Pomba Mundo
Precious Stones and Their Occult Influence
Editorial Note:
The following article is reproduced from “Lucifer” magazine, London, September 1890, pp. 223 to 226. The word “Lucifer” is an ancient name for Venus, the light-bearer, the planet-sister of our Earth.[1]
Signing as editor, H. P. Blavatsky added this commentary to the end of the article:
“The above is of course the superstition of the occult tradition. Comparative study in this field of research has yet to be attempted, when it will be proved that there is a true scientific basis in the widespread belief in the virtues of the ‘tears of the Gods’.”
As to the importance of stones, Blavatsky wrote in “Isis Unveiled”:
“Pythagoras pays a particular attention to the color and nature of precious stones; while Apollonius of Tyana imparts to his disciples the secret virtues of each [of them] …”. [2]
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
Mystic Lore of Gems and Crystals
From ancient times belief in the magical properties and talismanic virtues of gems and crystals has been prevalent, especially in the East, the source of mystic wisdom. But in these days to credit anything in Nature with occult virtue is held to be a foolish thing, and the practical moderns see no “power to charm” in precious stones, save by their commercial value. So that a jewel once venerated by the Magi of old, as a talisman possessing wondrous power, is to-day for the world at large a valuable ornament, and nothing more. Therefore, let us search for ourselves the lore of the past, and learn the mystic virtues that precious gems possessed in vanished ages.
The Diamond first shines forth. It was held in peculiar veneration by the ancient Romans: fastened on the left arm it banished all nocturnal terrors and was a safeguard against insanity. Moreover, it was held to possess the power of counteracting the effects of poisons and detecting their presence by becoming dim and moist. This belief continued to a late period, but diamonds (probably pulverised) are enumerated as being among the poisons administered to the unfortunate Sir Thomas Overbury by the infamous Earl and Countess of Somerset. A quaint old writer says: “He who carries the diamond upon him, it gives him hardihood and manhood and keeps his limbs whole. It gives him victory over his enemies if his cause be just: keeps his wit good, preserves him from sorrow and strife and the illusions of wicked spirits.” But the diamond must be given freely, “without coveting or buying”, in order to possess these virtues in their full force: furthermore, it loses its talismanic power by reason of the sins of him who bears it. More than one famous diamond has been regarded as the guardian of the ruler of that country to which it belonged; and the Koh-i-noor now in the possession of the English Government is looked upon in this manner by the natives of India, who see in its transfer the downfall of their ancient monarchy. The diamond is under the influence of Mars, and should, correctly speaking, be set in fine steel, iron being the metal of that planet.
The Moonstone is not a diamond, though the late Wilkie Collins so declared in his weird novel of that name; but is a beautiful, though not rare stone, peculiar to Ceylon. It was held in veneration on account of its lunar attraction, and Pliny describes it as “shining with a yellow lustre”, also, as containing an image of the moon, which daily waxed and waned according to the state of that luminary.
The Amethyst was esteemed by the topers of ancient Rome and Greece from a belief that it was a remedy against drunkenness: it was also thought to sharpen the business faculties of merchants and, like the diamond, to counteract the effects of poisonous drugs: and he who possessed one was able to capture birds and beasts easily.
The Sapphire, sacred to the Sun, and called the stone of stones, cured boils, restored weak sight, extinguished fires, mended the manners of its wearers and made the melancholy cheerful. Until the time of “ye dreadful fire” of London there was, in old St. Paul’s Cathedral, a famous sapphire presented by Richard de Preston, citizen and grocer, which cured infirmities in the eyes of all who resorted to its virtues. The stone, however, perished with the cathedral.
The Crystal has been famous through all time for the visions beheld in it by clairvoyants. A Beryl was the most favorite medium, for Aubrey tells us in his “Miscellanies” that “A Beryl is a kind of crystal that hath a weak tincture of red in it, wherein magicians behold visions. When Sir Marmaduke Langdale was in Italy, he went to one of those who did show him a crystal wherein he beheld himself kneeling before a crucifix. He was, at that time, a Protestant, but afterwards became a Roman Catholic.” Rossetti in his weird, magnificent, ballad, “Rose Mary”, sets forth the awful powers of the spirits of the Beryl, the stone that is: –
“Rainbow-hued through a misty pall,
Like the middle light of the waterfall.”
Dr. Dee said of his famous crystal (now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford), that it “was brought to him by the angels of God, and that the form of it was round and large”. There are crystal-seers even in these practical days, and the present writer has many psychic friends who behold visions in gems and crystals, or even spheres of common glass.
The Ruby, when bruised in water, relieved weakness of the eyes and helped disordered livers: if the four corners of a room, house or garden, were touched with it they would be preserved from lightning, tempests, or worms: it dispersed foul air and kept lovers’ faith unbroken, and when worn it was impossible to hide it, as it would show through the thickest covering.
The Topaz stopped bleeding and possessed marvellous powers of emitting light. One was presented to a monastery by the noble Lady Hildegarde, wife of Theodoric, Count of Holland, and this stone was said to send forth so brilliant a light, that in the chapel where it was kept prayers were read without any other lamp. The virtues of the topaz increased or decreased according as the moon was new or old, and when cast into boiling water, it at once deprived it of heat.
The Pearl was greatly venerated in the early ages for its occult virtues. They were said to be brought forth by boiling the gem in meat, when it healed the quartan ague. Bruised in milk, and taken internally, it was good for ulcers and cleared the voice. The Greeks and Romans believed that pearls were formed from the dew of heaven falling into the open shell of the oyster during the breeding season, and they wore crowns of them as amulets.
