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The pertinacity that has been displayed by certain authors compels me to speak of lyncurium1 next; for even those who maintain that it is not a variety of amber, still assure us that it is a precious stone. They assert, too, that it is a product of the urine of the lynx and of a kind of earth, the animal covering up the urine the moment it has voided it, from a jealousy that man should gain possession of it; a combination which hardens into stone. The colour of it, they inform us, like that of some kinds of amber, is of a fiery2 hue, and it admits, they say, of being engraved. They assert, too, that this substance attracts3 to itself not only leaves or straws, but thin plates of copper even or of iron; a story which Theophrastus even believes, on the faith of a certain Diocles.

For my own part, I look upon the whole of these statements as untrue, and I do not believe that in our time there has ever been a precious stone seen with such a name as this. I regard, too, the assertions that have been made as to its medicinal properties, as equally false; to the effect that, taken in drink, it disperses urinary calculi, and that, taken in wine, or only looked at, it is curative of jaundice.

1 See Note 74, above. Brotero identifies it with orange-coloured Hyacinth; Ajasson and Desfontaines with Tourmaline. Ajasson suggests, also, that the first syllable in its name—Lync, may have been derived from the Sanscrit Lanka, the name of Ceylon, one of the localities where the Tourmaline is chiefly found.

2 Ajasson thinks that Rubellite or Red Tourmaline is here alluded to.

3 This is the case with tourmaline when subjected to heat.

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