as Basalt, Porphyry, Amethysts, and Emeralds. They
fashioned these last, which were found very large, into many curious
and fantastic forms." Elsewhere (vol. Hi., p. 214), in describing
certain spoils, he mentions a large Emerald " cut in pyramidal shape,
of so extraordinary a size, that the base was as broad as the palm of
the hand.'' And in another place (p. 287) mention is made of fine
Emeralds of a wonderful size and brilliancy, which had been cut by the
Aztecs into the shapes of flowers, fishes, and other fantastical forms.
the Manka Valley of Peru the natives appear to have paid divine homage
to a magnificent Emerald of the size of an ostrich egg, which they
named the goddess of Emeralds. The priests enhanced the value by
displaying it on high festivals only, when, it was alleged, Emeralds
were peculiarly acceptable to the idol, and thus the temple came into
possession of a vast number of these costly gems, which on the
discovery of Peru by the Spaniards, fell into the hands of the
conquerors ; but Pizarro and his followers, "like bad lapidaries"
writes Purchas, broke many to fragments, supposing they would possess
the adamantine property of the Diamond.
the discovery of Peru, Emeralds became less rare in Europe, and
jewellers and lapidaries much preferred the Peruvian stones ; hence
the most beautiful of Emeralds are always called Spanish Emeralds.
Joseph DAcosta, who himself visited the Emerald mines of New Granada
and Peru, said that at first these stones came to Europe in such
numbers, that on the ship in which he returned from America to Spain,
in 1587, were two chests each containing one hundredweight of Emeralds.
The Emerald is found crystallized in six-sided prisms or columns, without striations, and therefore, unlike those