Gemstone believed to have occult properties, described by
sixteenth-century writer Camillus Leonardus as ‘‘reckoned
among the purple and transparent stones, mixed with a violet
colour, emitting rosy sparkles.’’ The Indian variety is the most
precious. When made into drinking cups or bound on the
navel, it was claimed to prevent drunkenness. It was also believed
to sharpen the wit, turn away evil thoughts, and give a
knowledge of the future in dreams. Drunk in a potion, it was
thought to expel poison and render the barren fruitful. In ancient
times it was frequently engraved with the head of Bacchus
and was a favorite with Roman women.

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