Sylvankind Gemology Guide
Sylvankind Gemology Guide is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
Sylvankind Gemology Guide
Written by the hand of Nimaya Yra'Leth
Senior Scrivener to The House of the Paladin
Leyan, the 18th day of Charlatos, in the year 5115.
I find myself on an endless quest to understand the intricacies of symbolism and folklore that I've witnessed in my travels. I consider my written contribution to be a physical, mental, and spiritual journey, ultimately resulting in this small collection of gemstone lore. To ensure the years spent on trial and error and general education would not go lost to future generations, my tomes and scrolls have been religiously kept on what was learned, observed, and put into practice. Some of our ways have been closely guarded and kept as secret through the ages, while others were shared freely with anyone in need. I have translated this text into common for universal application, but the findings are based predominantly on my time living among Lassaran sylvan communities, and differ drastically from customary gem lore. While the information cannot be presented as fact, the contents are immeasurably invaluable, simply as a piece of cultural commentary. The guide examines the study of elemental influence, natural magic, totem animals, and eccentric healing methods related to the gems explored.
Nature's influences were thought to comprise part of everything that existed in reality. The primary elements recognized by most sylvans were water, air, fire, and earth. It was infrequently expanded on to include the additions of moon, sun, metal, wood, lightning, and spirit. Gems, at their essence, are all connected to elements of earth through Imaera's devoted hands. However, some can be used to mirror other elements for spells or ritual work. These alternatives have been denoted in the guide, with the focus being placed on primary elements alone.
Totem animals are used to recognize the self being part of nature and nature being part of the self. The totem can ascribe the animal's characteristics and habits to a person, family, plant, object, or in this case, gem. They are emblems that allow the identification of the many facets that make up the marrow of a thing or person. It is the calling on the root of whatever attribute is specified that draws power from their totem.
Fetishes and talismans were used by all types of individuals, but they were particularly popular with those involved with the magic arts, as they served a purpose beyond simple adornment. Talismans were defined as small trinkets that were designed to protect or to influence the feelings or actions of its wearer. Fetishes were specified as personal artifacts carved into the shape of an animal that could be held in the hand or worn on the body. They were thought to facilitate power, or at the very least bring some clarity, to their owner. The greatest difference between these two items is vital to note; a talisman changed its wearer, while a fetish influenced external forces around its owner.
Jewels and rocks were inset into the items to enhance other facets of their use. The applications were vast and mostly dependent on the personal interpretation of its owner. The totem and gem pairings listed in the guide are a tiny fraction of possible combinations that could be created with fetishes and talismans. Endless blends are possible with limitless purposes, but they were often intended to influence hunting, healing, prayer, or basic spirituality. The finished product is a physical representation of values that a sylvan could use to live a more harmonious life within the forest.
Element: Fire, Earth, Air, Water
The ideal specimens of fire agate were those that resembled burning embers with traces of viridian running through them. This particular agate was thought to be Imaera's earthly manifestation of a sun setting on the horizon. Its history is strongly correlated with Yr'Mez in the Silver Veil, as the people in the Tyesteron D'ahranal were instructed to set their armbands or belts with a single cabochon of fire agate. This addition would bring courage to their uncertain hearts and protect them in battle.
Cloud and moss agates were the preferred choice for those that followed Gosaena. Cloud agate was greatly prized by Gosaenan clerics, as its appearance and coloring represented the shroud that clouded our eyes from seeing what lies beyond our mortal life. Meditating on a cloud agate was said to bring you clarity and peace of mind. The lively green branching that ran through the icy-white base of a moss agate was widely respected as a metaphor for the transition between mortal life to immortal life in the afterworld. The agate's totem is the butterfly, which was similarly a symbol of beautiful transformation.
Amber comes in a variety of colors including the traditional golden, as well as brown, green, blue and black. The gem has had a long history tied to Yr'Shryv in the Silver Veil. Brown amber was burned as incense during ceremonial death rites to ward off negative forces that might become attached to the newly passed soul. In the embalming arts, green amber was often carved into the shape of a heart, and used to replace the actual heart inside the chest cavity. These stone hearts were carved with sentiments from the family that were intended to carry into the deceased's new life beyond the Ebon Gate. Common phrases were, "Our bodies may be parted, but our souls are forever entwined," and, "Not even death shall blight our love."
