone_                            Topaz.
  _Guardian angel_                         Adnachiel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Amethyst.
  _Special apostle_                        Matthias.
  _His gem_                                Amethyst.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Sagittarius.
  _Flower_                                 Chrysanthemum.

       Who first comes to this world below
       With drear November’s fog and snow
       Should prize the topaz’s amber hue—
       Emblem of friends and lovers true.

    Firm friendship is November’s, and she bears
    True love beneath the topaz that she wears.


  _Natal stone_                            Ruby.
  _Guardian angel_                         Humiel.
  _His talismanic gem_                     Beryl.
  _Special apostle_                        Paul.
  _His gem_                                Sapphire.
  _Zodiacal sign_                          Capricornus.
  _Flower_                                 Holly.

      If cold December give you birth—
      The month of snow and ice and mirth—
      Place on your hand a ruby true;
      Success will bless whate’er you do.

    December gives her fortune, love and fame
    If amulet of rubies bear her name.

[Illustration: 1. Moss agate mocha stone, Hindoostan.

2. Moss agate, Brazil, S. A.]


  April                            Diamond
  May                              Emerald
  June                             Pearl
  July                             Sapphire
  August                           Ruby
  September                        Zircon
  October                          Coral
  November                         Cat’s-eye
  December                         Topaz
  January                          Serpent-stone
  February                         Chandrakanta
  March                            The gold Siva-linga

When the zodiacal signs were engraved on gems to give them special
virtues and render them of greater efficacy for those born under a
given sign, the Hebrew characters designating the sign (or at least the
initial character) were often cut upon the gem. As the letters in which
the earliest of our sacred writings were written, a peculiar sanctity
was often ascribed to these Hebrew characters, which were perhaps the
more highly valued that they were unknown to the owners of the gems,
and hence possessed a certain air of mystery for them. The subjoined
list of the signs with the Hebrew equivalents may be of interest on
this account.


  Libra           מאזנים     Moznayim
  Scorpio           עקרב     ‘Akrab
  Sagittarius        קשׁת     Ḳeshet
  Capricornus        גדי     Gedi
  Aquarius           דלי     Deli
  Pisces            דלים     Dagim
  Aries              טלה     Ṭaleh
  Taurus             שׁור     Shor
  Gemini          תאומים     Te’omim
  Cancer            סריה     Sartan
  Leo               אריה     Aryeh
  Virgo            בתולה     Betulah


 Sunday: Topaz—diamond.

    The bairn that is born
      On Sonnan’s sweet day
    Is blithe and is bonnie,
      Is happy and gay.

 Sunday’s talismanic gem: the pearl.

 Monday: Pearl—crystal.

    The bairn that is born
      Of Monan’s sweet race
    Is lovely in feature
      And fair in the face.

 Monday’s talismanic gem: the emerald.


Old print showing the Roman types of the days of the week and also the
stones and zodiacal signs associated with each day. Here we have Diana,
with the sign of Cancer and the moonstone, for Monday; Mars, with the
sign Capricorn and the jasper, for Tuesday; Mercury, with Gemini and
the rock-crystal, for Wednesday; Jupiter, with Sagittarius and Pisces
and the carnelian, for Thursday; Venus, with Taurus and the emerald,
for Friday; and Saturn, with Capricorn and Aquarius and the turquoise,
for Saturday.]

 Tuesday: Ruby—emerald.

    If Tuisco assists
      And at birth keeps apace,
    The bairn will be born
      With a soul full of grace.

 Tuesday’s talismanic gem: the topaz.

 Wednesday: Amethyst—loadstone.

    But if Woden be there,
      Many tears will he sow,
    And the bairn will be born
      But for sadness and woe.

 Wednesday’s talismanic gem: the turquoise.

 Thursday: Sapphire—carnelian.

    Jove’s presence at birth
      Means a long swath to mow,
    For if born on Thor’s day
      Thou hast far, far to go.

 Thursday’s talismanic gem: the sapphire.

 Friday: Emerald—cat’s-eye.

    If Venus shall bless thee,
      Thou shalt bless many living;
    For Friga’s bairn truly
      Is loving and giving.

 Friday’s talismanic gem: the ruby.

 Saturday: Turquoise—diamond.

    Seater-daeg’s bairn
      In sweat shall be striving,
    For Saturn has doomed it
      To work for a living.

 Saturday’s talismanic gem: the amethyst.

No gems have afforded more interest to the Oriental peoples than
those that are known as phenomenal gems; that is, such as exhibit a
phenomenal quality, either as a moving line as in the chrysoberyl
cat’s-eye, or the quartz cat’s-eye, or as a star, a class represented
by the star-sapphire and the star-ruby, all these being considered to
bring good fortune to the wearer. A splendid star-sapphire is in the
hilt of the sword presented as an Easter gift to King Constantine of
Greece, then Prince Constantine, by the Greeks of America, on Easter
Day 1913.[438] This ornate and beautiful sword was made by Tiffany &
Co. Then there is the alexandrite cat’s-eye which, in addition to its
chatoyant effect, changes from green to red, showing its natural color
by day and glowing with a ruddy hue by artificial light. The cat’s-eye
effect here is caused by a twinning of the crystal; that is, when the
gem is cut, with a dome, across the twinning line, this shows itself
as a smooth band of white light, with a translucent or transparent
space at one side, the line varying in sharpness and in breadth as the
illumination becomes more intense. If the light is very bright, the
line is no wider than the thinnest possible silver or platinum wire.

The quartz cat’s-eye, less distinct than the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye,
is also found in the East, and possesses the property that when cut
straight across, an apparent striation in the stone produces the
cat’s-eye effect, but the material is not so rich or brilliant nor is
the gem as beautiful as is the true cat’s-eye. The alexandrite variety
of chrysoberyl is colored by chromium and is dichroitic, appearing
green when viewed in one direction and red in another; in artificial
light, however, the green color is lost and the red alone becomes

The moonstone, with its moonlike, silvery-white light, changes on the
surface as the light varies. This is due to a chatoyancy produced by a
reflection caused by certain cleavage planes present in feldspar of the
variety to which the moonstone belongs.


  Sunday                Sunstone
  Monday                Moonstone
  Tuesday               Star sapphire
  Wednesday             Star ruby
  Thursday              Cat’s-eye
  Friday                Alexandrite
  Saturday              Labradorite

Fashion in some parts of the Orient dictates the use of special colors
for raiment and jewels to be worn on the different days of the week. In
Siam deep red silks and rubies are appropriate for Sunday wear; white
fabrics and moonstones are prescribed for Monday; light red garments
and coral ornaments are favored for Tuesday; striped stuffs and jewels
set with the cat’s-eye are considered the proper wear for Wednesday;
green materials and emeralds are decreed for Thursday; silver-blue
robes and ornaments set with diamonds are chosen for Friday, and on
Saturday those who obey the dictates of fashion are clad in dark blue
garments and wear sapphires of a similar hue.

Our age is not satisfied with the marvellous progress of science, which
has rendered possible the realization of many of the old magicians’
dreams. In spite of this there seems to be a growing tendency to
revive many of the old beliefs which appeared to have been definitely
discarded; therefore we need not be surprised that the nineteenth
century offers us a work on the magic art, written precisely in the
spirit that animated an Agrippa or a Porta in the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries.[439] This work gives elaborate directions as to
the manner in which the “Magus” should proceed to perform his magic

Each day has its special and peculiar ritual. Sunday is the day for
the “Works of Light,” and on this day a purple robe should be worn
and a tiara and bracelets of gold; the ring placed on the finger of
the operator should be of gold and set with a chrysolite or a ruby.
A white robe with silver stripes is to be worn on Monday, the day of
the “Works of Divination and Mystery,” and the high-priest of the
mysteries wears over his robe a triple necklace of pearls, “crystals,”
and selenites; the tiara should be covered with yellow silk, and
bear in silver characters the Hebrew monogram of Gabriel, as given
by Cornelius Agrippa in his “Occult Philosophy.” Tuesday is assigned
to the “Works of Wrath,” and on this day the robe must be red, the
color of fire and blood, with a belt and bracelets of steel; the tiara
should have a circlet of iron, and a sword or a stylus is to be used
in place of a wand; the ring is set with an amethyst. The day for
the “Works of Science” is Wednesday, when a green robe is worn and
a necklace of hollow glass beads, filled with quicksilver; the ring
is adorned with an agate. On Thursday, appointed for the “Works of
Religion or Politics,” a scarlet robe is worn; upon the forehead of
the operator is bound a plate of tin, engraved with the symbol of the
planet Jupiter and various mystic characters; the ring bears either an
emerald or a sapphire. Friday, the day of Venus, is naturally dedicated
to the “Works of Love,” and the celebrant wears a sky-blue robe; his
ring shows a turquoise, and his tiara is set with lapis-lazuli and
beryl. The “Works of Mourning” belong to Saturday, when a black or a
brown robe is worn, embroidered in orange-colored silk with mystic
characters; from the neck of the operator hangs a leaden medal, bearing
the symbol of the planet Saturn, and on his finger is a ring set with
an onyx, upon which a double-faced Janus has been engraved while
Saturn was in the ascendant.



  7 Chrysolite               7 Sardonyx
  8 Amethyst                 8 Chalcedony
  9 Kunzite                  9 Jade
  10 Sapphire                10 Jasper
  11 Garnet                  11 Loadstone
  12 Diamond                 12 Onyx
  1 Jacinth                  1 Morion
  2 Emerald                  2 Hematite
  3 Beryl                    3 Malachite
  4 Topaz                    4 Lapis-lazuli
  5 Ruby                     5 Turquoise
  6 Opal                     6 Tourmaline


  1 Paper                    19 Hyacinth
  2 Calico                   20 China
  3 Linen                    23 Sapphire
  4 Silk                     25 Silver
  5 Wood                     26 Star sapphire, blue[440]
  6 Candy                    30 Pearl
  7 Floral                   35 Coral
  8 Leather                  39 Cat’s-eye[440]
  9 Straw                    40 Ruby
  10 Tin                     45 Alexandrite
  12 Agate                   50 Gold
  13 Moonstone[440]          52 Star ruby[440]
  14 Moss agate              55 Emerald
  15 Rock-crystal, glass     60 Diamond, yellow
  16 Topaz                   65 Star sapphire, gray[440]
  17 Amethyst                67 Star sapphire, purple
  18 Garnet                  75 Diamond


Planetary and Astral Influences of Precious Stones

The talismanic influence of the stones associated with the planets and
also with the signs of the zodiac is closely connected with the early
ideas regarding the formation of precious stones. In an old work on the
occult properties of gems we read:

 The nature of the magnet is in the iron, and the nature of the iron
 is in the magnet, and the nature of both polar stars is in both iron
 and magnet, and hence the nature of the iron and the magnet is also in
 both polar stars, and since they are Martian, that is to say, their
 region belongs to Mars, so do both iron and magnet belong to Mars.

The author then proceeds to describe an analogous relation between a
man and any natural object or product to which his imagination draws
him, and shows that, if this object be one that stands in a sympathetic
relation with the star beneath which the man was born, the man, the
star, and the object will constitute a triplicity of great utility. As
an explanation of the peculiarly intimate relation between stars and
precious stones we read, on page 12:

 Metals and precious stones usually lie with their first seeds deep
 down in the earth and require continuous moisture and a mild heat.
 This they obtain through a reflection of the sun and the other stars
 in the manifold movement of the heavens.... Therefore, also, the
 metals and precious stones are nearest related to the planets and
 the stars, since these influence them most potently and produce their
 peculiar qualities, for they are enduring and unchangeable and show
 therein their concordance [with the stars and the planets].[441]

Hence it is that the influence over human fortunes ascribed by
astrology to the heavenly bodies is conceived to be strengthened by
wearing the gem appropriate to certain planets or signs, for a subtle
emanation has passed into the stone and radiates from it. A combination
of several different stones, each partaking of this special quality,
was believed to have an influence similar to that exercised by several
planets in conjunction,—that is, grouped in the same “house” or
division of the heavens.

The same is true of the stones dedicated to the guardian angels; the
color and appearance of the stone was not merely emblematic of the
angel, but, by its sympathetic quality, it was supposed to attract
his influence and to provide a medium for the transmission of his
beneficent force to the wearer. The whole theory, whether consciously
or unconsciously, rested on the idea of harmony, of the accord of
certain ethereal vibrations, either those of the visible light of the
stars and planets or the purely psychic emanations from the spiritual
“powers and principalities.”

The wearing of the appropriate zodiacal gem was always believed to
strengthen the influence of the zodiacal sign upon those born under
it, and to afford a sympathetic medium for the transmission of the
stellar influences. The gem was thus something more than a mere symbol
of the sign. The same was true of the stone of the saint who ruled the
month and that of the holy guardian angel set over those born in the
month. In each and every case the material form and color of the stone
was believed to attract the favor and grace of the saint or angel, who
would see in the selection of the appropriate gem an act of respect and
veneration on the part of the wearer.

The old writers are never tired of insisting upon the idea that,
while the image graven upon a stone was in itself dead and inactive,
the influence of the stars during whose ascendancy the work had been
executed communicated to the inert material talismanic qualities and
virtues which it before lacked. In these instances the images could
be regarded as outward and visible signs of the planetary or zodiacal
influence. Even in the case of the bezoar stone, a generally recognized
antidote for all sorts of poisons, it was held that the scorpion’s bite
could be most effectually healed by a bezoar upon which this creature’s
figure had been cut during the time when the constellation Scorpio was
in the ascendancy.[442]

In the production of engraved stones to serve as amulets, the influence
of the respective planet was made to enter the stone by casting upon
the latter, during the process of engraving, reflections from a mirror
which had been exposed to the planet’s rays. In addition to this,
the work was executed while the planet was in the ascendant, and the
design was emblematic of it. With these combined influences the gem was
believed to be thoroughly impregnated with the planetary virtue.[443]

An old writer finds in the hardness of precious stones a reason for
their retaining longer the celestial virtues they receive. After they
have been extracted these virtues persist in them and they keep “the
traces and gifts of mundane life which they possessed while clinging
to the earth.”[444] These “gifts of mundane life” signify the stored-up
energy derived from the stars and planets, which penetrates the matter
of the stone, and each stone is peculiarly sensitive to the emanations
from a certain planet, star, or group of stars.

A fine carnelian gem engraved with a design consisting of a star
surrounded by the images of a ram, a bull, and a lion, is described by
M. Mairan.[445] He sees in the star the emblem of the splendid comet
which appeared shortly after the assassination of Cæsar, and which,
according to Suetonius, was believed to be the soul of Cæsar newly
received into the sky; the ram, bull, and lion are the symbols of the
zodiacal signs Aries, Taurus, and Leo, the first-named sign referring
perhaps to the death of Cæsar on the Ides, or fifteenth of March;
while the other two signs may allude to the position of the comet at
different dates.

In the Cabinet du Roi, in Paris, there was an engraved carnelian,
the design showing Jupiter enthroned, with thunderbolt and sceptre,
and Mars and Mercury standing on either side of the central figure.
Separated from the gods of the upper air by a bow, probably
representing the arch of the sky, appears the bust of Neptune, emerging
from the sea. The border of the design is formed by the twelve signs
of the zodiac, Virgo being of an unusual type,—the virgin and a
unicorn,—said to have been used only during the reign of Domitian
(81-96 A.D.).[446]

Some choice examples of astrological gems may be seen in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; among these is a green jasper
bearing symbols of Luna, Capricorn, and Taurus. This gem is from the
collection of the late Rev. C. W. King, which has been acquired for the
Museum, and is described as figuring the horoscope of the owner. In
the same collection is a banded agate engraved with Sagittarius as a
centaur, surrounded by the stars of this constellation in their proper
order. King states that this was the earliest horoscopical gem known to
him. Still another gem of this collection is a sard bearing the symbol
of Aries carrying a long caduceus; this type appears on the coins of
Antioch, because that city was founded in the month over which the sign
Aries presides.[447]

The Austrian Imperial Collection in Vienna contains the celebrated
Gemma Augustea, sometimes called the Apotheosis of Augustus. This
commemorates the Pannonian triumph of Tiberius, 13 A.D., and above the
figure of Augustus appears the sign of Capricornus, the constellation
of his nativity; beneath the figure of Tiberius is engraved the sign
of Scorpio, under which that emperor was born. This celebrated cameo,
the work of the famous gem-engraver Dioskorides, is mentioned in an
inventory of the treasury of St. Sernin, in Toulouse, dated 1246. It is
said to have been offered by Francis I of France to Pope Clement VII,
on the occasion of their meeting in Marseilles in 1535; however, as
the gem only reached Marseilles two days after the pope’s departure,
Francis decided to retain possession of it. The royal treasure at
Fontainebleau was plundered in 1590, and the stone was offered for
sale, and was purchased, in 1619, by Emperor Rudolph II, for the sum of
12,000 ducats.


Old print illustrating the influence believed to be exerted on the
different parts of the body by the respective zodiacal signs, and
through their power by the stones associated with them. This belief
often determined the administration of special precious-stone remedies
by physicians of the seventeenth and earlier centuries.]

A ruby called sandastros is described by Pliny as containing stellated
bodies which he compares to the Hyades; hence, says he, they are the
objects of great devotion with the Chaldæi or Assyrian Magi. According
to Morales (De las piedras preciosas), the ruby and the diamond were
both under the influence of the sign of Taurus; the same writer informs
us that the Hyades and the sun were supposed to have a potent effect
upon the ruby or carbuncle. In ancient Babylonia the sign of Taurus
was regarded as the most important, and Winckler believes that the
presence in this sign of the five stars of the Hyades and the seven of
the Pleiades was brought into connection with the twelve-fold division
of the zodiac. The Hyades signified the five signs visible in Babylonia
at the summer solstice, while the Pleiades typified the seven invisible
signs. It seems probable that the Pleiades were associated with the
diamond, although Morales, who was very familiar with the Moorish
astrology current among the Spaniards of his time, attributed the
crystal to this group. His attribution proves at least that the stone
of the Pleiades was a colorless one.

In Sanskrit the diamond is called _vajra_, “thunderbolt,” and also
_indrâjudha_, “Indra’s weapon”; another name is _açira_, “fire,” or
“the Sun.”[448] All these designations are probably suggested by the
brilliant flashes of light emitted by this stone. It is not easy to
determine the reason that induced the Hindus to dedicate the diamond
to the planet Venus rather than to the Sun or to the Moon. However, as
the most brilliant of the planets, Venus was not unworthy of the honor,
and if we substitute the Goddess of Love for her planet, it seems
quite appropriate that she should be adorned with the most brilliant
of precious stones. Certainly these sparkling gems are often enough
offered at the shrine of Venus in our own day, and they often serve to
win the good graces of the divinity to whom they are presented.

The Sanskrit name for the sapphire, _nîla_, signifies “blue,” so that,
as the topaz is the “yellow stone” _par excellence_, the sapphire
is the blue stone (_nilaçman_). In both cases the name indicates a
variety of corundum, distinguished merely by the coloring matter. As
a talisman the Hindus believed that the sapphire rendered the planet
Saturn favorable to the wearer, an important consideration from the
astrological point of view, for Saturn’s influence was generally
supposed to be unfavorable. The Hindus distinguished four classes of
sapphires, corresponding to the four castes: Brahmins, Kshatriyas,
Vaisyas, and Sudras. The respective sapphires were light blue, reddish
blue, yellowish blue, and dark blue. The same distinction is made
in the case of the diamond, and a like rule applies to both stones,
namely, that only the appropriate stone should be worn by the members
of each caste, in order to profit by the virtues inherent in the
sapphire or diamond.[449]

One of the Sanskrit appellations of the hyacinth (zircon) is
_râhuratna_,—that is, the jewel dedicated to the mysterious “dragon,”
that was supposed to be the cause of the periodic eclipses of the Sun
and Moon.[450] As the stone was sacred to this malevolent influence,
we need not be surprised that it was believed to avert misfortune, for
nothing was so effective against the lesser spirits of evil as an evil
genius of great power.

According to the Hindu mystics it was very lucky to have a turquoise
at hand at the time of the new moon, for whoever, after first looking
at the moon on the _pratipada_ (the first day after new-moon), should
cast his eyes upon a turquoise, was destined to enjoy immeasurable


      January 21 to February 21.
  The Garnet.
            If you would cherish friendship true,
            In Aquarius well you’ll do
            To wear this gem of warmest hue—
                                  The garnet.

      February 21 to March 21.
  The Amethyst.
            From passion and from care kept free
            Shall Pisces’ children ever be
            Who wear so all the world may see
                                The amethyst.

      March 21 to April 20.
  The Bloodstone.
            Who on this world of ours his eyes
            In Aries opens shall be wise
            If always on his hand there lies
                                    A bloodstone.

        April 20 to May 21.
    The Sapphire.
              If on your hand this stone you bind,
              You in Taurus born will find
              ’Twill cure diseases of the mind,
                                    The sapphire.

        May 21 to June 21.
    The Agate.
              Gemini’s children health and wealth command,
              And all the ills of age withstand,
              Who wear their rings on either hand
                                            Of agate.

        June 21 to July 22.
    The Emerald.
              If born in Cancer’s sign, they say,
              Your life will joyful be alway,
              If you take with you on your way
                                    An emerald.

        July 22 to August 22.
    The Onyx.
              When youth to manhood shall have grown,
              Under Leo lorn and lone
              ’Twill have lived but for this stone,
                                            The onyx.

        August 22 to September 22.
    The Carnelian.
              Success will bless whate’er you do,
              Through Virgo’s sign, if only you
              Place on your hand her own gem true,

        September 22 to October 23.
    The Chrysolite.
              Through Libra’s sign it is quite well
              To free yourself from evil spell,
              For in her gem surcease doth dwell,
                                  The chrysolite.

        October 23 to November 21.
    The Beryl.
              Through Scorpio this gem so fair
              Is that which every one should wear,
              Or tears of sad repentance bear,—
                                        The beryl.

        November 21 to December 21.
    The Topaz.
              Who first comes to this world below
              Under Sagittarius should know
              That their true gem should ever show
                                          A topaz.

        December 21 to January 21.
    The Ruby.
              Those who live in Capricorn
              No trouble shall their brows adorn
              If they this glowing gem have worn,
                                      The ruby.

An old Spanish list of the gems of the zodiacal signs differs from
those given above, and probably represents Arab tradition:[452]

  Taurus—Ruby and diamond
  Cancer—Agate and beryl

Of planetary stones[453] there is assigned to the sun the jacinth
and the chrysolite, when this latter name was applied to the
yellow Brazilian chrysoberyl, while the moon controls the beryl,
the rock-crystal and also the pearl. To the share of Venus fall the
sapphire and carbuncle as well as coral and pearl; usually the emerald
is the stone of Venus. Mars lays claim to the diamond, jacinth, and
ruby, the last-named stone according with the ruddy hue of our neighbor
planet. Under the control of Jupiter are placed the emerald, sapphire,
amethyst, and turquoise, so that this planet has the richest assortment
of gems; it will be remarked that the celestial sapphire unites
the influence of Venus and Jupiter, the two especially propitious
planets. Lastly, far-away Saturn must be content with all dark, black,
and brittle stones; there was, indeed, little inducement to wear a
Saturnian stone, for the influence of this cold and distant planet was
always regarded as baleful.

[Illustration: 1. A necklace of banded and variegated agates, onyx,
carnelians and sards. First Century A.D.

2. Beads of carnelian artificially marked for “good luck.” The marking
is produced by an application of potash and soda. Ancient Persian.]

The planetary controls of precious stones as given in the Lapidario of
Alfonso X, according to “Chaldaic” tradition, show that the same stone
was influenced in many or most cases by more than one of the “seven
planets” (including the Sun and Moon). Thus the diamond, belonging to
the first degree of the sign Taurus, was dominated by both Saturn and
the Sun; the emerald was controlled by Jupiter, and also by Mercury and
by Venus. The red jargoon was influenced by Mars, the yellow variety
by Jupiter and the white jargoon by Venus. The carnelian received
virtue from the Sun and from Venus. The ruby, although more especially
a sunstone, came as well under the influence of the Planet of Love.
Coral belonged both to Venus and to the moon, while lapis-lazuli and
chalcedony only owed allegiance to Venus; this planet also lent virtue
to the beryl.[454]

Among the Mohammedans, six of the seven heavens were supposed to be
made of precious substances: the first was of emerald; the second, of
white silver; the third, of large white pearls; the fourth, of ruby;
the fifth, of red gold; and the sixth, of jacinth. The seventh and
highest heaven, however, was of shining light.[455] Here we have the
three precious colored stones, emerald, ruby, and sapphire (jacinth),
to which is added the pearl.

