Ch. 1: Ruby

PROLEGOMENON IN 16 REFLECTIONS Page of 375 Ch. 1: Ruby Text size:minus plus Restore normal size   Mail page  Print this page
THE FIRST DISCOURSE ON GEMSTONES
Nasr bin Ya'qub has commenced his treatise with the enumeration of
the names of jewels, e.g., the jewels that were famous during the
Marwanid and 'Abbasid times among the jewellers, such as 'Awn al'Ibadi, Ayub al-Aswad al-Basari, Bishr bin Shadhan, Yaq'ub al-Kindi,
Sabbah, Abu 'Abd al-Rahman bin al-Jassas, Ibn Khabbab, Ras al-Duniya,
and lbn Buhlul.
We have not followed this practice. The number of jewellers in each
age and every city is large and varies. They enjoy fame in the courts of
kings and their fame increases or decreases according to their knowledge
and expertise.
And over every lord of knowledge there is One more know-
THE RUBY (JACYNTH)
Of all the stones the yaqut (ruby) has the first place in grade, beauty,
and rank. God has likened the houris of Paradise to it:
(In beauty) like the jacynth and the coral-stone. 33
The best variety of the ruby comprises several kinds: the white,
dust-coloured, black, yellow, and red. Of these kinds the red is regarded
as the best, as the dust-coloured and black appear unsuitable upon the
face and the skin. Such a colour recalls to mind a person who has been
strangled and slapped. Pallor is associated with persons who have been
wakeful or terrified.
Hamzah bin al-Hasan al-Isfahani says that in Persian it is designated
by the name of yakund and yaqut is its Arabicised name. Persians call it
the subj-i-asmitr too, which means the plague-remover and also subj only.
Among the treatises indited upon the red kind, the name employed by
Hamzah has been reproduced. The people of India call it the padarn rah,
and liken it to a stone that is clear and red. It seems rag is its name and
padarn is its characteristic. In their language the red water-lily is known
as padam and the white ruby has been frequently used in their aqueducts
and reservoirs. The dust-coloured variety which is called the nil is not
used there. We have not seen this kind in India unless imported from
soinewhere. The dustcoloured kind appears red at night, but this red
colour is not real; it is imaginary. It reappears as dust-coloured when
sunlight shines on it. Every flower that is dust-coloured has this characteristic, e.g., the water-lily. If vinegar be rubbed upon the dust-coloured
variety, it appears red like the red rose which on getting drenched with
water, appears greenish, if dust and the dross of lead are sprinkled over
it and rubbed lightly, it assumes a colour that is intermediate to that of
29
PROLEGOMENON IN 16 REFLECTIONS Page of 375 Ch. 1: Ruby
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