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Elanthian Gems

Sapphire
Value: Clear sapphires are very common, but other types are rare, very rare, or extremely rare.
Appearance:

Sapphire is an astonishingly versatile stone in its various manifestations. It shares many of its mundane properties with ruby, although its magical differences demonstrate that it is clearly another stone entirely. Many sapphires possess tiny rutile inclusions, and, if these sapphires are cut into a cabochon, they will display a dazzling star with either six or twelve rays. Sapphires occur in almost every color of the rainbow save a true red. Three valuable varieties are particularly worthy of mention: the shimmarglin sapphire, the dragonsbreath sapphire, and the dragonseye sapphire. Shimmarglin sapphires display a striking play of iridescent color across their surfaces, and they are the only variety of sapphire that displays true iridescence. Dragonsbreath sapphires are ice blue, and, compared to all other varieties of sapphire, they are quite fragile, which is odd in a gem normally renowned for its toughness. Dragonseye sapphires are quite dark in hue, and they possess a peculiar crimson and amber pattern at the center of their fire.

Location:

Dragonsbreath sapphires are mined on Teras. Dragonseye sapphires are mined extensively in dwarven holdings stretching through the depths of the DragonSpine Mountains, but they are most commonly seen in elven hands due to various trade agreements. Shimmarglin sapphires were mined outside Ta'Ashrim, but the supply was lost after the Faendryl genocide of the Ashrim rendered the island dangerous and uninhabitable. The Nalfein have located another source of shimmarglin sapphires in recent years, but they are quite closemouthed as to where that source may be -- they have claimed several small islands that originally lay in Ashrim power, however, so the two sources may be related. Other varieties of sapphire are scattered throughout Elanith, but North Hendor is particularly noted for its beautiful blue sapphires.

Lore:

Sapphires are said to have many different and remarkable magical powers, including particular affinities for the element of air, the magic of summoning spirits, and various mental arts. As well, giantmen of the Issimir clan say that wearing sapphire will sharpen your eye for bargains and help protect you from fraud. Withycombe diviners also associate sapphires with property, though in a slightly different fashion -- they say that casting patterns of sapphire runes can reveal the location of lost possessions.

In the human duchy of Aldora, home to the legendary healing art called stone-tending, sapphires are considered a bad-luck gem for royalty -- with their influences over the realm of air, they disconnect the royal mind from concerns of hearth and home, which endangers the safety of the realm. Less exalted people are encouraged to wear them, however, as the gems are supposed to encourage imagination and creativity.

Yellow sapphires are known to be precious to Phoen -- "sunlight sapphires," they are sometimes called. There is an old elven story that claims that all sapphires were once yellow before Cholen's intervention.

According to the story, in ancient times, there was a night when Phoen and Oleani went off for a long romantic evening, and Phoen grew so distracted by the joys of his consort that the sun failed to rise in the morning. People became alarmed at the extending darkness, and they asked the Arkati for help, but Phoen barred the bower against all intrusion, and, because he was known as a mighty warrior, the other Arkati would not intrude when he commanded them to leave. No one knew how long the night would stretch until Cholen called out, "What pretty green sapphires these are!" Phoen was puzzled and annoyed, but he brushed it off as a poor joke and went back to the matter of romance. Then, Cholen called out, "What pretty pink sapphires these are!" Again, Phoen ignored him. At the third time, Cholen called, "What pretty blue sapphires these are!" -- and he threw one into the bower, for he had changed the sapphire from yellow to blue by his arts. Outraged, Phoen rose up and chased after Cholen, bringing the overdue dawn with him as he came. Glad to have the sun return, Imaera hid Cholen until Phoen's anger had faded, but she made a mistake. She hid Cholen in her husband Eonak's domain, the depths of the earth, where Phoen could not find him -- but that put Cholen down with all the sapphires buried in the earth, and Cholen was so delighted with his prank that he continued with the game, creating an essence in the earth that would slowly change sapphires through all the depths of Elanith from yellow to blue, pink, purple, and other hues. From the workings of his spell, few yellow sapphires remained at all, and so it is to this day, when people have forgotten that sapphires were ever primarily yellow at all. To call things "sapphire" is to call them blue.

