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DEFINITION OF THE TERM PRECIOUS STONE OR GEM.

AMONG the infinitely diversified products of Inorganic Nature, there are certain mineral substances which form a small class by themselves—standing apart from all others by the possession of such exceptional characters that they have always attracted the attention of persons endowed with taste and refinement. These minerals, distinguished as Precious Stones, are nine in number, namely :
—the Diamond. Chrysoberyl
Ruby. (True Cat's Eye).
Sapphire. Alexandrite.
Spinel. Opal.
Emerald. Turquoise.
The characters which have commended such stones in all ages, for purposes of personal ornament, are chiefly their brilliancy and colour, their durability and rarity. It is not sufficient, however, that a stone should possess only one of these characteristics, The mineralogist is familiar with many stones that are exquisite in colour, yet far too soft to be used for the'"practical purpose of decoration ; on the other hand, there may be stones of exceeding hardness

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