The Magic of Jewels and Charms.
Magic Stones and Electric Gems
While the precious and semi-precious stones were often worn as amulets or talismans, the belief in the magic quality of mineral substances was not confined to them, but was also held in regard to large stone masses of peculiar form, or having strange markings or indentations; moreover, many small stones, possessing neither worth nor beauty, were thought to exert a certain magical influence upon natural phenomena. An occult power of this sort was also attributed by tradition to some mythical stones, the origin of this fancy being frequently explicable by the quality really inherent in some known mineral bearing a designation closely similar to that bestowed upon the imaginary stone.
To certain stones has been attributed the power to produce musical tones, the most famous example being the so-called "Vocal Menmon" of Thebes. This colossal statue was said to emit a melodious sound when the sun rose, and according to Greek legend this sound was a greeting given by Menmon to his mother, the Dawn. It appears, however, that the statue was a respecter of persons, for when the Emperor Hadrian presented himself before it, he is said to have heard the sound three times, whereas common mortals heard it but once, or at most twice, while occasionally the statue withheld its greeting altogether. A modern traveller relates a personal experience that may cast a side-light upon this matter. His visit to Thebes was made in the evening, but a fellah who was standing near the statue asked him whether he wished to hear the musical sound. Of course the reply was in the affirmative. Thereupon the man climbed up the side of the colossal figure and hid himself behind the elbow. In a moment sharp metallic sounds became audible; not a single sound, but several in succession. Knowing from their quality that they could not proceed from the stone, the traveller asked his donkey-boy for an explanation and was told that the man was striking an iron bar. In ancient times the priests probably performed this or a similar trick in a much more skilful way than did the poor fellah, so that the mystery of the statue was carefully guarded.
The river Hydaspes was said to furnish a "musical stone." When the moon was waxing, this stone gave forth a melodious sound.* This should be understood in the sense that when the stone was struck at that season the sound
was different from what it was at other times — a fanciful idea based on some supposed sympathy between the stone and the moon. As moonstones are rarely larger than a silver dollar, they would not emit a sound upon being struck, and it is probably a rock known as "chinkstone" (phonolite) that is referred to, an igneous rock, very hard and resonant, that has been found in elongated and flat pebbles of large size ; they ring with the resonance of bells when struck. A sonorous stone at Megara is reported by Pausanias; when struck, it emitted the sound of the chord of a lyre. This was explained by the tale that, while helping Alcathous to build
* Rosenfeld, " Singing and Speaking Stones " ; Scientific American Suppl. No. 1720, p. 395, Dec. 19, 1908.
"Johannis Laurentii Philadelpheni Lydi quas extant excerpta; ed. Haso, etc., Lipsiae et Darmstadii, 1827, p. 104.
" " La Statue vocal de Memnon," by M. Letronne, in M6m. de I'lnstitut de France, Acadfimie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettrea, vol. i, 42, 1.
the walls of his city, the god Apollo had rested his lyre on the stone.
The term sarcophagus is to us so clear and precise in its significance, that we do not stop to think that its etemology reveals it as literally meaning body-devourer. Tradition taught that a stone of this type was to be found near Assos in Lycia, Asia Minor, and also in some parts of the Orient.
If attached to the body of a living person it would eat away the flesh. Another type, already noted by Theophrastus in the third century b.c, had the power of petrifying any object placed within receptacles made from it. If a dead person were buried in a "sarcophagus" of this material the body would not be consumed, but would, on the
contrary, be turned to stone, even the shoes of the corpse and any utensils buried with it, would undergo a like wonderful change. Possibly actual observations of changes in the bodies of those long buried, their partial disintegration in some cases, and their hardening in others, may have given rise to the fancy that the stone receptacle in which they had reposed was directly the cause of this, whether it implied destruction or petrifaction.*
Of the substance named galactite, Pliny gives some details. He states that it came from the Nile, was of the color and had the odor of milk, and when moistened and scraped produced a juice resembling milk. The liquid derived from the galactite when taken as a potion by nurses was said to increase the flow of milk. If a galactite were bound tp a
child's arm the effect was to promote the secretion of saliva.
To these favorable effects must be added an unfavorable one, namely, loss of memory, which was said to befall occasionally those who wore the stone. A kind of "emerald with white veinings" was sometimes called galactite, and
. *See Theophrasti, "De lapidibus (Peri lithOn), ed. by John Hill, London, 1746, pp. 15-17; cap. 10.
another variety had alternate red and white stripes or veins."* Perhaps this "emerald" was a variety of jade, or a banded jasper.
This so-called galactite, which enjoyed such an extraordinary reputation in ancient and medieval times, is not, properly speaking, a stone, but a nitrate of lime. The strange and famous relics of the Virgin preserved in many old churches and called "the Virgin's milk," were merely solutions of this nitrate. Possibly pieces of this so-called galactite were sometimes found by pilgrims in the grotto of Bethlehem, and were supposed to be petrified milk.* As everything in this sacred spot was regarded as connected in some way with the miraculous birth of Christ, it is easy to understand why the devout pilgrims came to believe that the milky-hued substance represented the milk of the Virgin, which had been preserved for future ages in this extraordinary way.
A kind of galactite, evidently a finely deposited form of carbonate of lime and perhaps absorbent, is mentioned by Conrad Gesner.'^ This was found on the Pilatus Mountain, Lake Lucerne, and is described by Gesner as being a "fungous and friable" substance, white and exceedingly light in weight. The natives called it Mondmilch (moon- milk) and it was sold in the pharmacies of Lucerne. The powder was used by physicians in the treatment of ulcers, and, like all the other galactites, it was supposed to increase the flow of milk and to develop the breasts. Besides this it was credited with sonmiferous virtues.
An old Mohammedan tradition, cited by Ibn Kadho Shobah in his Tarik al-Jafthi, relates that Noah, after the deluge, on setting out with the members of his family to
' Plinii, " Naturalis historia," Lib. xxxvii, cap. 59.
• De Mely, in La Grande Encyclop6die; art. pierres precieuses.
'Conradi Gesneri, " De rerum fossilium," etc., Tiguri, 1565, fol. 49 verso.
settle and populate the regions to the eastward and northward of Mt. Ararat, confided to their care a miraculous
stone known to the Turks as jiude-tash, to the Persians as senkideh and to the Arabs as hajer al-mathar, or the
' ' rain-stone.' '
On it was impressed the word Aadhem or Aazem, the great name of God, by virtue of which whosoever possessed
this stone could cause rain to fall whenever he pleased. In the long lapse of time this particular ' ' precious ' ' stone
was lost, but some of the Turks were said to have certain stones endowed with a like power, and the more superstitious among these Turks solemnly asseverated that their "rain-stones" could beget progeny by a mysterious kind of generation.^
Among the many stones or concretions endowed by medieval belief with wonderful powers, may be reckoned the "rain-making" stones. Some of these were to be found in Karmania, south of Khorassan. The miraculous effect was produced by rubbing one against another. The Arabic author who reports this declares that this rain-making power was a well-known fact. He adds that similar stones might be secured from near Toledo in Spain and also in the "land of Kimar," inhabited by Turkish tribes.*
The Oriental rain-stones noted by pseudo- Aristotle and by many other Arabic writers of medieval times, can be paralleled by similar rain-making or rain-inducing stones in many other parts of the world and among many
primitive peoples even in modern times. The rain-makers of the African tribe of Wahumas, dwelling in the region bordering on the great Albert Nyanza Lake in Central Africa, use a black stone in the course of their magic rites. This is put
' Giovanni B. Bampolli, " Annali Musulmani," vol. ix, Milano, 1825, p. 481, note 75.
