The Precious Stones of John Maplet’s Greene Forest, part 2

The first part of this article about gemstones can be found at 

Of Ematites

Ematites is a stone somewhat ruddie, somewhat sanguine, found both in Affrick, in Indie and in Arabie: so named for that it resolveth & chaungeth oft into a bloudie colour: and is called of some stench bloud, for that it stoppeth his vent or course of flowing.

Of Gagates 

Gagates is of the precious sort also, which was first found in Sicilie in a certain floud called Gagatus of the which it tooke his name: although that in Britannie, it is a good geast & somewhat common as Isidore saith: It hath two kindes, the one russet in colour, and the other black, this last easie to be fiered, and as smokie as Frankinsence. It being left in the place where Serpents breede, driveth them cleane away. And Diascorides saith, that this being put into ye drink of a Maide or Virgin will easilye give you iudgement whether that she be a true and right Maide yea or no. For saith he, after that she hath drunke of this and does not anone after make water, but can continue, than take hir and esteeme hir a pure Virgin, and contrarywise, if she doe not continue and stay herein some season, iudge of hir otherwise. 

Of the Jasper

The Jasper is a Gem verie greene, like to the Smaragde, but of little more grosse colour. Isid. saith that this has. xvii. severall kinds and he calleth it the greene stone. That of Cypria, (saith Harmolaus) is more duskie coloured and grosse: That of Persia is like to the Ayre, for the which it is called Aerizula: That of Phrygia is purple coloured: There hath bene in ancient time seene a Jasper in waight. xi. Ounces. There is also in the heade of the Serpent Aspis found a little stone much like to the Jasper of marvailos vertue, which some by cutting away the first letter, have called Aspis. It is thought to have so many wayes in working as it has kindes.

Of the Jacinct

The Jacinct is blew, and of nigh neighborhoode with the Saphire. This is a marvellous turncote, for that it doth conforme it self to all settes and dispositions of the Ayre, for being helde in the cloudie and dark Ayre, becommeth also cloudie and darke: and beeing in the bright and cleare Ayre, becommeth also both bright and cleare. It is taken to be medicinable, to give vigor and strength to the lims, to encrease the sinewes, and to provoke quiet and sound sleepe.

Of Iris 

Iris is a kinde of Stone Mathematicallye wrought, as being digged up in forme fire cornered, which at the first was found nigh the red Sea: but is now found in many places, as in Germanie, in Irelande, and in the North parts and quarters, and is of colour as cleare as the Cristall. It is called Iris for likeloode to the Rainebow, which being touched & stricken of the Sunne his beames, under any covert doth represent and shewe both the figure and colours of the Rainebow upon the wall next to it, and that oppositely, as Diascorides saith, it hath the same force and working that the Berill hath, but is not in quantitie so great.

Of the Stone Kaman

Kaman, the stone may well be called a turncote, for that it is now blacke, now white, now shamefast & blushing. And is in colours very diverse, and therfore it is called Kama, as you would say in Greeke Kauma soone kindled. It is found in hote places, and especially in those that have good store of Brimstone and be Sulphureous: as Diascorides reporteth. It helpeth sayth he the dropsie: and is easie to be engraven and carved in.

Of the stone Ligurius

Ligurius, is a stone in colour lyke to Tin. It is engendred in the entrailes and privities of Lynx the wilde Beast, and is of that vertue that it draweth to it any offall chaffe or straw. It also helpeth paine in the stomack, and bewrayeth Venome or Poyson.

Of the Lodestone

The Lodestone commeth from Indie, and is almost Iron colour like. It is founde most rife amongst the Trogloditas people, in the furthest part of Affrick, beyond Aethiopia, who are saide to dwell in Caves, and to eate Serpents flesh. It draweth Iron to it, even as one Lover cueteth and desireth an other. The common people therefore having sometime seene this so done by secret and unknowne working, have iudged and reputed ye Iron lively. There is another kind of Lodestone in Thessalie, that is of contrarie set and disposition, which will have non of Iron, nor will meddle with it. But for the other that is reckned principall and best, which in colour is blue. Saint Augustine saith, that if any man put under any vessel eyther golden or brasse, or holde under these any peece of Iron, and lay above the vessels or upon them this Lodestone, that even through the verie motion or moving of the stone underneath, the Iron shall move up and meete with it as nigh as the vessell wil suffer at the verie top.

