The Magic of Jewels and Charms
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones
By George Fedrick Kunz
III Stones of Healing Pages 144 - 159
In the collection of the Biblioteca di Ravenna there is a red jasper amulet engraved with a device representing
Hercules strangling the Nemean Lion. Amulets of this type are recommended for the cure of the colic by the
Greek physician Alexander Trallianus, who flourished in the first half of the sixth century a.d. He directs that this
design be engraved on a "Median stone," which is then to be set in a gold ring and worn by the patient.63
The fact that the constellation Leo was believed to rule over the stomach, and possibly over the liver also,
probably determined the selection of the design. On the reverse of the Ravenna amulet are inscribed the letters
K K K, which are believed to stand for "colic." 64
After noting the power of the jasper (probably the red variety) to check hemorrhages from any part, and its
general effect upon the circulation of the blood in reducing the pulse, thus calming desire and quieting the restless
mind, Cardano turns to another of the reputed virtues of this stone, that of rendering the wearer victorious in
battle. The true reason for this he finds in the stone's tendency to diminish passion, and hence to render the wearer timid and cautious, for "the timid usually conquer, since they avoid a doubtful contest if possible." Gesner states
that he saw "in the possession of a writer of Lausanne," a green jasper, bearing the image of a dragon with rays,
similar to the gem described by Galen.65
Of the jasper, De Boot relates,66 from his own experience, that for checking hemorrhages the red variety is the
most effective, and, in this connection, he describes the case of a young woman in Prague, who had suffered for six
63 Alexandri Tralliani, " De medicamentis," Basileae, 1556, p. 593.
64 Revue ArchSologique, 3rd ser., vol. i, pp. 299 sqq.
65 Gesneri, "De figuris lapidum," Tiguri, 1565, fol. 113, verso.
66 Gem m arum et lapidum historia," Lugd. Bat., 1636, pp. 251-3.
years from hemorrhages. Many different remedies had been tried without avail, and when De Boot was called in
to attend the case, he advised the woman to wear a red jasper.
As soon as this stone was attached to her person the hemorrhage ceased. After wearing the jasper for some time,
the woman thought she could safely lay it aside, but whenever she did so the hemorrhage returned after a longer
or shorter interval, while it always ceased immediately she resumed wearing the stone. This seemed to prove conclusively that it checked the flow of blood. Eventually the woman was so effectively cured that she was able to
give up wearing the stone. Green jasper, if worn attached to the neck so as to touch the gastric region, was,
according to De Boot, a cure for all diseases of the stomach. The same writer alludes to the belief that the virtue
of this stone was enhanced if it were engraved with the image of a scorpion while the sun was entering the
constellation Scorpio, but he rejects this belief as entirely superstitious and futile, while admitting that, to obtain
the best results, the jasper should always be set in silver.
Pear-shaped pieces of red jasper seem to have been more especially favored for use as amulets. Italian amulets
of to-day show this, and Bellucci finds that the form is chosen as representing a drop of blood, and thus aiding, by sympathetic magic, in the cure of hemorrhages or wounds, and preventing the infliction of the latter. Sometimes
such amulets of red jasper are attached to the bed-post by a red ribbon. In the case of a particularly valued amulet
of this type, Bellucci was informed by the peasant owner that it owed its great virtue to having been blessed by the parish priest. Thus the traditional power of a pagan amulet received the sanction of the church and the object was associated with purely Christian amulets.67
67 Bellucci, "II feticismo primitivo in Italia," Perugia, 1907, pp. 87-90. 10
Jet, the gagates of the ancients, was said to have been first found in the river Gagates in Lycia, whence its name
was derived. Galen, the greatest physician of ancient times, reports, however, that he searched in vain for this
river, although he sailed in a small vessel along the whole coast of Lycia, so that he might closely observe it.
