May 17

The Wizard of Oz Day

The Emerald
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Emeralds
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"When Morning arrived, the travelers were filled with high spirits as they continued to follow the Yellow Brick Road. Soon they saw before them in the distance a beautiful bright green glow in the sky. "That must be the City of Emeralds!" said Dorothy to her companions. As they walked on, the green glow became brighter and brighter, and it seemed that at last they were nearing the end of their long journey. Yet was late afternoon before the little party came to the end of the paved yellow path which stopped at the great marble wall surrounding the entire city. It was very high and very thick and of a bright florescent green color, and studded in countless of glittering emeralds."

~ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank L. Baum, 1900

The gemstone emerald, the birthstone of May, is forever associated with the Emerald City, the capital city of The Land of Oz, first described in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published this day in May, 1900. In the book, although the walls of the city are green, the city itself is not. When they enter, everyone in the Emerald City is made to wear green-tinted eyeglasses; this is explained as an effort to protect their eyes from the "brightness and glory" of the city, but in effect makes everything appear green when it is, in fact, "no more green than any other city." In ancient times, it was believed that the green of Emeralds did indeed soothe the eyes, and could restore failing vision simply by gazing upon them. This belief held through the 18th century, when the first tinted lenses were also made green. Prized for their beauty throughout the ages, emeralds were believed to imbue the possessor with insight, foresight, and hindsight. πŸ’šπŸ’Ž

One of the most prized of gemstones for their beauty and rarity, emeralds in ancient times were thought to imbue the possessor with special qualities and to cure a wide variety of ailments.  Scholars and orators wore emeralds to strengthen their memory and to become more eloquent.​​  Another common belief was that emeralds had the power to give insight, foresight, and hindsight.

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The word "emerald" is derived (via Old French: esmeraude) from the Latin and original Greek for "green gem."

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The oldest known finds of emeralds were made near the Red Sea in Egypt by Egyptian pharaohs around 1500 BC. Cleopatra valued emeralds so tremendously that the historic mines in Egypt are now referred to as Cleopatra’s Mines, though they were exhausted of their supplies by the time they were rediscovered in the 19th century.

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Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl and receive their colour by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium.  These varying shades of green are reflected in this emerald-hued tartan.

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For more information about this precious stone, click the emeralds!

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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