" " Exposition de ce qu'il y a de plus remarquable et des merveilles," by Abdorrashish, sumamed Yakuti, a geographical work of the fifteenth century, transl. into French and published in Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits de la Bibliotheque du Eoi, vol. ii, pp. 452, 520, 534; Paris, 1789.
into a vessel and water poured over it ; the pulverized roots of certain herbs and some blood drawn from the veins of
a black goat are then mixed with the water, and the resulting liquid mixture is thrown up into the air by the rain-maker.^"
The sorcerers among the Dieri in Central Australia place such trust in the efficacy of these conjurations as to believe
that all rainfalls are produced thereby, generally through the intermediate action of ancestral spirits. K rain falls in a locality where no proceedings of the kind have taken place, then it is supposed that they have been initiated in some contiguous territory, a merely spontaneous and natural rainfall being out of the question. The clouds indeed generate the rain, but it will not be brought to the earth except by magic art. In the complicated magic ceremonies of these Dieri rain-makers, two large stones are employed; after a ceremonial, in the course of which the blood drawn from the two chief sorcerers is smeared over the bodies of the others, the stones are borne away by these two sorcerers for a distance of about twenty miles, and there put far up on the highest tree that can be found, the object evidently being to bring them as near to the clouds as possible."
Bock-crystal as a rain-compeller finds honor among the wizards of the Ta-ta-thi tribe in New South Wales, Australia. To bring down rain from the sky one of them will break off a fragment from a crystal and cast it heavenward, enwrapping the rest of the crystal in feathers. After immersing these with their enclosure in water, and leaving them to soak for a while, the whole is removed and buried
"F. Stuhlmann, " Mit Emin Paacha im Herz von Africa," Berlin, 1894, p. 588.
" S. Gason, " The Dieyeric Tribe " in " Native Tribes of South Australia," pp. 276 sqq. ; see also : A. W. Howitt, " The Dieri and Other Kindred Tribes of Central Australia."
in the earth, or hidden away in some safe place." The widely spread fancy that rock-crystal is simply congealed water may have something. to do with the choosing of this stone as a rain-maker.
Sumatrans of Kota Gadanz use a stone whose form roughly resembles that of a cat in their invocations of rain, a live black cat being supposed in some parts of this island to have certain rain-producing virtues.^^ Perhaps the electric fur of the animal may have suggested a connection with thunder-storms. Stones of this type, indeed a great many of those to which magic properties are attributed, are in many cases smeared with the blood of fowls, or have incense offered to them, this treatment of such stones being observed by the peasants in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe as well as in the Far East.
Stone crosses have sometimes been utilized as rainbringers, as in the case of one belonging to St. Mary's Church in the Island of Uist, one of the outer Hebrides, off the Scottish coast. When drought prevailed here the peasants would set up this cross which usually lay flat on the ground, in the confident belief that rain would ensue.
Of course, sooner or later, it was sure to come, and then the cross, having done its duty, was quietly replaced in its former horizontal position.^*
A mysterious stone mentioned in Rabbinical legend is called the shamir. This word occurs three times in the Old Testament (Jer. xvii, 1; Ezek. iii, 9; Zech. vii, 12), and in each signifies a material noted for its hardness. In the first
" H. L. P. Cameron, " Notes on Some Tribes of New South Wales." Journ. of Anthrop. Inst., vol. xlv (1885), p. 362.
" J. L. van der Toorn, " Het animisms bij den Minangkabaner der Padangscbe Bovenland," Bijdragen tot de Taal Land-en Volkerkunde van Nederlandsch Indie," vol. xxxix, 1890, p. 86.
" Martin, " Description of the Western Islands of Scotland," in Pinkerton's
" Voyages and Travels," vol. iii, p. 594.
of these passages there is express indication that the shamir was a pointed object used for engraving, and the word is
translated "diamond" in our Bible; in the two other cases it is rendered "adamant" and "adamantine stone," respectively, thus leaving the determination of the substance an open question. However, as it is almost certain that
the Hebrews were not familiar with the diamond, shamir most probably signifies one of the varieties of corundum, the next hardest mineral to the diamond, and extensively used in classic times for engraving on softer stones.
In the luxuriant growth of legend that sprang up in E-abbinical times, the shamir is not forgotten. It is said to have been the seventh of the ten marvels created at the end of the sixth day of creation. In size, it is described as being not larger than a barley-corn, but it had the power to split up the hardest substances, if brought in contact with them, or even in their neighborhood. Some of the legends ascribe to it even more wonderful magic powers, so that, like Aladdin's lamp, great buildings could be constructed by its help, Solomon having used it in the erection of the temple and other buildings. The etymology of the word indicates a pointed object, similar to our diamond-point, but in legend it is almost invariably described as a small worm, probably because of a fancied connection between this word and another designating a species of worm. Many have associated the Hebrew shamir with the Greek ?, or emery.
The Hebrew shamir and the Greek were both used metaphorically of hardness of heart and implacability. The Hebrew prophet Zechariah (vii, 12) says of the disobedient Jews that "they made their hearts as an adamant stone" (shamir), and the Greek poet Theocritus (fl. 228 b.c.) calls Pluto, the god of the infernal regions, "the adamas in Hades." This clearly shows that invincible hardness was the common characteristic of the material designated by
these words. However, it appears probable that while Shamir signifies a form of corundum, the word adamas, as used by the early Greek writers, denoted a hard, metallic substance. Possibly, when iron first became known to the Greeks, the adjective "indomitable," was applied to it, and later the noun adamas was formed from this adjective and was used by the poets to signify an imaginary substance even harder than iron; hence, when the diamond became known in Greek lands, its' extreme hardness suggested the application to it of this name.^^
An Arab legend concerning the fabled shamir stone is related by Cazwini in his cosmography. When King Solomon set about building the temple in Jerusalem, he commanded Satan to dress the stones that were to be used, but the work was performed with such demoniac energy that the people round about complained bitterly of the dreadful noise. To remedy this trouble, Solomon sought the council of the leading scribes and also that of the evil spirits known as Ifrites and Jinns. None of them, however, was able to help him in this difficulty, but one of them advised him to question an apostate named Sahr, who sometimes had special knowledge of such things. When called upon for his opinion, Sahr declared that he knew of a stone that would do the work required, but did not know where it could be found; nevertheless he believed that, by a stratagem, he could secure possession of it. He thereupon ordered that an eagle's nest with its eggs should be brought to him, and also a bottle-shaped vessel made of very strong glass. Into this he slipped the eggs, put them back into the nest, and had nest and eggs replaced where they had been found. When the
" See Finder, " De adamante," Berolini, 1829, pp. 70 sqq., where the use of the word adamas to designate iron is said to have been conjectured by Schneider, in his " Analecta ad hist, rei met. vet.," pp. 5, 6. Adamas aa a man's name occurs in the " Iliad," xii, 140 and xiii, 560.
eagle returned to the nest it encountered this obstacle. In vain it struck at the vessel with claws and beak; after repeated efforts it flew away, but came back on the second day holding a piece of stone in its beak, which it let fall
upon the vessel, breaking the latter into two halves without producing any sound. Upon this, Solomon, who knew the language of beasts and birds, asked the eagle where it had secured the stone. The bird answered: " Prophet of God, in a mountain in the West called the Samur Mountain."
