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Elanthian Gems

Jade
Value: Varies with variety. White jade is uncommon, green jade is rare despite being the best-known variety, and other varieties are infrequently found.
Appearance:

The most commonly known color of jade is green, but jade also occurs naturally in yellow, white, and brown hues. It is opaque to semi-translucent, with a fine, rich luster.

Location:

Many fine jade deposits exist throughout Elanith, but the finest are found in the frozen north, particularly the region of Icemule Trace, the territory of the Mhoragian halflings, and the wastelands favored by the Wsalamir giantmen. There are also several noteworthy deposits upon the Erithian continent, where white jade is by far the most common of the varieties.

Lore:

Jade serves as an excellent conduit for invoking the blessings of various spirits, particularly when worn as an amulet. However, if jade is overexposed to elemental magics, it may become discolored, as its natural affinity for spiritual magic conflicts with the elemental magic and the two combine to produce a sorcerous taint. (In moderation, jade assists in sorcerous magics as well, but an excess of elemental magic can destroy the stone.) Noting this odd property, the Erithi have developed a sophisticated technique for dying jade through careful exposure to elemental magic. Cracking open a piece of dyed Erithian jade reveals that the hue extends only the thickness of a fingernail into the stone, leaving the natural white jade beneath. Some jewelers are experimenting with cameos and bas-relief carvings that take advantage of the contrast between the dark, dyed portions and the pale hue within.

Elven tradition holds that amulets, medallions, and other jade ornaments are said to encourage calm and deep thought in their wearer even if they have not been enchanted. Talismans made of jade spheres enclosed in lattice-worked wood lockets are common gifts from parents to children in Ta'Ardenai.

When a courtship shifts from playful flirtation to a serious romance, a Paradis man will often signal the shift in his intentions by presenting the object of his affection with a talisman of snow white jade. The talisman is carved with an image that is either supposed to represent the woman or some aspect of the relationship between the pair. Iceblossoms, wolves, and pine trees are particularly popular images for these talismans.

The Wsalamir also place significance upon jade. When a Wsalamir woman weds, her husband will tie a leather thong about her left wrist to make a crude bracelet. If she bears a child, then, upon the child's naming day, she will untie the leather thong and add a green jade bead to it to represent the baby. The bead is engraved with the Saramar rune that is the first in the child's name. When the child reaches maturity, the mother will exchange the green jade bead for one of brown jade. If the child dies, she will wear a white jade bead instead of brown or green to represent the lost child's spirit.

In human lands, green jade is often associated with legends of the Arkati Ivas. Priests of Koar often tell stories of the horrors of Ivas's bedchamber in order to warn young men and women against the dangers of physical intimacy before marriage, or, after marriage, to warn them against infidelity. According to these stories, Ivas routinely walks among mortals to tempt them into licentious behavior, and she transforms the most favored of her conquests into statues of solid green jade. Completely aware, but completely unable to act, these undying statues witness every cruelty inflicted by the flesh-eating Arkati upon her less-favored conquests. As a result, many clerics of Ivas delight in jade, but it has sporadic popularity among other humans due to these legends.


Jasper
Value: Common.
Appearance:

Jasper is an opaque stone that may be black, red, or yellow. It can be rather pretty when polished, but it is quite unimpressive in its rough state.

Location:

Jasper can be mined worldwide.

Lore:

Jasper is quite well-suited for channeling and redirecting elemental energy, as many wizards have discovered while experimenting with a certain commonly-used spell that creates temporary storage containers. Of its three common hues, yellow jasper is the most useful in elemental magics, red jasper is the second most useful, and black is the least useful, with the last of the three sometimes producing unreliable results. Alchemical recipes for the summoning and binding of various elementals will frequently include yellow jasper dust as a necessary component.

