berry Hill collection, with a woman in profile ; and another
with the likeness of Voltaire. The most celebrated agate vase
known was the two-handled cup engraved with bacchanalian
subjects, and presented by Charles the Bald of France, in the
ninth century, to the Abbey of St. Denis, and was used to hold
the wine at the coronation of the French kings. This cup has
been, by some mistake, regarded as the gift of Charles the
Bold, Duke of Burgundy, of a later period. At the sack of
Delhi, the English soldiers, with that " natural love of destruction," writes King, " which characterizes John Bull, smashed
several chests of elegant agate cups."
The agate was prized as an ornamental stone by the Greeks
and Romans, and has always been a favorite material for
engraving ; the Italo-Greek artists preferred the banded agate
for this purpose. One of the largest and finest specimens of
engraving on this gem represented the portrait of Alexander
the Great. The ancient name of this variety of quartz was
achates, from a river in Sicily where it was obtained. Pliny
says the varieties were numerous, recognized by some distinctive feature, as wax-agate, smaragdus or green, blood, white,
jasper, tree, undulated, coralline, and others.
Onyx. — This name is applied to a precious stone mentioned
in the sacred writings, but it is not beyond doubt whether it
might not have been a different gem from the modern onyx.
The word signifies "finger-nail," given by the Greeks, who
accounted for its origin in the following manner : While Venus
was reposing in slumber on the banks of the Indus, Cupid,
either from wanton sport or filial respect, cut her finger-nails
with his arrows, and the parings, falling into the river, were
converted into onyx. This myth indicates that the source of
supply to the nations of antiquity was in oriental countries.
The onyx and the agate are similar, but unlike in the color