Still, he did not give up his search for the material, even when he failed to find its reputed source, and in
Caelo-Syria, on a hill on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, he came across certain black, crustaceous stones,
which emitted a slender flame when placed in the fire. These must have been small masses of bitumen, and,
according to Galen, they were used for chronic swellings of the knee-joint "which are difficult to cure.68
The fumes of jet are mentioned as a remedy for the pest in one of the earliest Greek medical treatises, written by
Meander, who flourished in the second century b.c. He declares that the most virulent pestilence could be driven
away if the bedrooms were fumigated with the smoke of the slow-burning jet.69 The plague was called the black
plague and naturally the aid of a black substance was sought to cure it.
For Pliny, jet was endowed with many medicinal virtues. Its fumes were a cure for hysteria and were said to reveal
the presence of a latent tendency to epilepsy; connected with this in some way was the curious belief, repeated by
later authors with certain variations, that these fumes could also be used as a test of virginity. When powdered and mixed with wine, jet relieved the pains of those suffering from toothache, and if the powder were combined with wax,
68 Claudii Galeni, "Opera omnia," ed. Kuhn, Lipsiae, 1826, vol. xii, p. 207; De simplic. med., lib. vii, cap. 2.
"Nicandri, "Theriaka," Parisiis, 1557, p. 2.
a salve was produced that gave very beneficial results in cases of scrofula70 Even as a toilet preparation jet was
recommended for use, and a most excellent dentifrice is said to have been made from it. In this connection jet was
credited with tonic as well as cleansing properties, as is shown by the words of Bartholomseus Anglicus, who
declares that this material was especially beneficial for "feeble teeth and waggyng," since it strengthened them
and made them firm71
The delusions and hallucinations of melancholic subjects were believed to be put to flight by the power of jet, either
in its solid form or when reduced to a solution. The fact that this material was often used for the beads of rosaries
was thought to have some connection with its supposed virtues, since the bad dreams or dreadful hallucinations sometimes accompanying melancholia were designated as "demons," and thus the prayers counted off on jet
beads might be supposed to have the greater power to banish the devil and his black angels. The old writer who
cites these particulars about jet, adds that there was to be found in the river Nile a black stone the size of a bean,
at sight of which dogs would stop barking, and which also drove away evil spirits. Here we have another among
many instances of the curious blending of the doctrines of sympathy and antipathy, the black stone repelling the
imps of darkness and nullifying the spells of the Black Art.72
The lapis Armenus was well known to the Arabs under the name hajer Arvneny, and their medical writers describe
it quite accurately and distinguish it from the somewhat
70 Plinii, "Naturalis historia," lib. xxxvi, cap. 34.
71 Bartholomaei Anglici, "De proprietatibus rerum," London, Wynkyn de Worde, 1495, lib. xvi, cap. 48; De gagate.
72 Johannis Baptiste Portae" Phytognomica," Francofurti, 1591 pp. 170, 171.
similar lapis lazuli, with which it was often confused in ancient times. Ibn Beithar states that if properly prepared
it would not provoke nausea, as was otherwise the case. It was said to cause a very abundant evacuation of bile
and must have been regarded as an efficient remedy for the bilious disorders so general in warm climates.73
A "blue amulet" against vertigo, melancholia and epilepsy could be made up of the following ingredients:
shavings from an elk's horn and from a human skull, to be reduced to a fine powder, the excrement of a peacock,
white agate, lapis lazuli or lapis Armenus, of which enough was to be used to give the required sky-blue tint.
The whole mass was then to be softened by the addition of gum tragacanth, and formed into heart-shaped tablets,
which were to be dried out in the air, and then smoothed on a turning-lathe.