Blue amber was the choice to use in spells to bring rain and was worn in a fetish form during droughts. Black amber was saved for all things related to ritual work during periods of isolation or solitary trance sessions, and were revered as, "Imaera's Tears," for having the unrivaled capability of capturing memories or retaining lingering energy inside the stones. Foxes have a strong bond with their family, but also live alone for long times during the year. They shared a powerful lesson about separation as a totem, and therefore were a fitting match for amber.
Beryl is a mineral that can be colorless, red, yellow, green, blue or white. Sylvans distinguished beryl and emerald as two individual rocks with varied objectives. A deep grassy hue of green indicated the stone was an emerald, while a pale misty green color indicated the stone was beryl. Beryl could be carved into flat, rounded plates or perfect spheres that were used as communion objects for scrying by seers and mystics. These items were typically kept in clean, white chainsil to prevent scratching. Coyotes were seen as the honored keepers of magic and wisdom, as were sylvan soothsayers and mystics, drawing an unmistakable parallel that designated the coyote as beryl's totem.
Bloodstone is green chalcedony speckled with red spots that resemble splashes of blood. Ancient remedies call for this stone to be pressed against wounds to stop bleeding. Although any clotting was likely caused by the pressure and chilly temperature of the stone, this method launched a trend of donning bloodstone jewelry to improve circulation and resist blood disorders. The Turamzzyrian Duchy of Aldora is widely known for the art of stone-tending, which likely evolved as a modified version of traditional sylvan stone healing practices. The curative gem-based methods were passed down from early sylvans to humans during their migration to the western side of the Dragonspine mountains. Ancestral humans that picked up the craft were part of the racially diverse Kannalan Empire, and Aldora is one of the last regions to have survived with a continued connection to Kannalan times. The stone-tending techniques used in modern times have shifted from using the simpler stones still preferred by sylvans to much the more lavish and expensive jewels used now by humans.
Sylvans regularly recommended that a patient who had undergone any amount of bloodletting be left to recover with a bloodstone. As bloodstone's totem, snakes imparted dynamic spiritual medicine that referenced the shedding of skin, a practice which keeps their bodies in a constant state of renewal.
Totem: Stag & Doe
Chrysoprase is widely accepted as the apple-green stone of Imaera and her worshippers. The gem's original history with Yr'Tael-taught clerics seems to have been scattered to the wind over the ages. One surviving text revealed that a small gathering of priests and priestesses from the great tree ritually buried the stone at sunrise around its perimeter. The object behind this practice was that a blessing would be bestowed upon those who returned Imaera's chrysoprase to her; practitioners would gain the fortitude needed to ward off negative spiritual magic directed towards them. Forest jade is an uncommon variety of chrysoprase found around tree roots in the woodlands outlying the Yuriqen territory. The gemstone's coloration possesses an intense, luminescent verdure unmatched by all other jewels and minerals. Occasionally, forest jade is striated with finespun acantha green and viridian filaments, though this variation can be much harder to obtain. A scattering of brilliant copper inclusions is highly prized in the most choice specimens. Deer, including both stags and does, were the totem of chrysoprase, instilling a sense of gentleness, innocence, and the appreciation for precious materials given to those under the Green Mother.
Citrine was used infrequently in items because it was thought to have potent abilities that relaxed the conscious psyche. It was avoided, even in jewelry, by people who did not have complete control over their mental faculties. Placing a citrine on the forehead was thought to open the veils of the mind to otherworldly realms. Elaborate masks completely covered in citrine gems were used in shamanic spell rituals in an effort to absorb some of their positive properties, but multiple foreboding folk tales about citrine indicate such a practice had a tendency to lead the wearer down a negative path. The less superstitious set the gem into talismans (but only talismans) to protect against poisons. Healing properties of citrine extended to liver diseases, head injuries, eye ailments, and swollen glands. Citrine's totem is the raccoon who teaches that behind masks, personal transformation can occur in both physical and spiritual forms.
