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sions to Persian wars seem to point to the age of Augustus, or at the latest of Trajan:—
"And Babylon's vast plain, where miles around
Or the sweet amethyst, which, serenely bright,
These gems, together with other Indian productions, were brought for transmission into Europe to the great annual fairs held in Syria, one of which is thus described by Ammianus (xiv. 3) :—" Batne, a municipality in Anthemusia, founded by the ancient Macedonians, situated at a short distance from the Euphrates, and crowded at that time with wealthy traders, where on the annual festival, held at the beginning of September, a vast multitude of people of all conditions assemble at the fair to purchase the goods sent by the Indians and Chinese, and the numerous other productions accustomed to be conveyed thither both by sea and land."
GEMS USED BY THE GREEKS.
Theophrastus (c. 30) thus specifies the kinds of gems most used in his own time, the 4th century before our era:—" But of gems out of which signets are made there are several others, such as the glass-Hke sort (Beryl), which possesses the property of reflection and transparency, and the Carbuncle and the Omphax (perhaps the Chrysoprase), and besides these the Crystal and the Amethyst, both of them transparent. Both these and the Sard are found on breaking open certain rocks, as well as others, as we have before stated, presenting certain differences, but agreeing in name with each other. For of the Sard the transparent and blood-red sort is called the female, while the less transparent and darker kind is termed the male. And the different kinds of Lyncurium are distinguished in the same way, of which the female is the more transparent and of a deeper yellow; and the Cyanus also is named, one sort the male and the other the female, but the male is the deeper in colour of the two. The Onyx is made up of white and brownish red in parallel layers. The Amethyst is of the colour of wine. A handsome stone too is the Agate, brought from the river Achates in Sicily, and is sold at a high price. At Lampsaous there was once discovered in the gold-mines an extraordinary kind of stone, out of which, when taken to Tyre, a signet gem was engraved, and sent as a present to the king (Alexander) on account of its singularity. These gems, in addition to their beauty, possess the recommendation of rarity; but those coming out of Greece itself are much less valuable, such as the Anthracium (Carbuncle) from Orchomenos in Arcadia. This is darker than the Chian sort, and mirrors are made out of it.1 And also the Troezenian; this last is variegated partly with red, partly with white patches. The Corinthian also is variegated with the same colours, excepting that the stone itself is somewhat greener. And, generally, stones of this kind are common enough; but the first-class gems are rare, and come from but few places, such as Carthage, and the neighbourhood of Marseilles, and from Egypt near the Cataracts, from Syene close to the town of Elephantina, and from the district called Psepho; and from Cyprus the Emerald and Jasper. But those that are used for setting in ornamental metal-work come from Bactria, close to the desert. They are collected by horsemen, who go out there at the time when the Etesian winds prevail; for then they come to sight, the sand being removed by the violence of the winds. They are however small, and never of large size." This last gem is probably the Turquois, so much used by the Persians of all ages for setting in their
arms and ornaments. The locality named by Theophrastus, and the small size of the stone, particularised by him, are also arguments in favour of the correctness of this supposition.
S A E D S.
The Carnelian, and its superior variety the Sard, may justly claim the first place in this list of stones employed by the ancient engravers, as they alone present us with as many intagli cut upon them as all the other species of gems put together. The Carnelian is a semi-transparent quartz of a dull red colour, arranged often in different shades, and is found in great abundance in many parts of Europe; for instance, on every coast where the beach is composed of rolled flint shingle, as on the Chessil Bank, Weymouth, the coast of Devonshire, &c. The most ancient intagli, such as the Etruscan and the Egyptian, are usually cut upon this variety. But when the trade with the East was established, after the conquest of Asia by Alexander, a much finer description of this stone, the Sard, came into general use; and on this all the finest works of the most celebrated artists are to be found. And this not without good cause, such is its toughness, facility of working, beauty of colour, and the high polish of which it is susceptible, and which Pliny states that it retains longer than any other gem. The truth of his assertion has been confirmed by the testimony of the seventeen centuries that have elapsed since he wrote, for antique Sards are found always retaining their original polish, unless where they have been very roughly used; whilst harder gems, as Garnets, Jacinths, and Nicoli, have their surfaces greatly scratched and roughened by wear. So true is this, that the existence of a perfect polish in any of the latter class of stones affords in itself a tolerably sure proof that the gem is either modern, or has been retouched in modern times.
When Pliny wrote, the bright red variety was the most esteemed, the honey-coloured were of less value, but the lowest place of all was assigned to those of the colour of a burnt brick, that is, to the kind we now call Carnelians. The bright red are certainly very fine in hue; they often equal the Carbuncle, and come near to the Ruby in tint and lustre; but they are always to be distinguished from these gems by a shade of yellow mixed with the red. This colour in some Sards deepens into that of the Morella cherry; these were considered the males of the species, for the Romans, following the Greek mineralogists, divided gems into males and females, according to the depth or the lightness of their colour. Upon this bright red variety the best Roman intagli usually occur. The light yellow sort resembling amber was much in use at an earlier period; on this are frequently found the finest works of the Greek artists, and also those stiffly drawn yet highly finished figures of the most minute execution, surrounded with granulated borders, which were formerly termed Etruscan, but now with more reason assigned to the Archaic Greek school. Very meritorious Roman engravings present themselves upon this kind also, but they usually belong to the times of the Early Empire, the latest I have seen being a very well cut head of Severus.
On the common red Carnelian we often have very good intagli of the Republican age; and most of the Etruscan scarabei are cut out of this material, of which they got a