Of the Margaret

The Margaret of all Gemmes, those which be in their kindes white, is esteemed the chiefest: as Isidore consenteth, with others herein. Which kinde he will also have thus named, for that is founde growing in the meate of certain shell fishes, and those of the Sea, as in the Sea Snaile, and in the greatest Oyster, and such like as have their shell. It is engendred of a certain heavenly dewe, which in a certaine time of the yeare, both the Sea Snaile and the Cockle doe take and drik up. Of the which kinde of stone certaine are called Vnions, for that by one and one, they be founde, and never above one: there be some of these also seene sometimes yellow, but the other are the verie best.

Of the Marble

The Marble by Greeke worde and name is interpreted greene. There are Marbles in great and huge bignesse, and length: which are of many esteemed and had in reputation for their spottes and colours. The sorts and kinds of Marble are infinite: for not every of them are hewen forth out of Rockes: but many be dispersed under the earth, as the Marble with the Lacedemonians, which is both greene and precious: So likewise that kinde of Marble which is called Ophites, which hath spottes like a Serpent, is much esteemed. Of Ophites two sortes are mentioned: the first white and soft, the other black and hard. There is another kinde almost Corall like, found in Asia, having certaine blottes besprent upon it and about it proporcionally. There is also a Thebane Marble dipped here and there, and dyed like in maner to golden droppes, and is found in a part of Aegypt. There are other kindes also which breede and have the very rocks to be their shop houses, as ye Marble in Corinth, whereof whole Pillars and great Beames are made. And there is another Marble called Caristeum verie greene, having his name of his good looke, for that it is avayleable to their eyesight that engrave therein. The greene colour hereof refresheth the eies. Marble therefore is more sounde, more faire, more profitable than any other stones are, with Lead and not with Iron (contrarie to all others wont) all stones of Marble are hewen and cut, which thing is marveilous. For neyther with Steele nor yet with Iron, neyther with Mallet nor cutting Shears, neyther with Sawe by any force or striving withall, it is subdued.

Of Nesorpora or Todes stone 

Nesorpora is astone of Pontus, verie preciuos, marveilous white, and as they say, it is found in a Todes heade, out of the which it is plucked and taken forth, and is purified by lying a certaine space steeping in strong wines and running water, as Diascorides beareth witnesse. In this stone is apparantly seene verie often the verie form of a Tode, with bespotted and coloured feete, but those uglye and defusedly. It is available against invenoming.

Of Onix or Onichus

Onix of some Onichus, is stone of Indie and Arabie, having colours all about it intermedled verie like to a mans naile: wherupon the Greekes call our naile Onikin. That of Indie hath a colour like to fire, & is dyed with white Vaines or Zones. That of Arabie is black, yet died with white Lines or Zones. It hath many kindes of Sardonix, so called for that by commixture of the Onix which is white and Sardus which is red, it becometh but one of them both. It being borne about one, riddeth him of feare: and in maner of a Glasse it sheweth a mans visage, as saith Diascorides.

Of Oppalus

Oppalus (as saith Diascorides) is a stone in colour like to very many, and those cleane contrarie Gems. For it representeth in some part as good a greene colour as the Smaragde: in some other part it looketh like Purple, and in another part like to a whote Cole as the Carbuncle doth.

Of Pirrites

Pirrites is a kinde of stone, yealow, like to the fire his flame, and in the qualitie almost all one with the fire: for the which I suppose it tooke his name, it is soone kindled and set on fire. It also sparckleth, and being hardly holden & pressed in any mans hande burneth him fore or he percieveth it. Wherupon the Lapidare hath these two Verses.