Element: Air, Earth
Countless emeralds possess inclusions that give them a soft, mossy internal appearance, which may explain the longstanding affiliation with Imaera, and the reverent title of, "The Verdant Lady," bestowed upon her by many sylvans. They were seen as a definitive symbol of life. The stones encouraged growth, regeneration, and exploration, and eventually became a favorite among empaths. The emerald's virtues were distinctly aligned with Yr'Weth in the Silver Veil, and the gem emerged as a popular material with those in the Lassaran D'ahranal. It was thought good luck would follow members of the D'ahranal if they carried an emerald fetish carved into the shape of a hawk, as the bird provided a higher perspective on any undertaking. The hawk totem aided travelers in fending off illness and was known to guide sylvans to the safest paths on journeys away from the forest.
Garnets are a fiery red stone and were often worn to improve health and increase courage. Garnet-inset medallions carved with the head of a bear, which is also garnet's totem, were made for some members of the Kytawa D'ahranal to enhance their energy and stamina. In older weapons, hilts were sometimes inlaid with the jewel to increase endurance and precision. It was said two garnets laid upon the brow of a patient would speed the healing of flesh wounds. Bears were well-known to go into a semi-conscious trance, living off of their stored body fat, and the totem demonstrated how to draw on an inner storage of energy when it's needed most.
Jasper is connected to Yr'Nyx in the Silver Veil, and therefore the Fresiawn D'ahranal as well. Jasper was considered a precious material and often times set aside for artisanal works of art, due to the intense range of colors and banding present in the stones. It was a prized choice for carved pieces such as decorative jewelry, statues, and combs. Instruments accented with jasper were sometimes given to exceptionally gifted musicians, as the stone was said to encourage superior sound resonance because of its innate ability to channel and redirect energy. Hummingbirds were considered to be one of Imaera's most beautiful creations bestowed upon Elanthia, explaining why the jewel-toned birds are the totem for jasper.
Lapis was primarily used for a brilliant paint by those in the Fresiawn D'ahranal. Once crushed and processed with oils and water, it could be used on a variety of items, and the inherent soothing blue color made an ideal choice for artwork. One old remedy suggested that a small amount of lapis lazuli dust could be combined with a milk-soaked poultice for multiple skin problems. In powder form, lapis was used as a bright eyeliner worn for eventide religious ceremonies and was commonly selected as the base for clerical fetishes and jewelry. Shards of the stone were ofttimes preserved in a natural, unfinished state which ensured maximum potency. The nocturnal badger was regarded as one of nature's most powerful diggers, and as a totem to lapis lazuli, illustrated being completely in tune with the rawness of the earth and nighttime.
Malachite is a mineral ranging in composition from variegated deep forest green to light sea green swirled with darker veins. Artisans crafted vases from the material, as its green color often gave a more natural appearance overall to an arrangement of foliage. Followers of Gosaena wore a strand of malachite beads to honor their goddess in solitary ritual work. After embalming and before burial, small wings of carved malachite were laid over the deceased's eyes, each stone etched with half of the saying, "Forever closed to mortal suffering; forever held in eternal peace." The close connection to Gosaena reveals some insight into the stone's totem animal, the owl; both of which are related to the mysteries of death, femininity, and spiritual projection.
Mithril-bloom was thought to be a blessed stone from an old piece of folklore. It was circulated for a time that mithril-bloom was Jaston's second stone, placing just behind blue quartz. Wherever one of his feathers had touched the precious metal, brilliantly colored feldspar would spring up, creating the gems that we know today as mithril-bloom. Sylvans were known to create lucky mithril-bloom fetishes specifically for Lornon's Eve, with the hope that it would encourage Jaston's Four Winds to blow good fortune their way in the coming year. Peregrine falcons, each boasting a shock of dense white feathers at the neck, have long been considered the cousins of Jaston due to their pale coloring, thus explaining the gem's totem.