The scarcity of the diamond in early times, and its comparative lack of
brilliancy before the invention of rose and brilliant cutting, account
for the absence of this king of gems.

Rabelais,[456] describing the temple of the oracle of the “Dive
Bouteille,” says that of its seven columns the first was of sapphire;
the second, of jacinth; the third, of “dyamant”; the fourth, of
the “male” balas-ruby; the fifth, of emerald, “more brilliant and
glistening than were those which were set in place of eyes in the
marble lion stretched before the tomb of King Hermias”; the sixth
column was of agate, and the seventh of transparent selenite, “with a
splendor like that of Hymettian honey, and within appeared the moon in
form and motion such as she is in the heavens, full and new, waxing
and waning.” We are then told that these stones were attributed to the
seven planets by the Chaldæans, as follows:

  Sapphire                Saturn
  Jacinth                 Jupiter
  Diamond                 Sun
  Ruby                    Mars
  Emerald                 Venus
  Agate                   Mercury
  Selenite                Moon

Some of these attributions differ from those usually made and may
represent another tradition.


  Jasper              Venus and Mercury.
  Sapphire            Jupiter and Mercury.
  Emerald             Venus and Mercury.
  Chalcedony          Jupiter, Mercury, and Saturn.
  Sardonyx            Saturn and Mars.
  Chrysolite          Mercury and Venus.
  Beryl               Venus and Mars.
  Topaz               Saturn and Mars.
  Chrysoprase         Mercury and Venus.
  Jacinth             Mars and Jupiter.
  Amethyst            Mars and Jupiter.
  Pearl               Venus and Mercury.
  Carbuncle           Mars and Venus.
  Diamond             Jupiter.
  Agate               Venus and Mars.
  Alectoria           Sun.
  Turquoise           Venus and Mercury.
  Chelidon            Jupiter.
  Ætites              Sun.
  Dionesia            Saturn.
  Hematite            Mercury.
  Lapis-lazuli        Venus.
  Armena              Mercury and Venus.
  Garnet              Sun.
  Amber               Sun.
  Jet                 Saturn.
  Lyncurius           Sun.
  Crystal             Moon and Mars.
  Bezoar              Jupiter.
  Armenia             Jupiter.
  Selenite            Moon.
  Magnet              Mars.
  Judaica,    }
  Hegolite or }       Mercury.
  Cogolite    }
  Iris                Jupiter.
  Halcyon             Saturn and Mars.
  Asbestus            Saturn.
  Sarcophagus         Moon.
  Arabian, white      Moon.
  Arabian, green      Jupiter.
  Hyena               Sun.
  Androdamas          Moon.
      Copper-colored  Sun, Venus.
      Gold-colored    Sun.
      Silver-colored  Moon.
      Tin-colored     Moon, Saturn.
      Ash-colored     Jupiter.
  Calatia             Moon.
  Stalactite          Venus.
  Thenarcus           Sun.
  Carnelian           Jupiter, Mars, Venus.
  Opal                Sun, Mercury.

Fixed stars associated with precious stones:[458]

  Diamond. Caput Algol 18° of Taurus.
  Crystal. The Pleiades 24° of Taurus.
  Ruby, carbuncle. Aldebaran 3° of Gemini; also the Hyades.
  Sapphire. The Goat 15° of Gemini.
  Beryl. Sirius 10° of Cancer.
  Garnet. Heart of Lion 23° of Leo.
  Magnet. Tail of the Great Bear 8° of Scorpio; also the Pole Star.
  Topaz. Right and left wing of Raven 8° of Libra.
  Emerald and Jasper. Spica Virginis 17° of Libra.
  Amethyst. Scorpion 3° of Sagittarius.
  Chrysolite. Tortoise 8° of Capricorn.
  Chalcedony. Tail of Capricorn 15° of Aquarius.
  Jacinth. Shoulder of Equis Major 18° of Pisces.
  Pearl. Umbilicus Andromedæ 20° of Aries.
  Sardonyx. Same as Topaz.

Images and virtues of the constellations as engraved on gems:[459]

 URSA MAJOR, URSA MINOR, AND DRACO. Both bears are represented in the
 folds of a serpent, the Great Bear in the upper and the Lesser Bear in
 the lower folds. In almost all the signs. Nature: Ursa Major, Mars and
 Venus. Ursa Minor: Saturn. Draco: Saturn and Mars. Renders the wearer
 wise, cautious, versatile, and powerful.

 The boundary lines of the various signs are carried up to the pole,
 and any constellation that is within these lines is considered to
 belong to the respective sign; thus, every constellation belongs to
 one or more signs.

 CORONA BOREALIS. A royal crown, with many stars; sometimes the crowned
 head of a king. Sign: Sagittarius. Nature: Venus and Mercury. Engraved
 on the stone of one who is fitted for honors and knowledge, it gives
 him great favor with kings.

 HERCULES. A man with knees bent, holding a club in his hand and
 killing a lion; sometimes a man with a lion’s skin in his hand or on
 his shoulder and holding a club. Sign: Scorpio. Nature: Venus and
 Mercury. Engraved on a stone that brings victory, like the agate, it
 renders the wearer victorious in all conflicts in the field.

 CYGNUS. A swan with outstretched wings and curved neck. In the North.
 Nature: Venus and Mercury. Renders the wearer popular, increases
 knowledge, and augments wealth. Cures gout, paralysis, and fever.

 CEPHEUS. A man girt with a sword and holding his hands and arms
 extended. Sign: Aries. Nature: Saturn and Jupiter. Causes pleasant
 visions if placed beneath the head of a sleeping person.

 CASSIOPEIA. A woman seated in a chair and with hands extended in the
 form of a cross; sometimes with a triangle on her head. Sign: Taurus.
 Nature: Saturn and Venus. Restores the sickly, worn body to health,
 gives quiet and calm after labor and procures pleasant and tranquil

 ANDROMEDA. A young girl with dishevelled hair, and hands hanging down.
 Sign: Taurus. Nature: Venus. Reconciles husband and wife, strengthens
 love, and protects the human body from many diseases.

 PERSEUS. A man holding a sword in his right hand and the Gorgon’s head
 in his left. Sign: Taurus. Nature: Saturn and Venus. Guards the wearer
 from misfortune and protects, not only the wearer but the place where
 it may be, from lightning and tempest. Dissolves enchantments.

 SERPENS. A man in the folds of a serpent and holding its head in his
 right hand and its tail in his left. Sign: Taurus. Nature: Saturn and
 Venus. Antidote to poisons and to the bites of venomous creatures.

 AQUILA. A flying eagle with an arrow beneath his feet. Sign: Cancer.
 Nature: Jupiter and Mercury; the arrow, however, is of Mars and Venus.
 Preserves former honors, adds new ones, and helps to victory.

 PISCES or DELPHINUS. Figured in relief (?) Sign: Aquarius. Nature:
 Saturn and Mars. If this engraved gem be attached to nets it causes
 them to be filled with fish, and it renders the wearer fortunate in

 PEGASUS. Some represent the half of a winged horse; others the whole
 figure and without a bridle. Sign: Aries. Nature: Mars and Jupiter.
 Gives victory in the field, and makes the wearer swift, cautious, and

 CETUS. Figure of a large fish with curved tail and capacious gullet.
 Sign: Taurus. Nature: Saturn. Renders the wearer fortunate on the sea
 and makes him prudent and agreeable. It also restores lost articles.

 ORION. With or without armor, man holding a sword or a scythe in his
 hand. Sign: Gemini. Nature: Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Gives the
 wearer victory over his enemies.

 NAVIS. A ship with prow curved back and spread sails; sometimes with
 and sometimes without oars. Sign: Leo. Nature: Saturn and Jupiter.
 Renders the wearer fortunate in his undertakings; he runs no risk on
 sea or water, neither can he be injured by water.

 CANIS MAJOR. Figure of a dog for coursing hares, with a curved tail.
 Sign: Cancer. Nature: Venus. Cures lunacy, insanity, and demoniacal

 LEPUS. Figure of a hare with ears pricked up and the feet represented
 as though in swift motion. Sign: Gemini. Nature: Saturn and Mercury.
 Cures frenzy and protects from the wiles of demons. The wearer cannot
 be hurt by a malignant spirit.

 CENTAUR. Half-figure of a bull, bearing a man on whose left shoulder
 rests a lance, from which depends a hare. In his right hand the man
 holds a small, supine animal with a vessel attached to it. Sign:
 Libra. Nature: Jupiter and Mars. Gives constancy and perpetual health.

 CANIS MINOR. Figure of a dog, sitting. Sign: Cancer. Nature: Jupiter.
 Guards from dropsy, pestilence, and the bites of dogs.

 SACRARIUS TURUBULUS (ARA). An altar with burning incense. Sign:
 Sagittarius. Nature: Venus and Mercury. Gives the wearer power to
 recognize spirits, to converse with them, and to command them; also
 confers chastity.

 HYDRA. A serpent, having an urn at its head and a raven at its tail.
 Sign: Cancer. Nature: Saturn and Venus. Gives riches and all good
 gifts to the wearer and makes him cautious and prudent.

 CORONA AUSTRALIS. An imperial crown. Sign: Libra. Nature: Saturn and
 Mars. Augments wealth and makes the wearer gay and happy.

 AURIGA. A man in a chariot, bearing a goat on his left shoulder. Sign:
 Gemini. Nature: Mercury. Makes the wearer successful in hunting.

 VEXILLUM. A flag flying from the extremity of a lance. Sign: Scorpion.
 Gives skill in war and confers victory in the field.


  SATURN.      An old man holding a curved scythe in his hand and with
               a not very heavy beard. Engraved on a stone of the
               nature of Saturn, it renders the wearer powerful and
               augments his power continually.

  JUPITER.     A seated figure, sometimes in a chariot, holding a staff
               in one hand and a spear in the other. It renders the wearer
               fortunate, especially if engraved on a Kabratis stone,
               and he easily gains what he wishes, especially from
               priests. He will be raised to honors and dignities.

  MARS.        Represented sometimes with a banner and sometimes
               with a lance or other weapon. He is, indeed, always
               armed and at times mounted on a horse. Gives victory,
               boldness in war, and success in everything, especially if
               engraved on an appropriate stone.

  SUN.         Sometimes as the solar disk with rays, sometimes as a man
               in a chariot, and this occasionally is surrounded by the
               signs of the zodiac. Renders the wearer powerful and a
               victor; this gem is prized by hunters.

  VENUS.       Many forms, among them that of a woman with a voluminous
               dress and a stole, holding a laurel in her hand. Gives
               skill in handling affairs and usually brings them to a
               successful issue; removes the fear of drowning.

  MERCURY.     Figure of a slender man, usually with a beautiful beard,
               but sometimes without. He has winged feet and holds the
               caduceus. Increases knowledge and confers eloquence. It
               aids merchants, enabling them to acquire wealth.

  MOON.        Various forms. Sometimes as a crescent, sometimes as a
               young woman in a chariot and holding a quiver, and at
               others as a woman with a quiver and following the chase
               with dogs. Aids the fortunes of those who are sent on an
               embassy, and enables them to acquire wealth and honor
               thereby. Is said to confer speed and facility in
               undertakings and a happy issue.[460]

When Hudibras attacked and overcame the sorcerer Sidrophal, he rifled
the latter’s pockets of all his mystic treasures. Among these were

          Several constellation stones,
    Engraved in planetary hours,
    That over mortals had strange powers,
    To make them thrive in law or trade,
    And stab or poison to evade,
    In wit and wisdom to improve,
    And be victorious in love.[461]

These manifold influences exerted by the stars and planets through
the medium of the gems, not only concerned those actually present
in a material form, but also those that were seen in dreams, and
interpretations of such dreams are given by old writers.


It is studded with precious and semi-precious stones and engraved gems,
dating from various epochs, the pious offerings of those whose prayers
have been answered. The figure is 85 cm. (33½ inches) high and is
of gold in a core of wood. Probably of the tenth century. Two of the
four crystal balls adorning the seat are said to replace golden doves.
Rock-crystal was especially dedicated to the moon.]

Many Oneirocritica, or “dream-books,” were written or compiled in the
early centuries of our era, one of the most noted being the work of
Artemidorus, who flourished in the second century A.D. Every object
seen in a dream was given a special meaning, and it is interesting to
note that Artemidorus believed dreams of rings or other ornaments,
as well as of precious stones, to be of favorable significance only
for women. Such dreams indicated marriage for unmarried women, and
the birth of children for those already married. If a woman was
both wife and mother when she saw sparkling jewels in her dream, then
the vision portended the acquisition of great wealth. Artemidorus
here sagely remarks that women are by nature devoted to riches and
passionately fond of ornaments. For men, on the other hand, to dream of
jewels was an ill omen; probably because it foreshadowed the necessity
of buying them for a good friend or a faithful wife.[462]

Another of these dream-books, probably composed in the eighth century
A.D., appears under the name of Achametis and is of Arabic origin. Many
of the interpretations in this book are referred to a Hindu source,
and among these are visions of crowns that appear to kings. Such a
dream, in itself, usually portended increased power and success for
the sovereign, but this depended upon the color and character of the
jewels which adorned the crown. For example, we read that if the gems
were red and of the kind known as lychnites (carbuncles or rubies), the
dream indicated that the king would have great joy and good fortune and
would be more feared by his enemies than before; but if he saw blue
gems in the crown, it was a bad omen, foreshadowing the loss of part
of his kingdom. If the stones were of a light green hue (the color of
the leek), the king would gain a great name in the world, both by his
good faith and by the greatness of his kingdom; for, the writer adds,
“this color in precious stones is universally accepted as signifying
good-faith and religious devotion to God.”[463]

There is signified by dreaming of

  Agates                      A journey.
  Amber                       A voyage
  Amethysts                   Freedom from harm.
  Aquamarines                 New friends.
  Beryls                      Happiness in store.
  Bloodstones                 Distressing news.
  Carbuncles                  Acquirement of wisdom.
  Carnelians                  Impending misfortune.
  Cat’s-eyes                  Treachery.
  Chalcedony                  Friends rejoined.
  Chrysoberyls                A time of need.
  Chrysolites                 Necessary caution.
  Coral                       Recovery from illness.
  Crystal                     Freedom from enemies.
  Diamonds                    Victory over enemies.
  Emeralds                    Much to look forward to.
  Garnets                     The solution of a mystery.
  Heliotropes                 Long life.
  Hyacinths                   A heavy storm.
  Jacinths                    Success.
  Jasper                      Love returned.
  Jet                         Sorrow.
  Lapis-lazuli                Faithful love.
  Moonstones                  Impending danger.
  Moss-agates                 An unsuccessful journey.
  Onyx                        A happy marriage.
  Opals                       Great possessions.
  Pearls                      Faithful friends.
  Porphyry                    Death.
  Rubies                      Unexpected guests.
  Sapphires                   Escape from danger.
  Sardonyx                    Love of friends.
  Topaz                       No harm shall befall.
  Tourmalines                 An accident.
  Turquoises                  Prosperity.

If precious stones be so combined in a ring, or other jewel that the
initial letters of their names spell words significant of a tender
sentiment or implying good fortune, or else the name of someone dear
to the giver of the jewel, this is also supposed to strengthen their
astral or planetary influence and to render them more potent charms.
In the following examples the gems in the first column are the more
expensive, those in the second column being comparatively inexpensive


In France and England, during the 18th century, rings, bracelets,
brooches, etc., were often set with gems the first letters of which,
combined, formed a motto or expressed a sentiment. The following is
a list of those that may be used in this way. The choice of stones
afforded here brings these pretty devices within the reach of all.


  Fire-opal.        Feldspar.
  Alexandrite.      Amethyst.
  Iolite.           Idocrase.
  Tourmaline.       Topaz.
  Hyacinth.         Heliotrope.


  Hyacinth.         Hematite.
  Opal.             Olivine.
  Pearl.            Pyrope.
  Emerald.          Essonite.


  Cat’s-eye.        Carbuncle.
  Hyacinth.         Hematite.
  Aquamarine.       Amethyst.
  Ruby.             Rose quartz.
  Iolite.           Idocrase.
  Tourmaline.       Topaz.
  Yellow sapphire.  Yu (Jade).


  Golden beryl.     Garnet.
  Opal.             Onyx.
  Olivine.          Obsidian.
  Diamond.          Dendrite.

  Lapis-lazuli.     Labradorite.
  Uralian emerald.  Unio pearl.
  Cat’s-eye.        Carnelian.
  Kunzite.          Krokidolite.


  Fire-opal.        Flèches d’amour.
  Opal.             Onyx.
  Ruby.             Rutile.
  Emerald.          Essonite.
  Vermeille.        Verd antique.
  Essonite.         Epidote.
  Rubellite.        Rose quartz.


  Ruby.             Rubellite.
  Emerald.          Essonite.
  Garnet.           Garnet.
  Alexandrite.      Amethyst.
  Ruby.             Rock-crystal.
  Diamond.          Demantoid.


Greek, meaning “Mayest thou live.”

  Zircon.           Zonochlorite.
  Emerald.          Essonite.
  Sapphire.         Sard.


  Moonstone.        Moldavite.
  Indicolite.       Idocrase.
  Zircon.           Zonochlorite.
  Peridot.          Pyrope.
  Asteria.          Aquamarine.
  Hyacinth.         Hematite.


  Flèches d’amour.  Feldspar.
  Ruby.             Rock crystal.
  Indicolite.       Idocrase.
  Emerald.          Epidote.
  Nephrite.         Nicolo.
  Diamond.          Diopside.
  Sapphire.         Sard.
  Hyacinth.         Hematite.
  Iolite.           Idocrase.
  Pearl.            Pyrite.


  Diamond.          Demantoid.
  Emerald.          Essonite.
  Alexandrite.      Amethyst.
  Ruby.             Rubellite.
  Essonite.         Epidote.
  Sapphire.         Spinel.
  Turquoise.        Topaz.


  Sapphire.         Sunstone.
  Opal.             Onyx.
  Uralian emerald.  Utahlite.
  Vermeille.        Verd antique.
  Emerald.          Epidote.
  Nephrite.         Nephrite.
  Iolite.           Indicolite.
  Ruby.             Rock-crystal.


  Beryl.            Bloodstone.
  Opal.             Onyx.
  Nephrite.         Nephrite.
  Hyacinth.         Hematite.
  Emerald.          Essonite.
  Uralian emerald.  Utahlite.
  Ruby.             Rhodonite.


  Alexandrite.      Almandine.
  Moonstone.        Moonstone.
  Indicolite.       Indicolite.
  Tourmaline.       Topaz.
  Idocrase.         Idocrase.
  Emerald.          Essonite.


  Lapis-lazuli.     Labrador spar.
  Opal.             Onyx.
  Vermeille.        Verd antique.
  Emerald.          Essonite.

  Moonstone.        Moonstone.
  Essonite.         Epidote.


Greek, meaning “forever,” “eternity.”

  Alexandrite.      Almandine.
  Emerald.          Essonite.
  Indicolite.       Idocrase.

An attractive engagement ring can be formed of a central diamond from
which extend the rays of a five-pointed star. Between the rays are set
the stones emblematic of the zodiacal sign, of the guardian angel of
the month, of the planet control of the hour and also the two stones
indicating the initial letter of the two Christian names. This ring is
in the form of the mystic Pentagon, the grand symbol of constancy and
durability, since the number five is composed of three, which signifies
creative power, and two, which typifies the balance, that is, stability.

As, according to the old fancy, the influences due to the light
emanations from the planets or fixed stars, or from the combination
of the stars in a zodiacal sign, would have a peculiar and more or
less intimate connection with the fate of one country rather than of
another, an attempt is here made to give a characteristic stone for
each country. In the case of the United States the various gem-stones
found within the boundaries of each of the States of the Union are
given. That this special influence was exceptionally potent in regard
to those born in the countries in question was also taught and hence a
national gem would have a greater talismanic power than any other for
the natives of each separate country. For those who may feel a certain
degree of sympathy for time-honored fancies, and who may perhaps
also have a trace of superstition hidden away in some part of their
consciousness, one of our State gems would have a similar significance.


  Alaska                            Garnet
  Algiers                           Coral
  Arabia                            Pearl
  Austria-Hungary                   Opal
  Belgium                           Crystal
  Bohemia                           Garnet
  Bokhara                           Lapis-lazuli
  Bolivia                           Lapis-lazuli
  Brazil                            Tourmaline (Brazilian emerald)
  Burma                             Ruby
  Canada                            Sodalite
  Ceylon                            Cat’s-eye
  Chili                             Lapis-lazuli
  China                             Jade
  Congo                             Dioptase
  Denmark                           Agate
  Egypt                             Peridot
  England                           Diamond
  France                            Pearl
  Germany                           Amber
  German West Africa                Diamond
  Greece                            Sapphire
  Holland                           Diamond
  Hungary                           Opal
  India                             Pearl
  Ireland                           Precious serpentine (Connemara)
  Italy                             Coral
  Japan                             Rock-crystal
  Korea                             Abalone pearl
  Madagascar                        Morganite
  Mexico                            Obsidian
  Morocco                           Coral
  New England                       Tourmaline
  New South Wales                   Opal
  New Zealand                       Jade
  Norway-Sweden                     Carnelian
  Panama                            Agate
  Persia                            Turquoise
  Peru                              Emerald
  Philippines                       Pearl
  Portugal                          Chrysoberyl
  Roumania                          Amber
  Russia                            Rhodonite
  Sandwich Islands                  Olivine
  Scotland                          Cairngorm (smoky quartz)
  Servia                            Coral
  Siam                              Ruby
  Sicily                            Amber
  South Africa                      Diamond
  Spain                             Emerald
  Switzerland                       Rock-crystal
  Turkestan                         Jade
  Turkey                            Turquoise
  United States                     Sapphire
  Uruguay                           Amethyst


Precious, semi-precious, or gem stones are found in nearly every State
of the Union. The most important are enumerated below:

  _Alabama_            Beryl, blue and yellow; smoky quartz.
  _Arizona_            Agatized wood, azur-malachite, turquoise, garnet,
  _Arkansas_           Rock-crystal, smoky quartz, agate, diamond,
  _California_         Agate, benitoite, californite, diamond, gold
                       quartz, tourmaline, abalone pearl, chrysoprase,
                       kunzite, morganite.
  _Colorado_           Beryl, aquamarine, phenacite, garnet, amethyst,
                       agate, gold quartz, pyrite.
  _Connecticut_        Beryl, yellow and green; rose quartz, tourmaline
  _Delaware_           Pearl.
  _Florida_            Chalcedony, conch pearl.
  _Georgia_            Ruby, beryl, amethyst, gold quartz, garnet.
  _Idaho_              Opal, agate, obsidian.
  _Illinois_           Fluorite, pearl.
  _Indian Territory_   Obsidian, pearl.
  _Indiana_            Pearl.
  _Iowa_               Fossil coral, pearl, chalcedony.
  _Kansas_             Chalcedony.
  _Kentucky_           Pearl.
  _Louisiana_          Chalcedony.
  _Maine_              Tourmaline, beryl, rose quartz, pearl, topaz,
                       amazonite, smoky quartz, rock-crystal.
  _Maryland_           Beryl, clam-pearl.
  _Massachusetts_      Beryl.
  _Michigan_           Agate, hematite.
  _Minnesota_          Chlorastrolite, thomsonite, agate.
  _Mississippi_        Pearl, chalcedony.
  _Missouri_           Pearl, fluorite, pyrite.
  _Montana_            Sapphire, beryl, smoky quartz, agate, amethyst,
                       agatized wood, obsidian.
  _Nebraska_           Chalcedony, pearl.
  _Nevada_             Gold quartz, rock-crystal.
  _New Hampshire_      Beryl, rock-crystal, garnet.
  _New Jersey_         Fowlerite, willemite, prehnite, smoky quartz,
                       agate, pearl.
  _New Mexico_         Turquoise, garnet, obsidian, peridot, rock-crystal.
  _New York_           Beryl, brown tourmaline, rose quartz, fresh-water
                       pearl, clam-pearl, chondrodite.
  _North Carolina_     Aquamarine, beryl, emerald, almandite garnet,
                       rhodolite, prope garnet, diamond, cyanite,
                       hiddenite, amethyst, ruby, sapphire, smoky quartz,
                       rock-crystal, rutile.
  _North Dakota_       Chalcedony, agate.
  _Ohio_               Fossil coral, chalcedony.
  _Oregon_             Agate, obsidian, hydrolite.
  _Pennsylvania_       Amethyst, beryl, sunstone, moonstone, amazonite,
                       almandite garnet, pyrope garnet, rutile.
  _Rhode Island_       Hornblende in quartz, amethyst, rock-crystal.
  _South Carolina_     Beryl, smoky quartz, rock-crystal.
  _South Dakota_       Quartzite, beryl, agate.
  _Tennessee_          Pearl.
  _Texas_              Beryl, pearl, tourmaline.
  _Utah_               Topaz, garnet.
  _Virginia_           Amethyst, spessarite, garnet, beryl, moonstone,
                       staurolite, allanite.
  _Vermont_            Beryl, pearl.
  _Washington_         Pearl, agate.
  _West Virginia_      Rock-crystal.
  _Wisconsin_          Agate, pearl.
  _Wyoming_            Moss-agate, agate.