This was indication enough to the wise king who, summoning the Jinns to his aid, soon had in Jerusalem a plentiful
supply of these samur, or shamir stones, with which the work of shaping and polishing the blocks for the temple was noiselessly performed.^®
Full and precise directions are given by the old authorities as to the proper way to secure possession of the stone called corvia. On the Calends, or first day of April, eggs are to be taken out of a crow's nest and boiled until they are quite hard ; they are then to be allowed to cool off and are replaced in the nest. The female bird notes that the eggs have been tampered with and flies away in search of the corvia-stone. When she has found it, she bears it to the nest, and as soon as it touches the eggs they become fresh and fertile again. This is the auspicious moment for securing the stone, which must be quickly taken from the nest else it would lose its virtue.^''^ The lucky owner of the stone is promised increase of wealth and honors, and the power to read the future.
The fabled gem-bearing dragons of India were said to have sometimes fallen victims to the enchanter's art. Cer-
" Julius Kuska, " Das Steinbuch aus der Kosmographie des Muhammad ibn Mahmud al Kazwini," Beilage to the Jahresbericht of the Oberrealsohule Heidelberg, 1895-96.
" Camilli Lebnardi, " Speculum lapidum," Venetia, 1502, fol. xxix.
tain mystic characters were woven in thread of gold upon a scarlet cloth, and this cloth was spread by the hunters before the dragon's den. When the creature emerged, his eyes were fascinated by the strange letters in which the enchanter had infused a wonderful soporific power. Hypnotized by the sight, the dragon would fall into a deep slumber and the hunters would rush upon him and sever his head from his body. Within the head were found gems of brilliant hue, some of these possessing the power of rendering the wearer invisible.^*
The "Gem of Sovranty," or the "Gem of the King of Kings," may have been a purely poetic Hindu fancy, or possibly may have been the diamond. Its surpassing quality is emphasized by the declaration that though the earth produced the sapphire, the cat's-eye, the topaz, the ruby, and the two mystic gems, the favorite of the sun, and the favorite of the moon, the Gem of the King of Kings was acknowledged to be the chief of all "for the sheen of that jewel spreads round about for a league on every side."
To King Milinda the following question was put: "Suppose that on the disappearance of a sovran overlord, the
mystic Gem of Sovranty lay concealed in a cleft on the mountain peak, and that on another sovran overlord arriving at the supreme dignity it should appear to him, would you say, King, that the gem was produced by him?" "Certainly not, sir," replied the monarch, "the gem would be in its original condition. But it had received, as it were, a new birth through him. ' ' ^^
The Arabian author, Ibn Al-Beithar (b. ca. 1197 a.d,), describes a stone called in Arabic hajer al-kelb, or "dog-stone." These stones had such attraction for dogs of a
" Philostrati, " Vita Apollonii," Lib. iii, cap. 8.
'"" The Questions of King Milinda," trans, by T. W. Ehys Davids; Sacred Books of the East, vol. xxxvi,
Oxford, 1894, pp. 14, 303.
certain breed that when cast before them they would snap them up, bite them, and hold them in their jaws. The magicians saw in this a proof that the stones would produce enmity and ill-will among men. Having selected seven
such stones they marked them with the names of any persons between whom they wished to stir up strife. The seven stones were then thrown one by one before a dog of the requisite species, and, after he had bitten them, two were chosen and were placed in water of which the persons who were to be set at variance were sure to drink. We are assured that the experiment had the desired evil result.^**
In ancient times there was found in the river Meander a stone satirically named sophron, ' ' temperate. " If it were placed upon the breast of any one, he immediately became enraged and killed one of his parents ; however, after
having appeased the Mother of the Gods, he was cured of his temporary madness.^^
A most singular stone is described by Thomas de Cantimpre under the name of "piropholos." This substance, according to Konrad von Megenberg's version, was taken from the heart of a man who had been poisoned, "because the heart of such a man cannot be burned in fire. " If the heart were kept for nine years in fire this wonderful stone was produced. It gave protection from lightning, but its principal virtue was to guard the wearer from sudden death; indeed, we are told that a man could not die so long as he held this stone in his hand. However, it did not preserve him from disease, but only prolonged his life. The stone was said to be of a light and bright red color.^^
" Traits des Simples of Ibn Al-Beithar, in Notices et Extraita des Manuscripts de la BibliothSque Nationale, vol. xxiii, p. 409; Paris, 1877.
"De M6ly, " Le traite des fleuvea de Plutarche," in Eevue des Etudes Grecques, vol. v ( 1892 ) , p. 332.
"Konrad von Megenberg, " Buch der Natur," ed. by Dr. Franz PfeifFer, Stuttgart, 1861, p. 456.
After enumerating all the well-known precious stones, Volmar, in his "Steinbuch," proceeds to relate that there is one which produces blindness, another that enables the wearer to understand the language of birds, still another that saves people from drowning, and, finally, one of such sovereign power that it brings back the dead to life. However, we are told that because of the miraculous virtues of these stones God hides them so well that no man can obtain them.^* About a century earlier Saint Hildegard of Bingen wrote that "just as a poisonous herb placed on a man's skin will produce ulceration," by an analogous though contrary effect "certain precious stones will, if placed on the skin, confer health and sanity by their virtue. ' ' ^^
Persian records tell of a "royal stone" found in the head of the ouren had, a kind of eagle; this preserved the wearer from the attacks of venomous reptiles. If a deadly poison had been administered to a person, he would be immediately cured by taking one drachm's weight of the stone.
It thus appears that its virtues were those of the far-famed bezoar.^^ Persia evidently had good store of "wonder- workers" of this kind, for the Persian romance entitled "Hatim Tai and the Benevolent Lady," written about the beginning of the eighteenth century, recites the marvellous virtue of a stone called the Shah^muhra. If this were fastened on the arm the wearer became endowed with miraculous vision and all the gold and precious stones beneath the earth's surface were revealed to him.^®
For ten centuries or more, countless thousands, although feeling assured of spiritual immortality, were none the less
eager to have eternal youth and vigor and the power to peer
° Volmar, " Steinbuch," ed. by Hans Lambel, Heilbronn, 1877, p. 24.
" St. HildegardsB, " Opera omnia," in Pat. Lat., ed. J. P. Migne, vol. cxcvll, col. 1260.
" lyHerbelot, " BibliothSque Orientale," La Haye, 1778, p. 230.
