Gems from Erithian Lands
Like the continent of Elanith, the Erithian continent possesses a wide variety of mineral resources. The members of the "earth clan," the Suroth Dai, have primarily been responsible for investigating the precious and semi-precious stones found in Erithian territory. However, some gems hold a certain place of honor in Erithian culture among all Dai, and students of culture may find it interesting that many of those gems can be found only on the Erithian continent. Many organizations seek trade pacts to import unique gems from the Erithian continent. Dwarves and gnomes have had the greatest success, but the Erithi have also sealed trade agreements with halflings, elves, scattered sylvans, and the Faendryl.
Although rare gems exist, the Erithi have not chosen to import any of their most precious stones to the continent of Elanith, preferring to leave that information (and, ideally, the stones in question) in their own hands. Considering that their lands have long been raided by rogues and scavengers of many races, their preference for mystery is not entirely surprising, but it is disappointing to those who wish to chronicle such matters. The gems listed below are the only ones that have been verified.
Many remarkable varieties of agate are found only upon the Erithian continent. Some (although not all) are described below. These stones are infrequently found, but the Erithi grant them sentimental value that places them far above diamond within the rituals and customs of the culture.
Beetle agate: Beetle agate is a black stone that displays a fiery, metallic green iridescence when held in the light. Blood agate: Blood agate is a deep crimson stone streaked with salmon pink. Celestial agate: Celestial agate is a translucent black stone shot with slender, silvery-white lines that create star-like patterns. Dawn agate: Dawn agate is a dark grey color banded with pastel pink, yellow, and green. When touched by sunlight, it shimmers with an intense gold hue. Dream agate: Dream agate is a pale grey agate with bands that appear opaque and snow white beneath sunlight. Beneath moonlight, the bands become both transparent and opalescent, threading the translucent grey stone with softly shimmering rainbows. Drought agate: Drought agate typically displays several shades of brown, varying from light tan to a dark, almost black color, and slender lines of pale green framed in dark gold run through its substance. Iris agate: Iris agate contains extraordinarily thin bands of translucent stone, each shifted only slightly in hue from the others, creating delicate rainbows that repeat multiple times through its substance. Iris agates typically have a predominant color, which may be white, black, or a pastel shade of the rainbow. Nathala agate: Nathala agate is predominantly an intense turquoise hue, banded with another shade of blue as well as one or more of the colors black, white, green, and gold. Owleye agate: Owleye agate refers not to a type of agate so much as a formation of banded agate. In owleye agate, the bands create one or more concentric patterns upon the surface of the stone. Panther agate: Panther agate bears a strong resemblance to tigereye. However, instead of showing shimmering bands of gold upon a surface of brown, panther agate contains shimmering bands of pale silvery-grey upon a surface of midnight black. Spectral agate: Spectral agate is a transparent stone, typically pale grey or pale blue, banded with opaque, faintly shimmering white. Snake agate: Snake agate is a variant of mottled agate. It may be grey, green, brown, black, or white in its primary hue, but its distinguishing trait is that its markings bear a strong resemblance to the scales of a snake. Storm agate: Storm agate is typically dark blue shading to black, shot with zigzagging streaks of silver and white. Summer agate: Summer agate is a bright, sunny yellow color adorned with tiny bands of sky blue and cloud white.
In addition, every type of agate found upon the continent of Elanith may be found upon the Erithian continent, with the sole exception of chameleon agate (which is not precisely found upon Elanith in any case, as it is only found on Teras Isle.)The Erithi value agate very highly, particularly the Surath Dai. Though the record of Erithi history stretches back only fifteen hundred years, Erithian scholars are convinced that the traditions related to agate are far older. The word for "soul" (raiyatha) and the word for "agate" (raiyartha) are quite similar in the Erithi language, making linguists certain that they derive from the same source. A traditional prayer among the Erithi, also suspected to be older than their arrival in Atan Irith, addresses Lumnis as "Mother of Agates" and asks the goddess to aid the Erithian people in showing mercy to one another.
Poets among the Erithi use agate as a symbol for the soul on a routine basis, and every variety of agate carries its own special symbolism as well. Part of a traditional Erithian wedding ceremony requires the bride and groom to drink from a bowl carved of agate, and the specific agate of the bowl is chosen with careful attention to the traditional symbolism.
Cinnamon amber is a transparent stone that varies in hue between fiery scarlet and a red so dark that it is almost black. It has no fire, it cannot be faceted, and, like regular amber, it often includes preserved insects or vegetable matter. Unlike true amber, it never washes ashore. Unlike many Erithian gems, cinnamon amber is not found in regions controlled by the Surath Dai, but is found within the various woodlands and valleys of Yachan Dai territory. Cinnamon amber is actually more common than regular amber upon the Erithian continent.
