which not only gave utterance to Oracular responses, but was even perceived to breathe !
or three centuries ago no gentleman thought his hand properly adorned
unless he wore a fine Turquoise. The sympathetic property of the
Turquoise as manifested by a change of colour corresponding to the
health or welfare of its owner, is alluded to by more than one English
poet. In Ben Jonson's play the flatterers of Sejanus recite :—
" Observe him, as his watch observes his clock; And true as Turquoise in the dear lord's ring, Look well, or ill with him."
Again Donne says :—
" As a compassionate Turquoise that doth tell By looking pale the wearer is not well."
Turquoise stones vary from pale blue to green, and white ; but all
except the azure are worthless. The only Turquoise mines in the world
which deserve the name, are all on the south face of a hill, (or small
mountain,) a thousand feet in height. Women, indolent men, and
children, are chiefly employed in obtaining the precious stones. What
these persons have to do is merely to dig up two or three feet of the
soft soil, and to sift it. If one of the men when unobserved discovers
a good stone he will swallow it. A couple of overseers carefully watch
to prevent this, but, (says the report of a visitor to the mines) "
their diabolical appearance impressed me with the conviction that
turquoises formed their chief articles of diet."
one of its earlier stages a Turquoise is a sort of soft cream-coloured
chalk, which is said to possess medicinal properties, and which the
people eat, with apparent zest. The original form of a Turquoise