On the Therapeutic Use of Precious and Semi-Precious Stones

The medicinal use of precious stones may be traced back to very ancient
times. It has been conjectured that their employment for such purposes
was introduced to Europe from India, whence many of the stones were
derived. Nevertheless, the earliest evidence we have rather points to
Egypt as the source, and, indeed, it appears that in early Egyptian
times the chemical constituents of the stones were much more rationally
considered than at a later period in Europe. The Ebers Papyrus,
for instance, recommends the use of certain astringent substances,
such as lapis-lazuli, as ingredients of eye-salves, and hematite,
an iron oxide, was used for checking hemorrhages and for reducing
inflammations. Little by little, however, superstition associated
certain special virtues with the color and quality of precious stones,
and their virtues were thought to be greatly enhanced by engraving on
them the image of some god, or of some object symbolizing certain of
the activities of nature. Later still, the science of astrology, most
highly developed in Assyria and Babylonia, was brought into combination
with the various superstitions above indicated, so that the image was
believed to have much greater efficacy if the engraving were executed
when the sun was in a certain constellation or when the moon or some
one of the planets was in the ascendant at the time.

If we exclude certain fragmentary notices in Egyptian
literature—notably the statements in the Ebers Papyrus—and the very
uncertain sources in Hindu literature, the earliest authority for
this branch of the subject is the Natural History of Pliny. In this
connection, however, it is only just to call attention to a fact which
has been often ignored—namely, that Pliny himself had very little
faith in the teachings of the “magi,” as he calls them, in regard to
the superstitious use of gems for the prevention or cure of diseases;
indeed, he seems to have been almost as sceptical in his attitude as
many modern writers, for certain quite recent authorities still credit
amber and a few other mineral substances with therapeutic effects other
than those which can be explained by the known action of their chemical
constituents. Still, Pliny yielded so far to the taste of his time as
to preserve for us many of the statements of earlier writers on the
subject, naming them in most cases and so enabling us to form some idea
of the character of this pseudo-science in the Roman world in the first
century of our era. With the gradual decay of ancient learning, the
less valuable elements of popular belief came more and more into the
foreground, and the old superstitions were freely copied by successive
authors, each of whom felt called upon to add something new on his own
account. This explains much of the confusion that reigns in regard
to the attribution of special virtues to the different stones, for
the wider the reading of the author the greater became the number of
virtues attributed to each separate stone, until, at last, we might
almost say that each and every precious stone could be used for the
cure of all diseases. Nevertheless, it is comparatively easy to see
that either the color or constitution of the stone originally indicated
its use for this or that disease.


It dates from about 1600 B.C., the period of the Ebers Papyrus, and
gives directions for preparing certain remedies from precious stones.
While the interpretation of this text offers considerable difficulty,
one version finds in it the statement that lapis-lazuli—the “sapphire”
of the ancients—was used for the wealthy, and malachite for those of
limited means. Professor Oefele conjectures that the disease to be
treated was hysteria. Munch Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New

A distinction is often made between the talismanic qualities of
precious stones for the cure or prevention of disease and the properly
medicinal use of them as mineral substances. In the former case the
effect was attained by merely wearing them on the person, while in the
latter case they were reduced to a powder, which was dissolved as far
as possible in water or some other liquid and then taken internally.
As, however, the end to be attained is the same whether the stone be
worn or taken internally as a powder or liquid, it seems more logical
to treat of both these methods of therapeutic use together, reserving
for the chapter on the talismanic use of gems only their employment
to avert misfortunes other than those caused by disease, and their
influence in the procuring of wealth, honors, and happiness for their

The belief in the curative properties of precious stones was at one
time universal among all those to whom gems were known. When we read
to-day of the various ills that were supposed to be cured by the use of
these gems, we find it difficult to understand what process of thought
could have suggested the idea of employing such ineffectual remedies.
It is true that the constituents of certain stones can be absorbed by
the human body and have a definite effect upon it, but the greater part
of the elements are so combined that they cannot be assimilated, and
they pass through the system without producing any apparent effect.

In ancient and medieval times, however, other than chemical agencies
were supposed to be efficient in the cure of diseases, and the
primitive animistic conception of the cause of illness, and hence of
the therapeutics of disease, long held sway among those who practised
the medical art. Remedies were prized because of their rarity, and also
because it was believed that certain spiritual or planetary influences
had aided in their production and were latent in them. Besides this,
the symbolism of color played a very important part in recommending
the use of particular stones for special diseases. This may be noted
in the case of the red or reddish stones, such as the ruby, spinel,
garnet, carnelian, bloodstone, etc. These were thought to be sovereign
remedies for hemorrhages of all kinds, as well as for all inflammatory
diseases; they were also believed to exercise a calming influence and
to remove anger and discord. The red hue of these stones was supposed
to indicate their fitness for such use, upon the principle _similia
similibus curantur_. In the same way yellow stones were prescribed for
the cure of bilious disorders, for jaundice in all its forms and for
other diseases of the liver.

The use of green stones to relieve diseases of the eye was evidently
suggested by the beneficial influence exerted by this color upon the
sight. The verdant emerald represented the beautiful green fields, upon
which the tired eye rests so willingly, and which exert such a soothing
influence upon the sight when it has been unduly strained or fatigued.
One of the earliest, probably the very earliest reference in Greek
writings to the therapeutic value of gems, appears in the works of
Theophrastus, who wrote in the third century before Christ. Here we are
told of the beneficial effect exercised by the emerald upon the eyes.

[Illustration: 1. Necklace of carnelian beads. Persian. The decoration
is made with carbonate of lime and fixed by firing. Charms against the
Evil Eye.

2. Necklace of onyx beads. Early Christian.]

The sapphire, the lapis-lazuli, and other blue stones, with a hue
resembling the blue of the heavens, were believed to exert a tonic
influence, and were supposed to counteract the wiles of the spirits
of darkness and procure the aid and favor of the spirits of light and
wisdom. These gems were usually looked upon as emblems of chastity,
and for this reason the sapphire came to be regarded as especially
appropriate for use in ecclesiastical rings. Among purple stones,
the amethyst is particularly noteworthy. The well-known belief that
this gem counteracted the effects of undue indulgence in intoxicating
beverages is indicated by its name, derived from μεθύω—“to be
intoxicated,” and the privative α, the name thus signifying the
“sobering” gem. It is not unlikely that a fancied resemblance between
the prevailing hue of these stones and that of certain kinds of wine
first gave rise to the name and to the idea of the peculiar virtues of
the amethyst.

We have mentioned only a few of the more obvious analogies suggested
by the color of gems, and we might be tempted to cite many others were
it not that symbolism is always treacherous ground, since there is
practically no limit to the correspondences that may be found between
sensuous impressions and ideas.

One great difficulty which besets any one who is trying to find a clue
to guide him through the labyrinth of the medical affinities of gems is
the fact that there was, from an early period, a tendency to attribute
the virtues of one gem to another, probably owing to the commercial
instinct which urged the dealer to praise his wares in every possible
way, so that no part of his stock should fail to find a purchaser. This
tendency is especially marked in the old Hindu Lapidaries, wherein
it is almost impossible to find any differentiation of the stones in
respect to their curative or talismanic virtues. Only the condition and
perfection of the gems are made the criterion of their worth. Any given
stone, if perfect, was a source of all blessings to the wearer and
possessed all remedial powers, while a defective stone, or one lacking
the proper lustre or color, was destined to be a source of untold
misfortune to the owner.

The European writers on the medical properties of precious stones were
influenced by quite different considerations; their chief aim was to
represent each stone, regarded simply as a mineral substance, as being
the abode of the greatest possible number of curative properties.
Indeed, many of the most highly recommended electuaries contained all
kinds of stones, as though the effect to be produced did not depend
upon the qualities of any single stone, or class of stones, but rather
upon the quantity used. In Arnobio’s “Tesoro delle Gioie,”[464] we have
a receipt for the composition of “the most noble electuary of jacinth.”
This contains jacinth, emerald, sapphire, topaz, garnet, pearl, ruby,
white and red coral, and amber, as well as many animal and vegetable
substances, in all, thirty-four ingredients. It would indeed seem that
a good dose of such a mixture should have provided a cure for “all
the ills that flesh is heir to,” by the simple and effective means of
removing the unhappy patient to a better world.

Treating of the metallic affinities of precious stones, Paracelsus
(1493-1541) affirmed that the emerald was a copper stone; the carbuncle
and the jasper were golden stones; the ruby and the chalcedony, silver
stones. The “white sapphire” (corundum) was a stone of Jupiter, while
the jacinth was a mercurial stone. Powdered jacinth mixed with an equal
quantity of laudanum was recommended as a remedy for fevers resulting
from “putrefaction of the air or water.” This illustrates the custom of
combining an inefficacious material, such as the powder of a precious
stone, with another possessing genuine remedial virtue, the name of the
stone appealing to the popular superstitions regarding its therapeutic
powers, and thus rendering the preparation more acceptable.[465]

It is related by Plutarch that when Pericles was dying of the plague,
he showed to one of his friends, who was visiting him, an amulet
suspended from his neck. This had been given to Pericles by the women
of his household, and Plutarch cites the instance as a proof that even
the strongest minds will at certain times yield to the influence of

There were sceptics in ancient times who put no faith in the popular
superstitions as to the curative powers of precious stones. Eusebius
(ca. 264-ca. 349), in his oration on the Emperor Constantine the Great
(272-337), says:[467]

 He held that the varieties of stones so greatly admired were useless
 and ineffective things. They possessed no other qualities than their
 natural ones, and hence no efficacy to hold evils aloof; for what
 power can such things have either to cure disease or to avert death?
 Nevertheless, although he well knew this, he was in no wise opposed to
 their use simply as ornaments by his subjects.

The Middle High German didactic poem on precious stones, composed
by Volmar, or Volamar, about 1250, appears to have been written as
a rejoinder to a satirical poem, the work of a writer called the
“Stricker” (rascal). What chiefly aroused Volmar’s wrath was the fact
that this irreverent personage dared to assert that a piece of colored
glass set in a ring looked just as well and possessed the same virtues
as a genuine precious stone of the same color. Volmar does not mince
matters, and roundly declares that whoever should kill the man who
wrote thus would do no sinful act. While we can scarcely recommend such
drastic action, we must admit that we feel a little sympathy with the
medieval champion of genuine stones against imitations.

A most interesting item recording one phase of a great tyrant’s
character is reported by Sir Jerome Horsey, who was entrusted with
messages to and from Elizabeth of England and Ivan the Terrible of
Russia. He gives, in his “Travels,” a graphic recital of an interview
with Ivan just before the latter’s death in 1584. We retain the archaic
spelling as it is reproduced in the Hakluyt publication from the
original manuscript. Writing of Ivan, Horsey says:[468]

 Carried every daye in his chair into his treasure. One daye the prince
 beckoned me to follow. I strode emonge the rest venturously, and
 heard him call for som precious stones and jewells. Told the prince
 and nobles present before and aboute him the virtue of such and such,
 which I observed, and do pray I may a littell degress to declare for
 my own memorie sake.

[Illustration: Facsimile page of Italian vellum manuscript treatise of
the virtues of gems. Italian MS. of the Fourteenth Century in author’s

Treating of Topaz, Turquoise, Jacinth, Garnet, Chalcedony,
Rock-crystal, Coral.]

 “The load-stone you all know hath great and hidden vertue, without
 which the seas that compas the world ar not navigable, nor the bounds
 nor circles of the earth cannot be knowen. Mahomett, the Percians
 proffit, his tombe of steell hangs in their Repatta at Darbent most
 miraculously”—Caused the waiters to bringe a chaine of nedells
 towched by his load-stone, hanged all one by the other.—“This faire
 currell (coral) and this faire turcas you see; take in your hand;
 of his natur arr orient coullers; put them on my hand and arm. I am
 poisoned with disease: you see they shewe their virtue by the chainge
 of their pure culler into pall: declares my death. Reach owt my
 staff roiall; an unicorns horn garnished with verie fare diomondes,
 rubies, saphiers, emeralls and other precious stones that ar rich
 in vallew; cost 70 thousand marckes sterlinge of David Gower from
 the fowlkers of Ousborghe.[469] Seek owt for som spiders.” Caused
 his phiziccians, Johannes Lloff, to scrape a circle thereof upon the
 tabell; putt within it one spider and so one other and died, and some
 other without that ran alive apace from it.—“It is too late, it
 will not preserve me. Behold these precious stones. This diomond is
 the orients richest and most precious of all other. I never affected
 it; yt restreyns furie and luxurie and abstinacie and chasticie;
 the least parcell of it in powder will poysen a horse geaven to
 drinck, much more a man.” Poynts at the ruby. “Oh! this is most
 comfortable to the hart, braine, vigar and memorie of man, clarifies
 congelled and corrupt bloud.”—Then at the emerald.—“The natur of
 the reyn-bowe; this precious stone is an enemye to uncleanness. The
 saphier I greatlie delight in; yt preserves and increaseth courage,
 joies the hart, pleasinge to all the vitall sensis, precious and verie
 soveraigne for the eys, clears the sight, takes awaye bloudshott and
 streingthens the mussells and strings thereof.”—Then takes the onex
 in hand.—“All these are Gods wonderfull guifts, secreats in natur,
 and yet revells [reveals] them to mans use and contemplacion, as
 frendes to grace and vertue and enymies to vice. I fainte, carie me
 awaye till an other tyme.”

Some believed that when precious stones were worn to relieve or prevent
disease, it was important that the different stones should be worn on
different parts of the body. According to one authority, the jacinth
should be worn on the neck; the diamond, on the left arm; the sapphire,
on the ring-finger; the emerald, or the jacinth, on the index-finger;
and the ruby or turquoise, on either the index-finger or the little
finger.[470] There is, however, little reason to assume that these
rules were generally known and observed.

That precious stones not only appealed to the eye by their beautiful
colors, but also possessed a fragrant odor, was one of the many
fanciful ideas regarding them. If we could believe the following
circumstantial account, this was once experimentally proved:[471]

 When precious stones are to be used in medicine, they must be
 pulverized until they are reduced to a powder so fine that it will
 not grate under the teeth, or, in the words of Galen, this powder
 must be as impalpable “as that which is blown into the eyes.” Since
 this trituration is not usually operated with sufficient care by the
 apothecaries, I begged a medical student, who was lodging with me,
 to pass an entire month in grinding some of these stones. I gave him
 emeralds, jacinths, sapphires, rubies, and pearls, an ounce of each
 kind. As these stones were rough and whole, he first crushed them a
 little in a well-polished iron mortar, using a pestle of the same
 metal; afterward he employed a pestle and mortar of glass, devoting
 several hours each day to this work. At the end of about three weeks,
 his room, which was rather large, became redolent with a perfume,
 agreeable both from its variety and sweetness. This odor, which much
 resembled that of March violets, lingered in the room for more than
 three days. There was nothing in the room to produce it, so that it
 certainly proceeded from the powder of precious stones.


Of the many medicinal virtues attributed to the diamond, one of the
most noteworthy is that of an antidote for poisons. Strangely enough,
the belief in its efficacy in this respect was coupled with the idea
that the stone in itself was a deadly poison. The origin of this
latter fancy must be sought in the tradition that the place wherein
the diamonds were generated—“in the land where it is six months
day and six months night”—was guarded by venomous creatures who,
in passing over the stones, were wounded by the sharp points of the
crystals, and thus embued the stones with some of their venom.[472]
The attribution of curative properties in case of poisoning arose from
association of ideas. The Lapidario of Alfonso X recommends the diamond
for diseases of the bladder; it adds, however, that this stone should
be used only in desperate cases.


Codice Original (fol. 6), published in Madrid, 1881. That on the left
figures “the stone found in the sea when the planet Mars rises”; that
on the right, “the stone that attracts glass.” Author’s library.]


Codice Original (fol. 4), published in Madrid, 1881. On the left, “the
stone that recoils from milk”; on the right, pearl-fishers.]

The diamond was also believed to afford protection from plague or
pestilence, and a proof of its powers in this direction was found in
the fact that the plague first attacked the poorer classes, sparing the
rich, who could afford to adorn themselves with diamonds. Naturally, in
common with other precious stones, this brilliant gem was supposed to
cure many diseases. Marbodus[473] tells us that it was even a cure for

In the Babylonian Talmud we read of a marvellous precious stone
belonging to Abraham. This was perhaps a diamond, or possibly a pearl;
the accounts vary, and the same word is often used to designate
“precious stone” and “pearl.” The following version represents it to be
a diamond:[474]

R. Simeon, ben Johanan said: “A diamond was hanging on Abraham’s neck,
and when a sick man looked upon it he was cured. And when Abraham
passed away, the Lord sealed it in the planet of the sun.”

The Hindus believed that it was extremely dangerous to use diamonds
of inferior quality for curative purposes, as they would not only
fail to remedy the disease for which they were prescribed, but might
cause lameness, jaundice, pleurisy, and even leprosy. As to the use
of diamonds of good quality, very explicit directions are given. On
some day regarded as auspicious for the operation, the stone was to
be dipped in the juice of the _kantakára_ (_Solanum jaquiri_) and
subjected for a whole night to the heat of a fire made by dried pieces
of the dung of a cow or of a buffalo. In the morning it was to be
immersed in cow’s urine and again subjected to fire. These processes
were to be repeated for seven days, at the end of which term the
diamond could be regarded as purified. After this the stone was to be
buried in a paste of certain leguminous seeds mixed with asafœtida and
rock salt. Herein it was to be heated twenty-one successive times,
when it would be reduced to ashes. If these ashes were then dissolved
in some liquid, the potion would “conduce to longevity, general
development of the body, strength, energy, beauty of complexion, and
happiness,” giving an adamantine strength to the limbs.[475]

An Austrian nobleman, who for a long time had not been able to sleep
without having terrible dreams, was immediately cured by wearing a
small diamond set in gold on his arm, so that the stone came in contact
with his skin.[476]

The fact that in this case, as in many others, the stone was required
to touch the skin, proves that the effect supposed to be produced was
not altogether magical, but in the nature of a physical emanation from
the stone to the body of the wearer.

We are told that when Pope Clement VII was seized by his last illness,
in 1534, his physicians resorted to powders composed of various
precious stones. In the space of fourteen days they are asserted to
have given the pope forty thousand ducats’ worth of these stones,
a single dose costing as much as three thousand ducats. The most
costly remedy of all was a diamond administered to him at Marseilles.
Unfortunately, this lavish expenditure was of no avail; indeed,
according to our modern science, the remedies might have sufficed to
end the pope’s life, without the help of his disease.[477]

The old fancy that the diamond grew dark in the presence of poison
is explained by the Italian physician Gonelli as caused by minute
and tenuous particles which emanated from the poison, impinged upon
the surface of the diamond, and, unable to penetrate its dense mass,
accumulated on the surface, thus producing a superficial discoloration.
The diamond, being a cold substance, may have condensed moisture from
the body, and the one suffering from the poison may have emitted
exudations. But this elaborate explanation of a phenomenon which
never existed except in the imagination of those who related it is
characteristic of Gonelli, who was always ready to elucidate in
some similar way any of the marvels recounted in regard to precious


The emerald was employed as an antidote for poisons and for poisoned
wounds, as well as against demoniacal possession.[479] If worn on the
neck it was said to cure the “semitertian” fever and epilepsy.[480]
The use of the emerald to rest and relieve the eye is the only remedial
use of a precious stone mentioned by Theophrastus in his treatise on
gems, written in the third century B.C. Alluding to its powers as an
antidote for poisons, Rueus asserts[481] that if the weight of eighty
barley-corns of its powder were given to one dying from the effects
of poison, the dose would save his life. The Arabs prized emeralds
highly for this purpose, and Abenzoar states that, having once taken a
poisonous herb, he placed an emerald in his mouth and applied another
to his stomach, whereupon he was entirely cured.[482]

A certain cure for dysentery also was to wear an emerald suspended
so that it touched the abdomen and to place another emerald in the
mouth. Michaele Paschali, a learned Spanish physician of the sixteenth
century, declared that he had effected a cure of the disease by means
of the emerald in the case of Juan de Mendoza, a Spanish grandee,
and Wolfgang Gabelchover, of Calw, in Würtemberg, writing in 1603,
asserts that he had often tested the virtues of the emerald in cases of
dysentery and with invariable success.[483]

It speaks not a little for the beauty of the emerald that so good a
judge of precious stones as Pliny should have pronounced this gem to
be the only one that delighted the eye without fatiguing it, adding
that when the vision was wearied by gazing intently at other objects,
it gained renewed strength by viewing an emerald. So general in the
early centuries of our era was the persuasion that the pure green hue
of emeralds aided the eyesight, that gem engravers are said to have
kept some of them on their work-tables, so as to be able to look at
the stones from time to time and thus relieve the eye-strain caused by
close application to their delicate task.[484]

Psellus says that a cataplasm made of emeralds was of help to those
suffering from leprosy; he adds that if pulverized and taken in water
they would check hemorrhages.[485] They were especially commended
for use as amulets to be hung on the necks of children, as they were
believed to ward off and prevent epilepsy. If, however, the violence of
the disease was such that it could not be overcome by the stone, the
latter would break.[486] Hermes Trismegistus says the emerald cures
ophthalmia and hemorrhages. The great Hermes must have had a special
preference for this stone, since his treatise on chemistry (_peri
chemeias_) is said to have been found inscribed on an emerald.[487]

By the Hindu physicians of the thirteenth century the emerald was
considered to be a good laxative. It cured dysentery, diminished the
secretion of bile, and stimulated the appetite. In short, it promoted
bodily health and destroyed demoniacal influences. In the curious
phrase of the school the emerald was “cold and sweet.”[488]

Teifashi (1242 A.D.) believed that the emerald was a cure for
hæmoptysis and for dysentery if it were worn over the liver of the
person affected; to cure gastric troubles, the stone was to be laid
upon the stomach. Furthermore, the wearer was protected from the
attacks of venomous creatures, and evil spirits were driven from the
place where emeralds were kept.[489] The direction to place the stone
on the affected part, a recommendation often met with in the treatises
on the therapeutic use of ornamental stones, shows that these were
believed to send forth emanations of subtle power. Probably enough, the
brilliant play of reflected light which proceeds from many of these
gems suggested the idea that they radiated a certain curative energy.
This theory need not surprise us, for, although it is altogether
fanciful in the case of the diamond, ruby, emerald, etc., the newly
discovered substance, radium, really possesses the active properties
ascribed by old writers to precious stones.


A stone the therapeutic quality of which was specialized is the jade or
nephrite. Strange to say, although there are very few places where this
mineral can now be obtained,—the chief sources of supply being the
province of Khotan in Turkistan and New Zealand,—in prehistoric times
the stone must have been found in many different localities, since
axe-heads and other artefacts of jade have been discovered in many
lands both of the old and new world.