The dwarven people respect Eonak highly, and most dwarves are unwilling to think that Cholen would interfere so greatly in Eonak's sphere of power -- they react to the elven legend with a grunt of disgust and such comments as "What do elves know about mining?" Interestingly enough, however, one dwarven custom supports the idea that some mysterious power in the earth is at work upon sapphires, for clear sapphires are called "child sapphires" among the Olgretek, Greetok, and Grenroa clans. Upon finding a clear sapphire, an Olgretek, Greetok, or Grenroa dwarf will bury it again until the sapphire's color can mature. These burials are ideally done in solid ground near magma or lava; Eonak's Belt is highly favored for traveling dwarves from these clans who find themselves visiting mountain cousins. Many greybeards in these clans swear that they buried clear sapphires in this fashion in their youth and found them to be brilliant blue when they dug them back up a hundred years later.


Sard
Value: Common.
Appearance:

Sard is a translucent stone that varies in hue between gold, orangish-red, and a brown so dark that it is almost black. It has no fire when cut, and it is normally used in cameos and intaglios.

Location:

Sard can be found in various mining sites throughout the DragonSpine mountains, although it is usually ignored in favor of more valuable gems.

Lore:

Sard is receptive to magics involving healing and manipulation of the flesh. Properly treated, a piece of sard can be used to still bleeding in a very peculiar fashion -- the wound will still appear to bleed, but the patient will not weaken as a result.

A disk of sard with a hole cut in the center is a traditional charm against sorcery in the eastern human lands. The disk is customarily marked with protective runes and suspended on a slim leather cord.


Shimmertine
Value: Infrequently found.
Appearance:

Shimmertine is a fragile, translucent stone that fractures along curved surfaces in a fashion akin to obsidian. From one direction, shimmertine appears pure white, but from another it shines with iridescent hues like those in an opal, and from a third it displays slender rainbow bands like those of rainbow quartz.

Location:

Shimmertine is mined in the lower reaches of the DragonSpine mountains by the Nalfein.

Lore:

Despite its remarkable appearance, shimmertine is not used often in jewelry in the elven city-states. The upper classes consider it too gaudy, and the lower classes rarely wear it because of its fragility.

Shimmertine provides a small but distinct benefit in casting spells of all kinds. Its magical merits are dispersed evenly among the spheres of magic, affecting no one spell more than any other.

For a time, the most productive shimmertine mine in Elanith was just outside the human city of Lolle in the Kingdom of Hendor. Regrettably, the mine was lost in 4630 when the Kingdom of Hendor fell to Issyldra, the Ice Queen. It has been impossible to determine precisely what transpired, but every vein of shimmertine remaining within the mine was magically transmuted to ice at some point during the Ice Queen’s control of the area, destroying its bounty utterly. No known shimmertine deposits are now within human control.

By human custom, giving a piece of shimmertine to someone is a sign of respect. When Emperor Perrinor Rysus first convened the Council of Lords in 4686, he presented each member of the Council with a marvelous goblet crafted from pieces of shimmertine bound together with glimmering silver wire. So cunningly made were the goblets that they were perfectly smooth to the touch despite being made from so many disparate stones. Several of the goblets have been damaged or lost since that day, but most are treasured family heirlooms or safely preserved in museums.


Snake-stone
Value: Uncommon.
Appearance:

Snake-stone, like jade and lapis, is an opaque stone that cannot be faceted. It occurs in hues of light green, misty blue, or pale terra cotta.

Location:

There is no known source of snake-stone outside the Sea of Fire. Rather than being mined, snake-stone is collected by travelers and prospectors from where it lies on the open sands.

Lore:

True snake-stone can be distinguished from dyed jade or alabaster because of its peculiar tactile properties -- real snake-stone is always cold to the touch, even if it has been heated very recently. As well, snake-stone will burn if it is placed into a fire, and it is difficult to replicate the peculiar white flame that ensues -- although, of course, burning snakestone is a poor use for the valuable and magical stone.

In the healing arts, snake-stone is most notably used to cure afflictions of the eye, though it is also said to reduce fever and hinder the progress of disease. Legends of shape-shifters deep in the desert may be attributable to nomads fully harnessing the transformative power of snake-stone, or may be attributable to a bard’s overly fanciful imagination. In either case, it is certainly a very magical stone.

