its colours, as the brightness of the ruby is comparatively rare in it."
"As for the difference in the colours of the two stones, it has been
said that the ruby is clear and transparent like fire, while the bijadhi
kind is like the smoky fire. -The same thing is true of karhind and ablaj
which do not have the lustre of ruby. The stone resembling ruby most is
fuzbaz, and sindya is more akin to karhind."
The best test that can be had with respect to pure ruby which can
affect other stones through its heat, is to abrade them. When rubbed
the ruby is not affected but the stones are.
Al-Kindi (further) writes: "Ruby-like stones were purveyed in the
earlier times as ruby stones and fetched the prices of ruby. Ayyub alAswad al-Basri used to sell karkiud, juzbuz and aflah to Al-Mahdi for
thousands of dinars, calling them rubies. 'Awn al-'Ibadi of the tribe of
Banu Suhim apprised Mahdi of the deceit of Ayyub, and told him:
"These ashbah (ruby-like stones), if thrown over fire, will not be able to
withstand it. The red ruby, if heated on fire, becomes more beautiful".
When Mahdi, following this advice, had the ashbah incinerated, three
mithqals of karhind and five mithqals of aflah were burnt up.
Stories About Rubies and Jewels
Jewellers narrate the tradition that the ruler of Serandib has a ferrule
of ruby, somewhat like the clasp of a knife. He keeps on twirling it in
his hands. Its weight is 55 mithqals. No one has so far mentioned a
larger piece of ruby. I have heard the following story:
A large ruby piece which was sheathed was located among sandstones. When the sheath was removed, the stone was found to be
cruciform. Stripped and heated, it was sent to the Roman emperor
who purchased it at a high cost and had it affixed in his crown.
The authenticity of the story is, however, in doubt, if there is any
truth, it is somewhat like this:
It is said that the Emperor Constantine, the Great, embraced Christianity because he saw a comet in the sky. The comet looked like a
crucifix, which the emperor made as the symbol of his emblem. This
is the reason why he prevailed over his enemies, though he did not
possess the power to fight them.
In the Akhbar al-Khulafa' is narrated the following incident:
One day the Caliph al-Mutawakkil held court to collect and receive
the gifts given to him by the nobles on the occasion of the Nawruz
festival. All kinds of precious jewels were presented, till at last Bakht
Yashu', his physician, with whom the Caliph was on very intimate
terms, appeared. The Caliph consulted him about the gifts he had so
far received. Bakht Yashu' replied: 'These gifts are like the shells
carried by mendicants. All of them are of trite value. Just have a look