In 1594 George Hartgill published a book called Astronomical Tables. After 62 years, in 1656, John and Timothy Gadbury wrote and published an updated version of it. A letter, written by William Lilly, is included in this edition. Therein he explains the importance of this new edition as the original tables were only valid until 1652 and states that Hartgill’s tables were in a way defective any way, as he, Hartgill, “….followed Copernicus and Alphonsus Tables, in the places of the fixed Stars which at that time were plainly percieved to be imperfect, and generally found to be erronious….” .
What is of interest here is the preface to “The Impartial Reader”, written by the editors of this work, John and Timothy Gadbury. Therein they are addressing the “Astrall vertues” of plants and minerals. The following is a transcript of the portion dealing with these minerals, ie. gemstones.
“There is also an Astrall vertue in Minerals; as for instance, observe the Adamand or Diamond which of all Minerals is the most glorious, and amongst men is the most valuable! for the Richnesse of it, ’tis attributed to the Sun, as one is the chiefe of Minerals, so is the other the chief of Planets. Pliny saith it is the hardest of all stones, insomuch that it cutteth Glasse, and yeildeth nor either to the Hammer or Fire; it is observed to have a great Antipathy to the Loadstone, for it being laid neer it, it wholly destroyes the Loadstones vertue. Pliny makes six kinds of it, which we purposely omit, as not intending a Treatise of Minerals; we will next observe,
The Selenite or Moonstone, which is a very transparent Gem, like Glasse, and hath a remarkable spot in it, which beares the Image of the Moon, and doth appear more or lesse, as the Moon doth increase or decrease in motion, and thense it is (by Naturalists) called the Moonstone, for that it does so constantly dance after her motion; t is of a white, black, and yellow Colour, and Phisicians use the scrapings of it, as an excellent Remedy against the Falling sicknesse.
The next is the Turcois, being a stone of a dull Sky colour or greenish, which is of excellent use in helping those who are troubled with weak eyes, and spirits, it refresheth the Heart; and if the Wearer be not well, it changeth its Colour, and looketh pale and dim; but on the contrary, increaseth to its perfection, as the Wearer attaineth his health; whence came the Verse.
The sympathizing Turcois true doth tell,
By looking pale, the Wearer is not well.
Such secret MagnetiqueVertues are those Earth-imprison’d Creatures endued withall, that to treat of many, would cause us of a Preface to make a Treatise; therefore we willingly omit the exquisite Vertues of many;
as the Amethyst who (as Aristotle affirmeth) hath power to resist drunkennesse, and the Calcedon, whose secret vertue is such (if worn) that it prevents all fearfull Visions and Dreams; it is a Stone which would be much advantagious to the Epileptique Prophets of our [?]: also the Sardonix, which doth mightily corraborate the Body and Spirits of man, and in one preserveth Chastity. Then there is the Sardim, which maketh the Wearer cheerfull and merry, and some have found by Experience, that it restrains Anger; we could tell you of the Stone Etites, (which some say is found in an Eagles nest) and hath another Stone within it, therefore some of the Ancients have called it the Stone with child, whether that be true or no, we enjoyne no man to beleeve; but Phisicians affirme, that if the stone be hung about a womans neck, who is with-child, it preventes Abortion. These excellent secrets in Vegitabiles and Minerals, do manifest the power of God in the Stars, beyond the reach of all objection; we will conclude this Astrologicall Phisicall Discourse, and admire what we cannot reach with the Divine Poet .
Oh mickle is the poweful God that lies
In Herbs, Trees, Stones, and their true Qualities,
For naught so vile, that on the Earth does live,
But to the Earth some secret good does give.
And naught so rich, on either Rock or Shelfe,
But if unknown, lies uselesse to it Shelfe;
Therefore who thus doth make his secrets known,
Doth profit others, and not hurt his own.”