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Defects in opal are, a colour inclining to that of the flower called heliotropium,1 or to that of crystal or of hailstones; saltlike grains intervening; roughness on the surface; or sharp points, presenting themselves to the eye. There is no stone that is imitated by fraudulent dealers with more exactness than this, in glass, the only mode of detecting the imposition being by the light of the sun. For when a false2 opal is held between the finger and thumb, and exposed to the rays of that luminary, it presents but one and the same transparent colour throughout, limited to the body of the stone: whereas the genuine opal offers various refulgent tints in succession, and reflects now one hue and now another, as it sheds its luminous brilliancy upon the fingers.

This stone, in consequence of its extraordinary beauty, has been called "pæderos"3 by many authors; and some who make a distinct species of it, say that it is the same as the stone that in India is called "sangenon." These last-mentioned stones, it is said, are found in Egypt also, Arabia, and, of very inferior quality, in Pontus. Galatia, too, is said to produce them, as also Thasos and Cyprus. The finest in quality of them have all the beauty of opal, but they are of a softer brilliancy, and are mostly rough on the surface. Their colour is a mixture of sky-blue and purple, and the green hues of the smaragdus are wanting: those, too, are preferred, which have their brilliancy deepened by a vinous hue, rather than those which have their colours diluted, as it were, with water.

1 See B. xxii. c. 29.

2 This is the case with common opal, as distinguished from precious opal.

3 "Lovely youth."

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