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ORNAMENTAL STONES USED IN JEWELLERY.
Rock-crystal is very common amongst the porphyritic rocks of Rock-crystal. the mountains of Cyprus, and is particularly plentiful where these rocks have passed into the wacké condition. Pliny makes mention of the amethysts of Cyprus. Gaudry says that he could not find any amethystine quartz in the island, but crystals aboundin amongst the ores of iron and manganese are frequently tinge with these substances and have the appearance of amethysts. The jasper of Cyprus is of remarkable beauty, and may be Jasper. found in sufficient quantity to repay the labour and expense of working. Theophrastes, Pliny, Etienne de Lusignan, Mariti, and Sonnini have all testified to its merits. The colours are generally green, yellow, purple, red, or black, but it is also sometimes found in bands of well defined and various colours. The best specimens are to be found at Platanisso, Hagios Andronicos, Mavro-vouni, Visatchia, Acoutzo, and Moni. Pliny mentions the existence of agate in Cyprus. On the Agate. northern slope of Olympus, near Hai Herakliti, the green and red jaspers are somewhat translucent, and Gaudry thinks it not impossible that fine agates and bloodstones might be found in this locality. White chalcedony abounds on the southern slope of this mountain range at Pentacomo and Moni, in the white siliceous marls of the miocene age. According to Pliny, varieties of the opal, which he calls paideros opal. and sangemon were found in Cyprus, but Gaudry was unable to discover any true opals in the island. The substance which ancient writers have called the “ diamond Analcime. of Cyprus" is probably analcime, a silicate of alumina; this supposition is to a certain extent borne out by the fact that in the localities where the presence of the “ diamonds” is indicated, large quantities of very fine analcime crystals have been found. In the caverns near Baffo, crystals of this substance are found in large numbers and of great beauty. Several ancient authors have mentioned the emeralds of Cyprus. Emeralds. Theophrastes says they are found in the copper mines. Pliny speaks of the green colour of the Cyprian emeralds being often unequally distributed in the same stones. Porcacchi da Castiglione, Etienne de Lusignan, Le Pieux Pelerin, and Sonnini all allude to the emeralds found in the island, but probably only on the authority of the above-named writers. Gaudry does not credit their assertions, but thinks that the name of emerald has been given to some copper mineral, or perhaps to quartz-prase, which has a green tint. Morion is a black quartz. Pliny mentions a substance which he Morion. calls morion, as existing in Cyprus, but says it resembles the colour of sardonyx. Gaudry did not discover any true morion, but, amongst the minerals that he found, that which most accords with Pliny's description, was an opaque flesh-coloured hydrolite.
MINERAL SUBSTANCES EMPLOYED IN THE ARTS AND INDUSTRIES.
The clays and marls of Cyprus have been used for brickmaking since the earliest ages until now. The bricks are made chiefly in the southern part of the island in the vicinity of Mazoto and Arpera; lime, or fine white sand, is spread over the ground, and on this the bricks are dried by the heat of the sun only. Most of the houses in Larnaca, Limasol, and the villages, are built of these bricks. There are several potteries: earthenware articles for domestic use and large wine jars are made at Larnaca, Limasol, Lapethus, Varoschia, and Corno. The pottery is porous, very fragile, coarse, and without any elegance in form. On the site of the ancient Idalium, statues and terra-cotta vases have been found,the grain of which is less coarse than that of the present pottery. Really good pottery clay is, according to Gaudry, scarce in rus; the sandy marls have not sufficient consistency, but, in the vicinity of the plutonic rocks, the sedimentary beds have in some cases been E. altered into argillaceous rocks, which supply a far tter material; this is the case particularly at Ghilanemo in the Karpas, but the beds appear scarcely sufficiently extensive to be worked with profit. Umber, or terra d'ombra, was undoubtedly worked by the ancients in Cyprus, and formed an article of export. It is a true ochre composed chiefly of hydrous oxyde of iron, and is a schistose and somewhat friable substance. The Cyprian unmber is of excellent quality and well worthy of its high reputation; it is much used by painters. It is generally of three shades, light brown, very dark brown, and brownish yellow. The substance has been analysed by Klaproth, with the following result:
Oxyde of iron .... .... 48
It is found in the clay-slate at a hill about seven miles north of Larnaca, near Stroullus and Mavro-vouni. It can be dug on the surface of the ground, and is sent into Larnaca in small carts. The greater part is exported to Holland.
A green earth is found in Cyprus, chiefly on the northern slopes of Olympus, in sufficient quantity to pay for working it. This substance is the product of the decomposition of igneous rocks.