These amulets were to be worn attached to the neck or the arm, sometimes they were enclosed in a little receptacle
of silver or of red sandal-wood and suspended from the neck.74
In Papyrus 3027 of the Berlin Museum, a record that dates from about the fifteenth century b.c, and appears to be contemporaneous with the celebrated Papyrus Ebers, we have directions for the curative use of three stones as
amulets; namely, lapis lazuli, malachite (Amazon stone?) and, probably, red jasper. The interpretation of the text
offers considerable difficulty, but it seems that the stones were worked into the form of beads and then strung on a
cord and suspended from a sick child's neck. Thereupon a formula was recited, calling upon the disease to pass
72 Ibn el Beithar, "Trait6 des simples;" French trans, of L. Leclerc in
73 Notices et Extraits de MSS. de la Bib. Nat.," etc., vol. xxiii, Pt. 5, Paris, 1877, pp. 418, 419.
74 Der RSmisch Kaiserlichen Akademie der Naturforscher . . . Abhandlung, Siebenter Theil," NUrnberg, 1759,
through the beads and disperse itself through water and air, or, more literally, to attach itself to the denizens of
water and air. The translation of Dr. Adolph Erman is as follows 75
[A red bead? of lapis-lazuli thereon.]
... a green bead? of malachite is thereon.
a red bead of jasper? is thereon
0, ye beads! fall upon the haunches [of the . . .] in the flood; on the
scales? of the fish in the stream ; on the feathers of the birds in the heavens.
Hasten forth! nsw, fall upon the earth
Let this text be recited over the beads ?, one of lapis-lazuli, the other of
jasper?, the other malachite, which are drawn on a string of . . . and
hung upon the neck of a child,
Erman does not venture to translate the name of the disease (nsw), but says that another word derived from the
same root signifies a discharge from the nose. Possibly we have to do with croup or some similar disease of the
A curious prescription for the cure of cataract is given in the Ebers Papyrus,76 dating from about 1600 b.c. The six ingredients are as follows: genuine lapis lazuli, verdigris salve, a resinous substance perhaps similar to what is
to-day called tabasheer, milk, stibium, and "crocodile-earth," the slime of the Nile. It is possible that the word
cheshet, which usually signifies lapis lazuli, was understood in this case as indicating some other stone, such as
that known by the name of lapis Armenus — this latter is a carbonate of copper and really possesses astringent properties.
For remedial use a lapis lazuli (cyanus) of deep hue is
75 Erman, " Zauberspruche fiir Mutter und Kind," Philosophische und Historische Abhandlungen der Konig. Pr.
Akad. d. Wissenschaften, 1901, Berlin, p. 9.
76 Papyrus Ebers, Die Maase und das Kapitel uber die Augenkrankheiten," by Georg Ebers. In the Abhandl. d.
phil. hist. Klasse der Konigl. sachs. Gesell. d. Wissenschaften, vol. xi, Leip., 1890, p. 318.
recommended by Dioscorides. This stone was to be burned thoroughly and the resultant powder moistened so that
a kind of paste was obtained. This was claimed to have an astringent and caustic effect, and was freely used as a
counter-irritant77 Probably here as in other cases a sulphate of copper has been confused with the lapis lazuli.
The ancients did not favor the administration of lapis lazuli internally, and Braunfels 78 therefore regarded the free
use of pills of lapis lazuli which was common in his time as a source of grave danger. The lapis Armenus, however,
if well prepared and properly washed, was less to be feared; but, unfortunately, the genuine stone was rarely to be
found in the apothecaries' shops.
Many medicinal virtues were ascribed to malachite.
"Worn as an amulet, it averted attacks of faintness, prevented hernia, and saved the wearer from danger in falling.