" ClouBton, " A Group of Eastern Romances," Glasgow, 1889.
into the future. Hence Ponce de Leon's quest for the "Fountain of Youth" in our Florida. But in addition to this, there has ever been an intense desire to find something by means of which gold could be made out of the baser metals, for youth and vigor, if coupled with poverty, are only half-blessings. The search for the "Philosopher's Stone" appears to have been a more or less aimless pursuit of this end; but there can be no doubt that this search led to the discovery of many new subst/ances and reactions, and helped to lay the foundation of our modem chemistry. Whether the conscious aim of the alchemist was the discovery of an actual stone, or merely the discovery of some process for turning a valueless substance into one of great value, is not clearly ascertainable from the purposely vague and obscure treatises on alchemy.
The "Philosopher's Stone," the fond dream of so many who delved into nature's mysteries in the past, does not seem so improbable to-day as it did twenty years ago. The recent discovery of the element radium, which is produced from the element uranium, and the story of the strange and protean changes of radium into heKum, neon and argon, according to the environment in which it is placed, have given the death-blow to the old idea of the immutability of the elements. Still, while we have been allowed this peep into the storehouse of nature's secrets, and are growing to believe that in eons of time the various different elements may have been evolved, successively, from one another, the power to provoke this change at will and in a brief space of time is as yet withheld from us, and may never be given to us, just as little as the power to send messages to the distant spheres, whose bulk, density and composition we can estimate with a considerable degree of accuracy.
Numerous specimens still exist of what is alleged to be artificial gold made by the alchemists of a past age. Of
all these the most striking is a large medallion, bearing in relief the heads of Emperor Leopold and his ancestors of the House of Hapsburg. It is related that on the name day of the emperor in 1677, this medallion, originally of silver and weighing 7250 grains, was transmuted into gold by Wenzel Seller, a noted alchemist of that time. This wonder was performed in full view of the emperor and his courtiers, by dipping the medallion in a solution. As there are four notches on the edge, it has been conjectured that these were made to secure material for testing the quality of the transformed metal. However, the simple test of specific gravity shows that the metal cannot be gold, for according to Bauer's calculation made in 1883, the medallion has a specific gravity of 12.67, between that of silver (10.5) and that of gold (19.27). This might indicate that in some unexplained way the alchemist had succeeded in precipitating a coating of gold upon the face of the object. It seems probable that thfe deception was soon discovered, for Seller, who had been knighted on September 16, 1676, was exiled by order of Emperor Leopold, not long after the date on which the supposed transmutation is said to have taken place.
An exceedingly rare medal, and one of great interest to students of alchemy, was struck in 1647 by order of Emperor Ferdinand III from gold produced in his presence by Johann Peter Hofmann, a master of the alchemical art.
A specimen of this medal is in the Imperial Cabinet of Coins in Vienna.^^ On the obverse, around two shields, one bear-
ing eight fleurs-de-lis and the other the figure of a lion, are two hermetic inscriptions: Lilia Cum Niveo Copulantue
Fulva Leone (yellow lilies lie down with the snow-white lion), and Sic Leo Mansuescet Sic Lilia Fulva Vibescent
" " Niitzliche Versuche und Bemerkungen aua dem Reich der Natur," Nurnberg, 1760; cited by Bolton.
(thus will the lion be tamed and thus will the yellow lilies flourish). Around a crown surmounting the two shields
appear the initial letters I. P. H. V. N. F., indicating Latin words the sense of which is "Johannes Petrus Hofmann a
Nurembergian subject made it," and also the letters T G V L, intended to signify tinturce guttce v. libram, or "five drops of the tincture [transmuted] a pound." The reverse has Latin words denoting that iron was the base of this tincture, the symbols used for lead, tin, copper, mercury, silver and gold being each accompanied by a cryptic declaration that Mars (iron) had controlled the respective metal.^®
Besides the "Philosopher's Stone," the chief object of their quest, the alchemists believed that several other stones
possessing magic virtues could be produced. Among these was the "angelical stone," which gave power to see the angels in dreams and visions, and also the "mineral stone," a substance by means of which common flints could be transmuted into diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc.^®
Possibly some alchemists were glassmai:ers, and fused the quartz with various mineral salts into imitations of the gems, having the colors, but not the hardness or other properties.
One of the strangest fancies as to the medicinal efficacy of stones is that held by the native Australians, who believe
that "crystals" are embedded in the bodies of their medicine-men. This belief is encouraged by the medicine-men
themselves; indeed, they are supposed only to retain their power so long as these atnongara or ultunda stones remain
in their bodies, and a share of their might can be transmitted by transferring certain of the stones from their
™ Bolton, " CJontributions of Alchemy to Numismatics," New York, 1890, pp. 17, 18.
" Ashmole, " Theatrum chemicvim Brittanicum," London, 1652, pp. 4-6.
own bodies to that of another. The ceremony proceeds as follows: ^"
The Nung-gara [medicine-men] then withdrew from their bodies a number of small clear crystals called Ultunda which were placed one by one, as they were extracted, in the hollow o£ a spear-thrower. When a sufficient number had been withdrawn, the Nung-gara directed the man who had come with them to clasp the candidate from behind and to hold him tightly.
Then each of them picked up some crystals, and taking hold of a leg, gripped the stones firmly and pressed them slowly and strongly along the front of the leg and then up the body as high as the breast-bone. This was repeated three times, the skin being scored at intervals with scratches, from which blood flowed. By this means the magic crystals are supposed to be forced into the body of the man. . . . After which each of them pressed a crystal on the head of the novice and struck it hard, the idea being to drive it into the skull, the scalp being made to bleed during the process. . . .
One of the Nung-gara then withdrew from his skull just behind his ear (that is, he told the novice that he kept it there) a thin and sharp Ultunda, and taking up some dust from the ground, dried the man's tongue with it, and then, pulling it out as far as possible, he made with the stone an incision almost half an inch in length.
The mesticas of the Malays represent a class of stones differing in important respects from the various types of bezoars. A principal distinction is that the mesticas are not supposed to owe their origin to pathological conditions in
the organism wherein they occur, but rather to a super-abundance of the normal and healthy constituents of the animal or plant. It is probably due to this that the virtues of these particular concretions are rather talismanie than therapeutic, and that they are believed to endow the finder, or one who receives them by gift, with courage, immunity from injury, and also with cunning and shrewdness in the affairs of life. Especially by warriors are these stones highly valued, for they are supposed to protect the wearer from wounds ; indeed, this belief sometimes went so far as
" Spencer and Gillen, '' The Native Tribes of Central Australia," London, 1899, pp. 525-529.
to lead the Malays to think that absolute invulnerability was conferred on one who carried several of them bound so closely to the skin that in some cases they even penetrated' the flesh. The typical mestica is described as a hard stone,
brilliant but seldom transparent ; it is found in the flesh or fat, in the heart or on the legs of animals, and also sometimes in plants.®^
Rumphius declares that many extraordinary cases were related of warriors who could not be injured by any
weapons until the mestica had been cut out of their flesh, wherein it had become embedded. Indeed, he states that Dutch officers of proved veracity had confidently asserted that they had encountered such men among their native antagonists.
