The Wizard of Oz Day
No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be emerald, my color undiminished." ~ Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.)
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" (yet another "humbug" perpetrated by the Wizard). However, in ancient times, it was believed that the green of Emeralds soothed the eyes, restored failing vision when 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 also believed to imbue the possessor with insight, foresight, and hindsight.
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.
The word "emerald" is derived (via Old French: esmeraude) from the Latin and original Greek for "green gem."
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.
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.
For more information about this precious stone, click the emeralds!