When the Spaniards discovered and explored the southern part of the
American continent, they came across numerous native ornaments and
amulets made of jade (jadeite) and brought many of these with them to
Europe. The name jade is derived from the Spanish designation, _piedra
de hijada_, meaning literally “stone of the flank,” which is said to
have been bestowed on the stone because the Indians used it for all
diseases of the kidneys. The name nephrite owes its origin to the
same idea. In ancient times jade appears to have been looked upon as
a great aid in parturition, and many ingenious conjectures have been
advanced as to the connection between this belief and the form of some
of the prehistoric objects made of this material. Whether the Spaniards
really learned from the Indians that the stone was especially adapted
to cure renal diseases, or whether they only suggested this special
and peculiar virtue in order to give an enhanced value to their jade
ornaments, is a question not easily answered.

An early notice of jade as a remedial agent appears in Sir Walter
Raleigh’s account of his travels in Guiana. Treating of a people
of “Amazons” said to dwell in the interior of the country, Raleigh

 These Amazones have likewise great store of these plates of golde,
 which they recover by exchange, chiefly for a kinde of greene stone,
 which the Spaniards call Piedras Hijadas, and we use for spleene
 stones and for the disease of the stone we also esteeme them: of these
 I saw divers in Guiana, and commonly every King or _Casique_ hath one,
 which theire wives for the most part weare, and they esteeme them as
 great jewels.

By the middle of the seventeenth century the curative powers of
jade for the various forms of calculi was very generally admitted.
A singular instance is offered us in one of Voiture’s letters.
He was a great sufferer from “the stone” and he had received,
from a Mademoiselle Paulet, a beautiful jade bracelet. Gratefully
acknowledging the receipt of this peculiar gift, he expresses himself
in the following frank way, a mixture of indelicacy and gallantry
that seems strange to us: “If the stones you have given me do not
break mine, they will at least make me bear my sufferings patiently;
and it seems to me that I ought not to complain of my colic, since it
has procured me this happiness.” The name used for jade by Voiture,
“_l’éjade_,” supplied a missing link in the derivation of our name
jade from the Spanish _hijada_. When the lady’s gift was received by
Voiture, some friends chanced to be present, and they were disposed to
regard it as a token of love until he assured them that it was only
a remedy. It appears that Mlle. Paulet was a fellow sufferer, and,
alluding to this, Voiture writes: “On this occasion the jade had for
you an effect you did not expect from it, and its virtue defended your

Renal calculi and poetry do not seem to have much in common, but the
following lines freely rendered from an old Italian poem on the subject
by Ciri de Pers show that even this unpromising theme is susceptible of
poetic treatment:[492]

    “Other white stones serve to mark happy days,
    But mine do mark days full of pain and gloom.
    To build a palace, or a temple fair,
    Stones should be used; but mine do serve
    To wreck the fleshly temple of my soul.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Well do I know that Death doth whet his glaive
    Upon these stones, and that the marble white
    That grows in me is there to form my tomb.”

As jade was and still is the most favored stone in China, although
never found within the boundaries of China proper, it was very
naturally accorded wonderful medical virtues. An old Chinese
encyclopedia, the work of Li She Chan, and presented by him to the
emperor Wan Lih of the Ming dynasty, in 1596, contains many interesting
notices of jade. When reduced to a powder of the size of rice grains it
strengthened the lungs, the heart, and the vocal organs, and prolonged
life, more especially if gold and silver were added to the jade powder.
Another, and certainly a pleasanter way of absorbing this precious
mineral, was to drink what was enthusiastically called the “divine
liquor of jade.” To concoct this elixir equal parts of jade, rice, and
dew-water were put into a copper pot and boiled, the resultant liquid
being carefully filtered. This mixture was said to strengthen the
muscles and make them supple, to harden the bones, to calm the mind, to
enrich the flesh, and to purify the blood. Whoever took it for a long
space of time ceased to suffer from either heat or cold and no longer
felt either hunger or thirst.

Galen (b. ca. 130 A.D.) wrote thus of the green jasper:[493]

 Some have testified to a virtue in certain stones, and this is true
 of the green jasper, that is to say, this stone aids the stomach and
 navel by contact. And some, therefore, set the stone in rings and
 engrave on it a dragon surrounded by rays, according to what King
 Nechepsos has transmitted to posterity in the fourteenth book (of his
 works). Indeed, I myself have thoroughly tested this stone, for I hung
 a necklace composed of them about my neck so that they touched the
 navel, and I received not less benefit from them than I would had they
 borne the engraving of which Nechepsos wrote.


Sanskrit medical literature as represented by Naharari, a physician
of Cashmere, who wrote in the thirteenth century, finds in the ruby a
valuable remedy for flatulency and biliousness. Moreover, aside from
these special uses, an elixir of great potency could be made from
rubies by those who properly understood the employment of precious
stones in the compounding of medicines.[494] This famous “ruby elixir”
may have had little in common with the stone except its color, as such
remedies were generally said to have been made by some secret and
mysterious process, in the course of which all material evidence of the
presence of any precious stone or stones completely disappeared.


One of the earliest specimens of English literature, William Langley’s
“Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman” (written about 1377),
contains a mention of the sapphire as a cure for disease:[495]

    I looked on my left half as þe lady me taughte
    And was war of a woman wortheli yeclothed,
    Purfiled with pelure[496] þe finest vpon erthe,
    Y-crowned with a corone þe kyng hath none better.
    Fetislich[497] hir fyngres were fretted[498] with gold wyre,
    And þere-on red rubyes as red as any glede,[499]
    And diamants of derrest pris, and double manere safferes,
    Orientales and ewages[500] enuenymes[501] to destroye.

Among the rich gifts offered at the shrine of St. Erkinwald, in Old
Saint Paul’s, was a sapphire given in 1391 by Richard Preston, “a
citizen and grocer of London.” He stipulated that the stone should
be kept at the shrine for the cure of diseases of the eyes, and that
proclamation should be made of its remedial virtues. St. Erkinwald
was the son of Offa, King of the East Saxons, and was converted to
Christianity by Melittus, the first bishop of London. In 675 A.D. he
himself became bishop of London, being the third to attain that rank
after the death of Melittus. His body was interred in the cathedral,
and his shrine, which was richly embellished during the reign of Edward
III (1327-1377), received many valuable donations.[502]

The usefulness of the sapphire as an eyestone for the removal of all
impurities or foreign bodies from the eye is noted by Albertus Magnus,
who writes that he had seen it employed for this purpose. He adds that
when a sapphire was used in this way it should be dipped in cold water
both before and after the operation.[503] This was probably not so much
to make the stone colder to the touch as to cleanse it, certainly a
very necessary proceeding when the same stone was used by many persons
suffering from contagious diseases of the eyes.

Richard Preston’s sapphire appears to have been only one of a class
regarded as having special virtue to cure diseased eyes, as is shown
by the existence of various other similar sapphires in different parts
of Europe. It is not very easy to determine the precise reason—if
there be one—which rendered any single sapphire more useful than
another in this respect. An entry in the inventory of Charles V notes
“an oval Oriental sapphire for touching the eyes, set in a band of
gold.”[504] Possibly the fact that a particular gem of this kind was
used remedially, and was not set for wear as an ornament, may have been
the only cause for a belief in its special virtue.

That the sapphire should have been regarded as especially valuable
for the cure of eye diseases serves to illustrate the wide-reaching
and persistent influence of Egyptian thought, and the curious
transformations through which an originally reasonable idea may pass
in the course of time. We have already noted that the sapphire of the
ancients was our lapis-lazuli, and in the Ebers Papyrus lapis-lazuli
is given as one of the ingredients of an eye-wash. This ingredient is
believed to have originally been the oxide of copper sometimes called
lapis Armenus, a material possessing marked astringent properties, and
which might be used to advantage in certain morbid conditions of the
eye. Lapis-lazuli, another blue stone, was later substituted because
of its greater intrinsic value, its similarity of color rendering it
equally efficacious according to primitive ideas on this subject. When,
however, in medieval times, the name sapphire came to signify the blue
corundum gem known to us by this designation, the special curative
virtues of the lapis-lazuli were transferred to this still more
valuable stone.

The proper method of applying a sapphire to cure plague boils is given
at some length by Van Helmont. A gem of a fine, deep color was to be
selected and rubbed gently and slowly around the pestilential tumor.
During and immediately after this operation, the patient would feel
but little alleviation; but a good while after the removal of the
stone, favorable symptoms would appear, provided the malady were not
too far advanced. This Van Helmont attributes to a magnetic force in
the sapphire by means of which the absent gem continued to extract
“the pestilential virulency and contagious poyson from the infected


The use of a topaz to cure dimness of vision is strongly recommended
by St. Hildegard. To attain the desired end the stone was to be placed
in wine and left there for three days and three nights. When retiring
to sleep, the patient should rub his eyes with the moistened topaz, so
that this moisture lightly touched the eyeball. After the stone had
been removed, the wine could be used for five days.[506]

A Roman physician of the fifteenth century was reputed to have wrought
many wonderful cures of those stricken by the plague, through touching
the plague sores with a topaz which had belonged to two popes, Clement
VI and Gregory II. The fact that this particular topaz had been in the
hands of two supreme pontiffs must have added much to the faith reposed
in the curative powers of the stone by those upon whom it was used,
and this faith may really have helped to hasten their recovery.[507]


A historical instance of the use of the bloodstone to check a
hemorrhage is recorded in the case of Giorgio Vasari (1514-1578), the
author of the lives of the Italian painters of the Renaissance period.
On a certain occasion, when the painter Luca Signorelli (1439-1521)
was placing one of his pictures in a church at Arezzo, Vasari, who was
present, was seized with a violent hemorrhage and fainted away. Without
a moment’s hesitation, Signorelli took from his pocket a bloodstone
amulet and slipped it down between Vasari’s shoulder-blades. The
hemorrhage is said to have ceased immediately.[508]

The bloodstone was used as a remedy by the Indians of New Spain, and
Monardes notes that they often cut the material into the shape of
hearts. This seems a very appropriate form for an object used to check
hemorrhages. The best effect was attained when the stone was first
dipped in cold water and then held by the patient in his right hand.
Of course the application of any cold object would serve to congeal
the blood, but the connection with the heart vanishes in the direction
to place the stone in the _right_ hand. Monardes states that both
Spaniards and Indians used the bloodstone in this way.[509]

The Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun, a missionary to the Mexican
Indians, shortly after the Spanish Conquest, writes that in 1576 he
cured many natives who were at the point of death from hemorrhage, a
result of the plague, by causing them to hold in the hand a piece of
bloodstone. By this means he claims to have saved many lives.[510]

Robert Boyle, in his “Essay about the Origin and Virtues of Gems”
(London, 1672, pp. 177-78), tells of a gentleman of his acquaintance
who was “of a complexion extraordinary sanguin,” and was much afflicted
with bleeding of the nose. A gentlewoman sent to him a bloodstone,
directing him to wear it suspended from his neck, and from the time
he put it on he was no longer troubled with his malady. It recurred,
however, if he removed the stone. When Boyle objected that this might
be a result of imagination, his friend disposed of his objection by
relating the instance of a woman to whom the stone had been applied
when she was unconscious from loss of blood. Nevertheless, as soon as
it touched her, the flow of blood was checked. Boyle states that this
stone did not seem to him to resemble a true bloodstone. It may have
been that the cold of the stone congealed the blood, or that the flow
was checked by exhaustion.



  Aaron, 102, 277, 300, 310, 318

  Abdul Hamid, Sultan, 139

  Abraham, diamond of, 377
    luminous stones in his city, 161, 276

  Abrasax (Abraxas), 126-130
    meaning of name, 127

  Acrostics expressed with stones, 359-362

  _Adamas_ (diamond?), 39, 95, 157, 163
    of high-priest, 278

  Adam’s Peak, Ceylon, gems from, 75

  Adelbert, St., 164

  Ælian, 161

  Ætites, 34

  Agalmatolite, 48

  Agate, 51-54, 132, 236, 237, 265, 296, 305, 336
    amulets in the Soudan, 54
    amulets of, cut in Idar and Oberstein, 54
    banded, 39, 233, 296
    coral, for an air-ship, 53
    eye-agates and “Aleppo Stones,” 39, 149, 150
    gem of Gemini, 346
      of Mercury, 350
      of Venus, 349
    in breastplate, 276
    with veinings figuring diadem, 267

  Agatharcides, 66

  Agricola, Georgius, 141

  Agrippa, Cornelius, 181, 335, 336

  _Aḥlamah_, stone of breastplate, 297

  Air-ship, with coral agate, 52, 53

  Alabaster, 35, 36

  Alaric, 283

  “Albert,” “Le Grand,” “Le Petit,” treatises on stones, 18

  Albertus Magnus, 7, 17, 68, 77, 78, 146, 387

  Albite, 48

  “Aleppo Stones,” 149
    boil, 149

  Alexander the Great, 68, 96, 125

  Alexander II of Russia, 54

  Alexandria, 125, 126, 130

  Alexandrite, 54, 55
    cat’s-eye, 334

  Alfonso X, “Lapidario” of, 63, 348, 376

  Alford, Henry, 304

  Allanite, from Virginia, 366

  Almandine garnet, 37, 59, 293

  Amazonite, from Maine, 365

  Amber, 34, 55-58
    in deposits of Stone Age, 55, 57
    in Mycenæ, 57
    origin of, 55, 56
    therapeutic effect of, 372
    with initials naturally marked, 57, 58

  Amboin, 62

  American Museum of Nat. Hist., vi, vii, 219, 234, 249, 254

  Amethyst, 37, 119, 134, 145, 237, 243, 244, 297, 303, 305, 336
    as antidote to drunkenness, 58, 371
    as symbol of St. Matthias, 313
    gem of Jupiter, 348
      of Pisces, 345
    in breastplate, 276
    legend of, 58, 59
    ring of St. Valentine, 257
    symbolism of, 269

  Amulets, Alexandrian, 125-129
    Assyrian, of seven stones, 230
    attraction of astral influence to, 340
    Burmese, 266
    canon on, at Council of Laodicea, 42
    Chinese, of five stones, 40
    directions for preparing, 39
    Egyptian, 38, 226-229
    etymology of word, 22
    for heart, 227-229
    for horses, 130
    Gnostic, 125-129
    in Austro-Prussian War, 25
    in Russo-Japanese War, 25
    Japanese, called _magatama_, 265
    Jewish, 43
    of five stones, _pancharatna_, 241
    of nine stones, _naoratna_, 241, 242-245
    origin of, 19-24
    sailors’, 38, 39
    with head of Alexander the Great, 131

  Amymone, image of, in emerald, 139, 140

  Andalusite, 47

  Andreas, bishop of Cæsarea, on apostles’ stones, 311, 313

  Andromeda, image of, on gem, 140

  Angels, 275
    guardian of the months, 326-332
    guardian, stones dedicated to, 339, 340
    nine orders of, 314
    twelve, 303
    twelve guardian, 322

  “Anne of Geierstein” and the opal, 143

  _Anthrax_ (carbuncle), 162

  Apocalyptic gems, significance of, 305

  Apollonius of Tyana, seven rings of, 244

  Apostles, lists of the twelve, 304
    stones of, 303-306

  Aquamarine (beryl), 299, 320
    therapeutic effect of, 387

  Aquarius, zodiacal sign of, 345, 353

  Aquinas, St. Thomas, 17

  Aragonite, 251

  Aries, zodiacal sign, 341, 342, 345, 353

  Aristotle, pseudo-, 160, 163

  Arsinoë, wife of Ptolemy II, 67, 93

  _Artemisia vulgaris_, 212

  Artemidorus, 356, 357

  Ashmole, Elias, 167

  Assher, 289, 300

  Asteria, 106, 107

  Astral stones, 321, 338-363
    fixed stars controlling, 351, 352
    images of constellations on, 352-355
    influence of stars on, 338, 339

  Athene of Phidias, 167

  Aubrey, John, 196

  Augustine, St., 126, 282

  Augustus, 342

  Auto-suggestion, 3

  Aventurine, 48

  Axinite, 48

  Azchalias of Babylon, 80

  “Azoth” of Paracelsus, 6

  Azur-malachite, from Arizona, 364


  Babylonian axe-head, 233, 234
    cylinders, 121-123, 204

  Bacchus and Amethyst, 58, 59

  Baccio, Andrea, 158

  Bacon, Roger, 182, 183

  Baelz, Dr. Erwin, 265

  Balas-ruby, 64, 349

  Ball, Dr. Valentine, 76

  Baltic Coast, amber of the, 56

  _Bareketh_, stone of breastplate, 291, 292

  Barium sulphate, 9

  Bartolomæus Anglicus, 91, 94, 104, 150

  Basalt, 227

  Basilides, 126, 129

  Basilidian gems, 126-130

  Batman, Stephen, 150

  Bela IV of Hungary, emerald in ring of, 77, 78

  Belgium, jet in cave deposits of, 92

  Belisarius, 283

  Belucci collection of worked jade at Perugia, 264

  Belucci, Prof. Giuseppe, vii

  Benitoite, from California, 364

  Benjamin, 289, 297

  Benoni, Rabbi, 72

  Berenice, mother of Ptolemy II, 67

  Berlin Museum, 36

  Berthelot, Pierre Eugène Marcellin, 174

  Beryl, 39, 59, 60, 119, 133, 134, 234, 236, 237, 299, 303, 305, 313,
         320, 336
    as symbol of St. Thomas, 312
    gem of the moon, 348
      of Scorpio, 347
    in breastplate, 276

  Bes, god, image of, 36

  Bejazet II, 154

  Bezoar, 340

  Birth-stones, see _Natal Stones_

  Black, Christian symbolism of, 273
    in occult ritual, 336
    symbolism of, 32

  Black opal of New South Wales, 152

  Blake, W. W., vii

  Blessington, Countess of, verses on opal, 143

  Bloodstone, 133
    causing tempests, 60
    checking hemorrhages, 28
    figuring blood of Christ, 267
    gem of Aries, 345
    in Leyden papyrus, 61
    therapeutic effect of, 370, 390, 391

  Blue, Christian symbolism of, 273
    gems in dreams, 357
    significance of, 31
    silver, worn in Siam for Friday; dark for Saturday, 335

  Bologna stone, 168

  Bondaroy, Jean de la Taille de, 5

  Book of the Dead, 38, 86, 225, 227, 228, 229, 290, 297

  Book of Wings, Ragiel’s, 132

  Boot, Anselmus de, 56, 65, 106, 109, 110, 271

  Borgia, Card. Stefano, 234

  Borneo, breeding pearls in, 42

  Boyle, Robert, 169, 170, 171, 391

  Braddock, Dr. Charles, vii

  Breastplate of high-priest, 16, 120, 231, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319
    stones of, 275-302
    names of, in ancient lists, 301
    probable modern names of, 301

  Breastplate of Judgment, 16

  Buddha, 238

  Buddhabhatta, 71, 73

  Budge, Dr. Ernest A. Wallis, vii, 227

  Burgh, Hubert de, 44

  Burke, Capt. John G., 202

  Burma, amulets of, 266

  Burton, Sir Richard Francis, star-sapphire of, 106


  Cæsar, Julius, 341

  Cagliostro (Giuseppe Balsamo), 198

  Cairo Museum, 38, 201, 297

  Calamine, religious use of, 271, 272

  Calculus, renal, curious poem on, 384

  California Midwinter Mem. Mus., San Francisco, vi

  Californite, 323

  _Callais_, 108

  Cancer, zodiacal sign, 346, 354

  Canrobert, Marshal, faith in amulets, 25

  Cantimpré, Thomas de, 17, 59

  Capricorn, zodiacal sign, 342, 347

  Carbuncle, 33, 39, 145, 162, 168, 174, 243, 292, 305, 343, 357, 372
    as symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, 61
    brought by serpent, 62
    gem of Venus, 348
    in breastplate, 276

  _Carcinia_, 34

  Cardano, Girolamo, 52, 70, 78, 83, 98, 151, 160, 264

  Carnelian, 6, 36, 37, 119, 124, 133, 226, 227, 229, 265, 290, 291, 319
    Arabic inscription on, 63
    engraved with zodiacal signs, 341
    figures engraved in, by Israelites, 120
    gem of Virgo, 346
    of the Sun and Venus, 348
    Goethe’s praise of, 62
    identified with _odem_-stone of breastplate, 120
    Mohammed’s seal-ring of, 64
    Napoleon’s seal of, 64
    Oriental use against envy, 63
    therapeutic effect of, 370

  Carrington, Hereward, vii

  Catherine de’ Medici, girdle of, set with talismanic stones, 317

  Cat’s-eye, 65, 238, 242, 243, 244
    alexandrite, 334
    chrysoberyl, 333
    quartz, 334

  Cellini, Benvenuto, 154

  Celonite, 134

  _Ceraunia_, 34, 134, 162

  Cernowitz, Hungary, opals of, 148

  Cethel, 140

  Ceylon, 54, 65, 75, 165, 252, 324

  _Chalazia_ (rock-crystal), 34

  Chalcedony, 39, 65, 122, 134, 265, 303, 305, 313, 372
    as symbol of St. Andrew, 312
    gem of Capricorn, 347

  _Chalchiuhatl_, “water of precious stones,” in Aztec, 40

  _Chalchiuitl_ (jadeite?), 247, 251

  Charles I of England, 262

  Charles V of France, 388

  Charles V of Germany and the turquoise, 24

  Charles XII of Sweden, 57

  Chau Ju-Kua, 165

  Chaucer, Geoffrey, 43

  _Chelonites_, 34

  Chiastolite (macle) as religious symbol, 270
    therapeutic effect of, 270

  Childeric, crystal ball of, 219-221

  Chinese amulets, 40, 84-87

  Chin T’sang Khi, of loadstone, 95

  Chirocrates, 93

  Chlorastrolite, from Minnesota, 365

  Chlorophane, luminescence of, 172, 173

  Christ, blood of, figured in bloodstone, 267
    colors symbolical of his sacrifice, 274
    foundation stones symbols of, 313
    head of, naturally figured in quartz, 267, 268
    natural images of, in stones, 266, 267, 268, 269
    sacrifice of, symbolized by amethyst, 269

  Chromium oxide, 10

  Chrysoberyl, 54, 65, 313
    cat’s-eye, 333

  Chrysolampis, 164

  Chrysolite, 29, 133, 291, 297, 303, 305
    as symbol of St. Bartholomew, 312
    from the “Serpent Isle,” 66
    gem of Libra, 346
    of the Sun, 347
    in Cologne Cathedral, 66
    statue of Arsinoë in, 67

  Chrysoprase, 11, 37, 67, 265, 303, 305, 313, 316, 319
    as symbol of St. Thaddeus, 312
    of Alexander the Great, 68

  Chrysostom, John, 125

  Cicero, his daughter’s emerald, 31

  Claudian, 94

  Clavijo, Ruy Gonzalez de, 266

  Cleandro, Arnobio, 165, 372

  Clemens Alexandrinus, 309

  Clement VI, 389

  Clement VII, 342, 378

  Clerc, Dr. G. O., vii

  Cock, the, on amulets, 137

  Cologne, chrysolites in cathedral of, 66

  Color, Christian symbolism of, 273, 274
    of gems and vestments for each day of the week in Siam, 335
    symbolism of, 29-33
    therapeutic effect of, 27-29, 33, 370

  Confucius and musical jade, 87

  Consecration of precious stones, 44, 45

  Constantine, King of Greece, star-sapphire in sword-hilt of, 334

  Constantine the Great, 136, 286, 373

  Constellations, symbols of, in engraved gems, 352-355

  Coral, 40, 68, 69, 236, 237, 238, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246
    gem of Venus, 348
    red, superstition in regard to, explained, 160, 161
    therapeutic effect of, 372

  Cornelius à Lapide (Van den Steen), 280

  Corundum, 39, 252, 344, 372

  Council of Laodicea, canon on amulets, 42

  Countries, gem of, 363, 364

  Crocidolite (Krokidolite), 360

  Cronstedt, Axel Frederic, 271

  Crookes, Sir William, 172

  Cross, monogrammatic, 136
    of Christ, found by St. Helena, 286

  Crusades, 66

  _Crux ansata_, 135

  Crystal ball, called “Currahmore Crystal,” 223
    from Madagascar, 217
    in Grüne Gewölbe, Dresden, 223
    in sepulchres, 219-222
    Japanese, 217, 218
    of Childeric, 219-221

