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Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald

Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald Page of 377 Ch. 10: Jewelry of the Ancients Text size:minus plus Restore normal size   Mail page  Print this page
his estimation of the Diamond. Linschotanus, in his ' Iter Indiae Orientalis,' makes it worth one-seventh more than the latter stone. But fifty years later De Boot considers that, owing to the vast influx of the Peruvian kind, its then value could only fairly be reckoned as one fourth of that of the Diamond, thus exactly reversing Cellini's rule. But now again Cellini's valuation has suddenly been re­established through the total cessation of the supply from America, and a perfect Emerald commands the highest price of all precious stones in the London market. De Laet cites from the notes of "a very eminent jeweller" of the preceding century that in 1540 the Emerald (the oriental) was in as much esteem amongst the nobility as the Diamond itself; also that the largest that had ever come to the knowledge of the writer was of 25 carats weight; adding that this particular stone was in 1570 valued at 20,000 crowns ; which was merely one-third of what it would have fetched at the first-named date.
The Tourmaline, notwithstanding the general opinion as to its very recent introduction into Europe, had been long known in De Laet's times. He describes it as the Brazilian Emerald, of a dark-green shade as if stained with soot, and disagreeable to the eye. The crystals were cylindrical, (prismatical?) with three equal sides, sometimes striated as if done artificially. A mine of it had then lately been discovered at Santo Spirito, the ownership of which the Jesuits were claiming. In the previous generation these stones had been cut and worn like the precious Emerald, never, however, being priced higher than Garnets ; but by that time they had gone entirely out of fashion.
Ch. 9: Smaragdus, Emerald Page of 377 Ch. 10: Jewelry of the Ancients
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