Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Don'ts for Girls

from Don'ts for Girls: A Manual of Mistakes by Minna Thomas Antrim, 1902

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the regent, or How To Hide A Diamond

In 1698, a slave found the 410 carat (82 g) uncut diamond in a Golkonda mine in India and concealed it inside of a large wound in his leg.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

gems: a symbolic inquiry

We could in some way judge the height of her place and the greatness of its glory if we could remember the precious stones and the virtues of the gems - indeed if we could even remember their names - she so wondrously described which the Lord has named when He showed them to her.
--from The Life of Marie D'Oignies (1177-1213) by Jaques Vitry

image, above: saturn swallowing the stone substituted for jupiter

At last Rhea, his wife, in order to save Jupiter, her sixth child substituted for him a rock enveloped in swaddling clothes--which Saturn, ignorant of the deception practiced upon him, immediately swallowed. Jupiter was concealed on the island of Crete until he attained manhood, when he forced his father to disgorge the five children he had eaten. The stone swallowed by Saturn in lieu of his youngest son was placed by Jupiter at Delphi, where it was held in great veneration and was daily anointed.
--from The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928), Manly P. Hall

image, above: the pythagorean signet ring

The number five was peculiarly associated by the Pythagoreans with the art of healing, and the pentagram, or five-pointed star, was to them the symbol of health. The above figure represents a magical ring set with a talismanic gem bearing the pentalpha, or star formed by five different positions of the Greek Alpha. On this subject Mackey writes: "The disciples of Pythagoras, who were indeed its real inventors, placed within each of its interior angles one of the letters of the Greek word ΥΓΕΙΑ, or the Latin one SALUS, both of which signify health; and thus it was made the talisman of health. They placed it at the beginning of their epistles as a greeting to invoke a secure health to their correspondent. But its use was not confined to the disciples of Pythagoras. As a talisman, it was employed all over the East as a charm to resist evil spirits.
--from The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928), Manly P. Hall

image, above: the 5 wounds of christ

At first, the Cross was a sign only. When formed of gold or silver, the five wounds of Christ were signified by a ruby or carbuncle at each extremity, and one in the centre. It was not till the sixth century that the Cross became a CRUCIFIX, no longer an emblem, but an image.
--"Sacred and Legendary Art" (1848), Anna Jameson

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

pillow of labradorite

Best Field Indicators are occurence, twinning striations and labradorescence.

The Spaniards found amongst the ornaments of the Indians, dwelling upon the shores of the Amazon, grotesque figures formed of this mineral, supposed to have been exhumed from the tombs of the old Peruvians. It is now found principally on the norther coast of Labrador, and was priginally sent home by the Moravian missionaries.
-- Edwin William Streeter, Precious Stones and Gems: Their History, Sources and Characteristics, 1898

In the Writers' Apartments with their labradorite entrances it is like doomsday,
The floor where they put you depends on your standing.
--Dorothy Hewett

Gem-quality labradorite is known as spectrolite, while a colorless variety, darkened with needlelike inclusions, is often called black moonstone. Spectrolite is a dark, opalescent blue with shimmer when the light hits it. It was discovered in Finland during World War II. Another name for this stone is falcon's eye.
--D.J. Conway, Crystal Enchantments

Saturday, October 6, 2007

if a girl was a geode

All geodes dry and certain ones are astringent. A geode will purge matter which may cover the eyes and when mixed with water and used as a salve it reduces inflammation of the breast and testes.
--De Natura Fossilium (Textbook of Mineralogy), circa 1546

His voice, a clarinet; his eyes, blue geodes; the tilt of his head; the hair tumbling down his brow; his dazzled expression; his small translucent teeth; his pointed tongue; his straight back; the vein running down his inner thigh; the ankle and the arch. He is already breaking into parts.
--Robert Gluck, from Margery Kempe

Even the iron that pierced the flesh of trees had a voice. It was deep, metallic, and sank heavily in the human dreams. At night, the iron spoke most eloquently, recognizing the kinship of darkness in sky and earth. The nails sang of geodes in the heart and the gathering of elemental forces only vaguely understood. When the iron sang, humans slept, troubled, their hands remembering the first iron. The spear, the knife, the sharp edge of death.
--Anita Endrezze, from "Ponies Gathering in the Dark"

But the impervious geode
Was entered and its inner crust
Of crystals with a ray cathode
At every point and facet glowed
In answer to the mental thrust.

