formerly, trat at present it is scarce beyond everything. Some have even expressed a doubt as to whether it really exists.
Western vermilion is a garnet of a crimson-red colour, inclining somewhat to yellow, and not to black and violet, like other garnets, from which it is distinguished by these qualities.
It is very common ; but principally in Germany, as elsewhere, it is only found in small pieces.
It has been a question among mineralogists if vermilion is distinct from the garnet, or to be considered simply a variety of it ; nevertheless, goldsmiths, lapidaries, and jewellers easily recognize it, and know that Oriental vermilion is a corundum of great value, and the Western stone differs from garnet, as it is said, in colour, and also in being clearer.
In vain have I sought amongst writers for the etymology of this word, which was given originally, not to a single gem, but to all stones of a beautiful blue colour.
I found that this gem, like the emerald, has almost an identical sound in various languages. Thus in Greek it is called Zapphiros ; in Latin, Sapphirus ; in Hebrew, Sapphir ; in Chaldaic, Sapirinon ; in Syriac, Saphüo ; and in Samaritan, Saha.