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Elanthian Gems

On Gem Values

Despite being quite cheap and common, a gem may not be readily available in all parts of the world. Blue quartz, for example, is so common on the east side of the DragonSpine that even elven peasants rarely wear it as jewelry. Even so, those who ask wandering merchants for an item made of blue quartz may experience some difficulty -- a gem may be common, but that does not mean that it is common "here," wherever "here" might be. Elves are more likely to have gems from the east side of the DragonSpine, halflings are more likely to have gems found in the frozen north, humans are more likely to have gems found in the Turamzzyrian Empire, and so on.

Prices offered for a gem may vary from place to place, but intelligent jewelers are aware of the various rarities of gems throughout the world, and few are willing to pay more for a gem from an adventurer than they would have to pay to have it imported. (Many will cheerfully pay less!) Less educated jewelers are quickly rooked by visiting adventurers and driven out of business.

Very common Very common gems are worth 25 silver at most.
Common Common gems are worth 25 to 75 silver.
Infrequently found Infrequently found gems are worth 75 to 300 silver.
Uncommon Uncommon gems are worth 300 to 750 silver.
Rare Rare gems are worth 750 to 1750 silver.
Very rare Very rare gems are worth 1750 to 3750 silver.
Extremely rare Extremely rare gems are worth 3750 to 5500 silver.
Extraordinarily rare Extraordinarily rare gems are worth 5500 to 7000 silver.
Legendary Legendary gems are remarkably valuable, and they are valued at more than 7000 silver apiece.
Mythical

The stuff of dreams and myths, these gems are snatched up hungrily by jewelers as evidence that they really do exist.


Agate
Value: Varies with the variety. Most Elanthian agate ranges between very common and
infrequently found, but chameleon agate is extremely rare.
Appearance:

Dwarven miners say that agates are nothing but interesting forms of chalcedony, usually accompanied by grunting and grousing over the imprecision of the Common language. (The dwarven language is noteworthy for having a different, specific word for every kind of mineral and gem known to the dwarves, unlike elven, Common, and the other commonly spoken languages of Elanith.)

Some noteworthy varieties found upon the continent of Elanith are described below.

Banded agate:
This term describes any agate marked with narrow bands of color that vary between opaque and semitranslucent.

Blue lace agate:
This is a kind of banded agate marked with white, violet, and pale blue stripes, often shimmering in a fashion similar to moonstone.

Chameleon agate:
To be precise, this agate is not properly found upon the continent of Elanith, for it can be found only on Teras Isle. The stone displays translucent bands of red, yellow, and green, each with a clearly demarcated border. Like the lizard for which it is named, it shifts from light to dark to match its surroundings.

Cloud agate:
Compared to the elegant translucency of its cousins, cloud agate is almost opaque. Layers of grey, white, and pale blue course through its substance beneath its waxy luster.

Fire agate:
Fire agate is said to resemble burning embers. Although it is layered, the stone does not properly form bands, producing an opalescent play of color instead. Its primary color is reddish-brown, but iridescent hints of orange, scarlet, green, and yellow can be seen within it.

Moss agate:
Despite being solid stone, moss agate looks like nothing so much as stringy bits of moss imprisoned in a pebble of ice -- thin tendrils of dark green and pale brown thread through a perfectly transparent exterior.

Mottled agate:
Mottled agate does not properly have bands. Instead, leaf green, honey brown, and creamy white form webbing patterns through its translucent interior in a fashion that is similar to moss agate. Some people nickname it "forest agate" instead.

Tigereye agate:
Tigereye agate is a beautiful, shimmering stone that displays bands of fiery gold upon a background of dark brown when it catches the light.

Location:

Although one type or another may be more prevalent in a given region, agate can be mined all over the continent of Elanith. Two sources of agate are worthy of particular mention. One is the marvelous agate beach of Lake Ghelutha, found in the territory of the Brughan halflings in northeastern Elanith, where the ground is entirely covered with water-tumbled agates. Few of the agates are of high enough quality to earn a jeweler's interest, but the sight is remarkable. The other exceptional source of agate is the Naesakain River, which flows down from the DragonSpine Mountains in the farthest northwest part of the lands settled by the Nalfein. Pieces of banded agate may be scooped from its depths by anyone with the desire, and agate stones routinely wash ashore at the river's termination, where the Naesakain River plunges over the Aethalain Falls to create the Lake of Mirrors.

