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Ch. 1: Introduction

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INTRODUCTION.
25
De Boot was a practical mineralogist as well as lapidary, frequently citing specimens of rare stones from his own collection; and explaining improvements invented by him­self in the mode of cutting precious stones. His notices of their native places, the trade in them, the current prices, the arts of working and of counterfeiting them, are admirably given in brief yet comprehensive details, display­ing a thorough acquaintance with this department. And as regards these particulars, De Lach's essay, which was confessedly composed as a supplement to his predecessor's more extensive work, is deserving of the highest praise, and has furnished me with abundance of curious information whenever the jewelry of the Renaissance came to be consi­dered. Both treatises have been the source whence subse­quent writers upon precious stones have drawn all that is valuable in their pages; and that too without acknowledging their obligations: Dutens, for example, whose ' Pierres Precieuses' (pub. 1777) is little better than an abridgment of De Boot's chapters upon the same heads. Under the heading " De Lapidibus " in De Boot's volume, the geologist will be amused, with his clever woodcuts of fossil shells and teeth, and the high value in the pharmacopoeia for which he gives them credit, apparently on the score of their singularity of shape indicating their specific virtues, according to the then received " Doctrine of Signatures."
My own plan followed in this work has been almost the same as that marked out by De Boot so long ago : a better one than which could not indeed be devised. It com­bines the ancient and mediaeval with the modern views of this part of Natural History—a thing never attempted by more recent mineralogists, who have either treated upon " Gems and Stones " in a purely scientific manner, or else as matters of commerce, leaving untouched all their rela­tions to archaeology, to mediaeval philosophy, and to art.
Ch. 1: Introduction Page of 377 Ch. 1: Introduction
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