Despite its legendary origin in the coils and battling of snakes in the Sea of Fire, human legend does not associate snake-stone with the workings of Luukos. Instead, snake-stone is associated with the strange spirits known to the desert nomads, which inspires even greater hesitation in some people over the use of the stone. Nomadic reactions in seeing the stone used as jewelry seem to vary -- some people bearing snake-stone are treated with reverence and fear, while others are avoided or even abused as fools, but the precise qualities in the stone that produce the varying reaction are known only to the people of the desert. People from non-hostile Turamzzyrian settlements bordering the Sea of Fire normally avoid wearing the stone themselves because they hesitate to offend or enrage traveling Tehir. However, they have no qualms about selling it.


Spinel
Value: Infrequently found.
Appearance:

Spinel is a transparent stone that bears a strong resemblance to ruby in its most common form. Like ruby, it occurs in octahedrons, and it is almost as durable as its look-alike. As well as the popular red hue, spinel exists in shades of blue, pink, and purple.

Location:

Spinel is mined all over Elanthia, though no true "spinel mines" exist -- the miners are almost always in search of something more valuable.

Lore:

Early in their days of mining, humans were unaware of the difference between ruby and red spinel or sapphire and blue spinel. Observing human ignorance, unscrupulous dwarven traders cheated humans for a very long time before Overking Gerfroth Khazar declared the trickery to be unworthy of his people. Today, elves and humans alike use a number of simple magical tricks to distinguish between high-quality spinels and more valuable gems, but dwarves can almost always recognize the difference on sight.

Magically, spinels are fairly bland, but they do have some use in empathic arts (not merely the stone-tending practiced in Aldora, but healing arts practiced throughout the continent of Elanith.) Empaths use red spinel to reduce inflammation and blue to bring peace and rest to suffering patients. Pink spinel is a less effective form of red, and purple spinel is considered efficacious in both tasks.


Starstone
Value: Blue starstones are infrequently found, green starstones are rare, and red and white starstones are extremely rare.
Appearance:

A starstone is not actually a single stone. It is an object composed of many tiny crystals of different hues. The crystals are always fused together in such a way that the various colors create swirling patterns. The value of any particular starstone depends primarily upon the symmetry and order of its patterns, which depends, in turn, upon the hue of the starstone. Blue is the most common color, and blue starstones rarely show noteworthy patterns, but red, green, and white starstones also exist. The most popular patterns have been given specific names by jewelers. "Krrska's Eye" is the most valuable pattern, probably in part because it requires the stone to be quite large. Krrska's Eye consists of eight symmetrical spirals that spring from a single point. Other popular patterns recognized by jewelers include wave crests, whirlwinds, bulls-eyes, grape leaves, rivers, hoofprints, and feathers.

Location:

N/A

Lore:

Starstones are strongly aligned with the mental lore of divination, a property most utilized by the Winedotter gnomes. The Winedotters have a unique tradition of mysticism that relies upon starstones and elven star maps for its efficacy. When divining the future, a Winedotter will cast a set of consecrated starstones onto the ground and then compare their pattern with astrological charts. Unlike those who wear starstone jewelry, the Winedotters do not look for symmetrical patterns in divination stones -- instead, they look for starstones that display a distinct directional bias, such as an arrowhead shape or, preferably, a chevron. Winedotter records indicate that Lyosi Wyandotte, founder of the bloodline, was particularly fond of this system of divination, which explains why the Winedotters still go to such trouble to import starstones through their contacts among the Aledotters.

When dwarves mine starstones, the gems are all white. However, many starstones change color when first exposed to starlight, and even those starstones that do not change color will often change in pattern. It is impossible to determine in advance which stones will change color and which will not. At the time of the first exposure, color will gradually begin to enter a starstone, and it will continue to change hue until being removed from the starlight. For the best possible results, a starstone should be exposed for the first time upon a perfectly clear summer night, and it should remain exposed from dusk until dawn. This will ensure the maximum potential time to acquire a pattern. Stones are most likely to turn blue, followed by green. Red is the rarest color, and prone to the most valuable patterns, but white stones that change pattern instead of color may display some of the same patterns that a red stone displays.