In addition, every type of agate found upon the continent of Elanith can be found upon the Erithian continent, with the sole exception of chameleon agate. Rumor has it that the Erithi even possess varieties of agate that are unknown to the races of Elanith, but the Erithi are quite close-mouthed about the resources of their homeland. Considering that their lands have long been raided by rogues and scavengers of many races, their preference for mystery is not entirely surprising, but it is disappointing to those who wish to chronicle such matters.

Lore:

Agate is aligned with spiritual magic, enhancing spells of spirit summoning, religion, and blessing equally. Some suspect that the Erithi have found a way for it to enhance mental magics as well, but, if so, it is not widely known.

Servants of Gosaena prize moss agate as a symbol of the goddess of death, considering the transition between living moss and deathless stone to be similar to the soul's transition from mortal existence in Elanthia to immortal existence in the unknown lands beyond the Ebon Gates. In circumstances where wearing the goddess's sickle symbol would be inappropriate (celebrations of birth and life) many Gosaenan clerics will don a talisman of moss agate instead. It is also said that those in Gosaena's highest favor can divine the hour of someone's death by meditating on moss agate.

The Erithi value agate very highly, particularly the Surath Dai. Though the record of Erithi history stretches back only fifteen hundred years, Erithian scholars are convinced that the traditions related to agate are far older. The word for "soul" (raiyatha) and the word for "agate" (raiyartha) are quite similar in the Erithi language, making linguists certain that they derive from the same source. A traditional prayer among the Erithi, also suspected to be older than their arrival in Atan Irith, addresses Lumnis as "Mother of Agates" and asks the goddess to aid the Erithian people in showing mercy to one another.

Poets among the Erithi use agate as a symbol for the soul on a routine basis, and every variety of agate carries its own special symbolism as well. Part of a traditional Erithian wedding ceremony requires the bride and groom to drink from a bowl carved of agate, and the specific agate of the bowl is chosen with careful attention to the traditional symbolism.


Alabaster
Value:

Infrequently found.

Appearance:

Alabaster is a lustrous, fine-grained stone often used in sculpture because of its softness. True alabaster is weak enough to be scratched with a fingernail. In hue, it is either snow white or streaked with red. High quality alabaster is translucent with a delicate sheen to its surface, but lesser quality alabaster may be opaque.

Location:

Alabaster can be mined in a variety of locations, including the DragonSpine Mountains and most of southwestern Elanith.

Lore:

Some humans say that powdered alabaster will heal diseases of the skin. Although alabaster has no particular alignment with healing magic, the pale, faintly shimmering powder serves as an effective disguise for most such diseases when combined into ointment.

Magically, alabaster is an oddity. It can be used as a catalyst to enhance almost any spell, but it will always be destroyed in the working.

A major deposit of alabaster once existed beneath Rhoska-Tor, but the magically sensitive stone transforms into despanal when exposed to a high degree of sorcerous magic. Only slight traces of alabaster remain, and those only where veins of mithril or krodera shielded the metal.

The Faendryl are the masters of alabaster. Their greatest stoneworkers know a way to “seal” the stone with spiritual magic and reduce its fragility. They craft ornate and beautiful vases, urns, and pieces of sculpture from the stone. For the most part, these elegant creations do not leave Faendryl hands, but the rare exception has led to Faendryl craftsmanship being present in more than one elven palace.


Alexandrite
Value: Very rare.
Appearance:

Alexandrite is noteworthy for its dramatic property of changing color. When seen beneath sunlight, alexandrite stones are an elegant green hue, but magical light or the light of the moon Liabo will display it as red instead. The value of an alexandrite stone is based upon its size, its clarity, and the intensity of its hues.

Location:

N/A

Lore:

Alexandrite is considered a good-luck stone by the elves, and both elves and humans consider it to be a particularly useful stone when practicing divinatory magics. It is said that, by considering a situation and meditating upon alexandrite as Liabo rises, the future may be discerned in the stone's color change.

