in the beds of mountain- torrents of similar formation ; and scattered
together with Agates over the Egyptian Desert. It is of the same nature
as the latter stone, only differing in the arrangement of its colours ;
and seems to be what Pliny distinguishes from the rest of the species
by the name of Sard-achates, just as his Leuc-achates is the Calcedony,
or White Carnelian.
this dull red, cloudy, and softer stone, are the most ancient intagli
usually cut, the Egyptian and Etruscan scarabei, and the greater part
of the gems engraved in Etruria. The beds of the Tuscan rivers
furnished a plentiful supply of this material ; even at the present day
the shingle of the brook Mugnone, near Florence, yields Carnelians in
great abundance. But the beautiful transparent species, the true Sard,
came from India alone. Already (b.c. 400)
Ctesias, in his ' Indica,' mentions the " great mountains out of which
are dug the Sardo, the Onyx, and other gems," lying fifteen days'
journey from the sandy desert (between Cutch and Moultan) ; and again,
the " mount Sardo, and the mountains where the gem Sardo is dug " (Ind.
§ 5). And Plato (Phaedo. p. 110) describes the "True World" (Paradise)
as a region where all the rocks are that substance of which the stones
so coveted by the Greeks—Sards, Jaspers, and Emeralds—were but
fragments that had escaped the universal ruin of all things here below.
But when the trade with the East was opened fully out by the conquests
of Alexander, and the establishment of a powerful Greek kingdom in the
North of India, the Sard came into general use. " No other stone,"
observes Pliny (xxxvii. 31), " was so great a favourite with the Greeks
as this : at least the plays of Menander and of Philemon revel in
allusions to it." On this stone all the famous works of the most
celebrated artists are to be found, for as a general rule fine work was
never thrown away upon an inferior material ; and there was good cause
for this preference, such is its toughness, facility in working, beauty
of colour, and high polish of which it is susceptible ; which last,
Pliny remarks, it retains longer than any other gem. The truth of this
assertion has been confirmed by the eighteen centuries that have
elapsed since he wrote, for antique Sards are found always retaining
their original polish, unless where very roughly used; whilst harder
gems—Garnets, Jacinths, and Nicoli—have