Beryl, the Elf-Stone

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[page 6] HOOM 1:6 by Frances (Jack) Scruby Shenandoah Rock & Mineral Society {Image: Figure of a bird with a gemstone inset in its chest and torso.} Beryl, Be3Al2(S1O3)6, is an ore of beryllium as well as a gem stone. The metal is used in alloys of copper and in atomic research. It is almost as light as magnesium. The species includes emerald and Aquamarine, as well as what jewellers ordinarily describe as "beryl". The familiar grass-green shade of emerald and the sea-green aquamarine are more familiar to most of us than the beryl. Beryl, although Tolkian @Tolkien@ speaks only of the green variety, may also be yellow, pink or shades of rose-red and golden-yellow. It may also be colorless. Pure beryl is colorless, but owing to the almost invariable presence of impurities, it is colored, and the grass- green shade (undoubtedly referred to by Tolkien) is known as emerald. Other closely related stones are the chrysoberyl, BeOAl2O3. It is also green, possibly due to chromium. Alexandrite, a dark green form, is red by transmitted light (remember the flash as Aragorn held aloft the elf stone?). Beryl is one of the most beautifully crystallized of minerals, usually in prismatic hexagons, sometimes several feet in length and weighing many pounds. (Even though a valued stone, this may explain why Glorfindel thought nothing of leaving a large chunk as a token of safety on the Bridge of Mitheithel.) The stone is found in many places all over the world-- Russia, Brazil, Columbia @Colombia@, Peru, South Africa, Siberia, Madagascar, Egypt; and within our own United States in New England, New Mexico, the Black Hills, North Carolina. Ancient studies of various stones, by one of the "fathers" of natural history, Caius Plinius Secundus, in his _Historiae Naturalis Libri_, shows a great respect for the beauty of the beryl. Pliny desscribes the beryl: "The most esteemed beryls are those which in colour resemble the pure green of the sea." (The sea--how logical that the elves would choose a stone which reminded them of the sea!) Again, to quote Pliny: "Neither sunshine, shade, or aritificial light effects any change in their appearance." Superstition tells us the beryl is beneficial to the eyes, and Pliny confirms this by stating: "And then, besides, of all the [Page 7] HOOM 1:6 by Frances (Jack) Scruby Shenandoah Rock & Mineral Society {Image: Figure of a bird with a gemstone inset in its chest and torso.} Beryl, Be3Al2(S1O3)6, is an ore of beryllium as well as a gem stone. The metal is used in alloys of copper and in atomic research. It is almost as light as magnesium. The species includes emerald and Aquamarine, as well as what jewellers ordinarily describe as "beryl". The familiar grass-green shade of emerald and the sea-green aquamarine are more familiar to most of us than the beryl. Beryl, although Tolkian @Tolkien@ speaks only of the green variety, may also be yellow, pink or shades of rose-red and golden-yellow. It may also be colorless. Pure beryl is colorless, but owing to the almost invariable presence of impurities, it is colored, and the grass- green shade (undoubtedly referred to by Tolkien) is known as emerald. Other closely related stones are the chrysoberyl, BeOAl2O3. It is also green, possibly due to chromium. Alexandrite, a dark green form, is red by transmitted light (remember the flash as Aragorn held aloft the elf stone?). Beryl is one of the most beautifully crystallized of minerals, usually in prismatic hexagons, sometimes several feet in length and weighing many pounds. (Even though a valued stone, this may explain why Glorfindel thought nothing of leaving a large chunk as a token of safety on the Bridge of Mitheithel.) The stone is found in many places all over the world-- Russia, Brazil, Columbia @Colombia@, Peru, South Africa, Siberia, Madagascar, Egypt; and within our own United States in New England, New Mexico, the Black Hills, North Carolina. Ancient studies of various stones, by one of the "fathers" of natural history, Caius Plinius Secundus, in his _Historiae Naturalis Libri_, shows a great respect for the beauty of the beryl. Pliny desscribes the beryl: "The most esteemed beryls are those which in colour resemble the pure green of the sea." (The sea--how logical that the elves would choose a stone which reminded them of the sea!) Again, to quote Pliny: "Neither sunshine, shade, or aritificial light effects any change in their appearance." Superstition tells us the beryl is beneficial to the eyes, and Pliny confirms this by stating: "And then, besides, of all the [Page 8] HOOM 1:8 In Ezekiel, Ch. 28, Verse 13, we find: "Thou hast been in Eden in the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold... " In Revelation, Ch. 21: 19. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20. The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a acinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. The elf-stone, then, is chosen from a tradition of respect through all antiquity. How logically it follows that the earliest children of earth, dwelling in the Middle Earth of Tolkien's imagination, should have chosen the beryl as their symbol! Reference: GEM-STONES G.F. Herbert Smith Rev. by F. Coles Phillips

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