Illistim scholars suggest that the human reverence for alexandrite stems from a half-elf raised in Ta'Loenthra, who suffered a religious epiphany, converted to worship of Jastev, and moved to live among humans. Loenthran legend agrees with the story on all points but one, claiming that the half-elf in question was raised in Ta'Illistim rather than Loenthra. Alexandrite is fairly rare in the Turamzzyrian Empire, as it is mined only in the DragonSpine mountains, but humans traditionally hold that Jastev inspired them with knowledge of alexandrite's properties and that the elves had nothing whatsoever to do with the matter.

Halflings do not divine by alexandrite, but they too consider alexandrite to be usefully in magic. Truefolk diplomats almost always carry a piece of alexandrite because their people believe that it can change the hearts of their enemies and help a call for peace. As a result, alexandrite is called "Stone of the Peacemakers."


Amber
Value: Uncommon.
Appearance:

Amber is a lustrous, honey-golden stone. The most valuable pieces of amber are transparent, but translucent and cloudy amber also exists. Sylvans say that there are other types of amber, including brown, green, blue, and black, but only the golden shade is honored as "true" amber by the other races. Many pieces of amber contain insects or small fragments of leaves imprisoned within their substance. Amber cannot be faceted.

Location:

Amber is found worldwide. It is mined along with other gems in parts of the forested lowlands of Highmount, and dwarves have occasionally mentioned encountering it far below the earth in other places. However, establishing a mine solely to retrieve amber is not profitable, considering that amber can be acquired much more easily when it washes ashore on both coastlines.

Lore:

Amber possesses power over the spirits of the earth and is often used in spirit summoning magics.

Unlike most stones, amber will burn in a candle flame. When it burns, it produces a white smoke and a sweet scent reminiscent of pine resin. Priests of Imaera say that amber stones are the Arkati's tears, shed when she witnesses the disruption of the natural cycles by intervention of the mortal races or by intervention of the Arkati of Lornon.

Amber is also unusual because it will float in salt water. Among the Ashrim, a customary gift for a first-time sea captain was a piece of amber jewelry, ideally a medallion carved with the image of his ship. The sentiment ran that, just as the waves brought the amber to the shore, the captain's ship would come home safe and sound.

Sylvan legend holds that Imaera sometimes sends spirits in the form of animals into the forest and marks them with a necklace, an earring, or another ornament made of amber. To attack such a spirit would be a grievous crime against the Arkati who sent it, and therefore they are sacrosanct. The sylvan who receives an amber talisman as a gift from such a servant is destined for true greatness.

Many followers of Sheru also take an interest in amber. They draw an analogy between insects trapped in amber and minds trapped in nightmares. Iron-strung amber medallions that contain flies or butterflies are particularly popular.

Tinkerers among the Withycombe gnomes have discovered that, if a piece of amber is rubbed with a cloth, it will then attract tiny objects like scraps of paper, a property which has led to a number of peculiar experiments. To date, none of these experiments have proved particularly useful, but there is always tomorrow.


Amethyst
Value: Uncommon.
Appearance:

Amethyst is actually a variety of quartz, and therefore fairly common, but its beauty makes it a highly popular gem. It is distinguished from other quartz variants by its purple color. Typically, it is found in long crystals that terminate in a six-sided pyramid at each end, but it can also form in crystalline crusts that show only the pointed terminations.

Location:

Amethysts are mined throughout Elanthia.

Lore:

Amethysts are associated with the Arkati Cholen, who reigns over wine, festivals, and merrymaking. In the Turamzzyrian Empire, it is said that, whenever a libation is poured in Cholen's name, an amethyst will grow in the earth. It may be for this reason that amethysts are regarded as the sovereign charm against drunkenness.

Supposedly, a musical instrument will play more purely if it has been set with an amethyst. Although the virtue of the amethyst is honored among bards of all races and supported by the experience of the Bard Guild, some Illistim scholars suspect that the belief stems from a practice in Ta’Loenthra, where a magnificent bardic competition is held once every ten years. Traditionally, the reigning monarch presents the winning musician with an amethyst-inlaid harp strung with silver, and replicas of such harps have long been the joy of unscrupulous merchants throughout Elanith.