In this latter respect similar powers seem to have been admitted in the case of the green malachite as were
attributed to the light blue or greenish-blue turquoise. If malachite were reduced to a powder, dissolved in milk and taken as a potion, it cured cardiac pains and colic; mixed with honey, and applied with a linen cloth to a wound, it stanched the flow of blood, and cramps were relieved if this solution were applied to the affected part; lastly, if
mixed with wine, it was a cure for virulent ulcers.79
Powdered malachite was sometimes administered medicinally, with what results we have little definite information; certainly, if not very carefully used, the effect would
77 Dioscoridis, " De materia medica,'' lib. v, cap. 106.
78 Braunfels, " Von Edelsteinen," Strassburg, 1536, fol. xlviii, a.
79 De Boot, "Gemmarum et lapidum historia," Lug. Bat., 1636, p. 264, lib. ii, cap. 113.
have been anything but favorable. A friend of De Boot once told the latter that a dose of six grains of powdered
malachite acted as a purgative, but the wary doctor confesses that he never ventured to test the efficacy of this
prescription.80 In Bavaria, at the present time, mothers and midwives are fond of wearing pieces of malachite set
in rings or strung for use as necklaces. These are believed to help the dentition of children and are also thought to
bring more clients to the midwives. Amulets of this and other kinds were sold in Bavaria, in the seventeenth
century, by wandering students and by gypsies?81
Of the so-called Median stone we read, in Konrad von Megenberg's "Buch der Natur,"82 that it had powers of
good and evil; "for when dissolved in the milk of a woman who has borne a son, it restores sight to the blind." It
also cured gout and insanity. If, however, anyone were so ill-advised as to dissolve the stone in water and partake
of the solution, he would die of hasty consumption; or if he simply bathed his forehead with the liquid, he would be
robbed of his sight.
A famous medicinal stone was at one time in the Abbey of St. Alban, founded in 793 a.d. by Offa, King of Mercia,
in honor of the British protomartyr. In 1010, under Abbot Geoffrey de Gorham, a sumptuous shrine was erected to
receive St. Alban 's body; this shrine was principally of silver, and was richly adorned with precious stones, chosen
79 Ibid., loc. cit.
80 Hofler, " Volkamedizin und Aberglaube," Munchen, 1893, pp. 38, 39.
81 Konrad von Megenberg " Das Buch der Natur," ed. by Dr. Franz Pfeiffer, Stuttgart, 1861, p. 452.
from among those in the treasury of the monastery. The records state that one of these stones "was so large that
a man could not grasp it in his hand." It was believed to give great help to women in childbirth. Hence, it was not
set in the shrine, but was left free, so that it might be taken from house to house as required. The size of this stone
and the fact that it was not used for ornamentation might have induced the belief that it was one of the singular
"eagle-stones," so celebrated in ancient and medieval times, but it is expressly described as an onyx-gem, the
gift of King Ethelred II (968-1016) to the monastery. From the description we learn that on one side of this onyx
was cut an image of Esculapius, the god of healing, and on the other that of "a boy bearing a buckler." As the art
of gem-cutting was practically unknown in Europe in the tenth century, this must have been an antique gem, and
may have served as a pagan amulet many centuries before it was placed upon the shrine of a Christian saint and
used as a Christian amulet.83
An old manuscript of Matthew Paris 84 gives a sketch of the gem from this author's own hand. As the special power
exerted by this talisman was to aid women in their confinements, it was loaned out from time to time to such as
were considered worthy of the honor. In one case, however, it came into untrustworthy hands, for the favored lady
failed to return the gem when her immediate need of its help had passed, retaining it in her possession until her
death, when she bequeathed it to her daughter. During her lifetime the latter appears to have had no prickings of conscience, but on her death-bed, possibly through the exhortations of her confessor, she made provision that the
83 Dugdale, "Monasticon Anglicanum," London, 1819, vol. ii, pp. 184, 185; also extract from Cotton MS., Nero
D vii, on p. 217.
84 De vit. abbot.
should be returned to the Abbey. It is said to have borne the name Kaadman, which Mr. Thomas Wright regarded
as a corruption of cadmeus or cameus, early forms of our "cameo."85
In Geneva and in the neighboring regions great virtues are ascribed to a cut and facetted iron (pyrite), very hard,
susceptible of a high polish and of resplendent lustre. This is cut to resemble the rose or brilliant form of diamond,
and is set in rings, buckles, and other ornaments. In appearance it resembles polished steel and is called pierre de
sante, or "health-stone," for it is believed to grow pale when the health of the wearer is about to fail.86 This
substance is known as marcasite and is a bisulphide of iron. In the time of Louis XVI it was largely used for
ornamental purposes; at present steel has almost entirely taken its place, although it is still utilized to a limited
extent. Many believe that this is the material to which Victor Hugo alludes in his great romance, "Les Miserables,"
as having been manufactured by Jean Valjean.