Cinnamon amber, like regular amber, will burn in a candle flame. Instead of producing white smoke, however, it will produce orange smoke, and the scent is quite different. When burned, cinnamon amber produces an intense spicy odor, leading to its name. This effect is little more than a novelty to the Erithi, who find the scent to be overpowering and unpleasant, but the smell of burning cinnamon amber has gained remarkable popularity with the Nalfein in the time since the Erithi revealed themselves. Trade in cinnamon amber has already been established with Ta'Nalfein. Nalfein traders are importing the stone at a remarkable rate for use in perfume and incense, and at least one Ivasian priest has made his interest in the substance known as well.
There is only one known deposit of sunset beryl, which lies in Surath Dai territory on the Erithian continent. Since this deposit is quite large, and since the quality is quite low, it is merely an uncommon stone.
Sunset beryl is a beautiful, dark red stone shading slightly toward pink. It often sparkles slightly from many tiny inclusions running through its imperfect substance. Unfortunately, sunset beryl is even more prone to damage than emerald, and, as a result of these contaminating inclusions, the crystals are very small. Few exceed the size of a halfling's little fingernail, and most are akin to the size of a grain of sand, but a few prized larger specimens do exist.
Unsurprisingly, most of the crystals are unsuitable in size to jewelry-related purposes. However, the stone takes on an incredible fire when faceted, and some Erithians take pleasure in wearing a single sunset beryl earring or a tiny sunset beryl pendant at the hollow of the throat.
Pieces of sunset beryl that are inappropriate to jewelry's purposes are often used in clerical rituals, as sunset beryl can serve as a useful channel for divine energy. The magical structure of sunset beryl also serves as a useful catalyst when seeking to gain the aid of rock, stone, and earth spirits.
Now that the Erithi have revealed their presence to the various races of Elanith, stories about the wealth of the Erithian continent have spread through seedy taverns all along the eastern shore of Elanith. From these tales, raiders and shrewd jewelers alike suspect that, as well as myriad agates, the Erithian continent possesses a wide variety of valuable corals. However, the Erithi have been fairly reticent regarding this matter, and only two unique varieties of coral have been confirmed. One is anemone coral, which is a regular, symmetrically formed coral occurring in a delicate shade of violet with dark plum markings. The other is spiral coral, which consists of gleaming golden protrusions arranged in intricate spirals.
Members of the Nathala Dai collect these corals (and perhaps others) along the shores of the Erithian homeland. Initial trade inquiries suggest that these corals are both uncommon.
Members of the Surath Dai have located a number of excellent deposits of jade. These deposits include yellow, green, brown, and white jade, with white jade being by far the most common of the varieties. This may be why the Erithi have developed a sophisticated technique for dying jade through careful exposure to elemental magic. If the technique fails, or if the exposure is accidental, the result is quite ugly, looking like nothing so much as a stain upon the stone. However, in the hands of a master, the result is quite striking. Erithian travelers have revealed that it is necessary to expose the gem evenly to only a single variety of elemental energy, but they have not explained any more of the secret, and no jeweler on the continent of Elanith has successfully replicated the effect thus far.
Water's influence produces lavender jade, air's influence creates brilliant blue jade, earth's influence will turn it pale red, and fire will turn it black. Some truly remarkable pieces exist that actually incorporate more than one color of jade in a single stone, such as swirls of blue jade drifting among a background of black. Cracking open a piece of dyed Erithian jade reveals that the hue extends only the thickness of a fingernail into the stone, leaving the natural white jade beneath. Some jewelers are experimenting with cameos and bas-relief carvings that take advantage of the contrast between the dark, dyed portions and the pale hue within.
Since white jade is so common in Erithian lands, the Erithi are trading it readily with the dwarves, and these dyed jades are valued as if they were infrequently found.
Yellow tourmaline, or "sun" tourmaline, can only be found on the Erithian continent. Its name is apt, for, if a yellow tourmaline crystal is placed in a sunbeam, the entire crystal will glow with sunlight. This effect persists even when the exposure to light is very small and the crystal is quite large. Traditionally, the Erithians have attributed the effect to solar spirits rather than to Phoen's influence, but human clerics of Phoen are less certain of the matter. As well as existing in pure yellow crystals, this variant of tourmaline may be found in bicolored crystals. When this occurs, the other side of the crystal is invariably black.
Thus far, no one has found any magical use for pure yellow tourmaline aside from a mild affinity to spiritual blessings. Oddly, however, the bi-colored yellow tourmalines are magically inert to anything save certain aspects of demonology. As a result, the Faendryl have taken a particular interest in them.
Due to some particularly deft bargaining, the Faendryl currently have a monopoly upon yellow tourmaline importation, but it is not expected to last. The stone is common in Erithian lands, and too many people are curious enough to pay for a better look at it.
Blue zircon (nathalene)
The Erithi possess a blue variety of zircon that they call nathalene. It glimmers with a cold blue light like the sky reflecting back from glacial ice, and those who have seen it consider it to be the most beautiful variety of zircon by far. Still, as it is still merely a variant of zircon, jewelers will not offer very much for it. As trade continues between the dwarven people and the Erithi in Zul Logoth, the dwarves have obtained a number of precious samples, and they report that nathalene stones are extremely responsive to bardic loresinging. Experimentation continues in this matter.