While Eumphius feels himself therefore forced to admit the truth of the invulnerability of these men, he hastens to add that such powers could not be inherent in any piece of stone, but must owe their ori^n to diabolical agencies.**
The fact that the Mohammedans had their mesticas blessed by the priests of their faith, and burned incense beneath
them on Fridays, the Mohammedan equivalent of the Christian Sunday, did not probably shake the belief of Eumphius that the Devil had something to do with these substances.
The medicine-men of the Kainuga Indians of Paraguay mutter incantations over the bodies of the sick, and then, after many struggles and contortions, proceed to extract stones from their mouths, claiming that they have taken the
patient's disease into their own bodies, the stones being regarded as the seat of the ailment. In one case, the medicine-man produced five of these stones before the patient admitted that his pain was relieved. After the cure was
"Riunphius, " D'Amboniache Rariteitskamer," Amsterdam, 1741, p. 291.
"RumpMus, " D'Ambonische Rariteitskamer," Amsterdam, 1741, pp. 291,
completed the sorcerer was clever enough to feign extreme exhaustion, as though his vital forces had been subjected
to a tremendous strain.^'
In British New Guinea similar tactics are resorted to by the native doctors. A native who was suffering from lumbago fully believed the tale that his disease was caused by a stone embedded in his flesh. When the sorcerer made passes over this man's back and then exhibited a stone which he pretended to have taken thence, the sufferer was convinced that the disease had left his body, and he began to feel relief. When examined, his back showed some
superficial cuts at the spot where the stone was said to have been extracted. In another case, however, when a child
was to be operated upon in a like way, the child's father became suspicious and seized the operator's hands before they came into contact with the little one's body; the result being that the disease-laden stone was found concealed in the operator's hand.^*
Pebble-mania or lithomania is an inherent trait in all mankind. From the most primitive man to the most modern,
especially those of optimistic and investigating tendencies, this trait is present in a greater or lesser degree. That is,
curious people would collect pebbles for their bright colors, or markings, for their transparency or translucence, and those of an investigating turn of mind, under the impression that the find was perhaps a diamond or a gem of some kind. In modem times this kind of collecting has developed into a regular industry, pebbles found on the shores
of the United States and which are either pure white, transparent or translucent quartz, being cut and offered for sale. These pebbles
"Vogt, "Die Indianer des oberen Parana," Mitteilungen d. Anthrop. GeBellsch. in Wien, 1904, vol. xxxiv, pp. 206, 207.
"Hovorka and Kronfeld, " Vergleiohende Volksmedizin," vol. ii, p. 900; communication from Dr. Rudolf Poch.
are gathered, and are valuable to those who make a business of selling them, because the white opaque pebbles
become translucent after cutting, or rather, during the process of cutting, and they are then passed off for moonstones, which are worth from one-third to one-half more than the cost of cutting the quartz pebbles, the purchaser being led to believe that he is getting a moonstone, although this could not be possible, since moonstones have never been found on either the eastern or the western coast of the United States. As for the cut moonstones which are brought back by the tourist, under the impression that he is getting native material and workmanship, these all come from Europe.
Pebble-mania is not confined to mankind alone. Birds and animals possess it. The magpie picks up and hides
away bright objects, including odd pebbles, or carries them to its nest. The stones known as aetites were said to be
found in eagles' nests, although they may have been swallowed by the birds for digestive purposes, just as the hen's
crop is full of stones, many of them being transparent, a proof that the fowl had been attracted by them, and had swallowed these in preference to other, duller ones. Notable instances of transparent pebbles are the alectorii, or
' ' cock-stones."
The great Italian goldsmith and sculptor, Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1574), relates that when a youth he often shot
cranes with his arquebuse, and that in several instances he found in their entrails not only fine turquoises, but also
fragments of the so-called plasma-emerald and even occasionally small pearls. This serves to indicate that the pretty exterior of such objects exerted an influence upon these birds in some degree analogous to the impressions aroused in mankind on viewing them.^^
"° Benvenuto Cellini, " Due trattati, uno intorno alle otto principal! arti deir oreficeria," etc., Piorenze, Valente Panizzi & Marco Peri, 1568, fol. 10 recto.
In seventeenth century Denmark there seems to have been no lack of "magic stones," for it is related that one day as King Christian II was strolling along the beach, he picked up a shining pebble by the aid of which he could render himself invisible at will. Similar power was said to exist in stones that could be found in ant-hills if hot water were thrown onto them on St. Walpurgis Day, or St. Hans ' Day. The Danes of the time also shared in the belief that the stone from the lapwing preserved from illness and sorrow as did the " swallow 's-stone" as well.^"
It has frequently been maintained that the source of pebbles could be broadly determined by their form and surface;
for example, well-rounded specimens of fairly uniform size would be classed as marine pebbles, while river-pebbles
would be subangular and usually flat; pebbles of glacial origin, on the other hand, would have faceted, rounded
edges, their surfaces being polished and striated. However, although these rules might hold good in many cases,
careful observation has demonstrated that pebbles of all these supposedly distinct types can be found among those of marine, fluviatile, or lacustrine origin. This is explicable by the fact that while the constant, unhindered action of sea or river would probably produce pebbles of distinct type, the local conditions often interfere with this. For instance, on a low sea-coast, with weak wave-action, pebbles frequently became buried in the sands, thus retaining their form practically unchanged, and even where the waves are stronger, so that the pebbles are more or less constantly exposed to their force, it must be borne in mind that some of these coast pebbles have been swept down by rivers, or have already been affected by glacial action. In these cases the force of
" Axel Garboe, " Kulturhistoriske Studier over ^delstene, med sserligt Henblik paa det 17. Aarhundrede," Kobenhavn og Kristiania, 1915, p, 225; citing a manuscript in the Royal Library at Copenhagen.
the waves will indeed modify the form, but along the lines of that already produced by the earlier agencies. Broadly
stated, those that were round or oval would generally remain so, rectangular fragments might have their angles
worn away and become elliptical, while flat fragments would not exhibit any notable change in shape.*^
When a group of pebbles have been long exposed to attrition by the waters of a powerful stream, especially where
the current is intermittent, and where a large quantity of sand has been worked or blown into the stream by freshet or wind storm, they may become rounded by the erosive action of the water or by the abrasive power of the sand, as well as by the attrition consequent upon their sharp contact with one another. This is exemplified in the case of boulders in a river bed, it having been noted in certain streams on the Navajo Reservation that while the upstream sides of the boulders were polished and rounded, and even sometimes faceted and etched, but little change was observable on the downstream sides. This has been tested experimentally, holes an inch in depth having been drilled in opposite sides of sandstone boulders, and on examination five years later in five different localities where this had been done, the deepest hole remaining on the upstream sides measured but four-tenths of an inch, while in one locality the holes had entirely disappeared, and yet so trifling was the effect of the water on the downstream side that a blue-pencil mark'had not been washed away. Of course, the erosion of quartzite and limestone boulders tested in this way proved to be a much slower process, amounting to less than one-hundredth of an inch annually. Another important consideration in the shaping of pebbles by river-water is the swiftness of the current,
" See Herbert E. Gregory, " Note on the Shape of Pebbles," in The American Journal of Science, vol. xxxix, pp. 300-304; March, 1915; also for two succeeding paragraphs.
it having been noted, for instance, that those which have been washed down the steep slopes of the Navajo Mountain
and the edge of the Black Mesa are somewhat better rounded than those that have been borne along for a much
greater distance by less swift-flowing water.