In traditional elven heraldry, the amethyst is the signature jewel of House Loenthra. An elf that particularly pleases the monarch of Ta'Loenthra (or a royal representative with the appropriate authority) may be honored with the right to display an amethyst in his or her crest.

Magically, amethysts are unresponsive except to spells relating to manipulation. Few are aware of this property on the continent of Elanith, although it is common knowledge among Erithian savants.


Aquamarine
Value: Infrequently found.
Appearance:

Aquamarine is a perfectly transparent gem of an extraordinarily pale blue color with just a hint of green. It can be faceted to produce a delicate yet brilliant fire.

Location:

N/A

Lore:

Despite the legends and associations, aquamarine corresponds magically to the mental school of transference, and it remains quite inert to water magics.

Stone-tenders say that aquamarine help protect against seasickness -- a rather ironic assertion, since most stone-tenders come from the landlocked Duchy of Aldora, but many infrequent sea travelers swear by its usefulness. (Others just swear, but the gem's success stories travel farther than its failures.)

Diviners say that aquamarine can be used to predict the moods of the sea and to help find a course least likely to anger Charl.

Ancient legend holds that Niima's mother, like the Arkati Lumnis, took a particular interest in mortals. Supposedly, a seafaring elf was supposed to give up his life upon the ocean and move inland to fulfill the terms of a betrothal made when he was a small child. When he last went to the goddess's shrine, he filled the font upon the altar with saltwater from his tears of regret. The heart of the Arkati was touched by the elf's love of her husband's realm, and she touched the water with her power, transforming some of it into an aquamarine talisman. Ever after, it is said, whenever someone grieves for lack of the sea, part of their grief filters down into the rock and creates aquamarine stones. The dwarves say this is all nonsense, but the legend has captured elven fancy to a degree that seems unlikely to fade.

When traveling far from the shore, human and elven sailors alike often wear aquamarine amulets engraved with dolphins to invoke Niima's favor and avoid Charl's wrath.

A gift of aquamarine represents sympathy, trust, and fellow-feeling.


Aventurine
Value: Common.
Appearance:

Aventurine is actually a form of quartz, and it is fairly common throughout the continent of Elanith. It is a milky green stone that may sparkle from its many inclusions when the light strikes it properly. Its translucency varies from cloudy to fully opaque.

Location:

One of the best sources of aventurine is the mines near Kragsfell in the Turamzzyrian Empire.

Lore:

Aventurine receives little attention among elves and dwarves, as it is dismissed by both as a lesser stone, but it is beloved in the human barony of Highmount and in surrounding cities. In Kragsfell, aventurine is cheap enough for even a peasant to own a pendant, a ring, or a few beads made of the stone, and a piece of aventurine jewelry is a traditional courting gift in that region.

Aventurine is only mildly useful in magical endeavors. It can be used in various spells requiring stone components, but it will enhance no particular type of spell more or less than any other type.

Aventurine, "the adventurer's stone," is said to promote creativity and strength of mind. A gift of aventurine wishes prosperity and strength for the recipient. These customs are generally not honored outside human peasantry, however, as most of the nobility would scorn to wear a jewel so common.

In the human barony of Dragach, the locals say that aventurine is special to Tonis because the young Arkati has always had a love of adventure. Wayposts in Dragach are customarily carved with the profile of a pegasus in flight, and the pegasus normally bears a chip of aventurine for its eye. Hideous curses are supposed to befall those who loot the wayposts for the gems.

One human legend speaks of an artifact made from aventurine, the Bowl of Issunion. Supposedly, a forest spirit asked the woodcutter Issunion to spare a certain grove of trees, and, when Issunion agreed, the spirit led him into that grove and gave him a bowl carved from solid aventurine. By filling the bowl with water, speaking a name, and looking into the bowl, he could see the truth of whether that person was alive or dead. He went on a number of odd adventures seeking clues to the bowl's magical property, and he died a very rich man with many healthy children.



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