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Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald

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ing curious passage (Ep. 90, 33) :—" The same Democritus discovered the method of softening ivory; and how a pebble by means of boiling can be transformed into an Emerald, by which same process (coctura) artificial gems continue to be stained at present." This looks like an allusion to the staining of crystal, " calculus " being usually applied to a white quartz pebble, such as Pliny notices as ingredients in glass-making.
De Boot (II. 53) runs up a long list of the virtues of the Emerald, as then firmly believed in by everybody, himself included—Worn in a ring it was a sure preservative against epilepsy (as Marbodus also teaches upon the authority of Aristotle), cured dysentery, and preserved the chastity of the wearer, or else betrayed and punished its violation by immediately flying into pieces.* The imperial physi­cian gives a recipe for preparing the " Tinctura Smaragdi " —a most efficacious medicine in dysentery, epilepsy, and malignant fevers : " Pound the Emerald in an iron mortar, sift the powder through muslin, then cover it with spiritus urinae (sal volatile) : the spirit must be distilled off, leaving the powder of a grey colour, but which will communi­cate that of the emerald to spirits of wine."
The value of this stone in the middle ages was enormous. Fran. Maria, prince of Urbino, paid 113 gold pieces for an Oriental Emerald weighing no more than two carats. Cellini puts it at 400 gold scudi the carat, or at four times
Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald Page of 377 Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald
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