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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 2 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.

1 "Sandaresus" and "Sandasiros" are other readings. This stone has not been identified, but Ajasson is inclined to think that it may have been Aventurine quartz, and is the more inclined to this opinion, as that mineral is found in Persia, and sandastra or tchandastra is purely a Sanscrit word. The description, however, would hardly seem to apply to Aventurine.

2 Dalechamps thinks that this is the same as the "anthracites" mentioned in B. xxxvi. c. 38, and identifies it either with our Anthracite, or else with pit-coal or bituminous coal. It is much more likely, however, that a precious stone is meant; and, in conformity with this opinion, Brotero and Ajasson have identified it with the Spinelle or scarlet Ruby, and the Balas or rose-red ruby, magnesiates of alumina.

3 Littré suggests that the reading here probably might be "ob id non magno"—" sell not so dear."

4 It has not been identified.

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