All That Glitters...Is Sparkling Magic, Agates Cure Insomnia, Amethyst Drunks

With this ring, I (take your choice)
....sober you up.
....frighten phantoms.
.....cure your insomnia
.....put a stop to your laziness.
.....clear your bloodshot eyes.
.....make you invisible.
.....halt the Evil Eye.

For whatever you wish, there's a jewel to make it happen.
And this is not some hocus-pocus magician's spiel.

For centuries, wearers have believed that (1) an amethyst could cure drunkenness (2) chalcedony (opal) could frighten phantoms (3) the agate cures insomnia (4) beryl (aquamarine) would halt laziness, (5) sapphire takes way bloodshot eyes (6) chrysoprase could make you invisible and (7) cat's eyes would stop the evil eye.

That's just for openers.

Diamonds were said to cure insanity, offer protection from the plaque and pestilence and do wonders for diseases of the bladder.

Ivan the Terrible, before he died in 1584, confided in Queen Elizabeth's equerry that "diamonds restrain fury, abstinence and chastity." Moreover, that powder from a diamond could poison a horse, much less a man.

Hardest of all gems, diamonds descended from thunderbolts. If a diamond clouded up, its wearer was guilty (of whatever the accusation) but if it brightened, you were innocent. It was both poison and antidote, cured insanity, prevented the plague. Snakes guarded diamonds, griffins rescued them.

Who dreamed up all this hanky-panky, anyway?

It wasn't Merlin the magician, although he was spooked by the Hope Diamond down the road.

You can bless (or blame) the Stone Age Cavemen for opening up a Pandora's box of stones.

Picture one of Darwin's pets, semi-stooped, about to pummel his prey with a menacing club when he notices his enemy (two or four legs, take your pick) has got a glazed look in his eyes. He's staring at a bright, brilliant stone. He's transfixed. Hypnotized. He's....stoned.

As an hypnotic effect numbing an adversary gave the stone a value for the caveman. Lodestone was treasured by sailors, for this magnetic iron ore set their compasses. Persian prophet Mohammet had his tomb of steel touched by lodestone.

Wearing diamonds on the left arm upped their talismanic virtues and sapphire brightened its blues on the ring finger. The basic put-ons for the index finger were turquoise, ruby, emerald and jacinth.

Turquoise didn't get a name until the13th century but it participated in the virtues assigned to all blue and blue-green stones. It protects the wearer from falling off a horse and later this was extended to cover falls from a building or off a cliff.