Jasper is also associated with thieves, and, while it is difficult to learn the complete truth of any matter involving the Rogues' Guild, there is one commonly-known explanation. The Grot'karesh giantmen do not shun sorcery, considering it one more weapon against Despana's return, and many skillful hexers can be found in the fortress city of Kilanirij. Because jasper is a cheap, ready available gem in the Southron Wastes of their home, many Grot'karesh travelers took to carrying a cursed piece of jasper in their pouches to fend off pickpockets. As many clerics of Tonis have close relationships with members of the Rogues' Guild, the clerics rapidly noticed this trend. One of these clerics communed to Tonis and asked for his aid, telling the Arkati, "Your hands are so fast that you can touch it and never draw forth the curse, but ours are only mortal!" The Arkati responded by changing a pile of the cursed jaspers so that they all were blessed with the ability to remove a curse, and the cleric spread the jaspers throughout the Rogues' Guild. Each piece of jasper had been marked with the sign of a pegasus, and the pegasus-carved jasper rapidly became a recognition sign for traveling thieves. Many clerics of Tonis also wear jasper in honor of this story.

The legend of the blessed jaspers has also worked its way into rogues' slang. Among rogues, someone who is a "yellow jasper" is a rogue who uses his skills for the benefit of the city and his fellow citizens, normally through picking locks and disarming traps rather than through pickpocketing, and he will not steal from someone unless provoked. A "red jasper" is a rogue who steals, but who will not steal from empaths, clerics of Lorminstra, other rogues, or those who aid him. A "black jasper" makes his living from pickpocketing, and such a rogue considers few targets off-limits, if any. Related slang includes "She has a jasper wedding ring" (meaning that someone is married to a rogue), "Not a jasper in his jewelry box" (meaning that the person is too snobbish to associate with rogues), and "Give him a piece of jasper" (which is one thief suggesting to another thief that someone would make a good pickpocketing target.)


Jet
Value: Uncommon.
Appearance:

Jet is a glossy, transparent black stone that is difficult to distinguish from glass.

Location:

Jet can be found along the eastern side of the DragonSpine, in various small deposits throughout the southern part of the Turamzzyrian Empire, and in limited areas in the Sea of Fire.

Lore:

Some of the human desert tribes that inhabit the Sea of Fire consider jet a material that is sacred to the most evil of spirits, and members of these tribes will not speak with those who wear jet for fear that they are possessed by such spirits. Knowledgeable Hendoran traders whisper that this has something to do with the doom that befell the accursed Tehir city of Bir Mahallah. The Tehir themselves will not discuss the story with outsiders, and some react quite violently if it is mentioned.

Outside the Sea of Fire, traditional human lore holds that jet will aid people in hiding, sneaking about, and blending into the night. As a result, jet talismans are often favored by thieves, snipers, and others who require the cover of the shadows. Because of the gem's glossy shine, however, these talismans are usually worn inside clothing or otherwise concealed, because they will otherwise draw attention to the person who is trying to hide!

Current elven lore also relates jet to the art of concealment. In Ta'Nalfein, if a person wears a jet earcuff or a pair of jet earrings, it is a signal that someone practices undercover arts and is currently available for hire. Such pieces of jewelry are often enchanted with potent charms to assist in stealth, hiding, and eavesdropping. In any of the elven cities, particularly Ta'Nalfein, a gift of jet jewelry should be taken as a direct threat; symbolically, it means, "I know what you are trying to hide from me."

In contrast to their city cousins among the elves, the sylvans mistrust jet, and this is due in large part to its resemblance to amber. They consider amber to be a sacred stone, and they believe that jet is a cursed form of amber. More than one sylvan tale exists in which some poor innocent's soul is sucked away by wearing a piece of jet against the skin.

The sylvan belief most likely dates from the year -15,188, and some of the other beliefs may stem from that time as well. In that fateful year, Faendryl sorcerers lost control of their summoned creations and demons decimated the sylvan legions along with the armies of Despana. To distinguish the demon-summoners from the other Faendryl spellcasters, each of the Faendryl sorcerers wore a signet ring set with a gleaming jet stone. At the time, the logic went that jet was cheap, attractive, and could easily be marked with the crest of House Faendryl. Afterward, the memory of light gleaming off so many jet rings remained with the survivors as a mark of taint.

Despite the many negative associations of jet, it is also called “the sleeper’s friend,” for jet is the sacred stone of Ronan. Parents of many cultures will set a carved jet statue beside a child’s bedside and speak a prayer over the statue to keep nightmares away. These statues are traditionally unicorns or mounted knights, but any shape that the child finds comforting and reassuring is beneficial. Wearing a bracelet or anklet of jet can also aid with insomnia, perhaps due to the gem’s faint magical affinity for warding the mind against intrusion.To distinguish true jet from glass, jewelers place a sample of the jet in a candle flame. True jet produces white smoke and turns white about the edges, while glass bursts from the heat. If it is true jet, the residue upon its surface can be cleaned away with a damp cloth after it cools, and the gem will be undamaged by the test.