That striated, faceted, or polished pebbles are always of glacial origin, or that those of glacial origin usually offer these characteristics is far from the fact; indeed, it may rather be said that they are generally missing. The fluvio-glacial drift is much more widespread than ground moraine, and the pebbles found in the former rarely present these aspects; indeed, it has been noted that in an hour's search through the glacial drift of Connecticut, only a single such specimen may be met with. On the other hand, many pebbles of this type have been found under conditions plainly showing that the striation was due to other causes, in some instances, as with those occurring ia conglomerates, to pressure and differential movement.^*
The burying of white stones or lumps of quartz with the dead was not infrequent in early times in Ireland. The peasants of the north of Ireland call these Godstones. A cist found at Barnasraghy, County Sligo, was nearly filled with quartz pebbles, and not long since a white stone was found in a primitive burial place near Lame, County Antrim.
That this was a usage confined to the earlier period of Irish history is generally admitted, and the discovery of such
white stones in a grave is accepted as an indication that it belongs to an early date.^®
It has been suggested that these white stones were used for burials because of the symbolic meaning of the color,
" See Herbert E. Gregory, " Note on the Shape of Pehbles," in The American Journal of Science, vol. xxxix, pp. 303, 304; March, 1915.
"• W. G. Wood-Martin, " Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland," London, 1902, vol. i, p. 329.
which to the minds of many primitive peoples was that of purity, as indeed it is still among most modern peoples, although the symbolism may not always be consciously accepted. White marble seems to most of us the most appropriate and beautiful stone for monuments, and if to a very considerable degree granite is now used as a
substitute, this is principally because of its greater resistance to the deteriorating effect of atmospheric changes. Already in prehistoric times, the cave-dwellers showed a fondness for gathering quartz crystals and fragments, and specimens of those taken from the Auvergne Mountains have been found in the cave-dwellings of Les Eyzies; they
may have been used as amulets or talismans.***
A legend of the great Irish saint, Columba, gives an instance of the curative use of white pebbles. After this saint had vainly entreated Broichan the Druid to free a Christian bond-maiden, as a last resort he menaced the druid with approaching death. The prediction or curse was speedily on the way to fulfilment, Broichan sickened unto death, and in his terror consented to free the maiden. Here upon St. Columba went to the river Ness and picked up out of its shallows several white pebbles, announcing that they would, by the Lord's power, work the cure of heathen people. One of the stones was blessed by the saint and placed in a vessel filled with water, on the surface of which it floated, and as soon as Broichan had taken a draught of the liquid he was restored to perfect health.**
A famous Scotch amulet was a polished globular mass of white quartz, an inch and three-quarters in diameter, owned by the chiefs of Clan Donnachaidh and known as the
"Ibid., 1902, vol. i, op. cit., p. 330.
" Nona Lebour, " White Quartz Pebbles and their Archaeological Significance"; reprint from Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Gallowa;;^ Natural History and Antiquarian Society, January 30, 1914, p. 11.
Stone of the Banner." It had been accidentally found by a chief of this clan, who, on his way to join Robert Bruce
in 1315, before the battle of Bannockbum, noted a glittering stone embedded in a clod of earth that had become attached to his flagstaff. It was looked upon as a powerful talisman in battle, and water in which it had been dipped
was said to cure diseases. Tradition asserted that this white stone of Clan Donnachaidh was identical with that used
long before by St. Columba.*^ As such white stones were often deposited in graves, sometimes even being placed in
the mouth of a deceased person, it has been suggested that perhaps the sparks emitted by the quartz on percussion were believed to shed some faint gleams along the dark pathway of the departed in his journey to the underworld. In Christian times there can be little doubt in regard to the influence exercised by the text in Eevelation: "To him that over-oometh ... I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that
Crystal balls are not only valued for the visions to be seen, or supposed to be seen in them, but are sometimes worn
as amulets against illness. In some parts of Japan they are thought to ward off dropsy, and their wear is also
recommended to guard from all wasting diseases.** The likeness of rock-crystal to congealed water may well be credited, in the doctrine of sympathy, with its putative power of preventing the watery infiltration from which a dropsical patient suffers. As the Japanese make many choice crystal balls, these objects are generally more or less familiar in that land
" Ibid., pp. 13 and 14, citing Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1860-1, vol. iv, pt. i, p. 219.
" Ibid., p. 12, citing Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1860-1, vol. iv, pt. i, p. 219.
" William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, " The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems," London, 1914, p. 52.
and have thus appealed as well to those who were superstitious as to those who appreciated things beautiful in
In Yucatan quartz crystals were not only used for divining, but also to ensure the success of the crops. The fact that
such crystals have been found in the Indian mounds of Arkansas, North Carolina, and elsewhere, may warrant the supposition that they had been worn as talismans and then interred with the deceased persons as a most intimate
part of their property. The writer's personal observation in Garland and Montgomery counties, Arkansas,
demonstrated that quartz crystals were to be found in mounds together with chipped arrow-points of chalcedony, although the crystals did not appear to have been worked in any way.
The region about Hot Springs, Arkansas, has furnished some of the finest rock-crystal found in the United States.
From North Carolina also have come many remarkable specimens, the largest of which, found in 1886, was
unluckily broken up by the person who discovered it. In its crystal state it must have weighed about 300 pounds, and if cut would have furnished a crystal ball 41/2 or 5 inches in diameter. This splendid crystal came from Phoenix
Mountain, Chestnut Hill township, in Ashe County, North Carolina, and from the largest fragment recovered, weighing 51 pounds, several slabs 8 inches square and from half inch to one inch in thickness were cut. Nearby a crystal weighing 285 pounds was found, and another weighing 188 pounds. Some of the crystals from this locality had on one side a green coating of chlorite, and when this was not removed, the effect was as though one saw a green moss growing beneath a pool of water. The rock-crystal slabs have an advantage over glass when used for mirrors, as they more truly reflect the tints of a fine complexion. Brilliant crystals from Lake George and its neighborhood have been called "Lake George
Diamonds." In marked contrast with the large examples we have noted, many crystals of quartz are so small that
200,000 would have an aggregate weight of but one ounce and yet many are perfect crystals and doubly terminated.
The presence of white quartz pebbles in some graves of the Indian Moundbuilders, appears to be indicated to a satisfactory extent in the case of certain specimens from the Etowah Mound in Georgia; these pebbles, which form
part of the Steiner collections in the United States National Museum, were not, however, worked or polished in any
way, nor are there any traces of use for ornament or decoration.
