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1 We may here remark, that throughout this Book, in all cases where there is any doubt as to the identification of the substance, the ancient name is retained. Hence our words "adamant" and "diamond." If Pliny means the latter, which is doubtful, it still maintains the rank here assigned to it. The word "adamas" is supposed to be derived from the Greek ἀ, privative, and δαμὰω, "to subdue," it being supposed to be invincible by fire. The diamond is pure carbon crystallized, and is thought to have been of vegetable origin. Dana has the following remarks upon the word "adamas."—"This name was applied by the ancients to several minerals differing much in their physical properties. A few of these are quartz, specular iron ore, emery, and other substances of rather high degrees of hardness, which cannot now be identified. It is doubtful whether Pliny had any acquaintance with the real diamond."—System of Mineralogy, Art. Diamond. We may also add, from the same authority, that the method of polishing diamonds was first discovered in 1456, by Louis Berquen, a citizen of Bruges, previous to which time the diamond was only known in its native uncut state.
2 This statement cannot apply to the "diamond" as known to us, though occasionally grains of gold have been found in the vicinity of the diamond.
3 Ajasson is of opinion that the Æthiopia here mentioned is in reality India, and that the "Temple of Mercury" means the Brahmaloka, or Temple of Brahma.
4 The diamond, as known to us, is octahedral.
5 Though found in comparative abundance in India, the diamond is not found in Arabia.
6 This is not the case with the diamond; for on being struck under such circumstances, it will break.
7 In reality, the diamond will burn, and, at a temperature of 14° Wedgewood, is wholly consumed, producing carbonic acid gas.
8 See Note 1, above.
9 " Millet-seed."
10 Ajasson says, that no doubt this adamas was Adamantine, or limpid Corundum.
11 Ajasson suggests that this may have been Dichroite, or Cordierite, known also as Iolite, or Water sapphire.
12 Possibly the Siderite, sparry iron, or spathic iron of modern Mineralogy. Ajasson is inclined to think that it is Corundum, of a dark hue.
13 See B. xx. c. 1, B. xxviii. cc. 23, 41, and B. xxxii. c. 12
14 Brotero thinks that this was a story invented by the dealers, with a view of concealing the real method of breaking the stone.
15 Said, probably, with reference to the rank, nauseous smell of the hegoat.
16 This is true with reference to the diamond, and, in a less degree, several other crystalline substances, emery and quartz, for example.
17 Ajasson remarks, that if the diamond is placed in the magnetic line or current of the loadstone, it attracts iron equally with the loadstone, and consequently neutralizes the attractive power of the loadstone in a considerable degree.
19 See B. iv. c. 27, and Chapter 11 of this Book.
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