CHAP. 28. —SANDASTROS. SANDARESOS.
Of a kindred nature, too, is sandastros,1
known as "garamantites"
by some: it is found in India, at a place of that
name, and is a product also of the southern parts of Arabia.
The great recommendation of it is, that it has all the appearance
of fire placed behind a transparent substance, it burning with
star-like scintillations within, that resemble drops of gold, and
are always to be seen in the body of the stone, and never upon
the surface. There are certain religious associations, too, connected
with this stone, in consequence of the affinity which it
is supposed to bear with the stars; these scintillations being
mostly, in number and arrangement, like the constellations of
the Pleiades and Hyades; a circumstance which had led to the
use of it by the Chaldæi in the ceremonials which they practise.
Here, too, the male stones are distinguished from the female,
by their comparative depth of colour and the vigorousness of
the tints which they impart to objects near them: indeed the
stones of India, it is said, quite dim the sight by their brilliancy.
The flame of the female sandastros is of a more softened nature,
and may be pronounced to be lustrous rather than brilliant.
Some prefer the stone of Arabia to that of India, and say that
this last bears a considerable resemblance to a smoke-coloured
chrysolithos. Ismenias asserts that sandastros, in consequence
of its extreme softness, will not admit of being polished, a
circumstance which makes it sell all3
the dearer: other writers,
again, call these stones "sandrisitæ." One point upon which
all the authorities are agreed is, that the greater the number
of stars upon the stone, the more costly it is in price.
The similarity of the name has sometimes caused this stone to be
confounded with that known as "sandaresos," and which Nicander
calls "sandaserion," and others "sandaseron." Some, again,
call this last-mentioned stone "sandastros," and the former one
"sandaresos." The stone4
that is thus mentioned by Nicander,
is a native of India as well as the other, and likewise takes
its name from the locality where it is found. The colour of
it is that of an apple, or of green oil, and no one sets any
value on it.