  Crystal gazing, 176-224

  Ctesiphon, sack of, 284, 285

  “Currahmore Crystal,” 223

  Cyanite, 49

  _Cyanus_, 119

  Cylinders, Assyro-Babylonian, 121-123, 204

  “Cyrianides,” Greek treatise on stones, 16


  Damigeron, 15, 90, 104, 132, 140, 141

  Damour, A., vii

  Dan, 289, 297

  Days of the week, ritual gems worn in occult ceremony, 336
    gems of the, 332, 333

  Dee, Dr. John, 189-196

  Delhi, 79

  Demantoid, 49

  Dendrite, 360

  Diamond, 10, 28, 32, 69-76, 234, 236, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 269,
           280, 281, 294, 344, 348, 375
    as natal stone, 308, 320
    breeding, 41, 72
    combustion of, 71
    “Diamond Throne,” 238
    _elmêshu_ in Assyrian (?), 231
    gem of reconciliation, 70
      of the Sun, 349
      of Winter, 323, 326, 327
    in breastplate, 276
    medicinal use of, 153
    names of Hindu castes given to, 71, 73
    paleness sign of infidelity, 157
    Sanskrit names of, 343
    secured by birds, 75, 176
    symbolism of, 235
    talismanic effect of various shapes of, 154
    Talmudic legend of, 74
    therapeutic effect of, 386-389
    used as poison, Bejazet II, Paracelsus, Cellini,
      Sir Thomas Overbury, 154-156

  “Diamond Throne,” 238

  Diana and Amethyst, 59

  Diaspore, 47

  Didius Julianus, Emperor, 178

  Diodorus, Bishop of Tyre, 16

  Diodorus Siculus, 66, 298

  Dionysius Periegetes, 298

  Dioptase, gem of the Congo, 363

  Dioskorides, Greek gem-engraver, 342

  Disease in precious stones, 5

  Dolce, Ludovico, 18

  Domitian, 341

  _Donnerkeil_, 162

  Draper, Mrs. Henry, vii

  Dreams, books of, ancient, 356, 357
    meaning of precious stones seen in, 356-358


  Ebers Papyrus, 367, 368, 388

  _Echites_, 34

  Edda, 146

  Edward III of England, 387

  Edward VI of England, 98

  Egmund Abbey, luminous stone of, 164

  Elæolite, 47

  Electrum, 37, 295

  Elizabeth, Queen of England, 150, 189, 374

  Elizabeth, St., 268
    luminous stone in shrine of, 165
    ring of, 165

  Emerald, 28, 34, 68, 76-79, 90, 132, 145, 234, 236, 237, 238, 240,
           242, 280, 293, 303, 305, 313, 336, 349, 372
    as burnt offering, 255
    as symbol of St. John, 312
    blinding of serpent by, 158
    engraved, of Ismenias, 139, 140
    gem of Cancer, 346
      of Jupiter, 348
      of Spring, 323, 324
    in breastplate, 276
    in Revelation, 304
    luminous, in tomb of Hermias, 167
    of Isabella da Este, 31
    of Mt. Zabara, Nubia, 292, 324
    of Otho I of Germany, 260
    of Tullia, 31
    one adored by ancient Peruvians, 247, 248
    (supposed) cup in Genoa, 258, 259
    therapeutic effect of, 370, 375, 379-382

  Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 24

  Engraved gems as talismans, 115-142

  Envy, Oriental use of carnelian against, 63

  Ephod of high-priest, 276, 277

  Ephraim, 288, 289

  Epidote, 360

  Epiphanius, St., 16, 67, 157, 278, 295, 311, 313

  Epitaphs illustrating symbolism of gems, 272, 273

  Erasmus, Desiderius, 34

  Eridanus, 56

  Essonite, 359

  Euclase, 47

  Euphrates, 68

  Europa, 33

  Eusebius, 373

  Evax, 15, 59

  Evil Eye, 39, 42, 54, 72, 106, 107, 137, 138, 139, 148, 150

  Eye-agates, 39, 149, 150

  Ezekiel, 231, 275, 314


  Farrington, Dr. Oliver C., vii

  Fay, Mons du, 170, 171

  Feavearyear, A. W., vii

  _Feits’ui_ (Imperial jade), 83, 85

  Feldspar, 229, 292

  Ferez, Dr. Paul, 33

  Fetichism, 19, 26, 37

  Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, vi, 51, 66

  Fire-opal, 47

  Flint, Dr. Earle, 86

  Fluorescence, 169-174

  Fluorspar, 9, 67

  Foundation stones, 307, 310-314, 316, 317
    associated with apostles, 303-306
      with Twelve Tribes, 314

  Fowlerite, from New Jersey, 365

  Francis I of France, 342

  Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, 57


  Gabelchover, Wolfgang, 158, 380

  Gad, 289, 299

  Gadolinite, 49

  Gagates, 49

  Galactides, 49

  Galen, 300, 376, 385

  _Galopetræ_, Cretan seals, 123

  Garcias ab Orta, 153, 166, 167

  Garnets, 265, 316
    almandine, 37, 59, 293
    as bullets, 33
    engraved, 133
    gem of Aquarius, 345
    therapeutic effect of, 370

  Gem-city of Dwaraka, 236
    of Kusavati, 236
    described by Lucian, 237

  Gemini, zodiacal sign, 346, 354, 355

  “Gemma Augustea” of Vienna Collection, 342

  Genlis, Mme. de, of “Le Saphire Merveilleux,” 105

  George V of England, 288

  _Geranites_, 34

  Gesner, Conrad, 252, 259

  Gesta Romanorum, 35

  Gimma, Giacinto, 29

  Glanvil, Joseph, 197

  Gnostic gems, 126-130

  Goethe, Wolfgang von, 62, 187

  Gomara, Francisco Lopez de, 254

  Gonelli, Giuseppe, 65, 379

  Gonzaga da Este, Isabella, emerald of, 31

  Goodrich-Freer, Miss, 208, 209

  Gratacap, Dr. L. P., vii

  Green, Christian symbolism of, 273
    curative effects of, 28
    gems in dreams, 357
    significance of, 31, 226, 227
    stones, therapeutic effect of, 370
    worn in Siam for Thursday, 335

  Green, Miss Belle Da Costa, vii

  Gregory II, 389

  Grossularite, 47

  Gyges, ring of, 7

  Gypsum, 10, 79, 80
    “lucky stones” of, 80


  _Han-yü_, or “mouth jade,” 86

  Hardouin, Jean, 128

  Harlequin-opal, 49

  Hauffe, Frederike, 9

  Hecate, image of, in amulet, 40

  Hector, 30

  Hei-tiki of New Zealand, 87-90

  Helena, St., 286

  Heliades, 55

  Heliodor, 49

  Heliotrope, 47

  Helmont, Van, 389

  Hematite, 6, 38, 80, 81, 122, 218, 227

  Henrietta Maria, 262

  Henry III of England, 44

  Henry II of France, 166

  Heuen Tsang, 238

  Heraclius, 286

  Hermes Trismegistus, 16, 381

  Hiddenite, from North Carolina, 365

  Hilda, St., Abbess of Whitby, 263

  Hildegard, St., 70, 82, 389

  “Hind Horn and Maid Rimnild,” ballad, 156, 157

  Hirth, Dr. Frederick, vii

  “History of Jewels,” old gem-treatise, 17

  Hoernes, Dr. Moriz, 55, 135

  Höllenzwang of Dr. Faustus, 187

  Homer’s Odyssey, amber necklace, 57
    Iliad, use of red, 30

  Horsey, Sir Jerome, 374

  Horus, eye of, as scarab, 117

  Hours of the day, gems of the, 337

  Hudibras, 356

  Human sacrifice, 3-5

  Huntilite, 49

  Hyacinth, see _jacinth_

  Hyades, 343

  Hyde, Major, 113

  Hydrolite, from Oregon, 365

  _Hydromantii_, 180

  Hypersthene, 49

  Hypnotism, 7, 8, 11, 33


  Iceland spar, 9

  Idar, Germany, gem-cutting at, 54

  Idocrase, 359

  Images, natural, in stones, 266-269

  Imperial Academy, Moscow, 142

  Indersoen, Norway, amber from, 57

  Indicolite, 360

  Initials of names figured by precious stones, 47-50

  Iolite, 359

  Iris, 124, 130, 132, 226, 234
    image signifying blood of, 120
    stone, 133

  Isaiah, 305

  Ishtar, jewels of, 231

  Isidorus of Seville, 59

  Israel, twelve tribes of, 276, 278, 282, 288, 289, 305, 314

  Issachar, 289, 294

  Italian MS., 14th cent., 70, 77, 134

  Ivan the Terrible and his curative stones, 374, 375

  Ivory, 37


  Jacinth (hyacinth), 29, 81-83, 234, 242, 243, 295, 296, 303, 305,
                      316, 319, 344, 349, 375
    as symbol of St. Simon Zelotes, 313
    electuary of, 372
    gem of Jupiter, 348
      of Mars, 348
    to dissolve magic spells, 82
    to induce sleep, 83

  Jade, 68, 83-90, 122, 236, 248-254, 265, 294, 300
    called, with other green stones, _chalchihuitl_ by Mexicans, 251
    Chinese amulets of, 83, 84
    Chinese vase of, described, 239, 240
    derivation of name, 383
    form of Chinese character for, 83
    _hei-tikis_ of New Zealand, 87-90
    large mass of, from Jordansmühl, Silesia, 250
    objects of in Chinese emperor’s collection, 245
    of New Zealand, 382
    talismans of, among Mohammedans, 246
    therapeutic use of, 239, 381-384
    where found in New and Old World, 249-251
    adze, known as the “Kunz Adze,” 248, 249, 252

  Jadeite, 247, 249-252, 300, 382
    cross made from celt of, 264
    objects of, at Perugia, 264

  Jagganath, image of with eyes of precious stones, 240

  James I of England, 155

  Jamestown Exposition, 1907, vi

  Jâmi, lines in crystal mirror, 182

  Jargoon, see _jacinth_

  Jasper, 6, 38, 90, 91, 122, 133, 135, 226, 227, 229, 252, 265, 291,
          294, 298, 300, 302, 303, 305, 313, 319, 372
    as symbol of St. Peter, 311
    gem of Libra, 346
    green, engraved with zodiacal symbols, 342
    in breastplate, 276
    of King Nechepsus, 385

  Jerome, St., 100, 307, 310

  Jessen, Dr. Peter, vii

  Jet, 39, 91, 92
    in burials of Pueblo Bonito, 92
    in palæolithic remains, 91
    of Whitby, 263, 264

  John, St., 275, 303, 311

  Jordansmühl, Silesia, largest mass of European jade found at, 250

  Joseph, 288, 289, 295

  Josephus, Flavius, 277, 278, 283, 285, 290, 291, 292, 294, 295, 296,
                     297, 301, 307, 309, 310

  Juba, 66

  Judah, 289, 293

  Junot, Marshal, and the emerald, 262

  Jupiter, god, 341
    planet, 32, 33, 243, 336, 348, 353, 354, 355, 372

  Justinian, 283


  Kaldoun, Ibn, 181

  Kalpa Sutra, 238

  Kazwini, Al, 74

  Khusrau II, 284

  King, Rev. C. W., 283, 342

  Knopf, 253

  Konrad of Megenberg, 17, 45, 141

  Koran, 111, 275
    Fourth Heaven of carbuncle in the, 61, 349

  Korea, national emblem of, 265

  Krishna, 241

  Kunzite, 171, 323


  Labradorite, 360

  Labrets, 252-254

  Lane, E. W., experiments in crystal gazing, 205

  Lang, Andrew, 180, 181, 210

  Lapidaries, gods of, in ancient Mexico, 255

  Lapidario, of Alfonso X, 63, 348, 376
    of Marbodus (in French), 15
    of Philippe de Valois, 102
    of Sir John Mandeville, 71, 72, 103, 109

  _Lapis Armenus_, 388

  _Lapis crucifer_ (staurolite), 271

  Lapis-lazuli, 36, 37, 38, 92, 93, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 245, 294,
                319, 336
    gem of Venus, 348
    image of Ma (Truth) of, 119, 122, 229, 293
    therapeutic effect of, 370, 388

  _Lapis nephriticus_ (nephrite), 264

  Laufer, Dr. Berthold, vii

  Leczinska, Marie, 320

  _Leishmania tropica_, 149

  Lenormant, François, 233

  Leo, zodiacal sign, 29, 341, 346, 354

  Leonardo, Camillo, 18, 51, 58, 132

  Leopold I of Germany, 221

  Lepidolite, 48

  _Leshem_, stone of breastplate, 295, 296

  Levi, 288, 289, 292

  Leyden papyrus, praise of bloodstone in, 61

  Libra, zodiacal sign, 212, 346, 354, 355

  Life in precious stones, 5

  Ligure, in breastplate, 276, 295, 319

  “Lithica,” poem on gems, 51, 90, 94, 163, 178

  Litteromancy, 16

  Llewellyn, King of Wales, 44

  Loadstone, 10, 81, 93-97, 134
    court decision in regard to, 96
    statue of Arsinoë to be held suspended by, 93
    statue of Venus of, 94
    symbolical names for, 95
    used as charm by Alexander the Great, 96
    where first found, 93

  Lodge, Sir Oliver, 214, 215

  Lorenzo del Escorial, San, monastery of, gems in, 263

  Lorraine, northern, jet from, 92

  Loreto, Santa Casa di, 174, 262, 267

  Los Cerrillos, N. M., turquoise from, 111, 112

  Louis XIV, 221

  Luca ben Costa, 291

  Lucian, 177, 237

  “Lucky stones” (gypsum), from Niagara Falls, 80

  Luminous stones, 101, 174
    in Abraham’s city, 161, 276
    of Astarte, 163
    of Egmund Abbey, 164
    of Emperor Manuel’s throne, 166
    of Henri II of France, 166
    of King of Siam, 62
    of Noah in the Ark, 161, 276
    of St. Elizabeth’s shrine, 165
    tale of, by Ælian, 161, 162

  “Lunar-stone,” 168

  Luther, Martin, 294
    tale of amulet vender by, 45, 46

  _Lychnus_ or _lychnitis_ (a spinel?), 162, 163, 357

  Lydian stone, 163

  _Lyncurius_, 56, 295


  Macon, Ga., court decision about loadstone, 96

  Maeterlinck, Mme., 76

  _Magatama_ amulets of Japanese, 265

  Magical influences of stones, 3, 5, 6, 7, 42

  Magnes, reputed discoverer of loadstone, 93

  Magnet Cove, Ark., loadstone from, 96

  _Maharatnani_, five chief gems of the _naoratna_, 242

  Malachite, 8, 37, 299
    as a child’s amulet, 97
    to protect from Evil Eye, 137
    to protect from falls, 97
    mines of, 97

  Manassah, 288, 289

  Mandeville, Sir John, 71, 72, 103, 109

  Manuel, Emperor, throne of, 166

  Marbodus, 15, 51, 59, 70, 104, 164, 377

  Marguerite de Valois, 5

  Mars, the god, 81, 94, 140, 341
    planet, 187, 243, 338, 348, 352, 353, 354, 355

  Martial, St., jeweled gloves of, 257

  Matrix-emerald, 226, 227

  Medusa, head of, on talisman, 124

  Meleager, 56

  Mendès, Mme. Catulle, 26

  Mentzel, Christian, 168

  Mercury, the god, 257, 341
    planet, 123, 242, 348, 352, 353, 354, 355
    typical of green, 31

  Metropolitan Museum of Art, 86, 130, 342

  Meyer, Dr. A. B., viii

  Meyers, J. L., 292, 299

  “Mexican onyx,” 251

  Meyer, Prof. A. B., 250

  Michael, St., 257

  Microcline, 50

  Mithridates the Great, 80

  Mizauld, Antoine, 98, 166

  Mohammed’s carnelian seal-ring, 64

  Moldavite, 360

  Monardes, 390

  Montfaucon, Bernard de, 220

  Month, Hindu list of gems of the, 331
    natal stones of the, 326-333

  Moonstone, 8, 320, 334
    as gift for lovers, 98
    in India, 97
    waxing and waning with moon, 98

  Morales, 343

  Morgan, J. Pierpont, vi, 254

  Morgan Collection, Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. N. Y., vi, 66

  Morgan-Tiffany Collection, Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 106, 233

  Morganite, gem of Madagascar, 364

  Moryson, Fynes, Gent., 174

  Moser, Consul General, vii

  Moses, 278, 280, 286

  Moss-agate, 48

  Müller, Max, 269

  Multan, India, idol of temple at, 240

  Musée d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, vi

  Mother-of-pearl, therapeutic use of, 239

  Mycenæ, amber at, 57
    gems from, 204

  _Myrmecites_, 34


  Naharari, on gems, 386

  Names, initials of, figured by precious stones, 47-50

  _Naoratna_, nine-gem jewel, 231, 241, 242-245
    names of, in various tongues, 244
    occult use of gems in, 244

  Naphtali, 298

  Napoleon’s carnelian seal, 64

  Napoleon I, 64, 260, 309

  Napoleon III, 64, 142

  Natal stones, vi, 1, 307-337
    list of, from various sources, 315
    proposed new listing of, 317-321
    selected from precious stones produced in the United States, 323

  National Museum, Washington, vi

  Natrolite, 50

  Navajos, rain-making gods of the, adorned with coral and turquoise, 246

  Neandross, Sigurd, Maori warrior by, 254

  Nebo, god, image on cylinder, 123

  Necklace, Egyptian, 36-38
    of Vesta, 235

  Nephrite, see _jade_

  _Nephritfrage_, viii, 249

  Neptune, god, 341

  New Jerusalem, 236, 275, 302-306
    foundation stones of, 307, 310-314, 316, 317

  New South Wales, black opal of, 152

  New Zealand jade, 87-90

  Nicander, 93

  Nicias, 56

  Nicols, Thomas, 7, 142

  Ninib, god, image on seal, 35

  Noah, luminous stones of, in the Ark, 161, 276

  Nodes, ascending and descending, 243

  Nonius, opal of, 144-146

  _Nophek_, stone of breastplate, 292

  Nordenskjöld, Baron Nils Adolf Erik, 54

  Novaculite, from Arkansas, 364

  Nuttall, Mrs. Zelia, 86


  Oberstein, Germany, gem-cutting at, 54, 218, 219

  Obsidian, mirror of Dr. Dee, 196
    Mexican mirrors of, 204

  _Oculus Beli_, 107

  _Oculus mundi_, 107

  _Odem_, stone of breastplate, 290, 291

  Ominous gems, 143-161

  Oneirocritica (dream-books), 356

  Onyx, 233, 265, 336
    gem of Leo, 346
    ill-effects neutralized by sard, 107
    in breastplate, 276
    “Mexican onyx,” 251
    of St. Elizabeth’s tomb, 267
    ominous quality of, 159
    provoked discord, 98
    “Tecalco onyx,” 252

  Opal, 143-152
    black, of New South Wales, 152
    Cardanus, 151
    fear of the, 21
    Hungarian, 145, 146, 148
    imitation of, 145
    in Scott’s “Anne of Geierstein,” 143
    in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 150
    natural, figuring serpent, 27
    October’s gem, 144
    of Nonius, 144-146
    _patronus furum_, or patron of thieves, 148
    Pliny’s praise of, 145

  _Ophiokiolus_, 39

  _Ophthalmius_-stone (opal?), 7, 146, 148

  _Opsianus_, 39

  _Orphanus_-stone (opal?), 146-148

  Orthoclase, 50

  Otho I of Germany, emerald of, 260

  Overbury, Sir Thomas, 155, 156


  _Panchratna_, five-gem jewel, 241

  Paracelsus, Philippus Aureolus, 6, 154, 184, 185

  Patrick, St., 179

  Pausanius, 177

  “Peacock stones,” 137

  Pearls, 69, 230, 234, 236, 237, 238, 240, 241, 242, 244, 303, 306,
          320, 336
    breeding, 41
    gem of the moon, 348, 349
      of Venus, 348
    therapeutic effect of, 372

  Pellegrinus, Fulvius, 31

  Pepper, George H., 92, 112, 113

  Pericles, 373

  Peridot, see _chrysolite_

  Perugia, collection of jade artefacts at, 264

  Peter, St., 303, 308
    tooth-relic of, set with gems, 256

  Petrie, W. M. Flinders, 291, 292

  Phaëthon, 55

  “Pharaoh’s eggs,” 80

  Phenacite, from Colorado, 365

  Phenomenal gems, 8, 333, 334

  Philip II, of Spain, 263

  Philippe Egalité, Duke of Orleans, sapphire of, 106

  Philostratus, 244

  Phosphorescence, 169-174

  “Piers the Plowman,” curative gems in, 386

  Pisces, zodiacal sign, 345

  _Piṭdah_, stone of breastplate, 291

  Planetary gems, 244, 338-363
    controls of, in Lapidario of Alfonso X, 348
    of various planets, 348-351

  Planets figured on engraved gems, 355, 356

  Plasma, green, 252

  Plato, 93

  Pleiades, 343

  Pliny, 13, 66, 67, 80, 92, 100, 108, 128, 143, 162, 167, 290, 291,
         293, 296, 367, 380

  Plutarch, 30, 373

  Porphyry, 38

  Porta, Giovanni Battista, 335

  Portland, Oregon, Exposition, vi

  Poujet fils, 316

  “Prase” of Alexander, 68

  Precious stones, as adornment of goddess Sri, 239
    as eyes of idols, 167, 240
    as offerings to Hindu gods, 240, 241
    as symbols of the Apostles, 311-314
    as symbols of various countries, 363, 364
    collected by birds, 21
      by seals, 22
    consecration of, 45
    disease in, 5
    for hours of the day, 337
    for natal months, 326-331
    for week days, 332-335
    for wedding anniversaries, 337
    individuality of, 26
    in high-priest’s breastplate, 235-306
    life in, 5
    magical virtue of, 5-8, 44, 45
    meaning of, seen in dreams, 356-358
    names of, used as adjectives, 12, 13
      used by Shelley, 13
      used in typography, 12
    of Mohammedan heavens, 349
    perfume of, 376
    principal, found in various States of the Union, 364-366
    religious use of, 235-274
    sex of, 40, 41, 42
    symbolizing initials of names 47-50
    therapeutic effect of, 367-391
    to express acrostics, 359
    worn by Chinese mandarins to designate rank, 256

  Prehnite, 365

  Preston, Richard, curative sapphire of, 387, 388

  Price, Prof. Ira Maurice, 233

  Procopius, 283

  Psellus, 381

  Ptolemy II, Philadelphus, 67, 93

  Pueblo Bonito, relics from, 81, 92, 112, 113

  Pueblo Indians, 81, 92, 112

  _Punamu_, New Zealand jade, 87-90, 254

  Puranas, 236, 241

  Pyrites, Aztec mirrors of, 99
    “fools’ gold,” 99

  Pyrope, 34


  Quartz, 122, 145, 298
    cat’s-eye, 334

  “Questions of King Melinda,” extract from, 235


  Rabanus Maurus, 305, 314

  Rabelais, 349

  Radium, 381

  Raleigh, Sir Walter, 383

  Raziel, Book of, 132

  Read, Sir Charles Hercules, vii

  Red, Christian symbolism of, 273
    gems in dreams, 357
    in occult ritual, 336
    significance of, 30
    stones, therapeutic effect of, 370
    worn in Siam for Sunday, 335
    Sea, chrysolites from island in, 66

  Reinach, Dr. Salomon, vii

  Rémusat, Abel, 300

  Reuben, 289, 291

  Revelation, book of, 236, 275, 295, 302, 303, 304, 307, 310, 311, 318

  Rhodolite, from North Carolina, 365

  Rhodonite, gem of Russia, 364

  Ridgeley, Prof. W., 203

  Rig Veda, of seven ratnas, 243

  Ring of _elmêshu_-stone, 231
    engagement, combining all favorable influences, 362
    Gyges, 7
    St. Elizabeth, 165
    St. Valentine, 257

