The Selection of Treasures Regarding Precious Stones


Kitāb nuhab al-dahā'ir fī ahwāl al-jawāhir (The selection of treasures regarding precious stones) is a treatise devoted to precious stones and, in particular, to the different kinds of hyacinth (a precious stone of the ancients, sometimes held to be the sapphire). The work opens with a draft of a poem on precious stones on the title page, probably copied at the same time as the manuscript, and proceeds with brief notes on the different kinds of hyacinth, on pearls, and on other precious stones found in water. The author of the treatise, Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn al-Akfani, is mostly remembered by Arabic bibliographers as a physician and an encyclopedic mind. He was born in 1286 in the city of Sinjār (present-day northern Iraq) and spent most of his life in Cairo, where he worked in the 13th-century Al-Mansuri Hospital and died a victim of the plague in 1348–49. More than 20 books are attributed to Ibn al-Akfani, half of which are devoted to medicine and related subjects. He is mainly famous among later Arab writers as the author of an extensive encyclopedia of sciences known by the title Iršād al-qāsid ilā asnā' al-maqāsid (The easy guidance to the more shining destinations) and that probably was inspired by al-Fārābī's encyclopedia. Ibn al-Akfani also wrote on logic, astronomy, mathematics, and, as in this work, gemology.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

كتاب نخب الذخائر في أحوال الجواهر

Type of Item

Physical Description

6 leaves (21 lines), bound : paper ; 20 x 15 centimeters


  • Paper: yellowed cream, with watermarks, in bad condition, with termite damage all over the manuscript. Last leaf repaired. Black ink throughout; some diacritical marks; catchwords on rectos. Violet pencil (in modern hand) on title page. Binding: cardboard; leather spine.


Last updated: August 29, 2017