Medical men in Rome, in the first century, attested that no better cautery for the human body could be used than
a crystal ball acted upon by the sun's rays, 87 and this use of the material seems to have been very general at that
In his commentary on Andrea Bacci's gem-treatise, "Wolfgang Gabelchover, the German translator, says that a German name of rock-crystal in his time, the early sixteenth century, was Schwindelstein ("vertigo-stone"), be-
85 Thomas Wright, "On Antiquarian Researches in the Middle Ages," in Archaeologia, vol. xxx, London, 1844, pp.
444-446; cut on page 444.
86 Collin de Plancy, "Dictionnaire Infernal," Bruxelles, 1845, p. 415.
87 Plinii, "Naturalis historia," lib. xxxvii, cap. 10.
cause it was believed to preserve the wearer from attacks of dizziness. Other remedial or physical effects of rock-
crystal are also noted. Taken as a powder in dry wine, it was a cure for dysentery, and the physician, Christopher
Barzizius, taught that if its powder were mixed with honey and administered to mothers, they would be the better
able to nurse their offspring.88
The following lines by Eobert Wilson (d. 1600), a popular sixteenth-century comedy writer, credit amber and rock-
crystal with qualities not commonly ascribed to them, although the fancied growth of rock-crystal from a piece of
ice probably explains its supposed styptic virtue: 89
LUCRE: And if they demand wherefore your
wares and merchandise agree,
You must say, jet will take up a straw;
amber will make one fat;
Coral will look pale when you be sick,
and crystal stanch blood.
That a remedial tincture of rock-crystal could be made was firmly believed by the Danish chemist, Ole Borch
(Olaus Borrichius, 1626-1690), and in his chemical lectures he gives the following directions as to the processes to
A rock-crystal was to be heated to a high temperature and then cast, while still warm, into cold water; it would
thereupon break up into small fragments. By heating these particles together with tartaric salts, the whole mass
would be reduced to a liquid solution. Half of the quantity, after cooling off, was to be put into a distilling glass with
the best "spirit of wine" and was to be digested in a bath of lukewarm water. It would then be seen that the solution became
88 Andreae Bacii, "De gemmis et lapidibus pretiosis" (Latin translation by Wolfgang Gabelchover of Italian
original), Francofurti, 1603, p. 103.
89 Wilson, "The Three Ladies of London," 1584. The three female characters are symbolical or allegorical and are named respectively, Lucre, Love, and Conscience.
red. This process is repeated several times, and finally the tincture is concentrated by distilling off the spirit of
wine, leaving the pure rock-crystal tincture. Its remedial quality is stated to have been applicable to dropsy,
scrofula, or hypochondriac melancholia, if it were taken in doses up to forty drops in a proper medium.90
To make the magisterium of rock-crystal, a pound of the substance was to be heated to a high temperature and
then dipped into spirits of vitriol. After this operation had been repeated ten times, the rock-crystal was to be
ground, on a marble slab, to a very fine powder, which was a sure remedy for gout and for calculi formed in any of
the bodily organs. The spirits of vitriol in which the rock-crystal had been dipped was sometimes filtered through blotting-paper and sold as crystal spirits of vitriol; this was asserted to be
a powerful diuretic, from seven to ten drops being given at a
dose in a cup of meat broth.91
As late as the last half of the eighteenth century a Dr. Bourgeois recommended the use of rock-crystal, calcined
and ground, as a very excellent astringent in the most obstinate cases of diarrhoea. In reporting this, Valmont de
Bomare (1731-1807) adds that it would be desirable to know the nature of the acid in rock-crystal and its state of
combination.92 Here, as in all cases where some of the constituents of precious stones may really possess certain
curative powers, a better result can be attained by using these constituents in other forms or combinations.