  Rings set with scarabs, 119
    seven, of Apollonius of Tyana, 244
    with initials, 359

  Rock-crystal, 10, 122, 133, 217, 236, 244, 265, 292, 336
    as religious symbol, 100
    Aztec skull of, 100, 101
    gem of Aries, 347
      of the moon, 348
    god Maya’s tank of, 237
    humorous tale of, 101
    temples of, in China, 101
    used as fetich by Cherokees, 254

  “Roman de la Rose,” magic stones in, 43

  Rosicrucians, 269

  Rostand, Edmond, 138

  Rubellite, 360

  Ruby, 10, 26, 33, 40, 101-103, 124, 133, 234, 236, 238, 240, 241,
        242, 243, 244, 280, 292, 343, 372, 375, 381
    as natal stone, 308, 316, 319, 320, 335
    curative effects of, 28
    embedded in flesh by Burmese, 103
    gem of Capricorn, 347
      of Mars, 348, 349
      of Summer, 323, 324
      of Taurus, 343, 347
    in dreams, 357
    lost and regained brilliancy, 159
    luminosity of, 101, 102
    luminous, of King of Ceylon, 165, 166
      of Pegu, 165
      of St. Elizabeth, 165
    names of Hindu castes given to, 102
    ominous, of Gabelchover, 158
    therapeutic effect of, 370

  Rudolph II of Germany, 5, 189, 343

  Rumphius, Georg Eberhard, 62

  Ruskin, John, on crystals, 46

  Rutile, 50


  “Sacro Bambino” of Rome, 260, 261

  “Sacro Catino” of Genoa, 258, 259

  Sagittarius, zodiacal sign, 342, 347, 354

  Sahagun, Bernardino de, 247, 251, 390

  Sailors’ amulets, 38

  Salisbury, John of, 183

  Sapphire, 31, 32, 40, 102, 104-107, 124, 133, 236, 241, 242, 243, 244,
            245, 280, 293, 296, 303, 305, 313, 320, 336, 375
    as antidote for poisons, 104, 105
    as symbol of St. Paul, 312
    called “Le Saphire Merveilleux,” 105
    gem of Autumn, 323, 325
      of Jupiter, 348
      of Saturn, 349
      of Taurus, 346
      of Venus, 348
    great star-sapphire of Morgan-Tiffany collection, 107
    in breastplate, 276
    in ecclesiastical rings, 104, 371
    named from Hindu castes, 344
    pavement of God’s throne, 275
    procures favor of Saturn, 344
    Sanskrit names of, 344
    star-sapphire of Sir Richard Burton, 106
    tables of the Law of, 104
    therapeutic effect of, 370, 386-389

  _Sappir_, stone of breastplate, 293

  Sard, 107, 305
    as symbol of St. Philip, 312
    a foundation stone, 303
    in breastplate, 276, 290

  Sardonyx, 290, 292, 303, 305, 313, 319, 320
    as symbol of St. James, 312

  Saturn, planet, 32, 243, 330, 344, 348, 352, 353, 354, 355

  Saxo, Arnoldus, 59

  _Scarabæus sacer_, 115, 116

  Scaraboid seal, 122

  Scarabs, Egyptian, 115-119, 132, 140, 227, 228, 229

  Schliemann, Heinrich, 57

  Scorpio, zodiacal sign, 340, 342, 347, 352, 355

  Scott, Sir Walter, 143, 183

  Seals, Babylonian, 121-123
    Cretan, 123
    one of Napoleon, 64, 142

  Seasonal gems, 323, 324

  “Seeress of Prevorst,” 9

  Selenite, 336, 349

  Sendal, Nathaniel, 57, 58

  Sentiment, 8, 9
    for each day of week, 332-335
    for each month in connection with natal gems, 326-331

  Septuagint, 290, 291, 297, 298, 301

  Serapis, image of, in talisman, 124

  “Serpent Isle,” 66

  Serpentine, 108, 121, 122, 229, 252, 291, 298

  Sex in gems, 40, 41, 42, 72

  Shakespeare in “Twelfth Night” of opal, 150

  Shamash, Assyrian sun-god, 233

  _Shamir_ (emery), 278, 294

  Sheard, Virna, 12

  _Shebo_, stone of breastplate, 296

  Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 13

  Siam, King of, luminous carbuncles of, 62

  Siegstein, or “Victory Stone,” 106

  Signorelli, Luca, 390

  Simeon, 289, 291

  Sin, Assyrian moon-god, 92

  Sindbad the Sailor and diamonds, 75

  “Sleeping-stone,” 163, 164

  _Smaragdus_ (emerald), 291

  Sodalite, gem of Canada, 363

  Solomon, King, precious stones of, 78

  Sophia, St., in Constantinople, 266, 283

  Sophocles, 56

  Soudan, agate amulets in the, 54

  Sources, literary, 13-18

  Spartianus, 178

  _Specularii_, 183, 184

  “Speculum lapidum” of Camillo Leonardo, 18

  Spener, John Jacob, 159

  Spessartite, from Virginia, 366

  Sphalerite, 171

  Spinel, 10, 102
    therapeutic effect of, 370

  Spodumene, 48

  Star-ruby, 334

  Star-sapphire, 8, 106, 107
    in sword-hilt of King of Greece, 334

  Staurolite Fairy Stones, plate

  Staurolite, religious symbolism of, 271

  Steatite, 265

  Stone Age, amber in deposits of, 55
    idols of, 23

  “Stone of Destiny,” 107

  “Stone of Forgetfulness,” 35

  “Stone of Hate,” 35

  “Stone of Love,” 35

  “Stone of Memory,” 35

  “Stones of Power” in Scottish regalia, 183

  Stones with natural images, 266-269

  _Storchstein_, 162

  Suetonius, 341

  Sumerian magic formula, 35

  Sunstone, 366

  Superstition, v, 1-5, 8, 9

  Swastika emblem, 135, 265

  Sylvester, St., stone, 258

  Sympathy and antipathy, doctrine of, 24


  Tabari, 286

  Tagore, Rajah Sir Sourindro Mohun, viii

  Takowaya, Russia, alexandrite found in the, 54

  Talismanic gems, 1, 42, 52, 124, 322
    girdle of Catharine de’ Medici set with, 317
    of the hours, 337
    of the months, 326-331
    of the week, 332, 333

  Talismans, etymology of word, 23
    from New Caledonia, 23
    of jade favored by Mohammedans, 246
    see _amulet_, and separate stones
    temple gifts as, 241

  Talmud, 71, 73, 275, 306, 377

  Tamerlane, ruthlessness of, 32

  _Tarshish_, stone of breastplate, 297, 298

  Taurus, zodiacal sign, 341, 342, 343, 346, 353, 354

  Tavernier, Jean Baptiste, 260

  Taw Sien Ko, vii

  “Tecalco onyx,” 252

  Teifashi, Ahmed, 75, 104, 158, 381

  Tempe, Arizona, turquoise in ruins of Los Muertos near, 112

  Tetragrammaton, 182

  Thayngen, Switzerland, jet of, 91

  Theophrastus, 290, 293, 299, 370

  Thomas, N. W., 180

  Thomsonite, 365

  Thoth, 16

  Thothmes II, talisman of, 120

  Tiberius, 342

  Tiffany, Charles L., 172

  Tiffany & Co., 172

  Tiffany Collection, 106, 219

  Titus, 283, 289

  Topaz, 40, 133, 238, 242, 243, 244, 245, 291, 297, 298, 303, 305,
         313, 344
    as symbol of St. Matthew, 312
    gem of Sagittarius, 347
    in breastplate, 276
    therapeutic effect of, 372, 389

  Topazos, island of, 67

  Totten, Lieut., on Hebrew tribes, 288

  Tourmaline, 320, 321
    gem of New England, 364

  Trees bearing precious stones, 232
    Kalpa tree, 238

  Trevisa, John of, 105

  Triboluminescence, 173

  Tritheim, Abbot, 181

  Trocadéro, Paris, 99

  Tullia, daughter of Cicero, emerald of, 31

  Turquoise, 6, 37, 64, 108-114, 336, 345, 375
    Apache name for, 113
    as natal stone, 308, 320
    De Boot’s tale of a, 109, 110
    fading of, indicating illness, 24, 26, 114
    from Los Cerillos, N. M., 111
    from Pueblo Bonito, N. M., 112, 113
    from Los Muertos, Arizona, 112
    gem of Jupiter, 348
    Persians’ praise of, 111
    protecting from falls, 24, 26, 109, 110
    strikes the hour, 111
    talismanic virtues of, 114
    usually worn by men in 17th century, 111
    with Aztecs, 247
    with Navajos, 246

  Tyszkiewicz Collection, 234


  Umiña, emerald goddess of Peruvians, 247, 248

  United States, principal gem-stones found in various States
    of the, 364-366

  _Uparatnani_, four minor gems of the _naoratna_, 243

  Urim and Thummim, 231, 277, 282, 283, 287

  Utahlite, 361


  Vajra, “the thunderbolt,” Sanskrit name of diamond, 239, 343

  Valentine, St., ring of, 257

  “Valley of Diamonds,” 74, 75

  Varro, 22

  Vasari, 390

  Venus, goddess, emerald dedicated to, 28
    planet, 243, 336, 344, 348, 352, 353, 354, 355
    represented by blue, 31

  Verrall, Mrs. A. W., 211

  Vespasian, 283

  Vesta, necklace of, taken by Serena, 235

  Vesuvianite, 50

  “Victory Stone,” 68

  Violet, Christian symbolism of, 273
    symbolism of, 32

  Violet-blue, curative effects of, 33

  Virgin Mary, 30, 130, 175, 261, 262, 266, 267, 268, 273
    rich decorations of statue of, at Loreto, 262, 263

  Virgen del Sagrario, Toledo, emerald of, 261, 262

  Virgo, zodiacal sign, 341, 346

  Vishnu, 236, 241

  Voiture, his letter on curative use of jade, 383, 384

  Volmar, “Steinbuch” of, 67, 109, 373

  Vulgate, 290, 291, 292, 301


  Wada, Dr. T., vii

  Walker, T. B., 254

  Walpole, Horace, 195

  Ward, Dr. W. Hayes, vii

  Wedding anniversaries, gems for, 337

  Wenceslaus, St., supposed emerald in chapel of, 259

  Whitby Abbey, 263

  White, Christian symbolism of, 273
    significance of, 30
    worn in Siam, for Monday, 335

  “White sapphire” (corundum), 72

  Wiedemann, Dr. Alfred, 121

  Willemite, 171

  Wissler, Dr. Clark, vii

  Witherite, 9, 10

  Wood-opal, 50

  World’s Columbian Exhibition, vi, 51

  Wright, Thomas, 221

  Würtemberg, jet deposits of, 91


  _Yahalom_, stone of breastplate, 294, 295

  _Yarkastein_, 146

  _Yashpeh_, stone of breastplate, 299

  Yellow, Christian symbolism of, 273
    curative effects of, 28
    girdle worn by Chinese emperors, 245
    in occult ritual, 336
    significance of, 29
    stones, therapeutic effect of, 370


  Zebulun, 289, 295

  Zechariah, 294

  Zenochlorite, 360

  Zircon (hyacinth), 238

  Zodiacal gems, 1, 124, 131, 310, 321, 322, 338-363
    stones of the various signs, 345-347

  Zodiacal signs associated with the Twelve Tribes, 314
    names of, in Hebrew, 332


[1] Jean de la Taille de Bondaroy, “Le Blason de la Marguerite,” Paris,

[2] De Boot, “Gemmarum et lapidum historia,” lib. i, cap. 25, Lug.
Bat., 1636, pp. 87, 91.

[3] De Boot, “Gemmarum et lapidum historia,” lib. i, cap. 26, Lug.
Bat., 1636, p. 103.

[4] Mackey, “Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions,” London, n.
d., p. 144.

[5] Nicols, “Faithful Lapidary,” London, 1659, pp. 32, 33.

[6] Görres, “Die christliche Mystik,” Regensburg, 1840, vol. iii, pp.
190 sqq.

[7] Virna Sheard, “The Jewelled Princess,” in Canadian Magazine.

[8] De Mély, “Les lapidaires de l’antiquité et du moyen-âge,” vol. ii,
“Les lapidaires grecs,” Paris, 1898, pp. 1-50.

[9] Lucas, “The Swallowing Stones by Seals,” Science, N. S., vol. xx,
No. 512, pp. 537, 538; Report of Fur Seal Investigation, vol. iii, p.

[10] Hoernes, “Urgeschichte der bildenden Kunst,” Wien, 1898, p. 108.

[11] Giglioli, “Materiale per lo studio della ‘Età della Pietra,’”
Archivio per l’Antropologia e l’Etnologia, vol. xxxi, p. 83, Firenze,

[12] Rose, “Handleiding tot de Kennis van diamanten,” etc., Amsterdam,
1891, p. 110.

[13] “Della storia naturale delle Gemme,” Napoli, 1730, Vol. I, pp.

[14] Il., xxiv, 795, 796.

[15] Paper by Dr. Paul Ferez in the Revue de l’Hypnotisme, Paris, No.
10, April, 1906, p. 306.

[16] Erasmi, “Colloquia,” Lipsiæ, 1713, pp. 597-8. Suggested by Pliny,
lib. xxxvii, cap. 71-73.

[17] Morris Jastrow, “Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens,” vol. i,
Giessen, 1905, p. 374.

[18] Morris Jastrow, l. c., p. 462.

[19] Delitzsch, “Assyrisches Wörterbuch,” Leipzig, 1896, p. 604.

[20] “Aegyptische Goldschmiedearbeit,” ed. by Heinrich Schäffer,
Berlin, 1910, pp. 25-32; necklace figured on Pl. V, other objects on
Pls. V-VII.

[21] Ibid., p. 14, Pl. II, figs. 3a, 3b.

[22] See Reisner, “Catalogue générale des antiquités égyptiennes du
Musée du Caire: Amulets” Le Caire, 1907.

[23] Pitra, “Specilegium Solesmense,” Parisiis, 1855, vol. iii, p. 393.

[24] Kropatschek, “De amuletorum apud antiquos usu,” Gryphiæ, 1907, p.
24 (Paris papyrus, 2630).

[25] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. II, Calcutta, 1881, p. 943.

[26] Seler, “Codex Borgia: Eine altmexicanische Bilderschrift,” Berlin,
1904, vol. i, p. 16.

[27] Francisci Ruei, “De gemmis,” Tiguri, 1566, f. 4.

[28] “Histoire critique des pratiques superstitieuses; par un prêtre de
l’Oratoire,” Paris, 1702, p. 320.

[29] Blum, “Das altjüdische Zauberwesen,” Strassburg, 1898, p. 91.

[30] A projection serving to fasten down the belt.

[31] Compleat Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Skeat, Oxford, 1894, vol.
i, p. 139.

[32] Matthæi Paris, “Historia major,” London, 1684, p. 318.

[33] “Le Grand Lapidaire” of Jean de Mandeville, Vienna, 1862, pp.

[34] Güdermann, “Das jüdische Unterrichtswesen,” Wien, 1873, p. 225.

[35] “Ethics of the Dust,” New York, 1886, p. 96.

[36] See also the writer’s pamphlet: “The Folk-Lore of Precious
Stones,” Chicago, 1894; a paper read before the Folk-Lore Congress held
at the World’s Columbian Exhibition, and describing the Kunz Collection
exhibited in the Anthropological Building there. This collection is now
in the Field Museum, Chicago.

[37] King’s version in his “Natural History of Precious Stones,”
London, 1865, p. 392.

[38] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 10.

[39] Camilli Leonardi, “Speculum lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, fol. 22.

[40] Albertus Magnus, “Le Grand Albert des secretz des vertus des
Herbes, Pierres et Bestes. Et aultre livre des Merveilles du Monde,
d’aulcuns effetz causez daulcunes bestes,” Turin, Bernard du mont du
Chat (c. 1515). Liv. ii, fol. 8 recto.

[41] Cardani, “De subtilitate,” Basileæ, 1560, p. 460.

[42] Cardani, “De gemmis,” Basileæ, 1585, p. 323.

[43] Valentini, “Museum museorum oder die vollständige Schau-Bühne,”
Franckfurt am Mayn, 1714, vol. ii, pt. 3, p. 34; figure of air-ship on
p. 35.

[44] Hoernes, “Urgeschichte der bildenden Kunst,” Vienna, 1898, p. 376.
Figured in S. Muller’s “Ordn. af Danm. Olds.,” i, Pl. XV, Figs. 252 sq.

[45] Ovidii, “Metamorphoses,” lib. ii, 11. 340 sqq. Some have proposed
to read Redanus instead of Eridanus and have seen in the former name
the designation of a stream flowing into the Vistula.

[46] Plinii, “Naturalis Historia,” lib. xxxvii, cap. 7.

[47] Bk. xviii, 11, 295-298, trans. of William Cullen Bryant.

[48] Du Chaillu, “The Viking Age,” New York, 1889, vol. ii, p. 314.
(Figs. 1210, 1211, 1212.)

[49] Sendelii, “Electrologiæ,” Elbingæ, 1725, Pt. I, p. 12, note.

[50] Camilli Leonardi, “Speculum lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, fol. 22.

[51] Johannis de Cuba, “Hortus Sanitatis,” [Strassburg, 1483]
tractatus de lapibus, cap. vii.

[52] Belleau, “Œuvres poétiques,” ed. Marty-Laveaux, Paris, 1878, vol.
ii, pp. 172 sqq. The poem in which this tale occurs is the “Amours
et nouveaux eschanges des pierres précieuses,” written in 1576 and
dedicated to Henri III.

[53] Rose, “Aristotles de lapidibus und Arnoldus Saxo,” in Zeitschr.
für D. Alt., New Series, vol. vi, p. 431.

[54] Konrad von Megenberg, “Buch der Natur,” ed. by Dr. Franz Pfeiffer,
Stuttgart, 1861, p. 436.

[55] Pitra, “Specilegium Solesmense,” Parisiis, 1855, vol. iii, p. 325.

[56] Kropatschek, “De amuletorum apud antiquos usu,” Gryphiæ, 1907, p.

[57] Cardani, “Philosophi opera quædam lectu digna,” Basileæ, 1585, p.
323. “De gemmis.”

[58] Rumphius, “Amboinsche Rariteitkamer,” Amsterdam, 1741, p. 308.

[59] Goethe Westösterlicher Divan I, Segenspfänder.

[60] “Lapidario del Rey D. Alfonso X,” codice original, Madrid, 1881,
fol. 77, p. 49.

[61] Hendley, “Indian Jewellery,” London, 1909, p. 158.

[62] Arakel, “Livre d’histoire,” chap. liii; transl. in Brosset,
“Collection d’historiens arméniens,” St. Pétersburg, 1874, vol. i, pp.
544, 545.

[63] Josephi Gonelli, “Thesaurus philosophicus, seu de gemmis,”
Neapoli, 1702, p. 112.

[64] “Gemmarum et lapidum historia,” Lug. Bat., 1636, p. 230.

[65] Agatharcides, “De Mar1 Erythræo,” §2. The topaz of the ancients
was unquestionably the gem commonly called chrysolite at present
(olivine, peridot).

[66] Diodorus Siculus, lib. iii, cap. 38.

[67] Plinii, “Naturalis Historia,” lib. xxxvii, cap. 32.

[68] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 16.

[69] Volmar, Steinbuch, ed. by Hans Lambel, Heilbronn, 1877, p. 22.

[70] Alberti Magni, “Opera Omnia,” ed. Borgnet, Parisiis, 1890, vol. v,
p. 43. De mineralibus, lib. ii, tract. 2.

[71] Bauer, “Edelsteinkunde,” Leipzig, 1909, p. 750.

[72] Albertus Magnus, “Le Grand Albert des secretz des vertus des
Herbes, Pierres et Bestes. Et aultre livre des Merveilles du Monde,
d’aulcuns effetz causez daulcunes bestes,” Turin, Bernard du mont du
Chat (c. 1515). Liv. ii, fol. 9 recto.

[73] Bellucci, “Il feticismo primitivo in Italia,” Perugia, 1907, pp.

[74] “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, f. 8.

[75] St. Hildegardæ, “Opera Omnia,” in Pat. Lat. ed Migne, vol. cxcvii,
col. 1254.

[76] “De gemmis,” Tiguri, 1566, f. 52.

[77] “Philosophi opera quædam lectu digna,” Basileæ, 1585, p. 322. “De

[78] Anonymous writer in Ital. MS. of the fourteenth century in the
author’s library; fol. 41 p. verso.

[79] See page 278 for description of this diamond by St. Epiphanius.

[80] Finot, “Les lapidaires indiens,” Paris, 1896, p. 9.

[81] Finot, “Les lapidaires indiens,” Paris, 1896, p. 8.

[82] Finot, l. c., p. 9.

[83] Konrad von Megenberg, “Buch der Natur,” ed. by Dr. Franz Pfeiffer,
Stuttgart, 1861, p. 433.

[84] New edition of the Babylonian Talmud, ed. and trans. by Michael L.
Rodkinson, vol. v (xiii), Baba Batra, New York, 1902, p. 207.

[85] Ratzel, “Völkerkunde,” Leipzig, 1885, vol. i, p. 36.

[86] Dr. Julius Ruska, “Das Steinbuch aus der Kosmographie des
al-Kazwini,” Beilage zum Jahresbericht 1894-5 der Oberrealschule
Heidelberg, p. 35. See Aristoteles De Lapidibus und Arnoldus Saxo,
ed. Rose, Z.f.D.A. New Series VI, pp. 364, 365, 389, 390. The “other
writer” is probably Ahmed Teifashi.

[87] The work on precious stones attributed to Aristotle was composed
in Arabic probably in the ninth century.

[88] Teifashi, “Fior di pensieri sulle pietre preziose,” Firenzi, 1818,
p. 13.

[89] Proc. of the Royal Irish Academy, 2d Ser., Polite Literature and
Antiquities, vol. ii, Dublin, 1879-1888, p. 303.

[90] Epiphanii, “De XII gemmis,” Tiguri, 1565, fol. 5.

[91] Morales, “De las piedras preciosas,” Valladolid, 1604, fol. 101.

[92] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 48; Camilli
Leonardi, “Speculum lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, fol. xliii.

[93] Fol. 55 recto of Ital. MS., 14th Century. Reference is to Bela IV
(1235-1270). Lo reo dilugaria bela loqale in di nostri tempi regna.

[94] Weil, “Biblische Legenden,” p. 225.

[95] Cardani, “Philosophi opera quædam,” Basileæ, 1585, p. 328. “De

[96] Albertus Magnus, “Le Grand Albert des secrets des vertus des
Herbes, Pierres et Bestes. Et aultre livre des Merveilles du Monde,
d’aulcuns effetz causez daulcunes bestes,” Turin, Bernard du mont du
Chat (c. 1515). Liv. ii, fol. 11.

[97] “Naturalis historia,” lib. xxxvii, cap. 60.

[98] George H. Pepper, “The Exploration of a Burial-room in Pueblo
Bonito, New Mexico,” Putnam Anniversary Volume, New York, 1909, p. 239;
Fig. 5.

[99] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 38.

[100] Cardani, “Philosophi opera quædam,” Basileæ, 1585, p. 323. “De

[101] S. Hildegardæ, Opera omnia; in. Pat. Lat. ed. J. P. Migne, vol.
cxcvii, Parisiis, 1855, col. 1251.

[102] Cardani, “De subtilitate,” Basileæ, 1560, pp. 442-3.

[103] Chalfant, “Early Chinese Writing,” Mem. of Carnegie Museum, vol.
iv, No. 1, Pittsburg, 1906, p. 10 and Pl. XX, No. 275. See also Pl. X,
No. 132; _pei_, “shell,” “value,” as shells were used as money in very
ancient times.

[104] Chalfant, “Early Chinese Writing,” Pl. XXII, No. 299.

[105] “Catalogue of the Woodward Collection of Jades and other Hard
Stones,” by John Getz, Privately printed (New York), 1913, p. 11, No.

[106] Zelia Nuttall, “The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World
Civilization,” Cambridge, Mass., 1901, p. 195. Archæological and
Ethnographical Papers of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, vol.