The Emerald was held to have the power of blinding serpents who gazed on its lustre; but it strengthened the human sight, and the ancients were never tired of looking at their rings if this gem was set therein. The Holy Grail, of the Arthurian legends, was said to have been a chalice formed of a single emerald used by the Redeemer at his last supper. Brought from heaven by angels, it was preserved by Joseph of Arimathea, and is yet believed to be on earth, angel-guarded, but visible only to the entirely pure. Among the virtues ascribed to emeralds was that of proving if lovers kept troth or no. In allusion to this belief, L.E.L. has written:
“It is a gem which hath the power to show
If plighted lovers keep their troth or no:
If faithful, it is like the leaves in spring;
If faithless like those leaves when withering.”
The Empress Josephine wore only emeralds after her divorce from Napoleon, and was painted in them by Isabey. An emerald set in copper should be an appropriate love token, as both gem and metal are under the influence of the planet Venus.
The Turquoise was also good for the sight, and was thought to be “a cheerer of the soul”; furthermore it diverted the evil of any fall that might happen to its wearer. It grew paler as its owner sickened, lost its color entirely at his death, but recovered it when placed on the finger of a new and healthy possessor. Suspended by a string within a glass it told the hour by striking against the side: and he who possessed one believed that he might fall from any height without injury, as the stone attracted to itself the whole force of the concussion.
The Opal was not regarded by the ancients as the bringer of misfortune; on the contrary it was believed by them to possess the virtues of every gem whose color appeared on its prismatic surface. It also conferred the gift of invisibility on its wearer, and was invaluable for the sight: hence the name “opal” or “eye-stone”. It is the matter-of-fact moderns who regard this gem as ill-omened. A Russian who meets with one when purchasing goods will buy nothing more that day, looking on the opal as “the evil eye”. The French dislike this stone as being unlucky, and lately, a friend of the present writer, who is a learned physician and occultist, ascribed certain misfortunes that had befallen him to his having come into possession of a beautiful opal ring, till one of the stones breaking he had them removed and replaced by pink coral, whereupon his ill luck ceased.
The Carbuncle anciently (believed to be produced in the head of a species of fox) had the same power of emitting light as the topaz; and the Garnet produced discord between lovers, but preserved the health and spirits.
Agate, Coral and Amber are among the gems of inferior value, possessing mystic virtues. Powdered agate mixed with water was believed to be an antidote to snake poison; and storms could be averted by burning agates. Coral beads are worn in India as amulets; and the Italians to this day fasten little coral branches round the necks of their children and horses, to neutralise the effects of the “Malocchio” or evil eye. It has ever been held a charm against witchcraft, and to protect the wearer from tempests and robbers.
Amber also was worn by children as a charm, and by adults as a protection against insanity; suspended from the neck it cured the ague. The Shah of Persia carries about him a cube of amber, supposed to have fallen from Heaven, and believed to have the power of rendering him invulnerable. Amber, ground up with honey or rose oil, was formerly a specific against deafness or dimness of sight. Tacitus describes the amber gatherers as a sacred nation, worshipping the mother of the Gods, called Hertha.
The Onyx in the Middle Ages was believed to expose its owner to the assaults of demons, hideous dreams at night and law suits by day.[3] The Crysolite, on the contrary, expelled phantoms, and brought all kinds of good fortune.
The Loadstone was formerly set in wedding rings, being indicative of love’s attraction. Armed with this wondrous mineral, a man might walk freely among reptiles, as they had then no power to harm him. Paracelsus and other mystics have written extensively upon the marvellous virtues of the loadstone, both as a curative and a magnet.
The Jacinth and the Bloodstone also possessed extraordinary properties. The former cured fever and dropsy, banished evil fancies, restrained luxury, and rendered its wearer victorious, powerful, and agreeable; while if set in gold, those virtues were greatly increased. The latter, if wetted in cold water, was invaluable for the cure of wounds, and was used by the West Indians for that purpose.
The ancient writers mention many stones the very names of which are unknown in our day, that in past ages were held to possess miraculous powers: but they were either altogether fabulous, or if they existed, were so rare as to have been unknown save to very few. Thus, the Bezoar stone, said to be procured from the kidneys of a wild animal found in Arabia: the Toadstone growing in the toad’s head; the Snakestone and many others all possess this apocryphal origin, being most probably ordinary mineral substance under other names. The early Christians bestowed religious and emblematical significations upon precious stones, probably with a view to ridiculing the occult virtues ascribed to them by ancient philosophers.
The following are the gems and metals under the influence of the seven chief planets: –
Saturn          Onyx             Lead
Jupiter         Cornelian      Tin
Mars            Diamond       Iron
Sun              Sapphire        Gold
Venus          Emerald         Copper and Brass
Mercury      Loadstone      Quicksilver
Moon          Crystal            Silver
Among the ancients, rings or talismans formed of each stone and metal, with certain ceremonies, at the times when their respective ruling stars were strongest, were venerated as possessing all the virtues of the planets under which they were formed.
[1] Since the Middle Ages the term has been distorted by ill-informed theologians. (CCA)
[2] See the article “The Invisible Power of the Sapphire”, by Helena P. Blavatsky, which is available at our associated websites.  The text is a fragment from pp.  264-265 of “Isis Unveiled”, by Helena P. Blavatsky, The Theosophy Co., LA, 1982, Volume I. (CCA)
[3] This Medieval view is unilateral and superstitious. The Onyx is associated with Saturn, with Capricorn, and firmness of decision. It is said to stimulate self-control. (CCA)