Eyes seeking the response of eyes
Bring out the stars, bring out the flowers,
Thus concentrating earth and skies
So none need be afraid of size.
All revelation has been ours.
--Robert Frost, from "All Revelation"

Monday, October 1, 2007

today, the sky smoky as the quartz

Soon, amid the clothing and the smoke on the sunken table, like a shuffled deck of cards, there appears the human soul: quartz and sleepless nights, tears in the ocean like pools of cold. [....]
[...] dew has for a thousand years been leaving its transparent calling-card on the branch that awaits it: O heart, O shattered
brow among the pitted expanses of autumn.
--Pablo Neruda, from "The Heights of Macchu Picchu"

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Keep a marble for yourself and keep marble for marble. Keep a marble self for a marble self.
--H.D., from HERmione

Vitality is Carved and cool.
My nerve in Marble lies --
A Breathing Woman
Yesterday -- Endowed with Paradise.
--Emily Dickinson, from poem #1046

In folklore, marble is associated with the astrological sign of Gemini. Pure white marble is an emblem of purity. It is also an emblem of immortality, and an insurer of success in education.

things of marble: statue, column, gravestone, game, town, heart, sanity.

her flesh-- folding-- under his hands.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Being red is the color of a white sun where it lingers
on an arm. Color of time lost in sparks, of space lost
inside dance. Red of walks by the railroad in the flush
of youth, while our steps released the squeaks
of shoots reaching for the light. Scarlet of sin, crimson
of fresh blood, ruby and garnet of the jewel bed,
early sunshine, vestiges of the late sun as it turns
green and disappears. Be calm. Do not give in
to the rabid red throat of age. In a red world, imprint
the valentine and blush of romance for the dark.
It has come. You will not be this quick-to-redden
forever. You will be green again, again and again.
--Marvin Bell, "Mars Being Red"

The ruby preserved its owner's house or vineyard from lightning, tempest, and worms if the former were touched by it. It was also a disinfectant and preventive of infectious diseases. Bruised in water it relieved weakness of the eyes, and cured liver complaints.
--Marbodus, writing in the latter part of the 11th century

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Their tears continue flowing, and sun-hardened,
fall from the trees; borne onward by the Po,
they will one day adorn the brides of Rome.
[And so, in myth, mourning becomes electrum;
the sister's tears are, now and forever, amber.]

--from Metamorphoses, Ovid

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Margery and John entered the hall at Lambeth Palace in the afternoon. The walls were painted in blue and gold diamonds and a sideboard stood at the back. Clerks and yeoman swore oaths that tortured Jesus' golden flesh. Margery took sins against language personally.
"Do you know how God was made?" A squire pumped his finger into his fist. "Fucking and shitting!"
Margery said, "You will go straight to hell!"

-- From Margery Kempe, Robert Gluck

Thursday, September 13, 2007


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"Words function as signs here as they do everywhere else: everywhere they can be said to point to something." --The Phenomenological Theory of Meaning and of Meaning Apprehension, Edmund Husserl

"A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange a single hurt color and an arrangement in a system to pointing." --Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein

Sunday, September 2, 2007


the night of the lunar eclipse, august 28th, 2007.


Your heart manholed
for the installation of feeling.

Your motherland’s parts

Your milk-sister
a shovel.

--Paul Celan, "Your heart manholed"

Moonstone was very popular with the Romans, who thought it was formed out of moonlight, also used in Roman jewelry since 100 AD.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

of conch & sand

august at the atlantic, amaranthine hues of grey. read & wrote on blistered feet, soft-serve ice cream, gull's clatter.

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There was a stare (yes, was) right here (hope it finds me). Right where the moon blared down its tinny gap. Prevalent predator. Originating—where? Smoke and opal, compressed to a null. Hey orb, what lives in that shell heath, shriek shack? Hey bleach-blink, sheen-gaze, pearl-pith—root of worlds. Splinter in the void’s eye, orphan. Got a plan. Got a sea-stitch here in my pocket, like to drop. Limned lozenge. William Tell’s pale apple on sable skull. Straggler. Magician’s vague lady, hacked in twain. Punk’s smooth shiv slid decisive, between the sky’s ribs. Waverer, rumor, rock-pit. Pawn, gaud. Vacancy’s ambassador, other—we are here.
-- "There was a stare," Karen Volkman