On the other hand, white quartz pebbles from the Pueblo region of the Southwest offer undeniable signs of having
been long used and are of frequent occurrence ; some of these have been found in graves. In connection with the probable reasons determining their presence the designations "fire stones " or " charms ' ' have been given them; some specimens of this worked quartz had evidently been worn as pendants, while others had probably been regarded as fetishes.*^
It is most interesting to note that the superstitious use of these objects in burials was so widespread as to prove that it must have been due to some inherent property or properties in white stones, and especially in pebbles of white quartz, which appealed very strongly to the mind of primitive man. That, as has been noted above, the conception of purity should be associated with whiteness, in its contrast to any obscure color, is natural enough, and rests upon the
association of spotless cleanliness with moral purity, and very probably the sparkles of light emitted by a bright
piece of quartz, normally or on percussion, brought this material into some connection with the worship of fire, or of
« From letter of Mr. Neil M. Judd, Assistant in ArchiBology in the United States National Museum, communicated by Dr. W. H. Holmes, Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology in that institution.
To another possible conception along the same lines we have already alluded.
An instance is reported where a very curious quartz pebble, one-half white and the other black, was found within
the hand bones of the skeleton of an Indian ; the finder carried it about with him for many years as a "lucky stone,"
but it appears that his personal experience of its effects, if these can be judged from what happened to the bearer of such a talisman, has been of a kind to shatter the most robust faith in the protective power of his Indian charm.
Possibly the strange relic may have symbolized night and day for the Indians, and thus have been believed to guard
the wearer or the person with whom it was buried, at all times and seasons. That pebbles of this sort were sometimes buried in the ground, disposed in circles and squares, is vouched for by some who claim to have unearthed them in ploughing, but our informant was not able to confirm these statements, as the arrangements had always been
effectually disturbed before he reached the spot.*®
In many graves of the primitive Eed-paint People of Maine, small pebbles have been found. As they were not large enough to have served as paint-grinders, and as but one such pebble occurs in any single grave, the presumption is
quite strong that they were considered as talismans for the dead. The fact that the practical laborers of our day who
dug out these graves instinctively named the pebbles "lucky stones" goes to prove that this supposition is not too
far-fetched, although there is no positive evidence to support it. The pebbles were yellow, bright red, or gray in
color, the graves explored being at Orland, Maine, as well as at the outlet of Lake Alamoosook, on the south side of
this lake and at Passadumkeag ; indeed such graves have been
" Communicated by Dr. Charles C. Abbott.
met with all the way from the Kemieheo Valley eastward to Bar Harbor.*''
The respective symbolic meanings of white and black are illustrated in the designations "white magic" and "black magic," the latter denoting conjurations or spells in which the aid of the powers of darkness, of the Devil and his demons, was sought by the sorcerer, while ' * white magic" was to be performed by harmless and innocent means,
sometimes even by religious rites. In this way it sometimes so closely approached the domain of religious miracle,
that it becomes difficult to distinguish between these two conceptions of supernatural action in the material world.
Quartz of a different type with needle-like inclusions is called ' * Thetis 's hair stone. ' ' This is a transparent or
translucent quartz, but so completely jfilled with acicular crystals of green actinolite, or occasionally altered
actinolite of a yellow-brown or brown color, as to appear almost opaque; seals and charms have been made to a small extent of this variety. Of other inclusions in quartz we may note those of a very brilliant stibnite projecting in all directions, some of the intruded crystals being very curiously bent. Exceedingly beautiful gems have been cut
from this material.**
When this quartz is cut en cabochon across the ravalette inclusions, a cat's-eye effect is produced. The yellow quartz
cat's-oye of Ceylon and the green of Haff, Bavaria, are of this type. So densely set were the green actinolite
inclusions in the case of a specimen found at Gibsonville, North Carolina, that it was believed by the finder to be an emerald.
An extremely beautiful effect in quartz is produced by enclosed, acicular crystals, or hair-like particles of some
* Warren K. Moorehead, "The Red-Paint People of Maine," pp. 42, 43. Reprint from the Americwn Anthropologist (N. S.), vol. rv. No. i, January-March, 1913.
" See the present writer's " Gems and Precious Stones of North America," New York, 1892, p. 126.
other mineral, such as rutile, for instance, and sometimes even of gold. To specimens of this latter type may be
referred the Greek name "chrysothrix," used in the Orphic poem "Lithica" and signifying literally "golden hair";
of this the verses tell us there were two varieties, that which may be identified with quartz, having a resemblance to
"crystal," while the other, said to have the appearance of chrysoberyl, may have been a yellower variety. To the
quartz traversed by filaments of rutile, or the red oxide of titanium, has been given the taking name of " Venus 's
hair stone"; a pretty French name is Fleches d' Amour or ' ' Cupid 's Arrows. ' ' **
The California beaches have furnished some of the most interesting ornamental pebbles, the greater numbea" being
of chalcedony or agate weathered from an amygdaloidal rock, while a few are of jasper or fossil coral. Their
variegated color-markings made them very attractive ornamental objects in themselves, and there is reason to believe that centuries ago the Indians of this region valued them as talismans or amulets. At present the finest specimens are gathered from Pescadero Beach in San Mateo County, about twenty-four miles west of San Jose, Eedondo Beach, fifteen miles south of Los Angeles, and also from Crescent City Beach, in the northern part of California. On Moonstone Beach, Santa Catalina Island, many beautiful quartz and chalcedony nodules have been picked up, which have weathered out of ryolite rock of sanidine feldspar and quartz. It has been quite a custom for
guests of the hotels to go down to Eedondo Beach and gather these pebbles, and some of those collected by
enterprising natives are placed in a bottle of water to bring out the beauty of their colors. Sometimes they are drilled and strung on flexible wire to form long chains or necklaces. Several pebbles presumably from
" See N. P. Moore, " Antient Mineralogy," 2d ed., New York, 1859, p. 190.
By courtesy of California State Mining Bureau.
1. Chalcedony and agate pebbles from Pescaderu Beach, San Alateu Cuuntj-, California
2. Pebble Beach, Redondo, Los Angeles County, California
From George Frederick Kunz's "Semi-precious Stones of California," Sacramento, 1905. Bulletin No, 37 of the State Mining Bureau.
Eedondo Beach were found, in 1901, in an Indian grave, where they were probably placed as amulets for the dead.®"
The occurrence of fluid cavities in quartz, chalcedony, sapphire, and other minerals, is due at times to cavernous
structures formed during the growth of these minerals, when the crystalline substances, for some reason, instead of
fill- ing these up solid, will avoid the caverns and enclose the liquid of crystallization. In agate inclusions this is found
with silicious content, possibly due to the fact that it is to an extent carbonic acid gas, or water containing salt
or some other foreign substance. In agate chalcedony, whether in pebbles as minute as a pinhead, or in amygdules several feet across, the liquid is enclosed because the walls of the gas-pores in the rock, which are frequently almond-shaped, are gradually becoming smaller, or rather the walls thicken by the deposition of the silica forming agate, chalcedony, or any impenetrable layers, or else an impenetrable form of quartz; then again, frequently toward the centre or when the liquid forms less rapidly, or through some change, the quartz becomes crystalline, either colorless, smoky, or amethystine, and this is due to various inclusions. This gradual thickening of the walls means that the aperture into which the liquid penetrates becomes smaller and smaller until at last it is entirely sealed, so that it becomes enclosed in a kind of nature's water-bottle, these being sometimes as large as in the chalcedony specimens from Uruguay ; this is also the case with the hydrolites and the enhydros, when they can be shaken and the water rattles as in a bottle.
