Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Precious

Seems there are superstitions and lore attached to just about every facet of life, including the family jewels.
Flipping through one of my Quaint Old Books again, found a section on superstitions regarding precious and semi-precious stones.
Found it interesting for two reasons: one, some of the claims were attributed to a rather pseudonymous fourteenth century Rabbi Benoni; and two, thought a few of them could be polished into a plot point in the proper setting, no matter what parure you choose to design.
Agate was supposed to quench thirst, if held in the mouth allay fever, render the wearer invisible and to turn the swords of foes against themselves.
Amber was said to be the concretion of bird's tears. The birds (the Meleagrides) who wept amber were the sisters of Melaeger. They never ceased their weeping for their brother's death. Pliny: Natural History.
Amethyst banished the desire for drink and promoted chastity - sometimes called the prelate's gem. (Medieval and modern irony.)
Cat's-eye was a charm against witchcraft and the abode of genii. (Lamps are cheaper though.)
Coral was also a talisman against enchantments, witchcraft, thunder and other perils of flood and field. Hence its use in coral necklaces, especially for children. Also a certain cure for indigestion.
Diamond produces somnambulism and promotes spiritual ecstasy.(Not sure the ecstacy promoted is exactly spiritual. On the other hand the cost may certainly disturb sleep.)
Emerald: If a serpent fixes its eyes on an emerald, it becomes blind. Ahmed ben Abdalazin: Treatise on Jewels.(Useful stone for a snake pit, but possibly hit-or-miss.)
Garnet was the carbuncle of the ancients, which they said gave out light in the dark. (Flashlight, B.C.)
Onyx contains within it an imprisoned devil, which wakes at sunset and causes terror to the wearer, disturbing sleep with ugly dreams. Another legend calls them the nail-parings of Venus. (Oh Zeus, I broke a nail!)
Rubies ripened like fruit, clear to yellow, to green, blue, until ripe perfection. (...and then they go bad and go to town.)
Sapphire impels the wearer to all good works.
Turquoise: Its colour always pales when the well-being of the giver is in peril. ( An early monitor.)
Also, a bouquet of diamonds, lodestones and sapphires renders a person almost invincible and wholly irresistible.(Sounds like a jeweller's advertisement.)

Another gem: Savannah's Nuermer's Last Witch announced by Samhain Publishing.


Erik Ivan James said...

Darn, a fortune in mattresses, and all I needed to do was remove the Black Onyx from my belly button.

anna said...

Oh Zeus! I broke a nail!
I am howling here. Bernita of all people your blog contains the most wonderful little gems. I espceially love this post as in my writings I often use spells and conjurings, old remedies, etc.
This is another great little addition to my file of stuff.
thanks a bunch!
btw your new photo ID is so classy.
You're a beautiful gal

kmfrontain said...

Still laughing at the hit and miss emerald. :D

Bernita said...

You should have asked me earlier, Erik...

Good, Anna,( I have shelves of that stuff)!
Thank you ( all downhill from here on, though)!
Blogger won't let me post a picture with this post this morning.

The basilisk emerald, Karen. I'm not about to recommend a field trial.

normiekins said...

i need to get my hands on some diamonds, lodestones and sapphires...;)

my father was a lapidary...i find this historical knowledge fascinating.

Dennie McDonald said...

okay my wedding ring has diamonds ans sapphires... hmmm....

I am curious - did it have Opal (is this the right one?) I heard it was bad luck to wear it if it wasn't given directly to you - my mother has one and I won't touch it - so color me superstitious =)

jlb said...

Aren't those associations fun?

I've been told that opals are associated with bad luck and misfortune, but not only do I adore opals, but I have always had the opposite experience. Wearing opals usually comes with great changes in my life... perhaps that's why people think they bring bad luck: they're resistant to all the crazy changes that ensue!

Bernita said...

Powers and attributes of various stones are a whole study in themselves, Normiekins.

That's the one, Dennie. Like most stones ( and in fact any item associated with luck, magic, or religion) there are positive and negative qualities attached to it. One bit claims it's a door to the spirit world and an emblem of hope, another bit claims it's fatal to relationships and bad luck.
Pearls can mean tears and death, or innocence and purity, for example.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Well congratulations are in order for Savannah....Go girl!

This is great gives me an idea for the plot device I was looking for.

Bernita since you are so well versed, give me an idea how I would look this kind of stuff up online!

Yes, Dennie you are right about the opal superstition.

Bernita said...

Bonnie, try searching with gemology, gemstones plus lore, superstition,history, legends or the particular stone, gem or jewel plus superstition, etc. ie. topaz superstition.

EA Monroe said...

That chunk of amethyst under my pillow? It's for dreaming... And that lode of rocks in my pocket? I better not jump into any deep water!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Cool...I will do that! Thanks

Bernita said...

I like opals too, JIB.

A spiritual stone, EA.

writtenwyrdd said...

Chinese medicine has "jewel pills" which contain ground pearls and gemstones. I think also precious substances and metals.

That's taking it to heart, or something similar.

I like your blog!

Gabriele C. said...

The text I wrote my MA thesis about, basically a romanticised French epic in an Old Norse translation, had a lot of Mediaeval gemstone symbolism. Some cleric at some stage of transmission really got away with his knowledge. :)

Bernita said...

An expensive way of getting one's clacium and iron, Written.
Thank you!

For sure, Gabriele!
A lot of pagan superstitions and Hermetic "magic" were simply adapted instrumentally to the Christian mode by recitation of a prayer or song.

SassyJill said...

Wow, nice research. My knowledge of gem lore before this post was that if my Mood Ring turned blue it meant I was happy ^_^*

M.E Ellis said...

Sapphire impels the wearer to all good works.

Ahhh, my engagement ring is one of these. Yay!

And this post has inspired something for my yet to be started WIP. Not only do you star in Five Pyramids, but your post here will be a major part of When Babies Cry.

You inspire me, and it's my way of thanking you.


Bernita said...

It's an interesting subject, Sassy.

Think sapphires are particularly appropriate for you, Michelle.
You inspire me and leave me humble.

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