Followers of the Huntress say that starstones owe their existence to the spirit that they serve. According to these clerics, even starlight-exposed starstones were white until the Guardian reincarnated the Huntress in the form of Krrska, a brilliant eight-pointed star. When night fell, they say, Krrska's light shone over the world for the first time, and the earth resonated with the righteous anger of the Huntress. Starstones, being particularly vulnerable to the influence of the future, were intrinsically changed by the Huntress's divine power. As evidence to support this theory, they point to the fact that Krrska's Eye never appears on starstones that are not exposed beneath a summer sky. Followers of the Huntress routinely wear starstones to divine their deity's will, particularly those bearing Krrska's Eye. In mockery of this custom, Arachne's followers sometimes refer to the eight-spiral pattern as Arachne's Dinner, particularly when it appears upon red starstones.Prior to being exposed to starlight, starstones are completely inert in elemental magics. However, after such exposure, starstones gain elemental alignments that correspond to their hues. White starstones enhance spells related to air, blue starstones enhance spells related to water, red starstones enhance spells related to fire, and green starstones enhance spells related to earth. These properties are not over-much known outside the Wizard’s Guild. As a result, wizards carrying starstone for this reason are occasionally mistaken for diviners.


Sunstone
Value: Extremely rare.
Appearance:

Sunstones look like pieces of rock that have been heated to a dangerous degree by lava, magic, or a powerful forge, but they are cool to the touch and quite safe. In hue, sunstone may be yellow, red, or white, although any color of sunstone is usually spotted with black. They range between transparent and opaque. Although jewelers often facet transparent sunstones, they do so for the pretty reflections cast by light glancing off the gem, for sunstones do not display the fire characteristic of many other precious gems.

Location:

Before Kezmon Isle vanished in 4873, its sunstone mines were legendary. As the decades pass, the story of Kezmon's wealth has become more of a legend than a true recounting, and now tales of the "Sunstone Cliffs of Kai Toka" are routinely told to children. In truth, while an outcropping of pure sunstone had been exposed along a northern cliff for a time, heavy mining obliterated it in very little time, transforming the Sunstone Cliff into a sunstone quarry.

Today, the most notable sunstone mines are on Teras Isle. Still, water-tumbled chunks of sunstone (some as large as a fist) have been known to wash ashore on other minor islands in the western ocean, encouraging stories that the wealth of Kai Toka still exists somewhere beneath the waves.

Lore:

The stone-tenders of Aldora say that sunstone is good for healing deformities and removing scars -- they say that there is a purity about properly cut sunstone that can be used to remind the flesh of its proper shape. Sunstone’s power to enhance transformative spells, however, is slight in comparison to its power to enhance spiritual spells of all kinds. In spiritual matters, it is the one of the most efficacious jewels in Elanthia.

Human belief holds that sunstone will inspire hope and confidence in its wearer. It is also said that wearing sunstone will make a man more fertile -- and, for this reason, many human men refuse to wear it, saying they have no need of assistance in that matter! Those who do wear it for traditional causes tend to wear it discreetly, in a pendant slipped under the shirt or concealed on the underside of an armband. In contrast, human women are encouraged to wear sunstone, for it will enhance their fertility and bring Phoen’s blessings upon their children.

An elven tale of unknown age attributes the sunstones of the western ocean to a divine source. This legend claims that sunstone first came into existence near the end of the Ur-Daemon War. According to this story, a powerful Ur-Daemon called Orslathain sought to destroy the sun by wrapping it in wings of infinite darkness, a darkness that would destroy what it embraced. A wondrous orange-scaled drake (whose name has been lost in time) battled Orslathain at length, but even all the drake's power could not burn away the darkness of Orslathain's vast wings, and it became clear to the drake that he would be slain along with the sun. To preserve the sun, the drake caught it with his tail, took it from the sky and hurled it into the ocean. The sun flew through the water's depths and collided with the ocean floor, causing many fragments of its substance to break away. Steam rose from the ocean in such a great plume that mist cloaked Elanthia for a year and more, and the mists concealed the sun so that Orslathain would not find it. The drakes drove Orslathain back through the portal with the other surviving Ur-Daemons, but the orange-scaled drake, once a mentor to Phoen, was only a cooling corpse. In memory of his mentor, Phoen sought through the mists and took up the sun, raising it high into the sky so that the mists would burn away and Elanthia would have light once more, but he did not bother with the fragments that had broken away. Cooled by years beneath the ocean, the fragments of sun-stuff were transformed into stone, and thus sunstones were created.

No discussion of sunstone would really be complete without mentioning a rather curious saying of the Wendwillow gnomes, which is, "Easy as dropping sunstones on fish in a well." The origin of the saying has been lost in time.


 

 



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