The wonderful therapeutic virtues of a Scotch lake named Loch-mo-naire are explained by a local legend as
" From MS. of Borch's lectures of 1685, in the Royal Library at Copen-
hagen, Thottske Collection, 744; cited in Axel Garboe's " Kulturhistorisk
Studier over ^delstene," K^henhavn og Kristiania, 1915, p. 215.
90 Der RSmisch Kaiserliehen Akademie der Naturforseher . . . AbhandIungen, Siebenter Theil," Niirnberg, 1759,
pp. 162, 163.
91 Valmont de Bomare, "Dictionnaire raisonne universel," Paris, 1775, vol. iii, p. 118.
having arisen from certain magic crystals which had been cast into its waters. These crystals, if placed in water,
rendered the liquid a potion of great curative power. They were the property of a woman who had gained by their
possession a great reputation as a healer, but her success attracted the envy of a neighbor who determined to
secure for himself the woman's wonder-working stones. In pursuance of this design he came to her, feigning illness.
She saw through his deception and sought safety in flight, but he pursued her and was gaining rapidly on her, when
she threw the stones into the waters of the lake, crying out the Gaelic word noire, ''shame, '' and uttering the wish
that its waters should be rendered powerful to cure the sick, all except those of the clan Gordon to which the
would-be thief belonged. As the correct translation of the name of the lake is said to be not "Lake of Shame" but "Serpent Lake," the legend appears to have no good foundation, but is perhaps as true as any of the popular tales purporting to explain the origin of the virtues of healing springs or waters.93
To many stones was attributed the power of transmitting a certain remedial virtue to water or other liquid in which
they were immersed. This, as we have related, was the case with the white stone that St. Columba sent to King
Brude at Inverness when the king's druid priest Broichan was suffering from disease. A peculiarity of this stone
was that if it were required in the case of a person about to die, it would disappear from view. Thus its remedial
powers could never be put to test unless success were assured.94
There can be no reasonable doubt that some remarkable cures have been effected by means of relics, or by
drinking the waters of a spring believed to have been pointed out by some divine vision. From a purely scientific standpoint
93 Walsh "Curiosities of Popular Customs," Philadelphia, 1911, p. 624.
94 MacCulloch, "Religion of the Ancient Celts," Edinburgh, 1911, p. 332.
this can be explained as the result of an extraordinary stimulation of the nerve-centres, caused by the rapt
enthusiasm of religious faith. The relics, or the pure water, simply serve as an object about which this faith
crystallizes, so to speak, and gains a concrete and external form, which in turn reacts upon the mind of the believer.
It is a well-known fact that a great shock, or imminent peril, has sometimes suddenly restored the power of motion
to those who have long been paralyzed. This view does not, however, necessarily exclude a religious interpretation
of these phenomena when they are produced by religious impressions, for the divine will manifests itself by natural means, and a true understanding of the regular and normal working of these means should give us a deeper, truer,
and purer faith.
As a substance for medicinal use, the Hindus declared the sapphire to be bitter to the taste and lukewarm. It had
a remedial action against phlegm, bile and flatulence.'^ A similar action is ascribed to several other precious stones,
the medicinal qualities attributed to them being less differentiated among the Hindus than they were with the
Greeks and Romans, or in medieval times.
