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Ch. 7: Hyacinthus, Sapphire, Corundum

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HYACINTHUS.                                  247
much better acquainted with the more peculiarly Indian gems. For then, as in our day, real Sapphires came from Ceylon exclusively ; those so often quoted as to be found at Expailly in France being, according to Barbot, nothing more than blue crystals of Quartz. The ancient Indians obtained their Hyacinthi out of the beds of torrents, just as the Cingalese do their Sapphires to this day, for the gem never occurs, in the matrix, but in rolled pieces mingled with the gravel. This peculiarity of their origin is elegantly alluded to by Naumachius (v. 58), where, speaking of the " purple Hyacinth and the green Jasper, in which the foolish glory," he adds, " they are but stones upon the pebbly beach of the sea, and cast in numbers at random upon the banks of torrents."
" Dote not on gold ; nor round thy neck so fair
The purple hyacinth or green jasper wear :
For gold and silver are but dust and earth,
And gems themselves can boast no real worth :
Stones are they scatter'd o'er the pebbly coast,
Or on the torrent's bank at random toas'd."
Some of the varieties of Pliny's Adamas were indubitably grey or pale Sapphires, to judge from his description of their distinctive characters. The steel-colour and great weight which he assigns to the Siderites prove this to demonstration ; for no other terms could so exactly express the tint of the unpolished paler Sapphire, or its unparal­leled density ; for its specific gravity is actually one degree greater than that of the Diamond. The "aëreus color" also of his Adamas Cyprius is the sky-blue of our finest Sapphire, its hue being the exact shade of the "air" or pure heaven in the climate of Rome :—
Ch. 7:  Hyacinthus, Sapphire, Corundum Page of 377 Ch. 7:  Hyacinthus, Sapphire, Corundum
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