This section is from the book "Scientific Sewing And Garment Cutting", by Antoinette Van Hoesen Wakeman. Also available from Amazon: Scientific Sewing And Garment Cutting: For Use In Schools And In The Home.
It would not be easy to tell from what part of the world come the fine, irregular, sharp crystals that make your needle so smooth when you run it through your emery bag.
Perhaps this emery has been a great traveler, and come all the way from Cape Emerie, on the island of Naxos, in the Egean Sea, where the best emery in the world is found, and from which it takes its name. It is more than likely to have come from this island, as there are many tons shipped from there to all parts of the world every year. It may have come, however, from Sweden, Saxony, Spain, Greenland, or Massachusetts; for emery is found in all these places. Wherever it came from, it is a sort of sapphire, and was in the beginning bluish or brownish gray in color, although it is often artificially colored a rich reddish brown.
Emery is first crushed with steel stamps; then it is sifted. It is used in cutting marble and granite, also for polishing plate-glass, crystal, metals, and gems, as well as needles.