be easy for any one who had sufficiently prepared himself by previous
study to write a purely scientific work on the subject of precious
stones; but this is not the intention of the present writer, who aims
at interesting a wider class of readers than a work of the kind
indicated would reach. .
addition to the strictly scientific information to be given regarding
precious stones, there are connected with them a great many facts not
less interesting, and equally important for the public to know. To
these we have devoted several sections of the following work.
our times precious stones are used almost exclusively for the purpose
of ornament, but in former times the case was very different. By
reference to the authors of antiquity, as well as to those of the
middle ages and the Renaissance, we have shown the important part that
they then played, and what ideas prevailed regarding them.
the thousands of fables and superstitions of which precious stones have
been the subject, we have selected a certain number. In doing so we
have disregarded those calculated only to interest the curious,