DEFINITION OF PRECIOUS STONES.
and rarity—such are the qualities characterising the minerals to which
we apply the adjective " precious." But the term " mineral," though
including all true precious stones, does not exclude some natural
products of the earth (such as gold and platinum) which, though
precious, are not stones in the ordinary acceptation of that
word. Native metals, then, are outside the category of precious stones.
On the other hand, at least one animal product, the pearl, is commonly
ranked with such minerals as the diamond and the sapphire, associated
as it is with these stones in jewellery, and partaking as it does of
the characters of beauty and rarity, with a good share of durability.
all, it is no easy matter to define a precious stone. Where can the
line be drawn between stones that are precious and stones that do not
merit that appellation ? Is not the preciousness of one sort of stone
or of another dependent in part upon caprice, upon time and place ? If
the fashion follow some new direction, then gem-stones now reckoned of
small value might in some measure displace the diamond and the ruby ;
for, compared 8445.