Labradorite
Value: Common.
Appearance:

From most angles, labradorite appears to be a dark-hued, dull mineral. When light strikes it correctly, however, it will blaze with a specific kind of iridescence called "labradorescence."

Location:

Labradorite can be found in the northern steppes, among the peaks of Kragsfell, near the elven city of Ta'Illistim, and in a variety of other places throughout Elanith.

Lore:

Humans, particularly human peasants, believe that labradorite jewelry has many protective qualities, including saving its wearers from risk of death by falling and from lightning strikes. However, experimentation by various guilds suggests that its only true magical property lies with a slight ability to enhance spiritual spells of blessing.

The Sisters of the Hidden Eye, famed seers in Phannus, are known to use labradorite talismans when testing children for divinatory gifts. The children are ordered to look at the labradorite, concentrate on the colors, and picture themselves being filled with the same colors.

Bardic rumor holds that, no matter what disguise he has chosen, Tilamaire can be recognized because his eyes will shine in candlelight with colors just like those of labradorite. Clerics of Tilamaire and bards who hope to earn the spirit's favor often carry pieces of labradorite.

Labradorite is nicknamed "peacock stone" both for its remarkable ability to display flashing colors and because of the mines near Ta'Illistim. For a period of time, it was quite popular for citizens of Ta'Illistim to wear labradorite jewelry in situations where valuable jewelry would be too much at risk -- trials of combat, for example, or treks through the woods. However, this fashion has fallen into disfavor over the last hundred years.


Lapis lazuli
Value: Infrequently found.
Appearance:

Lapis lazuli (sometimes abbreviated to lapis) is an opaque blue stone marked with streaks and specks of twinkling gold. As a general rule, the deeper the hue, the more expensive the stone, so long as it is not flawed.

Location:

N/A

Lore:

Lapis lazuli is a useful magical catalyst when attempting to work with opposing elemental forces, such as combining fire and ice or combining air and earth in a single spell.

According to human tradition, wearing lapis lazuli will bring peace of mind and spirit. The stone-tenders in Aldora believe that lapis lazuli is also useful for easing fever and muscle pain, and suffering patients are often requested to wear lapis lazuli on both wrists, both ankles, and the forehead.

When crushed and added to appropriate substances, lapis lazuli creates the most intense blue pigment known to artists. This art was initially discovered by the elves, and the Loenthran elves have a story about how it was first discovered. The foundation of the story lies in an ancient painting that depicts the young Arkati Niima standing atop an ocean wave. The painting in question is unsigned, but Loenthran records state that it was created by Shirvande Loenthra, the youngest daughter of Callisto Loenthra and also a marvelous artist. Supposedly, Shirvande had seen Niima as she walked along the shore one sunlit day, and she became obsessed with the idea of capturing the moment in painting, but she grew dismayed and saddened because she lacked an adequate blue pigment for the brilliance of the sun-streaked water. After two years of work, she went to destroy her canvas, but Jastev suddenly appeared before her and asked her to spare the painting. When Shirvande did as Jastev asked, Jastev showed her how to crush lapis lazuli in order to make a blue paint unlike any other, and she finished the painting with the beautiful blue paint.

Lapis is also associated with the Huntress. Legend holds that the Huntress was once the bodyguard of a great king, but that the queen, jealous of her beauty, betrayed her and sought to have Arachne slay her. Supposedly, the token of favor that drove the queen over the edge was a teardrop lapis amulet, given to the Huntress by the king's own hands as he praised the Huntress for her beauty and her loyalty. Worshippers of the Huntress have been known to receive amulets in this style when they have truly pleased their goddess. Such amulets are called "the Huntress's tears," but the name is linked to a parable-- it is said that the Huntress wept only once in all her mortal years, and that time only when the king reviled her as a betrayer. The spirit's tears are stone because her heart is so hardened by discipline that she would never weep.


 



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