all injury, and nothing harmful could befall them." A medieval test of
the antitoxin quality of the sapphire was to place a spider in a vessel
to whose mouth a sapphire was so suspended that it would swing
backwards and forwards just above the spider. The supposedly venomous
insect was not long able to resist the power of the stone and fell a
victim to its virtues. Wolfgang Gabelchover gravely asserts that this
experiment had often been successful.98
removal of particles of sand or dust from the eye was said to be
successfully accomplished by "warming" a sapphire over the eye, the
virtue of the stone thus passing into the eye and giving the organ the
strength necessary for the ejection of the troublesome foreign body."
This attribution of a chemical action to the sapphire in eye-trouble
may be added to the many statements of its general curative powers in
thirteenth century Hindu physician Naharari states that the topaz
tastes sour and is cold. It is a remedy for flatulence and is a most
excellent appetizer. Any man who wears this stone will be assured of
long life, beauty and intelligence.100 Many a curious legend
has been woven about the old belief that the topaz quenched thirst.
However, popular fancy does not endow any and every topaz with this
power. One of these thirst-removing topazes is said to have been in the
possession of a celebrated Hindu necromancer, whose services had been
sought by one of the petty rajahs of India on the day of a decisive
battle. Either this necromancer's art must have failed him at the
w Aldrovandi, " Museum metallicum," Bonomie, 1648, p. 972.
Bacca, "De gemmis et lapidibus pretiosis," Francofurti, 1603, p. 68.
Note of Gabelchover to hie Latin version of the original Italian.
"Frederici Jacobi Schallingi, "0ΦΘΑΛΜΙΑ sive disquisitio hermetico-gal-enica de natura oculorum," Erffurdt, 1615, p. 125.
"Garbe, "Die indische Mineralien"; Kaharari's " Rajanighantu," Varga ΧΠΙ, Leipzig, 1882, p. 79.