according to the most recent discoveries and studies, that amber,
bronze, glass, silver, gold and enamel have been always used first;
afterwards oxides and agates, in their natural state, but soon after
engraved ; and lastly gems, at first merely polished in their
primitive forms, but finally engraved and in relief.
form of these ornaments and jewels was especially similar in that
primitive period, as much in Egypt, Phoenicia, and Assyria, as in
Italy, Germany, and America. Amber was found in a variety of forms,
because more easily fashioned; glass was always in perforated globules,
which, when threaded, formed necklets or bracelets; bronze, silver, and
gold were" found in forms differing according as the ductility of the
metal allowed fine and finished work. Agates, like glass, were pierced
as beads, or made into " mar-gherite," flat, circular, oval,
rhomboidal, or square. They were afterwards found engraved as cylinders
and scarabaei, but also pierced : finally, gems were obtained in their
natural crystalline form, but polished on the outer facets, to give
them transparency and brightness, after which they were with much
labour pierced, and at last engraved.
regard to gems, as to many other things, the ancients had uncertain, if
not altogether false, notions, almost always mixed with foolish
superstitions. Pliny and Theophrastus asserted in their writings that,
in order to preserve health, it was useful to wear certain gems.
Every one knows how universal was the use of amu-