[107] The Bishop Collection. “Investigations and Studies in Jade,” New
York, privately printed, 1906, vol. i, pt. iii, “Jade as a Mineral,” by
George Frederick Kunz, p. 117. Nos. 421 and 646 of the collection are
excellent examples of this special jade.

[108] The Bishop Collection. “Investigations and Studies in Jade,”
New York, 1906, vol. i, p. 12. Privately printed and edition limited
to 100 copies. For a description of this monumental work see “The
Printed Catalogue of the Heber R. Bishop Collection of Jade,” by George
Frederick Kunz, supplement to the Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum
of Art for May, 1906, Occasional Notes, No. 1.

[109] See Fischer, “Ueber die Nephritindustrie der Maoris in
Neuseeland,” Archiv für Anthropologie, vol. xv, Braunschweig, 1884, pp.

[110] King’s version in his Natural History of Precious Stones, London,
1865, p. 382.

[111] Pitra, “Specilegium Solesmense,” Parisiis, 1855, p. 328.

[112] Epiphanius, “De XII gemmis,” Tiguri, 1565, fols. 7, 8.

[113] Birlinger, “Kleinere deutsche Sprachdenkmäler,” in Germania, vol.
viii (1863), p. 302.

[114] Bartolomæi Anglici “De proprietatibus rerum,” London, Wynkyn de
Worde, 1495, lib. xvi, cap. 51, De Jaspide. Old English version by John
of Trevisa.

[115] Hoernes, “Urgeschichte der bildenden Kunst,” Wien, 1898, pp. 22,

[116] Dupont, “L’homme pendant les âges de la pierre,” Brussels, 1872,
pp. 156 sqq.

[117] Pepper, “The Exploration of a Burial-room in Pueblo Bonito,”
Putnam Anniversary Volume, New York, 1909, p. 237.

[118] Ward, “Seal Cylinders of Western Asia,” Washington, D. C., 1910,
p. 121; citing Jastrow, “Religion,” p. 303.

[119] Albertus Magnus, “Le Grand Albert des secretz des vertus des
Herbes, Pierres et Bestes. Et aultre livre des Merveilles du Monde,
d’aulcuns effetz causez daulcunes bestes,” Turin, Bernard du mont du
Chat (c. 1515). Liv. ii, fol. 11, recto.

[120] The Timæus of Plato, ed. by R. R. Archer-Hind, London, 1888, p.
302, note.

[121] Plinii, “Historia naturalis,” Venetiis, 1507, fol. 269 verso,
lib. xxxvi, cap. 16.

[122] Plinii, l. c., fol. 254, verso, lib. xxxiv, cap. 14.

[123] King’s metrical version in his “Natural History of Gems,” London,
1865, p. 226.

[124] John of Trevisa’s version (made in 1396) of Bartholomæus
Anglicus’ “De proprietatibus rerum,” London, Wynkyn de Worde, 1495,
lib. xvi, cap. 43, De Magnete.

[125] Bartolomæi Anglici, “De proprietatibus rerum,” l. c.

[126] Lucian, Imag. I.

[127] Klaproth, “Lettre à M. le Baron A. de Humboldt sur l’invention de
la boussole,” Paris, 1834, p. 20.

[128] From El Kazwini’s “Adjâïl el makluquat”; cited in marginal note,
vol. i, pp. 310, 311, of El Damu’s “Hayat el hayauân,” Cairo, 1313

[129] Kunz, “Gems and Precious Stones of North America,” New York,
1890, p. 192.

[130] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 51; Camilli
Leonardi, “Speculum lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, fol. xxxviii.

[131] Chiocci, “Museum Calceolarium,” Veronæ, 1622, p. 227.

[132] De Boot, “Gemmarum et lapidum historia,” Lug. Bat., 1636, p. 264,
lib. ii, cap. 113.

[133] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 51.

[134] “Les secrets de la Lune,” Paris, 1571.

[135] Cardani, “De subtilitate,” lib. vii, Basileæ, 1560, p. 464.

[136] “Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico,” ed. by Frederick
Webb Hodge; Smithsonian Inst.; Bur. Am. Ethn., Bull. 30; Washington,
1910, Pt. 2, p. 331.

[137] Kunz, “Gems and Precious Stones of North America,” New York,
1890, pp. 299, 300.

[138] Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi “Opera Omnia,” ed. Migne, vol. iv,
Parisiis, 1865, col. 545.

[139] Pfizmeier, “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Edelsteinen und des
Goldes,” Sitzungsbericht d. phil. hist. Kl., Wien, vol. lviii, 1868, p.

[140] Pfizmeier, l. c., p. 201.

[141] Garbe, “Die indische Mineralien; Naharari’s Râjanighantu, Varga
XIII,” Leipzig, 1882, p. 70.

[142] Epiplianii, “De XII gemmis,” Tiguri, 1565, fol. 5.

[143] Camilli Leonardi, “Speculum lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, fol. xxvi.

[144] Pannier, “Les lapidaires français,” Paris, 1882, pp. 246, 264,
295. Cited in Schofield, “The Pearl,” Pub. of Mod. Lang. Asso. of Am.,
vol. xxiv, Pt. 4, p. 599.

[145] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. I, Calcutta, 1879, p. 199.

[146] “Le grand lapidaire de Jean de Mandeville,” from the ed. of 1561,
ed. by J. S. del Sotto, Vienne, 1862, p. 8.

[147] Taw Sein Ko, communication from his “Burmese Necromancy.”

[148] Pitra, “Specilegium Solesmense,” Parisiis, 1855, vol. iii, p. 328.

[149] Epiphanii, “De XII gemmis,” Tiguri, 1565, fol. 6.

[150] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fols. 46, 47.

[151] Bartolomæi Anglici, “De proprietatibus rerum,” London, Wynkyn de
Worde, 1495, lib. xvi, cap. 86, De Saphiro.

[152] Old English for spider.

[153] Bartolomæus Anglicus, l. c.

[154] The subject of the origin, development and reform of the
carat-weight has been fully treated by the author in the Trans. of the
Soc. of Min. Engineers, 1913, pp. 1225-1245, “The New International
Metric Diamond Carat of 200 milligrams.”

[155] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 50, note of Pictor

[156] Bellucci, “Il feticismo primitivo in Italia,” Perugia, 1907, pp.
25, 26.

[157] Volmar, “Steinbuch,” ed. by Hans Lambel, Heilbronn, 1877, p. 19.

[158] De Boot, “Gemmarum et lapidum historia,” Lug. Bat., 1636, pp.

[159] De Boot, “Gemmarum et lapidum historia,” Lug. Bat., 1636, pp.
169, 170.

[160] De Boot, l. c., p. 270.

[161] Hendley, “Indian Jewelry,” London, 1909, p. 158.

[162] Kunz, “Gems and Precious Stones of North America,” New York,
1890, pp. 61, 62, pl. opposite p. 56.

[163] Kunz, l. c., see pl. 2, fig. A.

[164] Pepper, “The Exploration of a Burial-room in Pueblo Bonito, New
Mexico,” Putnam Anniversary Volume, New York, 1909, pp. 196-252.

[165] Pepper, “The Exploration of a Burial-room in Pueblo Bonito, New
Mexico,” pp. 223, 224.

[166] Pepper, l. c., p. 227.

[167] Burke, “The Medicine-men of the Apache,” Ninth Annual Report of
the Bureau of Ethnology, 1887-1888, Washington, 1892, p. 589.

[168] Fernie, “Precious Stones for Curative Use,” Bristol, 1907, p. 269.

[169] From “The Sacred Beetle,” by John Ward, London, 1902, Plate VIII,
Nos. 46, 58, 89, 275, 276, 446.

[170] Budge, “The Mummy,” Cambridge, 1894, pp. 234-235.

[171] The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Murch Collection of Egyptian
antiquities; supplement to the Bulletin of the Met. Mus. of Art,
January, 1910.

[172] Middleton, “Engraved Gems of Ancient Times,” Cambridge, 1891, p.

[173] Diodori Siculi, “Bibliothecæ historicales,” ed. Dindorf,
Parisiis, 1842, vol. i, p. 65; lib. i, cap. 75.

[174] Æliani, “De animalibus,” lib. x, cap. 15.

[175] Hoernes, “Urgeschichte der bildenden Kunst,” Wien, 1898, pp. 155,

[176] Konrad v. Megenberg, “Buch der Natur,” ed. Pfeiffer, Stuttgart,
1861, p. 448; see also Johannis de Cuba, “Hortus Sanitatis”
[Strassburg, 1483], tractatus de lapidibus, cap. xliii.

[177] Marbodei, “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, fol. 19.

[178] Fischer and Wiedemann, “Ueber Babylonische ‘Talismane’ aus dem
hist. Mus. im steierisch-landschaftl. Joanneum zu Graz,” Stuttgart,
1881, p. 9.

[179] See Ward, “The Seal Cylinders of Western Asia,” Carnegie
Institution Pub., Washington, D. C., 1910, pp. 1-5.

[180] Ward, l. c., p. 5 and pp. 5-8.

[181] Fischer and Wiedemann, “Ueber Babylonische Talismane,” Stuttgart,
1881, p. 11. See Pl. I, fig. 3.

[182] A. Evans, in “Journal of Hellenic Studies,” vol. xiv (1893), p.

[183] Trebelii Pollionis, De XXX tyrannis, Lipsiæ, p. 295.

[184] Ad illum. catech., Hom. II, 5.

[185] Krause, “Pyrgoteles,” Halle, 1856, pp. 197-8.

[186] Caii Plinii Secundi, Naturalis Historia, ed. Harduin, Parisiis,
1741, vol. ii, p. 489.

[187] King, Catalogue of Engraved Gems, Metropolitan Museum of Art, p.
81, No. 302, 1885.

[188] Dissert. apol. de quibusdam Alexandri Severi numismat., p. 59.
Cited in Dictionnaire de l’arch. chrét., vol. i, Pt. II, Paris, 1907,
cols. 1789, 1790, where the amulet is figured.

[189] Camilli Leonardi, Speculum Lapidum, Venetia, 1502.

[190] Pitra, “Specilegium Solesmense,” Parisiis, 1885, vol. iii, pp.
326, 327.

[191] Camilli Leonardi, “Speculum Lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, ff. lvi-lvii.

[192] From an anonymous Italian treatise in a fourteenth century MS. in
the author’s collection; fol. 40 verso, 41 recto.

[193] Hoernes, “Urgeschichte der bildenden Kunst,” Vienna, 1898, p. 338.

[194] Hoernes, “Urgeschichte der bildenden Kunst,” Vienna, 1898, p. 338.

[195] King, “The Gnostics and their Remains,” London, 1864, p. 238,
figure opp. p. 115.

[196] Catalogue de l’Exposition de la Société d’Anthropologie
(Exposition de 1900), p. 286.

[197] Elworthy, “The Evil Eye,” London, 1895, pp. 353, 354.

[198] Stern, “Medizin, Aberglaube und Geschlechtsleben in der Turkei,”
Berlin, 1903, vol. i, p. 235.

[199] Plini, “Historia naturalis,” lib. xxxvi, cap. 3.

[200] Archæologia, vol. xxx, p. 541, London, 1844; MS. Harl. No. 80,
folio 105, recto.

[201] Pitra, “Specilegium Solesmense,” Parisiis, 1855, vol. iii, p. 336.

[202] De Mély, in La Grande Encyclopédie, vol. xxv, p. 885, art.
Pierres précieuses.

[203] Konrad von Megenberg, “Buch der Natur,” Stuttgart, 1861, p. 469.

[204] Pitra, “Specilegium Solesmense,” Parisiis, 1855, vol. iii, p. 335.

[205] Agricola, “De natura fossilum,” lib. vi, Basileæ, 1546, p. 291.

[206] Nicols, “Faithful Lapidary,” London, 1659, p. 107.

[207] Kluge, “Edelsteinkunde,” Leipsic, 1860, p. 366.

[208] Fernie, “Precious Stones for Curative Wear,” Bristol, 1907, p.

[209] The opal is said to preserve its wearer from disease; and hence,
in the East, is much used in the form of amulets.

[210] From “Gems of Beauty,” by the Countess of Blessington, London,

[211] Sir Walter Scott, “Novels,” The Janson Society, New York, 1907,
vol. xxiii, pp. 126-138.

[212] Plinii, “Naturalis historia,” lib. xxxvii, cap. 6.

[213] Plinii, l. c.

[214] Hesselquist, “Voyages and Travels in the Levant,” English trans.,
London, 1766, pp. 273, 274.

[215] Alberti Magni, Opera Omnia, ed. Borgnet, Parisiis, 1890, vol. v,
p. 42.

[216] Communication of Dr. Frederick Knab, citing Castellani and
Chalmers, “Manual of Tropical Medicine,” 1910.

[217] Batman, “Uppon Bartholome,” London, 1582, p. 264, lib. xvi, cap.

[218] Shakespeare, “Twelfth Night,” Act ii, Sc. 4.

[219] Cardani, “De subtilitate,” Basileæ, 1560, p. 445.

[220] Rose, “Aristoteles De lapidibus und Arnoldus Saxo,” in Zeitschr.
für D. Alt., New Series, vol. vi, p. 391. See also Avicenna, “Liber
canonis,” Basileæ, 1556, p. 182, lib. ii, Tract. ii, cap. 20.

[221] Garcias ab Orta, “Aromatum historia” (Lat. version by Clusius).
Antverpiæ, 1579, p. 172. The Portuguese original was published in Goa,
in 1563.

[222] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. I, Calcutta, 1879, pp.
122, 125.

[223] Justi Lepsii, “De fraude et vi,” cap. v, §8; cited in Pindar, “De
adamante,” Berolini, 1829, p. 58.

[224] Aldrovandi, “Museum metallicum,” Bononiæ, 1648, p. 949.

[225] Vita di Benvenuto Cellini, ed. Carpani, Milano, 1806, p. 445.

[226] Amos, “The Great Oyer of Poisoning,” London, 1846, pp. 336 sqq.

[227] Aldrovandi, “Museum metallicum,” Bononiæ, 1648, p. 949.

[228] Child, “The English and Scottish Popular Ballads,” Boston,
1882-96, vol. i, pp. 187 sqq.

[229] Child, l. c.

[230] Against thee.

[231] Ravii, “Specimen Arabicum,” Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1784, pp. 97, 98.

[232] Andreæ Baccii, “De gemmis et lapidibus pretiosis,” Latin trans.
by Wolfgang Gabelchover, Francofurti, 1603, pp. 63, 64.

[233] “De gemmis errores vulgares,” Lipsiæ, 1688, sect. ii, §12.

[234] Rose, Aristoteles De lapidibus and Arnoldus Saxo, Zeitschr. für
D. Alt., New Series, vol. vi, 1875, pp. 360, 361.

[235] Cardani, “De subtilitate,” Basileæ, 1554, lib. vii, pp. 191, 205.

[236] Ginsburg, “Legends of the Jews,” Eng. trans., Phila., 1909, vol.
i, p. 162. See also Levy, “Dictionary of the Targumim,” etc., New York
and London, 1903, vol. ii, p. 836, s. v. מַרְגָלִית. Pirke d’R. El.,
ch. xxiii.

[237] Ginsburg, l. c., p. 298.

[238] Claudii Æliani, “De animalium natura,” lib. viii, cap. 22, ed.
Gesner, Tiguri, 1568, pp. 182, 183.

[239] Grimm, “Wörterbuch,” vol. ii, col. 1244.

[240] “Lithica,” line 270.

[241] De Mely, “La traité des fleuves de Plutarche,” in Revue des
Études Grecques, vol. v (1892), p. 331.

[242] Luciani, “De Syria dea,” cap. 32.

[243] Rose, “Aristoteles de lapidibus und Arnoldus Saxo,” Zeitschr. für
D. Alt., New Series, vol. vi, 1875, pp. 375, 376.

[244] The abbey to which Hildegard gave the tablet was probably that
built by Theodoric II and destroyed by the Reformers in 1572. The first
building was of wood and was erected by Theodoric I in 923 or 924; this
was ravaged by the Frisians not many years later.

[245] Creuzer, “Antik geschnittene Steine vom Grabmahl der heiligen
Elizabeth,” Leipsic and Darmstadt, 1834, pp. 25, 26.

[246] Arnobio, “Il tesoro delle gioie,” Venice, 1602, p. 34.

[247] See the English translation of his “Chu-fan-chï,” by Friedrich
Hirth and W. W. Rockhill, St. Petersburg, 1911, p. 72.

[248] “Die Reisebeschreibung des R. Benjamin von Tudela,” ed. by L.
Grünhut and Marcus N. Adler, Jerusalem, 1903, pt. ii, trans., p. 17.

[249] Beckmann, “History of Inventions,” English trans., London, 1846,
vol. ii, p. 433.

[250] Garcias ab Orta, “Aromatum historia” (Lat. version by Clusius),
Antverpiæ, 1579, lib. i, p. 174.

[251] Plinii, “Naturalis historia,” lib. xxxvii, cap. 17.

[252] Platonis, “Hippias major,” ed. Didot, vol. i, p. 745.

[253] Norton’s “Ordinall”; in Ashmole “Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum,”
London, 1652, p. 27.

[254] Christiani Mentzelli, “Lapis Bononensis,” Bilefeldiæ, 1675.

[255] See Kunz, “The Phosphorescence of the Diamond,” Trans. N. Y.
Academy of Sciences, vol. x, p. 50, 1890-91; Kunz and Baskerville, “The
Action of Radium, Actinium, Roentgen rays, and Ultra Violet Light in
Minerals and Gems,” Science, vol. xviii, No. 468, pp. 769-783, December
18, 1903.

[256] See page 172.

[257] Boyle, “Works,” London, 1744, vol. ii, p. 85. The experiments
were made October 27, 1663, and the results were communicated to the
Royal Society the next day, the diamond which had been used being shown
to the members at that time.

[258] “Journal des Sçavans,” 1739, pp. 438, 439, of Amsterdam edition,
citing “Hist. de l’Acad. Roy. des Sciences,” 1735 (vol. xxxviii).

[259] See Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. xiv,
p. 260; 1895.

[260] “Diamonds,” a lecture delivered before the British Association
at Kimberley, Sept. 5, 1905; London, 1905, p. 37. See also the same
author’s “Diamonds,” London and New York, 1909, pp. 96-101.

[261] Kunz, “Gems and Precious Stones of North America,” New York,
1890, pp. 183, 184.

[262] “Collection des anciens alchemistes grecs,” ed. by M. Berthelot,
trans., p. 336-338; text pp. 351, 352, Paris, 1887, 1888.

[263] “Sur un procédé antique pour rendre les pierres précieuses et les
vitrifications phosphorescentes,” Annales de Chimie et Physique, 6th
ser., vol. xiv, pp. 429-432.

[264] Moryson, “An Itinerary containing his Ten Yeeres Travell through
the Twelve Dominions,” etc., Glasgow, 1907-8, vol. i. p. 216.

[265] Burton, “Supplementary Nights,” London, 1886, vol. iii, p. 354,

[266] Pausaniæ, “Descriptio Græciæ,” ed. Schubart, vol. ii, Lipsiæ,
1883, pp. 54, 55, lib. ii, cap. 21, 12.

[267] Luciani, “Vera Historia,” lib. i, 26.

[268] Balz, “Die sogenannte magische Spiegel und ihr Gebrauch”; Archiv
für Anthrop. N.S., vol. ii, p. 45, 1904.

[269] Sahagun, “Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España,” Mexico,
1829, vol. i, pp. 2, 3; vol. ii, pp. 6, 12, 16, 17; lib. i, cap. 3;
lib. v, cap. 3, 9, 11, 12.

[270] Spartiani, “Vita Didii Juliani,” cap. 7.

[271] Reichelti, “De amuletis,” Argentorati, 1676, p. 36.

[272] “Synodum episcoporum Patricii, Auxilii et Issernani,” in Migne,
Patr. Lat., vol. liii, Parisiis, 1865, col. 825.

[273] Hincmari, “Opera Omnia,” in Migne, Patr. Lat., vol. cxxv, col. 7;
De devortio Lotharii et Tetbergæ.

[274] London, 1905, pp. xxiv, xxx.

[275] Ibn Kaldoun, in Notices et Ext. de MSS. de la Bib. Imp., vol.
xix, p. 221.

[276] See Barrett, “The Magus,” London, 1801, p. 135.

[277] Jâmi’s “Salamân and Absal,” trans. by Edward Fitzgerald, Boston,
1899, p. 84.

[278] Description of the Regalia of Scotland, by Sir Walter Scott,
Bart., Edinburgh, n. d., p. 13.

[279] Johannis Saresberensis, “Policraticus,” Lyon, 1513, fols. lxxvii,
verso, lxxviii, recto, lib. ii, cap. 28.

[280] Johannis Saresberensis, l. c., fol. lxxvi, recto, lib. ii, cap.

[281] “The Hermetic and Alchemical writings of Aureolus Philippus
Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, called Paracelsus the Great,” trans.
by Arthur Edward Waite, London, 1894, vol. i, p. 224.

[282] “Unterricht vom Gebrauch des Erdspiegels, 1658” (Aus dem
Kapuziner-Kloster in Immenstat. Eine Handschrift des Kapuziner-Paters
Franziscus Seraph. Heider daselbst); in “Handschriftlichen Schätze aus
Kloster Bibliotheken,” Köln am Rhein, 1734-1810 (reprint).

[283] Sloane MS. 3851, f. 50b.

[284] Jonson, “The Alchemist,” ed. Hathaway, New York, 1903, pp. 101,
145, note.

[285] Kiesewetter, “Faust in der Geschichte und Tradition,” Leipzig,
1893, p. 472.

[286] Kiesewetter, “Faust in der Geschichte und Tradition,” p. 473.

[287] Wieri, “De prestigiis demonum,” Basileæ, 1563, p. 121.

[288] “The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee,” ed. by Halliwell, London,
1842 (Camden Soc. Pub.), p. 9, note (“Compendious Memorial,” p. 516).

[289] A true and faithful Relation of what passed for Many Yeeres
between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits. With preface by Meric. Casaubon,
London, 1659, p. 1.

[290] See B. M. Dalton’s notes in the Proceedings of the Society of
Antiquaries, 2d ser., vol. xxi, 380-383. Sloane MS. A. 3188.

[291] Casaubon’s “Relation,” p. 73.

[292] Rist, “Die Aller-Edelste Zeit-Verkürtung der ganzen Welt,”
Franckfurt on dem Mayn, 1668, p. 255.

[293] Butler, “Hudibras,” Part II, Canto III, 11, 235-8, and 631-4.
This second part was issued in 1663, four years after Casaubon’s
publication of Dee’s journal.

[294] Miscellanea graphica: Representations of Ancient Medieval and
Renaissance remains in the Possession of Lord Londesborough; introd. by
Thomas Wright, London, 1857, p. 81.

[295] Aubrey, “Miscellanies,” London, 1890, pp. 156, 157. (There is a
figure on p. 156.)

[296] Glanvil, “Saducismus Triumphatus,” London, 1726, p. 281.

[297] Aubrey, “Miscellanies,” London, 1890, p. 155.

[298] Carlyle, “Works,” Ashburton ed., vol. xvi, p. 509; from Vie
de Joseph Balsamo, traduite d’après l’original Italien, ch. ii, 111
(Paris, 1791).

[299] Kiesewetter, “Faust in der Geschichte und Tradition,” Leipzig,
1893, p. 476.

[300] George IV, cap. lxxxiii.

[301] Brinton, “Essays of an Americanist,” Philadelphia, 1890, p. 165.

[302] Burke, “The Medicine-men of the Apache,” Ninth Annual Report of
the Bureau of Ethnology, 1887-1888, Washington, 1892, p. 461.

[303] Fraser, “The Golden Bough,” pt. i, “The Magic Art,” vol. i,
London, 1911, p. 176.

[304] Lang, “The Making of Religion,” London, 1898, pp. 91-92.

[305] Thomas, “Crystal Gazing,” London, 1905, p. 48.

[306] Nuttall, “The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World
Civilization,” Cambridge, Mass., 1901, p. 80.

[307] Tcheraz, “Notes sur la mythologie Armenienne,” in Trans. of the
Ninth Cong. of Orient. (1892), London, 1893, vol. ii, p. 832.