Moonstone was chiefly associated with Yr'Vara in the Silver Veil. The gem was a perfect representation of a place entwined with lovers and dreams. Scrying for your true love could be performed under the full moon with a bowl of water and five moonstones. After dropping the moonstones into the bowl it was said that your true love's name would appear across the surface of the water. Many wolves mate for life and have an intense lunar connection, adding to the air of romance surrounding the moonstone and its animal totem.
Superstitious sylvans used pearls to surmise who their true love was. First, a private ritual was performed at dusk, in which Imaera's opinion of the potential love was asked. The seeker would then wait until sunrise and venture off on a lengthy journey to the southernmost riverbeds of the Ademyon. Upon reaching the area, he or she would choose an oyster and harvest it. If a pearl was found inside, it was considered Imaera's eternal blessing on the supposed pairing. If nothing was found, it was not meant to be. The exception to this rule was a black pearl, which indicated the other person's heart already belonged to another. The prediction tactic was most often attempted by young sylvans before they were ushered into an arranged marriage. A rare variety of purple Andemyon oyster pulled from the river of the same name produces a gorgeous variety of nacre called veil pearl. The rock-adhering mollusks form delicate little teardrops in all manner of iridescent rainbow-based hues, sometimes yielding six or seven multicolored droplets in a single shell. Finding lavender veil pearls, whether it be in the form of the entire inner shell, or as a crop of tiny beads, was widely viewed as receiving a sacred gift from Imaera. Likewise, rabbits are amazingly fertile and produce a large number of offspring. As pearl's totem, they celebrated the richness of creating new life and the benefits of a fresh beginning.
The most common specimen of sapphire happens to be a deep blue variety, which was most useful for anyone who attempted spells or ritual work that called upon water as a source of power. As an adornment, blue sapphires were sometimes heated over blazing fires to enhance their coloring. Violet sapphires, specifically, were suggested for use in the talismans of parents and their newborn children. Trinkets or bracelets of violet sapphires were given as presents to expectant mothers. Porcupines can float in water (perhaps explaining their link to the water aligned mineral), and taught sylvans how to be more flexible and aware of their surroundings as a totem.
Topaz was preferred in circular cuts and fiery hues that were tinged with gold. It is linked to Yr'Thrumh in the Silver Veil, the largest of all the trees. The most important figureheads and artisans of the Kytawa D'ahranal were offered staves crowned with sizeable spheres of topaz. The gems used for this purpose were blessed in a forest ritual performed by only a few of the best mystics available at the time. Topaz was a gem reserved for meditation upon outside motivations and examination of personal behavior. Pelicans do not compete for nesting, and enlist group help during their fishing time. They were a symbol of teamwork and unselfishness that went hand in hand with the values of the Kytawa D'ahranal.
Tourmaline possesses a greater variety of colors than any other gemstone. When heated or rubbed the crystals can draw small particles like dust or hair. This capability has lent it an association with attraction and fertility. All fertility charms and fetishes created for women were made of at least one type of tourmaline. The colors of the stones were expected to relate to whatever was thought to be the obstacle creating their sterility. Personal gardens were bedecked with small tourmaline sculptures, and pebbles of the gem were planted alongside new seeds to ensure their fruitfulness. Bees have long been a representation of fertility and productiveness, and their vital work with pollination explains why the bee was chosen as the totem of tourmaline.
The most used and popular form of zircon was gold, but fire and heat treatments also produced green, blue, grey, and yellow varieties. Clear zircons were considered to be as useless as diamonds. Gold-tinged zircons were frequently used as an ingredient in healthful elixirs and tonics. While they were not directly consumed, steeping a handful of golden zircon in any liquid for at least two days was said to increase its intended properties three fold. Likewise, a single zircon boiled in a tea increased general health and longevity. Passed down from family to family in the Tyesteron D'ahranal, an ancient technique used to craft intricate lamellar armor that mimicked the mottled patterns of tortoiseshell. Neutral-toned variations of zircon customarily embellished the leathers, which were designed to enhance one's ability to hide in wooded territories. The turtle as a totem, much like the zircon, promoted patience, sanctuary, survival, and the secrets to a healthful life.