Wine Drinking and Making in Antiquity: Historical References on the Role of Gemstones

Gemstone Cups (religious and medical history)

Amethyst has long been associated for being the best cure for Wine's horrible side effects: odd behavior due to intoxication, hangovers etc.
Several cultures discussing Amethyst and Wine .
In a Tibetan wedding ceremony it is customary to drink Wine out of Jade cups


Wine Making in Antiquity

Tiny crystals on the cork or at the bottom of the wine bottle are a sign of a high quality wine; rich in minerals. Such residue is Tartaric Acid also called "Weinsteine" (German)

What are Weinsteine ? (links outside Farlang)

How were Weinsteine used in Antiquity: from the Greeks to the Middle Ages ?


The Greeks added Gypsum and Lime to their wines against acidity. Greek philosopher Theophrastus wrote extensively about wine making


Medical and Talismanic applications

Bad vision: dip a topaz in wine

Take a dry wine, mix it with Rock Crystal powder and it will work against dysentry

Alcohol was long ago recognized to revive the nerve centers after an animal bite. Many different recipes with ingredients were developed to enhance these effects of which the most famous ones were with so called
"Snakestone" which most likely was banded Agate.



Drinking Pearls in Wine

Drinking pearls (dissolved pearl powder ?) in wine had a very powerful (medical) meaning. Read about Cleopatra's claim of drinking the value of a province in ONE GLASS OF WINE. (bottom page).


Shakespeare wrote about drinking pearls in wine. Famous 10th century Persian scientist explained why "Liquid Ruby " has to be drunk out of white (=pure) pearl goblets. NO drunkenness !!


Iran: Wine best drunk in transparent cups

10th Century famous scientist and philosopher Al Biruni: white (wine-) cups are noble because of their transparency. No headaches nor madness. (See also page 180).

Most valued were Beryl and crystal. Glass was less valued