DiamondThe diamond is as clear as crystal, but it has also the aspect of steel. It is found in India. Such great hardness it has that neither with iron nor with fire can it be cut, but if it is soaked in the hot blood of a goat, a man can work it on the anvil with a hammer. The sharp splinters which are broken off are used to cut other gems. This stone is no bigger than a hazel-nut. In Arabia there is a kind of diamond, not so hard, which can be cut without goat's blood. It is not so beautiful nor so valuable as the other, although it is larger. A third species comes from Cypress, and a fourth from Greece. Each one has the power of attracting iron. Enchanters use this stone in their enchantments. It gives to the man who carries it strength and virtue; it protects him from bad dreams, from phantoms, from all poisons, and from all hates and discord; it cures madmen, and defends a man against his enemies. It should be set in gold or in silver, and worn upon the left arm.
SapphireSapphire is fit for the fingers of kings; it is resplendent and like the sky when free from clouds; there is no other stone which has greater virtue or beauty. Men call it Syrtites because it is found in the sand of Libya near the Syrtes. The best is that which is found in Turkey, for this is not translucent. It is of such great virtue that it is by right called the gem of all gems. It comforts the body and keeps its members whole; it overcomes envy and treachery, and it drives away fear. It frees a man from prison and looses heavy fetters; it is good for effecting reconciliation, and is better than any other stone for seeing in the water the signs which reveal things hitherto not known. As medicine it is valuable because it cools an internal fever; if a person dissolves it in milk it will cure bad diseases. It is good for the eyes, and for headache, and for disease of the tongue. He who carries it must be chaste.
AmethystThe amethyst has a purple color, or sometimes is like violet or like drops of wine or like a rose. Some there are which turn almost white, others are like red wine mixed with water. From India it comes; it is easy to work, and it prevents intoxication. It would be precious if it were not so abundant, but it is commonplace since there is so much of it. There are five kinds.
Geratite is black. It is of such a nature that if a man opens his mouth and puts the stone under his tongue he will divine what another person thinks of him, and can win any woman's devotion. This stone can be tried as follows: let a man anoint himself with milk and honey, go out into the sunshine where insects swarm, and if he has the stone in his mouth the insects will not attack him; if he removes the stone they will at once sting him.
ChelidoniusChelidonius is a stone which one finds in the stomach of a swallow. It is not very beautiful, but it surpasses all the beautiful stones in usefulness. It is of ten sorts and of two colors—black and red. The red is good for the frenzy which seizes people who are moon-struck; it restores their sanity to madmen and cures those who are pining away. He who carries this stone will be a good orator and will be much beloved. One must carry it wrapped in linen cloth and suspended under the left arm. The black, if worn in the same way, aids a man to accomplish important things he has undertaken; it is also a help against the threats and rages of kings and princes. The water in which it is washed is helpful to diseased eyes. If wrapped in linen cloth of saffron tint, it drives away fever and restrains the humors which injure the body.
CoralCoral is a stone which grows in the sea like a tree. It is green there where it grows, but when it is exposed to the air it hardens and becomes red. It is like a bush hardly half a foot high. It is very good to carry about, as say the authors Zoroaster and Metrodorus, for it protects one from lightning and tempest, and if one scatters it on vines or among olive trees, or upon a seeded field, it will be a protection from hail and other storms. It makes fruits multiply, it drives away phantoms, it gives a good beginning and a prosperous conclusion.
HeliotropeHeliotrope is of such a nature that if one puts it in a basin of water opposite the sun, it makes the sun become red and creates an eclipse. In a little while it makes the water boil up over the basin's edge, and fall like a shower of rain. He who wears this can prophesy many things. It gives a man praise and good health, it stanches the flow of blood, it overcomes poison and treachery. Any one who takes the herb called heliotrope and binds the two together with the proper incantation can walk where he pleases and no one will see him. This stone comes from Ethiopia, from Cypress, and from Africa. It is very much like the emerald, but has red spots.
PearlThe pearl is found in a shell, and it is called unio (union), because it is always found alone. The wise say that the oyster shells are open at certain times, and they receive the dew of heaven; the morning dews become white and clear pearls, while the evening dews are obscure. The young shells produce clearer pearls than the old ones do. The more dew the shells receive, the larger is the pearl, but no one is ever more than half an ounce in weight. If there is thunder when the dew is received, then the pearls perish. They grow in India and in Great Britain.
PantherosPantheros is of various colors,—black, red, green, gray, purple, and rose color. All these shades appear in combination. Whoever sees it in the morning will not be defeated in battle, that day, nor in any other undertaking. In India there is a beast, of divers colors, called the panther, of whom other beasts are afraid, and this stone is named after him.
Compiled from sources in the public domain.
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