Rubies from Jegdalek: the stones is spinel, and the matrix a crystalline micaceous limestone.
The Badakhshan mines were of great importance during the period from 1000–1900 AD. It were the source of many of the finest early red spinels in gem collections around the world, such as those in the crown jewels of Iran, the collection in Istanbul’s Topkapi, Russia’s Kremlin and Diamond Fund, and England’s Tower of London.
Afghanistan’s ruby/spinel mines were mentioned in the Arabic writings of many early travellers, including Istakhri (951 AD), Ibn Haukal (978 AD), al-Ta’Alibi (961–1038 AD), al-Muqaddasi (ca 10th century), al-Biruni (b. 973; d. ca 1050 AD), Teifaschi (1240 AD), and Ibn Battuta (1325–1354 AD).
Arabic scholar Mohammed Ben Mansur, writing in the 12th century, stated during the time of Abbaside (caliphs who ruled from 750 to 1258 AD), a hill at Chatlan was broken open by an earthquake and within a white rock in the fracture was found the ‘Laal-Bedakhschan’ (balas ruby). Women of the neighborhood apparently tried to extract dye from the red stones, and failing, threw them away.
By Marc Polo’s quotation: one special mountain that produces the Balas Rubies (the name balas is derived from Balakshan), and it is called Syghinan. The stones are dug on the king’s account, and no one else dares dig in that mountain on pain of forfeiture of life as well as goods; nor may any one carry the stones out of the kingdom. But the king amasses them all, and sends them to other kings when he has tribute to render, or when he desires to offer a friendly present; and such only as he pleases he causes to be sold. Thus he acts in order to keep the Balas at a high value; for if he were to allow everybody to dig, they would extract so many that the world would be glutted with them, and they would cease to bear any value. Hence it is that he allows so few to be taken out, and is so strict in the matter.
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