gravitational force in them. No one has been able to collect the forces of
attraction and repulsion within one piece.
KHAMAHAN113 AND KARAK
The prices of both these stones are those of beads. Shi'ites like to
use the black stone for sealing, while the Sunnites, in opposition to the
former, prefer a white stone for sealing, so that the distinction between
the two sects may remain manifest. In Aspid Rud, the Shi'as use black
and the Sunnis white banners as a matter of religion and sect. I had two
rings for sealing purposes. One had a black stone studded on it, while
the other carried a white one. I used each according to the occasion to
please the members of both sects.
The best khamahan is Zanji and is very black. Its face is so lustrous
as to appear white. Book-binders use it for polishing the gold (employed
in gilding). A poet says in a simile pertaining to the Syrian mulberry:
As if (there are) mulberries layer upon layer and meseems there are
dots of the dragon's blood upon iron.
The author of the Ashkal al-Aqalim writes that its mine is situated in
the mountain of Muqattam and the adjoining areas in Egypt- If so, it is
associated with Zanj only because of its tint.
Among the jewels enumerated by Hamzah, is mentioned lumiana, the
Arabic equivalent of which is khamanakh. I believe by this, he must
have implied khamahan. 'Awzsang, in its heaviness and blackishness,
bears resemblance to it. Gold-platers use 'awzsang when khamahan is
not available. There are large rocks of the stone in Zaruban which the
Arabs call m'az. It presages the presence of gold whenever it is found on
the surface of the earth or below it. We subscribe to the view that this
too is khamahan since it resembles the Zanji khamahan in colour and
weight. It is polished and burnished with the calcined emery, as the uncalcined emery does not burnish it. Hajar al-'awz which has the mass of
the axis has the weight of 103-3/4.
Karak is a white stone. It is very white and capable of being
polished. In the Kitab al-Ahjar it has been said:
Its mine is to the East. The better variety is whitish. Likewise, it is
the pieces that are like the white earth which are better than the
shells of the ostrich eggs and the pieces of white snail shells.
Among the shells of the marine animals there is a shell which is solid
like the half of the soap-nut. This is a kind of a snail-shell, since it
possesses a little movement, if it is placed upon a mortar which is kept a
little askew and concentrated vinegar is thrown upon it, movement can
be seen in it. But I have not been able to ascertain whether this movement is due to the absorption of the vinegar or due to an attempt to es-