Klaproth has analysed it as follows:—
Silex .... .... 61'5 Oxyde of iron.... 20:5 Potash.... ... 18" Magnesia .... l'5 Water.... ... 8
It is used by painters, and a green dye can also with very little preparation be made from it; it is employed for colouring the walls of rooms, &c. A small quantity is exported to Holland. This substance is found in Cyprus, and was an article of export in the seventeenth century. The asbestos (or amianthus) of Cyprus has been highly praised by ancient writers, but it is of no great value in the arts, and does not appear to have been much used in former times. Dioscorides, Dyscolus, and Etienne de Lusignan (1580) notice it in their works. It is chiefly found in the country between Limasol and Baffo, also in the hills above Soli, and is described as of superior quality, being very white and silky, with a delicate fibre. It is no longer worked in Cyprus. It has been stated that emery is to be found in Cyprus, but Gaudry thinks this is a mistake, and that some black sandstone of extreme hardness, which is found near the extremity of the Acamas peninsula has been mistaken for this substance. Ancient writers say that both black and white alum exist in Cyprus. Soda was once an article of export from Cyprus. M. De Mas Latrie says that the village of Kalopsida in the Messaria, was one of the places where it was chiefly collected. To the south of Tricomo, Gaudry noticed the plain covered with efflorescences of sulphate of soda which appeared like snow. It was analysed by M. A. Damour, and found to contain the following substances:–
It is frequently stated that coal exists in Cyprus, but it is certain that it has never been worked, and scarcely anything is known as yet regarding either the position or extent of the beds. Mr. Lang, who was for some years British Consul in Cyprus, states positively in a paper contributed by him to Macmillan's Magazine in August 1878, that he has some specimens of coal which were found near the ancient Soli.
The salt lakes of Cyprus are worked, and afford an important source of local revenue. These lakes, or lagoons, occur in two places; near Larnaca they extend along the coast in a southerly direction for about five miles towards Cape Kiti; and to the westward of Limasol on the Akrotiri Peninsula is another lake: both occur amongst rocks of quaternary formation. The Larnaca lakes, according to the dimensions given them by Etienne de Lusignan and by Mariti, appear to have recently diminished in extent. The Larnaca salt is the whitest, but that of Limasol is considered the most pungent. Gaudry says that the lakes are supplied in the following manner: in winter, when strong south and (south-west winds blow, the sea rises along the shore slightly above its natural
level; the salt water then penetrates the unconsolidated quarternary sands which border the coast, and salt lakes are consequently formed in the neighbouring low ground. He mentions the popular idea of the Cypriotes concerning the supply of salt, but considers it erroneous: they say that during the rainy season, water runs down from the mountains and fills the lakes with fresh water, which the heat of summer evaporates, and the soil being strongly impregnated with salt which combines with the fresh water a crust of pure salt is then left on the surface of the ground. This opinion is based upon the fact that the more rain that falls in the winter, the greater is the yield of salt. Gaudry answers this by showing that the rocks over which the rain-water flows are white marls, calcareous sands, and aphanites, which contain scarcely any choride of sodium, and that the simple reason why more salt is collected after a rainy season, is that the surface of the lake is enlarged, and the deposit of salt covers a larger space, so that although the total mass remains the same, a larger quantity can be gathered up. It is, of course, not impossible that rock-salt may exist (as is often the case) in the vicinity of the gypsum which abounds not very far off, but the formation of the salt lakes does not appear to be due to water flowing from any such beds. Sometimes there is too much water in the lakes for the whole of it to be evaporated; in ancient times drains were cut so that the overplus might be got rid of, but these are now choked up, so that often the salt cannot be collected from a great part of the lakes. Salt has for a long time been exported from Cyprus with profit; it was an important source of revenue in the time of the Lusignans, and during the rule of the Venetians seventy vessels are said to have been loaded annually for export. Salt now forms a government monopoly, and its importation from other countries is strictly prohibited. The salt lagoons appear to be able to provide an almost unlimited supply, but the fiscal policy of the Turkish government is so unwise, that the profit is very much less than it would be under better management. Until 1863, the lakes were farmed out for sums varying from 200,000 to 300,000 piastres per annum (£1,800 to £2,700), but this system was then abandoned, as it was found that the quantity of salt yielded in one year was, allowing 20 per cent for loss, about 20,000 tons, which, at the government rate of 500 piastres the araba, gives about £72,700. This quantity cannot, however, at present be always sold in one year, so the salt is heaped up in large mounds by the sides of the lakes, and the produce of the former year must be sold before that of the new year can be touched. The salt is collected in August, so that it may be heaped up before the autumn rains; the mounds then become very hard, and remain uninjured throughout the winter. No attempt is made to refine the salt. Consul Lang remarks that it was hopeless to expect efforts of improvement from the Turkish government, but if made by British enterprise, they are certain of success. In the hope of raising the revenue, the government some years ago increased the price of salt; it was then immediately found that Syria, which previously had drawn nearly its whole supply of this article from Cyprus, could be supplied at a cheaper rate from Benghazi, consequently the price was lowered again, but the mischief was then done, and, in spite of the cost of sea carriage, * is still largely supplied with Barbary salt, and receives only a comparatively small portion of the annual consumption from Cyprus. Consul Riddell, writing in 1873, says that the tariffed price in Cyprus is 20 paras per oke (say about a penny for 23 lbs.), and at Benghazi, salt is sold for 17 paras the oke, with, it is alleged, better weight. Hence it is evident that if the price were now lowered 2 or 3 paras per oke, the Barbary traders, who at present make only bare profit, would have to abandon the Syrian market, and the salt revenue of Cyprus would be largely increased. Consul Watkins in his report dated March 1878, says: “The salt lakes of Larnaca, which belong to the government, can produce salt to the extent of 20,000,000 of okes per annum. It is collected in the autumn, and sells at 20 paras per oke in caimé. In 1877, the quantity exported, principally to Syria, amounted to 3,734,000 okes, and that for internal consumption is estimated at 729,000 okes, making a total of 4,463,000 okes.