CAMAHUTUM: Camaut : Cameo.
word innumerable etymologies have been proposed, all equally
unsatisfactory, as Menage -long ago observed. The list begins with De
Boot's simple and obvious derivation from Pliny's Cyamea, and goes on to the most far-fetched of all, Lessing's, who makes it the corruption of Gemma onychina, taking for his starting-point the Gothic form Gamahua, to be found in Agricola, and explained by him as " gammen-hu," bacon-stone* a popular name expressive of the fatty streakiness of its composition.f
the only safe mode for tracing out the true source of the word, so
diversely written at various times, is to examine in what form it makes
its first appearance in any European language. Of such, the very
earliest example known to me occurs in the list of gems collected by
our Henry III. for the embellishment of his projected shrine of Edward
the Confessor, amongst which are described above eighty caruei, of
which fifty-five are particularised as "large." (This list is to be
found in the Patent Polls of his 51st year.) The word is spelt at
length chamahutam, camahutum, and abbreviated chamali, and camah'. His con-
* A notion arising from the use of speclcstein, steatite, for their smaller works, by the German carvers of the fifteenth century.
The list of etymologies winds up with tho novel and ingenious one (the
latest propounded) of Von Hammer's, from the Arabic of the same sound,
meaning either a "flower," or the "top of the camel's hump."