Gemstones and the Aelotoi
For fifteen thousand years, the Aelotoi suffered as slaves to the kiramon. The kiramon worked the Aelotoi cruelly, using them to mine and destroy the healthy, fertile world that had once been their own. Many presumably still endure in captivity upon that distant world, Bre'Naere -- for, while many were able to escape through the shimmering rift to Elanthia, there were many such mining camps, and it was impossible for Braedn, the elected leader of the Aelotoi, to save all of his people. The Aelotoi suffered terribly beneath the dominance of the kiramon. Now, they are free -- but the memory of Bre'Naere has not left them. The kiramon destroyed lakes, rivers, trees, meadows, and mountains, but their driving goal and desire was to obtain gems, and the Aelotoi people never understood why the kiramon wanted gems so badly. The memory of the driving kiramon quest has resulted in various Aelotoi reacting in significantly different ways when confronted with gemstones, particularly rubies, sapphires, diamond, and other high-quality stones that the kiramon most desired.
While there are exceptions among any of the clans, the following attitudes are most typical among the Aelotoi.
The Vaer'sah clan takes pleasure in the idea of owning gems and wearing jewelry. The Vaer'sah enjoyed more freedom than the other Aelotoi, living in secret as refugees and avoiding the wrath of the kiramon. To the Vaer'sah, jewelry is a way of reveling in the newfound liberty of the Aelotoi. The kiramon are no longer present to stop the Aelotoi from owning gems of their own, so it is an act of defiance and freedom, the Vaer'sah say.
The Gaeh'deh react differently when confronted with gems and jewelry. The Gaeh'deh bore the brunt of physical labor on the world of Bre'Naere, and they are more communally minded than either of the other two clans. On Bre'Naere, upon rare circumstance, an Aelotoi worker would sometimes conceal a gem from the kiramon overseers. If the kiramon discovered such treachery, their reaction was violent -- not only would the offender be put to death, but several random members of the mining camp would be slain as well, and even those permitted to live would be brutally punished. The Aelotoi word "zrissantha" is a single term that means "jewel thief," "traitor," and "kinslayer." Most members of the Gaeh'deh clan will not wear jewelry or adorn their possessions with jewels, and they distrust those who do.
The Mrae'ni, primarily healers and mages, share the Gaeh'deh hesitation over wearing jewelry. They consider it disrespectful to wear jeweled ornaments when their kin are dying elsewhere for the sake of the kiramon gem-lust. However, the need to know is a driving force behind the Mrae'ni and their actions, and the Mrae'ni are asking themselves the question that very few other Aelotoi have considered: "Why did the kiramon want gems?" Illistim scholars have taught the Mrae'ni about some of the magical and metaphysical properties of various types of gems, and the Mrae'ni are starting to see possession of gems as a new way to help their people. Although they are disgusted by the idea of wearing gems for decoration, the Mrae'ni will sometimes carry a bespelled gem or two and see nothing wrong with that practice.
Gemstones and the Arkati
Worshippers of various Arkati or greater spirits consider specific gems significant to their faith. Please note that these attributions are not exclusive; for example, followers of Imaera and followers of Luukos both find sacred significance in emeralds.
Aeia - emerald Amasalen - heliodor Andelas - chrysoberyl, cat’s-eye quartz Arachne - garnet Charl - aquamarine, coral, thunder egg geodes, mermaid's-tear sapphires Cholen - amethyst, pyrite, blue sapphire Eorgina - black diamond, firestone Fash'lo'nae - deathstone, black opal, citrine quartz Gosaena - moss agate, malachite The Huntress - lapis lazuli, starstone Imaera - amber, chrysoprase, emerald Ivas - green jade Jastev - alexandrite, lapis lazuli, rock crystal Jaston - blue quartz Kai - tigerfang crystal Koar - Eye-of-Koar emerald, topaz Kuon - green zircon Laethe - black onyx, rhodochrosite Leya - chalcedony Lorminstra - black dreamstone, banded onyx Lumnis - agate, black opal, turquoise Luukos - emerald Marlu - star diopside Mularos - bloodstone, ruby Niima - aquamarine, white opal Oleani - morganite, rose quartz Onar - deathstone, obsidian Phoen - yellow sapphire, sunstone Ronan - jet Sheru - amber Tilamaire - labradorite Tonis - jasper, aventurine Voaris - geode Voln - onyx V'tull - bloodjewel Zelia - moonstone
In looking at this list, some will pause and ask, “But what of Eonak?” The answer is that Eonak’s followers do not tie any specific gem to his worship, for all gems of the earth are beneath his sway. Pieces of petrified wood are sometimes utilized in wedding ceremonies by clerics of Eonak, as they symbolize the bond between Eonak and Imaera, but talismans of metal or simple, unadorned stone are preferred in all other cases.