To drink of a potion made from the sapphire was said to be helpful for those who had been bitten by a scorpion, and
for those suffering from intestinal ulcerations, or from growths in the eye; it also prevented boils and pustules, and
healed ruptured membranes.96 Here we see that the sapphire shared with the emerald the power of strengthening
the sight, and one authority asserts that if anyone looked long and intently at a sapphire, his eyes would be
95 Garbe, "Die indische Mineralien"; Naharari'a" Rajanighantu," Varga XIII, Leipzig, 1882, p. 83.
96 Johannis Braunii, "De vestitu sacerdotum Hebraeorum," Amstelodami, 1680, p. 659; citing pseudo-Dioscorides.
from all injury, and nothing harmful could befall them.97
A medieval test of the antitoxin quality of the sapphire was to place a spider in a vessel to whose mouth a sapphire
was so suspended that it would swing backwards and forwards just above the spider. The supposedly venomous
insect was not long able to resist the power of the stone and fell a victim to its virtues. Wolfgang Gabelchover
gravely asserts that this experiment had often been successful.98
The removal of particles of sand or dust from the eye was said to be successfully accomplished by "warming" a
sapphire over the eye, the virtue of the stone thus passing into the eye and giving the organ the strength necessary
for the ejection of the troublesome foreign body.99 This attribution of a chemical action to the sapphire in
eye-trouble may be added to the many statements of its general curative powers in eye-diseases.
The thirteenth century Hindu physician Naharari states that the topaz tastes sour and is cold. It is a remedy for
flatulence and is a most excellent appetizer. Any man who wears this stone will be assured of long life, beauty and
intelligence.100 Many a curious legend has been woven about the old belief that the topaz quenched thirst.
However, popular fancy does not endow any and every topaz with this power. One of these thirst-removing topazes
is said to have been in the possession of a celebrated Hindu necromancer, whose services had been sought by one
of the petty rajahs of India on the day of a decisive battle. Either this necromancer's art must have failed him at the critical
97 Aldrovandi, "Museum metallicum," Bononiae, 1648, p. 972.
98 Andrae Baooii, "De gemmis et lapidibus pretiosis," Francofurti, 1603, p. 68. Note of Gabelchover to his Latin version of the original Italian.
99 Frederici Jacobi Schallingi, " sive disquisitio hermetico-galenica de natura oculorum," Erffurdt,
1615, p. 125.
100 Garbe, "Die indische Mineralien"; Naharari's "Kajanighantu," Varga XIII, Leipzig, 1882, p. 79.
moment, or else a more powerful enchanter guided the fortunes of the enemy, for the latter prevailed and the
owner of the potent topaz was left dying upon the field of battle.
Alongside him was a poor wounded soldier who was clamoring for a drop of water to quench his burning thirst.
Hearkening to this prayer, the dying necromancer threw his topaz to the soldier, telling him to place it upon his
heart. No sooner did he do so than his thirst passed away, and we must suppose that his wounds were also healed,
for we are told that on the morrow he sought everywhere on the battle-field for the corpse of his benefactor but
could find no trace of it.
Tavernier, the great French Seventeenth Century jeweler-traveler, the first European to visit the ruby mines, took
with him a number of emeralds, generally large. These were often cut from the top of the crystal, usually darker in
color, and simply domed off, preserving the original hexagonal shape. Remarkable specimens are in the Indian
Museum and the South Kensington Museum, part of the jewels of Thebaud, King of Burma. The finest emeralds of
this type belonged to the late Sultan of Turkey; one of the finest, a remarkable gem, cut rounded en cabochon, was
with the Bijoux du Sultan, S. M. Abd-Ul-Hamid II, sold at the Galerie Georges Petit, November 28, 1914. It
weighed 44.29 carats (old system) or 45.29 carats (metric system).
(See color plate.)
A remarkable charm is a hemispherical, transparent aquamarine with figure of hump bull, found in ancient
Babylonia. (See color plate.)
A quaint, ancient amulet is carved out of fine knuckle bone, an eagle with spread wings engraved on one side;
portrait of a Parthian King. (See color plate.)
A Babylonian idol's eye, of sardonyx, was pierced and worn as charm against the Evil Eye; later engraved with
portrait of a Parthian King. (See color plate.)