The Pirrite must with easie hand And marvellous soft enholden be: For being prest and helde to hard Doth burne thy flesh or ere thou se.

Of the Rubie

The Rubie is a stone which of some is supposed to be found in the Crabs heade, most commonly red, yet not withstanding sometimes found in yealow colour. It availeth against the biting of the Scorpion and Weasell, if it be applied thereto plaister like.

Of the Sapphir

The Sapphir is Skie coloured or blew, like to the Skie in the most faire weather. It is one of the Noblest and royall sorts amongst al Gemmes, and most meete to be worne onely upon Kings and Princes fingers. This for his soveraigntie of the Lapidare, is called ye Gem of Gemmes. It is found most especially in Indie, although that sometimes, otherwhere. Cardane sayth, that it is next and above the Adamant in reputation: first or last in the degree of those Gemmes that be noble and precious: he sayth also, it is good (if it be not otherwise overlaide) to the eiesight, and that nothing in the whole worlde, doth more recreate or delight the eies than Smaradge & Sapphir doe. Albartus Magnus saith, that he hath proved it twise, that with the onely touching of this precious stone, the partie so diseased, hath bene rid of the grievous sore the Carbuncle. It is mervelously effectuous against al venome. Wherefore, if thou put a Spider into a Bor, and upon the mouth of the Bor, being shut thou layest the true Sapphir and keepe the Spyder but a verie shorte time within the same, the Spider being vanquished and overcome by such mean of close vertue dieth sodainly. In olde time it was consecrated onelye to Apollo: for the which they thought their businesse in Warres and affaires at home might be the sooner ended, if through such meanes they had enriched and honoured him, who by Oracle in all things those which were waightiest made only the aunswere.

Of the Samradge

The Smaradge hath his name of his excellent and fresh greene colour. For everye thing that is grassie greene, is properly called in Greeke Smaron. It passeth both the leafe and bough of any Tree or plant in this his colour, and in this poynt alone triumphet, neyther is the Sunne by his Sunne beames, any let or hinderance to this his shew. There is no greater refection to the eies than the sight of this. It being polished and dressed, sheweth a man his lively image, whereupon the valiant Caefar had no greater delight, than in looking on this, to see his Warriours fight, and to behold in the Smaragde which of them went best to worke, and was moste active. Isidore sayth, that there be. xii. kindes hereof, but the moste noble is found in Scithia, the next in Bactria. This stone sayth Cardane, serveth to devination, and to tell of a certaintie, things to come, or otherwise. For that that shall come to passe, it will never let it sincke or slip out of minde, and that shall not, it easily suffereth the minde to forget.

Of the Topaze

The Topaze as Plinie sayth, is a Gem of grassie colour: although that in Germanie it is found like to Golde. It was first found in Arabie, in a certaine Ilande there: whereas the people Troglodite such as live by Snakes flesh and other Serpents, being compelled thorow verie extreeme hunger: and they also beeing on the water or Sea, drive thither by tempest, and so both weared and hungrie, digging up the Rootes of certain Hearbes, by hap and chance pulled up this. This Iland afterwards was sought of Mariners and Marchants, and was ransaked where as they founde (having had of them knowledge hereof) their best Marchandise. After that, for those peoples sake, by whom they had so wonne and done so well, they would never chaunge the name hereof, but after their proper and peculiar speach called it a Topaze. For Topazein in Greeke is as much, as to finde by seeking. Plinie sayth, that it hath bene found of that bignesse and quantitie that Philadelphus is saide to have framed, and made thereof a statue or Image in lenght of foure Cubits.

Of the Turches

The Turches or Turcois, is of the common sort called Eranus. It is in colour airelike or like to the Heavens, and looketh cleare also as sayth Cardane. It is called a Turches for that it is only found in Turkland or amongst the Turkes. This hath such vertue and hid maner in working, that it supporteth and sustaineth, being worne in a ring, a man from falling of his horse, and is saide of the above saide Author to receyve the daunger of the fal it self, and to breake and burst in sunder, rather than the man should fall and miscarie.


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