It may be that this is the kind which Al-Kindi has mentioned. It is
neither smooth nor very white; instead, it has a pale yellow coating.
Abu Hanifah 106 says that marjan is the name of a spring vegetable,
if the word, marjan, is Arabic, then it is not, obviously, an Arabicised
word. It is a purely Arabic word- If this vegetable which is terrestrial is
called marjan because of its resemblance with bussad which is a marine
product then this is nothing but an extension of the imagination of the
There are two villages, Sur and Band in the region of Rabat-i-Garwan,
which is situated between Ghaznah and Jozjan. The water of the canal
of these villages becomes petrified. I have heard that gilders fix wooden
stakes which are like needles on the bank of this canal. When the water
which sticks to them has petrified, it is dyed, and added to bussad. Clay
also becomes petrified by air just as water becomes petrified. The clay
of the kilns and the sharakh clay which is found in the pits of gold mines
are also, likewise, petrified. Occasionally, the wet clay found in the tarns
of the mountains becomes stone-like when taken out. All this is not a
source of wonderment for those who see that milk, a liquid, forms bones
and in the harder fruits, stones are formed by water. These stones remain
intact even after the pulp has decayed for years together. The pulp that
has decayed is like the flesh above the bones.
It is God Who prospers and assists.
It is related in the words of 'Abd Allah bin 'Abbas (God be pleased
with him) that the palace of Bilqis (the Queen of Sheba) was built from
jamast. But the people of Arabia designate ruby, emerald, crystal (beryl)
by the name of qawarir (goblets, flasks, decanters).
According to jewellers, labani resembles jamast. But there is some
difference between the two in that labani is looser and less lustrous and
is cut with iron. Its dust is like that of marble.
It is said that there are several mines of jamast. Its whitness is inclined towards all kinds of colours. It is also found to have red colour
having a violet tinge.
The mine of this stone is in the village Safra' at a distance of three
days' journey from Madinat al-Nabi. It is worn in cases of stomachache. One of the old jamast stones has the figure of a python inscribed upon it and bears an inscription in the Coptic language which
is not understandable. We will describe this figure later on.
It is a variegated stone, resembling the red (roseate) or dark-grey