An occasional small Eedondo Beach, California, or Med- ford, Oregon pebble contains a moving bubble of air in liquid.
" George Frederick Kunz, " Gems, Jewelers' Materials and Ornamental Stones of California," California State
Mining Bureau, Bulletin No. 37, Sacramento, 1905, pp. 71-73.
Most wonderful specimens of mtilated quartz are the great, rich brown, possibly titanium-colored masses in the
Morgan Collection at the American Museum of Natural History, that in the Vaux Collection at the Philadelphia
Academy of Natural (Sciences, and a smaller mass in the British Museum ; these were all obtained near Middlesex, Vermont.
The rutile is a rich transparent or translucent red, varying in thinness from that of an ordinary needle to that of a knitting-needle, and even to that of a thin lead-pencil. Wonderful specimens are also found in the Alps of
St. Gothard, in Madagascar, and in Alexander County, North Carolina, where they are found in quantity as minute crystals of a rich red or golden yellow.
Other curious and interesting rock-crystals with inclusions are those showing enclosed drops of water, the kind
termed enhydros by Pliny ^^ and many old writers; in some of the rarer specimens the enclosed water is present in
considerable quantity. Quartz with inclusions of this type was highly appreciated in the Grreco-Roman world,
and one of the best poets of the Decadence, Claudian (fl. about 400 a.d.), composed a series of poetic epigrams upon them, seven of these being in Latin and two in Greek. An example of the best in each tongue, the first in the former and the second in the latter, must be of interest, although the literal prose version cannot have the charm of the original verse.®^
The Alpine ice, already precious in its frigidity, acquires an intense hardness through the action of the solar rays, but unable to transform itself entirely into a gem, it betrays its original source by the water that still remains within it.
This adds at once to the beauty of this liquid stone and to its value.
In its changeful aspect, this crystal bom from snow and fashioned by the hand of man is an image of the world, of the heavens enclosing cruel ocean in their wide embrace.
" Plinii, " Historia naturalis," Lib. xxxvii, cap. 73.
■^Collection dea auteurs Latin, ed. by M. Nazaire; vol. i, Lucain, Siliua ItalicuB, Claudien, text and French trans., Paris, 1850, pp. 737, 738.
An old superstition among the Laplanders of Sweden is that in order to avert or cure disease which may he or has
been caused hy sleeping in the open air on the exposed moorland, three pebbles should be gathered, one from the
water, one out of the earth, and the third from the surface of the ground or "from the air." These are placed on a
fire until they become red-hot, and are then thrown into water; the stone which sizzles most is that belonging to the
element which has caused the illness. The whole body, or sometimes only the afflicted part, is to be moistened with
the water in which the pebbles have been immersed, and each separate stone is to be carefully returned to the spot
whence it was taken.^^
Near Middleville, in Herkimer County, New York, in a calciferous limestone, gray and brownish-gray in color, there
are numerous cavities varying in size from that of a pinhead to that of a man 's head. In these cavities are found carbonaceous substances such as asphaltum and other hard, black hydrocarbons. These cavities also frequently show mud or sand adhering to the sides, or mud and sand mixed with the petroleum, in which are often found brilliant and transparent rock-crystals, the purest of any found in the world.
They are unusually perfect hexagonal prisms with both sets of six pyramid faces; that is, with same slight
modification, eighteen brilliantly polished faces. These are especially sought after on account of their great purity,
and because it is considered that he who wears one will have fair weather and secure the blessing of fair sailing on
the sea of life. Some of these crystals are so small, though of absolute perfection, that it would require 250,000 of
them to weigh an ounce; others again are sometimes as large as from one to
^^Torsten Kolmodin, "Lapparne och deres Land; Skildringar och Studier," Pt. Ill, Stockholm, 1914, p. 14.
two inches in length. When not entirely transparent they frequently contain inclusions of black asphaltum or other
hydrocarbons and also contain hollow cavities which are filled with fluid, sometimes salt water and sometimes liquid
carbonic acid gas. In these are moving bubbles and occasionally a heavy hydrocarbon; that is, a bubble will ascend
and the hydrocarbon will sink; or else the bubble will rise and take with it a small speck of hydrocarbon, and
another will sink. In a wonderful specimen now at the American Museum of Natural History there is an object like a small spider of hydrocarbon which sinks while a minute water-bubble rises.
They are called fair-weather stones.
Tasmanian rain-makers use white stones in their magical rites; however, the stone by itself is not considered an effective talisman, for it must be dipped in the blood of a young girl to give it added power. After a number of white
pebbles have been steeped for a time in this blood, the rain-maker ties them up in strips of bark and sinks them in some deep water-hole in which a diabolical spirit is supposed to dwell. The natives confidently assert that this ceremony is soon followed by the desired rain-fall. As the belief prevails here as elsewhere, that these white stones or pebbles to retain their power must not be looked upon by a woman, it seems a little strange that the rain-bringing
stone is dipped in a young girl's blood.®*
However, white stones have not always and everywhere been regarded as lucky, for it is stated that among the fishermen of the Isle of Man the presence of a white stone in a fishing-smack is confidently believed to portend poor fishing.
Indeed it has been reported by a Scotchman, who went out in a fishing boat for several consecutive days with a party of
"Nona Lebour, "White Quartz Pebbles and their Archseological Significance " ; reprint from Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, January 30, 1914, p. 10.
Manx fishermen, that after a succession of days marked by poor fishing they began to nickname him "White Stone." ^®
An oath taken on sacred stones was regarded by the ancient Scandinavians as peculiarly binding upon him who took such an oath; in the old Norse annals it is stated that Gudrun Gjukesdatter offered King Atle that he would take an oath on the "pure white stone." The hero Duthmaruno is said to have sworn by "Loda's Stone of Power," which represented the almighty divinity of the Norsemen.^®
A sacred well on the north side of Lough Neagh, Ireland, lends peculiar sanctity to the yellow crystals found in great
quantity near by. The belief in their miraculous quality finds expression in the legend that they grow up out of the ground on Midsummer Night, and whosoever wishes to possess them as talismans must pronounce certain magic rhymes in the act of collecting them. They then become luck-bringers of potent virtue and ensure the prosperity of the household in which they are guarded.^^
The stone, or rather rock, named catlinite, and popularly known as "pipe-stone," was regarded by certain tribes as one of their most valuable materials,^^ and was extensively used for pipe-bowls. In color it ranges from a deep red to an ashy tint ; the chief quarry is situated some three hundred miles west of the Falls of St. Anthony, on the dividing ridge between the Saint Peter's and Missouri rivers. This region was visited in 1836 by George Catlin, to whom we are indebted for the preservation of so much regarding Indian folklore and customs, and after whom the substance
^^ W. G. Wood-Martin, " Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland," London, 1902, vol. i, p. 331.
"Finn Magnussen, "Forsog til Forklaring over nogle Steder af Osian"; Det Skandinaviske Litteraturselskabs Skrifter, 1813, Pt. II, pp. 237, 251.
" W. G. Wood-Martin, " Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland," London, 1902, vol. i, p. 330.
" Kunz, " Gems and Precious Stones of North America," New York, 1890, pp. 206-210.