[308] Tcheraz, l. c., p. 835.

[309] Proc. Soc. of Psych. Research, vol. viii, p. 470.

[310] Proc. of the Soc. for Psych. Research, vol. v, p. 507.

[311] Thomas, “Crystal Gazing,” London, 1908, Lang’s preface, pp. xi,

[312] Thomas, l. c., p. xxi.

[313] Proc. of the Soc. for Psych. Research, vol. viii, p. 473.

[314] Shepharial, “The Crystal and the Seer,” London [1900?], p. 14.

[315] John Melville, “Crystal Gazing,” London, 1910, pp. 20, 21.

[316] Shepharial, “The Crystal and the Seer,” London [1900?], pp. 11-13.

[317] Melville, “Crystal Gazing,” London, 1910, p. 47.

[318] Atkinson, “Practical Psychomancy and Crystal Gazing,” Chicago
[1908], p. 46.

[319] See Leadbeater, “The Astral Plane,” London, 1910, p. 14.

[320] Verner, “How to Know Your Future,” London [1910?], p. 16.

[321] See Hereward Carrington’s Correspondence Course of Instruction in
Psychic Development, Lesson 24, New York, 1912.

[322] Kunz, “The Occurrence and Manipulation of Rock Crystal,”
Scientific American, vol. lv, pp. 103, 104 (Aug. 14, 1886). Trans. N.
Y. Acad. Sciences, May 30, 1886.

[323] Kunz, “The Occurrence and Manipulation of Rock Crystal.”

[324] Gratacap, “The Mystic Crystal Sphere,” in the American Museum
Journal, January, 1913, p. 24; plate on p. 22.

[325] Montfaucon, Les monumens de la monarchie Française. Paris, 1729,
p. 15.

[326] Montfaucon, l. c.

[327] Cochet, “Le tombeau de Childeric Ier roi des Francs,” Paris,
1859, pp. 16 sqq.

[328] Cochet, op. cit., p. 305.

[329] Cochet, op. cit., p. 302; figure.

[330] Cochet, op. cit., p. 303, No. 1.

[331] Simon, “Observations sur les sépulchres antiques découverts dans
plusieures contrées des Gaules,” p. 5; pl. ii, fig. 14.

[332] See Wylie’s “Fairford Graves,” pl. iv, fig. 1, pl. v, fig 2;
Akerman’s “Remains of Pagan Saxondom,” Roach Smith’s “Collectanea
antiqua”; Douglas’ “Nenia Brittanica,” and Hillier’s “Antiquities of
the Isle of Wight.”

[333] Akerman, op. cit., p. 10.

[334] Journal of the Archæological Institute, vol. ix, p. 179.

[335] Akerman, op. cit., pp. 39, 40.

[336] Miscellanies upon various subjects, by John Aubrey, to which is
added “Hydrotaphia, or Urn Burial,” by Sir Thomas Browne, London, 1890,
p. 244; chap, ii.

[337] Lady Wilde, “Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of
Ireland,” Boston, 1888, p. 209.

[338] Life Work of Sir Peter le Page Renouf, Paris, 1907, vol. iv,
p. 342. In the vignette to chapter 93, to illustrate the protection
afforded, a buckle with human hands seizes the arm of the deceased and
prevents him from going toward the East, the inauspicious direction for
departed souls, pl. xxv (Papyrus, Louvre iii, 93).

[339] Budge, “The Mummy,” Cambridge, 1894, p. 259.

[340] Budge, “The Mummy,” Cambridge, 1894, p. 261.

[341] The deceased was identified with Osiris.

[342] Budge, “The Mummy,” Cambridge, 1894, p. 263.

[343] Birch, Catalogue of Egyptian Antiquities in Alnwick Castle,
London, 1880, p. 224.

[344] Pierret, “Le livre des Morts,” Paris, 1882, p. 138.

[345] “Life Work of Sir Peter le Page Renouf,” Paris, 1907, vol. iv, p.
76, note.

[346] Ibid., Paris, 1907, vol. iv, p. 295.

[347] Æliani, “Varia historia,” lib. xiv, cap. xxxiv, Lug. Bat., 1731,
Pars altera, p. 977.

[348] Fossey, “La Magie Assyrienne,” Paris, 1902, p. 301; see
Rawlinson, “Cun. insc. of West. Asia,” vol. iv, 18, No. 3.

[349] Delitzsch, “Assyrisches Wörterbuch,” Leipzig, 1896, p. 74, s. v.

[350] Jensen, “Assyrisch-Babylonische Mythen und Epen,” Berlin, 1900.

[351] Ward, “Seal Cylinders of Western Asia,” Carnegie Institution
Pub., Washington, D. C., 1910, pp. 232, 234.

[352] For a fuller description of this valuable relic, and a discussion
of the meaning of the inscription, see “On the ancient inscribed
Sumerian (Babylonian) axe-head for the Morgan Collection in the
American Museum of Natural History,” by George Frederick Kunz, with
translation by Prof. Ira Maurice Price and discussion by Dr. William
Hayes Ward. Bulletin of the Museum, vol. xxi, pp. 37-47, April 6, 1905.

[353] Montfaucon, “L’antiquité expliquée,” vol. ii, Pt. II, 1719, pp.
324, 325; Plate 136.

[354] “The Questions of King Milinda,” tr. from the Pâli by T. W. Rhys
Davids, vol. ii, Oxford, 1894, p. 128.

[355] Buddha.

[356] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. II, Calcutta, 1881, pp.
715, 717.

[357] Buddhist Suttas, trans. from Pali by T. W. Rhys Davids; “Sacred
Books of the East,” vol. xi, Oxford, 1881.

[358] Lib. ii, cap. 11. Luciani Opera, ex recog. C. Jacobitz, vol. i,
Leipzig, 1884, p. 56.

[359] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. II, Calcutta, 1881, p. 79.

[360] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. II, Calcutta, 1881, pp.
645, 647.

[361] Heuen Tsang, “Mémoires sur les contrées occidentales,” French
trans. by Stanislas Julien, Paris, 1857, vol. i, p. 461.

[362] Gaina Sutras, trans. from Prakrit by Hermann Jacobi; “Sacred
Books of the East,” vol. xxii, Oxford, 1884, pp. 227, 233.

[363] Hendley, “Indian Jewellery,” London, 1909, p. 33.

[364] Hendley, “Indian Jewellery,” London, 1909, pp. 33, 34.

[365] Finot, “Les lapidaries indiens,” Paris, 1896, p. 175.

[366] Morales, “De las piedras preciosas,” Valladolid, 1604 (fol. 16

[367] Philostrati, “De Vita Apollonii,” lib. iii, cap. 36.

[368] Personal communication from Taw Sein Ko.

[369] The Bishop Collection: “Investigations and Studies in Jade,” New
York, 1906, vol. i, p. 54, The “Yushuo” of T’ang Jing-tso, trans. by
Stephen W. Bushnell.

[370] The Bishop Collection: “Investigations and Studies in Jade,” New
York, 1906, vol. i, p. 36.

[371] Kobert, “Ein Edelstein der Vorzeit,” Stuttgart, 1910, p. 26.

[372] Alfred Marston Tozzer, “Navajo Religious Ceremonials,” Putnam
Anniversary Volume, New York, 1909, pp. 323-326, 329, Plate II.

[373] Sahagun, “Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España,” Mexico,
1830, vol. iii, p. 297.

[374] Sahagun, l. c., 1829, vol. i, p. 18; lib. i, cap. xiii.

[375] Garcilasso de la Vega, “Histoire des Incas.” Fr. trans. by Jean
Baudoin, Amsterdam, 1715, vol. ii, pp. 255-257.

[376] Ibid., p. 347.

[377] “A Remarkable Jadeite Adze,” American Association for the
Advancement of Science. Kunz, “Gems and Precious Stones of North
America,” New York, 1890, pp. 278-280.

[378] “Nephrit und Jadite,” Stuttgart, 1880.

[379] The Bishop Collection, “Investigations and Studies in Jade,” New
York, 1906, vol. i, pt. iii, “Jade as a Mineral,” by George Frederick
Kunz, p. 177. This immense mass of nephrite which forms part of the
Heber Bishop Collection loan of jade is now in the American Museum of
Natural History, New York.

[380] Kunz, “Chalchiuitl: a note on the jadeite discussion,” Science,
vol. xii, No. 298.

[381] Gesneri, “De figuris lapidum,” Tiguri, 1565, fol. 107 verso, 108

[382] “De ornatu oris, nasi et aurium,” Gottingæ, 1832, p. 43.

[383] “Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico,” ed. by Frederick
Webb Hodge; Smithsonian Inst., Bur. of Am. Ethn. Bull. 30. Pt. I, p.
458; Washington, 1910.

[384] “Historia de las Indias,” in “Bib. de autores españoles,” vol.
xxii, Madrid, 1852, p. 202.

[385] Sahagun, “Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España,” Mexico,
1829, vol. ii, pp. 389-391, lib. ix, cap. xvii.

[386] Klot, “Ueber den Nützen und Gebrauch der alten geschnittenen
Steine,” Altenburg, 1768, p. 57.

[387] Erasmi Stellæ, “Interpretamentum Gemmarum,” 3d ed., Erfurti et
Lipsiæ, 1736, p. 27.

[388] Agricolæ, “De natura fossilium,” lib. vi, Basileæ, 1546, p. 289.

[389] Gesner, “De figuris lapidum,” Tiguri, 1565, ff. 112v, 113r.

[390] “Les six voyages de Jean Baptiste Tavernier,” La Haye, 1718, vol.
i, p. 48; Voyages en Perse, liv. i, chap. iv.

[391] José Ignacio Miró, “Estudio de las piedras preciosas,” Madrid,
1870, pp. 135, 136.

[392] Lassels, “The Voyage of Italy,” Paris, 1670, Pt. II, p. 344.

[393] Lassels, l. c., p. 339.

[394] Scotto, “Itinerario d’Italia,” Roma, 1747, p. 314.

[395] José Ignacio Miró, “Estudio de las piedras preciosas,” Madrid,
1870, pp. 136, 137, 229.

[396] Cartularium abbathiæ de Whiteby, Surtees Soc. Pub., vol. lxix,
pp. xvi-xx.

[397] Cardani, “De subtilitate,” lib. v, Basileæ, 1560, p. 370.

[398] Dr. Baelz, of the Imperial University of Tokyo, in Report of the
Smithsonian Institution for 1904, pp. 523-547.

[399] Mason, “Burmah, its People and Natural Productions,” Rangoon,
1860, pp. 109, 110.

[400] Narrative of the Embassy of Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo to the Court
of Timour, trans. by Clement R. Markham, London, 1859, p. 38, Hakluyt
Soc. Pub.

[401] Chiocci, “Museum Calceolarium,” Veronæ, 1622, p. 251.

[402] Kircher, “Mundus Subterraneus,” Amstelodami, 1665, p. 36; Tabula
IV, Fig. 6.

[403] Creuzer, “Antik geschnittene Steine vom Grabmahl der heiligen
Elizabeth,” Leipsic and Darmstadt, 1834, p. 25.

[404] Barbier de Montault, “Le Trésor de l’Abbaye de Sainte-Croix de
Poitier”; in Mém. de la Soc. d’Antiq. de l’Ouest, Sec. Ser., vol. lv,
1881, pp. 105, 106; Poitiers, 1882.

[405] Italian MS. of the fourteenth century in the author’s library;
fol. 41 b.

[406] Ravenshaw, “Antiente Epitaphs,” London, 1878, p. 110.

[407] Ravenshaw, “Antiente Epitaphs,” London, 1878, p. 113.

[408] See Audsley, “Handbook of Christian Symbolism,” London, 1865, pp.

[409] Flavii Josephi, “De Antiq. Jud.,” lib. iii, cap. viii, 9; Opera,
ed. Dindorf, Parisiis, 1845, vol. i, pp. 100, 101.

[410] “Ant. Jud.,” lib. iii, cap. vii, 5, Flavii Josephi Opera,
Basileæ, 1544, p. 75.

[411] Sancti Patri Epiphanii, “De XII Gemmis,” Tiguri, 1566, ff. 12-14.
Edited by Conrad Gesner from a unique MS. in his possession.

[412] Ginsburg, “Legends of the Jews,” Eng. trans., Phila., 1909, vol.
i, p. 34.

[413] See J. L. Myers in the “Encyclopædia Biblica,” vol. iv, pp.

[414] See Gimma, “Della storia naturale delle gemme,” Napoli, 1730,
vol. i, pp. 208, 209.

[415] Hommel, “Altisraelitische Ueberlieferung,” pp. 281, sqq.; Erman,
“Aegypten,” Tübingen, 1885, p. 402.

[416] Aureli Augustini, “Opera Omnia,” vol. iii, Part I, col. 637;
Patrologiæ Latinæ, ed. Migne, vol. xxxviii, Paris, 1864.

[417] “Natural History of Precious Stones,” London, 1870, p. 333.

[418] Procopius, ed. Dindorf, Bonnae. 1833, vol. i, p. 445; “De bello
Vandalico,” lib. ii, cap. 9.

[419] Procopius, ed. Dindorf, Bonnae, 1833, vol. i, p. 445; “De bello
Vandalico,” lib. ii, cap. 9.

[420] For an account of the immense booty taken by the Arabs, under
Sa’ad, on this occasion, see Rawlinson, “Seventh Great Oriental
Monarchy,” London, 1876, pp. 564-566. The total value has been placed
as high as $125,000,000.

[421] C. H. Emerson, “Psychocraft” [Portland, Me., 1911].

[422] “Der Midrasch Bemidbar Rabba,” German transl. by Dr. Aug.
Wünsche, Leipzig, 1885, pp. 15, 16. Parasha II. Of the _tarshish_ it
is said the color resembled that of “the costly stone with which women
adorn themselves,” possibly the pearl is signified. Hebrew text in
“Sepher Midrash Rabba,” Vilna, 1845, pt. iii, “Sepher Bemidbar,” p. 23.

[423] There are two evident transpositions in the text of Josephus
between the fifth and sixth and the eighth and ninth stones

[424] Alford, “The Greek Testament,” vol. iv, Pt. 2, p. 594.

[425] Rabani Mauri, “Opera Omnia,” vol. v, col. 470. Patrologiæ Lat.,
vol. cxi, Parisiis, 1864.

[426] “New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud,” ed. and trans. by Michael
L. Rodkinson, vol. v (xiii), New York, 1902, p. 210. Baba Batra.

[427] Brückmann, “Abhandlung von Edelsteinen,” 2d ed., Braunschweig,
1773, p. 358.

[428] Flavii Josephi, ed. Dindorf, Parisii, 1847, vol. ii, p. 97;
“Antiq. Jud.,” lib. iii, cap. 7, paragraph 7. In the second century,
Clemens Alexandrinus (lib. v, cap. 6) repeats this idea of Josephus,
adding that the four rows in which the gems were disposed signified the
four seasons of the year.

[429] Sancti Hieronymi, “Opera Omnia,” ed. Migne, Parisiis, 1877, vol.
i, col. 616; Epistola lxiv, paragraph 16.

[430] Lücke, “Versuch einer Einleitung in die Offenbarung Johannes,”
Bonn, 1852, p. 964.

[431] Patrologiæ Græcæ, ed. Migne, vol. cvi, Parisiis, 1863, cols.

[432] Georgius Vitringa, “Nauwkeurige onderzoek van de goddelyke
Openbaring der H. Apostels Johannes,” Dutch trans. of Latin by M.
Gargon, Amsterdam, 1728, vol. ii, p. 681.

[433] Sancti Patris Epiphanii episcopi Cypri ad Diodorum Tyri
episcopum, “De XII. Gemmis, quæ erant in veste Aaronis,” ed. Gesner,
Tiguri, 1565.

[434] Rabani Mauri, “Opera Omnia,” vol. v, col. 465; in Patrologiæ
Latinæ, ed. Migne, vol. xvi, Paris, 1864.

[435] Poujet fils, “Traité des pierres précieuses,” Paris, 1762, p. 4.

[436] Poujet fils, l. c.

[437] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. II, Calcutta, 1881, pp
619, 621.

[438] The star-sapphire has already been described on pp. 106, 107.

[439] Eliphas Lévi, “Rituel de la haute magie,” Paris, 1861.

[440] For this number, and for the succeeding multiples of thirteen,
the gem is believed to counteract the malign influence of the number.

[441] Wilhelmus Eo, “Coronæ Gemma Nobilissima,” Newheusern, 1621, pp.

[442] Gaffarelli, “Curiositates inauditæ,” Hamburgi, 1706, pp. 146, 147.

[443] Schindler, “Der Aberglaube des Mittelalters,” Breslau, 1858, p.

[444] Reichelti, “De amuletis,” Argentorati, 1676, p. 45; citing
Ficini, “De vita coelit.,” cap. 13.

[445] Mairan, “Lettres au R. P. Parrenin,” Paris, 1770, pp. 275 sqq.

[446] Mairan, l. c., pp. 199, 211.

[447] “Collection of Engraved Gems,” Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Handbook No. 9, pp. 53, 54.

[448] Garbe, “Die indische Mineralien,” Naharari’s Râjanighantu, Varga
XIII, Leipzig, 1882, p. 80.

[449] Garbe, “Die indische Mineralien,” Naharari’s Râjanighantu, Varga
XIII, Leipzig, 1882, p. 83.

[450] Garbe, “Die indische Mineralien,” Naharari’s Râjanighantu, Varga
XIII, Leipzig, 1882, p. 84.

[451] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. II, Calcutta, 1881, p.

[452] Morales, “De las virtudes y propiedades marvillosas de las
piedras preciosas,” Valladolid, 1604, fols. 15a, 15b.

[453] Rantzau, “Tractatus de genethliacorum thematum judiciis,”
Francofurti, 1633, pp. 46-55.

[454] Lapidario del Rey D. Alfonso X; codice original, Madrid, 1881,
fols. 101-109.

[455] Lane, “Arabian Society in the Middle Ages,” ed. by Stanley
Lane-Poole, London, 1883, p. 98.

[456] Pantagruel, liv. v, chap. xlii, Paris, 1833, p. 341.

[457] Morales, “De las Piedras Preciosas,” Valladolid, 1604.

[458] Morales, “De las piedras preciosas,” Valladolid, 1604, pp.

[459] Camilli Leonardi, “Speculum Lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, f. liv-lvi.

[460] Camilli Leonardi, “Speculum Lapidum,” Venetia, 1502, f. liii.

[461] Butler, “Hudibras,” Part II, Canto III, 11, 1096-1103.

[462] Artemidori Daldiani et Achametis Sereimi Oneirocritica, ed.
Regaltius, Lutetiæ, 1603, pp. 86, 87.

[463] Ibid., p. 228.

[464] Venice, 1602, p. 254.

[465] “The Hermetic and Alchemical writings of Aureolus Philippus
Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, called Paracelsus the Great,” trans.
by Arthur Edward Waite, London, 1894, Vol. I, pp. 14, 225, Vol. II, p.

[466] Plutarchi, “Vitæ,” ed. Sinteris, Lipsiæ, 1884, p. 339; Pericles,

[467] Eusebii Pamphili, “De laudibus Constantini,” cap. v; in Eusebii,
“Opera Omnia,” ed. Migne, Parisiis, 1857, cols. 1337, 1340; Patrologiæ
Græcæ, vol. xx.

[468] The Travels of Sir Jerome Horsey, Hakluyt Society, London, 1856,
pp. 199, 200.

[469] The Fuggers of Augsburg, the jeweller bankers of the 15th and
16th centuries.

[470] Wolffii, “Curiosus amuletorum scrutator,” Francofurti et Lipsiæ,
1692, p. 363; citing Rodolphus Goclenius (De peste, p. 70).

[471] Olaus Borrichius, in the Collection Académique, Paris, 1757, tome
iv, p. 338.

[472] Lapidario del Rey D. Alfonso X, Codice Original, Madrid, 1881, f.

[473] “De lapidibus,” Friburgi, 1531, f. 8.

[474] New edition of the Babylonian Talmud, ed. and trans. by Michael
L. Rodkinson, vol. v (xiii), Baba Batra, New York, 1902, p. 53. See
also Beer, “Leben Abraham’s,” Leipzig, 1859, p. 79.

[475] Surindro Mohun Tagore, “Mani Málá,” Pt. I, Calcutta, 1879, pp.
137, 139, 141.

[476] Andrea Spigello, “De semitert.”; cited in Gimma, “Della Storia
naturale delle gemme,” Napoli, 1730, vol. i, p. 208.

[477] Raumer, “Historisches Taschenbuch,” I Ser., vol. vi, Leipzig,
1835, p. 370.

[478] Josephi Gonelli, “Thesaurus philosophicus, seu de gemmis,”
Neapoli, 1702, pp. 76, 77.

[479] Lapidario del Rey D. Alfonso X, Codice Original, Madrid, 1881, f.

[480] Marbodus, l. c., f. 48.

[481] Rueus, l. c., p. 36.

[482] Morales, “De las piedras preciosas,” Valladolid, 1604, f. 101.

[483] Andreæ Bacci, “De gemmis et lapidibus pretiosis,” Francofurti,
1603, pp. 63, 64 (annotation of Gabelchover to his Latin version).

[484] Plinii, “Naturalis historia,” lib. xxxvii, cap. 16.

[485] Psellus, “De lapidum virtutibus,” Lug. Bat., 1745, p. 32.

[486] Johannis Braunii, “De Vestitu sacerd. Heb.,” Amstel., 1680, p.

[487] From an old book the title-page of which reads: “In hoc volumine
de Alchemia,” etc., Norimberghe, 1541, p. 363.

[488] Garbe, “Die indische Mineralien; Naharari’s Râjanighantu, Varga
xiii,” Leipzig, 1882, p. 76.

[489] Teifashi, “Fior di pensieri sulle pietre preziose,” Ital. trans.
by Antonio Raineri, Firenzi, 1818, p. 20.

[490] “The Discovery of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful Empire of
Guiana,” London, 1848, p. 29, Hakluyt Pub. Originally published in 1596.

[491] Lettres de Voiture, ed. by Octave Uzanne, Paris, 1880, vol. i, p.
66, Letter XXIII.

[492] Josephi Gonnelli, “Thesaurus philosophicus, seu de gemmis,”
Neapoli, 1702, pp. 157, 158.

[493] Claudii Galeni, “De simplic. medicament., etc.,” lib. ix, cap.
19. “Opera Omnia,” ed. C. G. Kühn, Lipsiæ, 1826, vol. xii, p. 207. See
also Duffield Osborne, “Engraved Gems,” New York, 1912, pp. 138, 139.

[494] Garbe, “Die indische Mineralien”; Naharari’s “Râjanighantu,”
Varga XIII, Leipzig, 1882, p. 70.

[495] The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, by William
Langley (or Langland). Ed. by Rev. Walter W. Skeat, Oxford, 1881, p.
16. Passus II, lines 8-15.

[496] Trimmed with fur.

[497] Handsomely.

[498] Adorned.

[499] Burning coal.

[500] Aquamarines.

[501] Poisons.

[502] Dugdale, “History of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London,” London,
1818, vol. i, pp. 15, 16. First edition published in 1658.

[503] Alberti Magni, “Opera omnia,” ed. Borgnet, Paris, 1890, vol. v,
p. 44.

[504] Labarte, “Inventaire du mobilier de Charles V,” Paris, 1879, p.
308, No. 2937.

[505] “A Ternary of Paradoxes, written originally by Joh. Bapt.
Van Helmont and translated, illustrated, and amplicated by Walter
Charleton,” London, 1650, p. 17.

[506] S. Hildegardæ, “Opera omnia,” in Pat. Lat. ed. by J. P. Migne,
vol. cxcvii, Parisiis, 1855, col. 1255.

[507] Arnobio, “Il tesoro delle gioie,” Venice, 1602, p. 21.

[508] Bellucci, “Il feticismo in Italia,” Perugia, 1907, p. 91, note.

[509] Monardes, Semplicium medicamentorum ex novo orbe delatorum
historia (Latin version by Clusius), Antverpiæ, 1579, p. 51.

[510] Sahagun, “Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España,” vol.
iii. Mexico, 1830, pp. 300, 301; lib. xi, cap. viii.

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