Aetites (also known as the eagle stone), derives its name from aetos, the Greek word for eagle. Located in the stomach or neck of an eagle, or in its nest, this purple colored stone was said to possess magical properties connected to childbirth.
According to mythology these stones could be used to ward off premature birth and prevent miscarriages. It was also said to have non-childbirth uses such as healing epileptic disorders and detecting theft. The stone was typically worn on the arm for most purposes and on the thigh to assist in childbirth. It was used in obstetrics from the first to the eighteenth century A.D.
Notable mentions of the Aetites stone:
- Theophrastus from the Aristotlean school in the pre Christian epoch mentions this stone in his mineralogical treatise.
- Johann Bausch makes a mention of Aetites in his medico mineralogical work and addresses it as materia medica, circa 1665.
- Pliny says that it gets its name from the eagle’s nest, known as aeries and is also known as gagites.
- Kirwan uses this term to indicate clay ironstones with a circular crust of oxide in an ochreous kernel.
Chemically the stone is made up of ferrous oxide. Presence of some aluminium is also indicated. It is said to be hollow on the inside with smaller stones or sand making rattling noises when moved.