The Countess of Carnarvon has also a fine set of these stones; and two splendid parures of emeralds belong in appropriate fashion to ladies who dwell in the Emerald Isle - the Dowager Countess of Rosse and Viscountess Powerscourt.
Lady Carew owns a splendid emerald.given her by a former Shah of Persia. The Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville possesses beautiful emeralds that once belonged to the Empress Josephine; and Lady Helen Vincent and the Hon. Mrs. George Keppel each own a huge emerald of great price, hung as a pendant from a chain of fine platinum.
Among other owners of good emeralds are Mrs. Kenneth Wilson, a daughter-in-law of Mrs. Arthur Wilson, and Lady Paget.
The Letting of an Emerald
Probably no finer emeralds have been seen in London than those worn and owned by Madame Lina Cavalieri, the noted actress and singer. She wore the splendid necklace and brooches in the second act of " Manon Lescaut," and the green light of these wondrous gems flashed across the opera house at Covent Garden.
The success of an emerald depends much upon its setting and arrangement. As regards other stones, emeralds contrast well with almost everything, and share this privilege with the pearl and the diamond.
In spite, however, of their great beauty and immense value, it is too easy to construct
Emeralds were highly prized by the ancients. Herodotus mentions the emerald columns at Tyre in the Temple of Hercules. Pliny also speaks of them. Wrought emeralds have been found in the ruins of Thebes and Rome, and even on the mummies in Egypt. Cleopatra considered them as royal stones, and bestowed gifts of emeralds, engraved with her portrait, on foreign ambassadors. And Nero, who was near-sighted, looked at the combats of gladiators through an eyeglass of emeralds. Emeralds of the Past
Curiously wrought emeralds have been excavated from the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii. And there must have been sham jewels even in the dim past, for Democritus of Thrace was famous for the way in which he imitated emeralds.
Emeralds come from Colombia, and also from the Upper Orinoco in Venezuela. It is said that the mines o f Co 1 o m b i a were fi r s t worked by the Spaniards in 1568. The finest modern emeralds are said to come from the great Muzo mines, near Santa Fede Bogota. Stones of an inferior quality are found in a valley near Salzburg, in the Urals, and in some old mines in Upper Egypt. The principal mine near Santa Fe is in the form of a tunnel, about one hundred yards deep, with steeply inclined sides. On the summit of the adjacent mountain, and near to the mouth of the mine, are several large lakes, whose waters are shut off by means of water-gates. These can easily be shifted if the workers so require.
When the waters are freed they rush down the walls of the mine, and are conducted through the mountain into a big basin.
To obtain the emeralds the workmen begin by cutting steps on the inclined walls of the mine, in order to make firm resting-places for their feet. The overseer places the men at certain distances from each other to cut out wide steps with the help of their pickaxes. The loosened stones fall by their own weight to the bottom of the mine, and when this begins to fill a sign i given to free the water, which at once rushes down with great force, and carries with it the fragments of rock straight through the mountain into the basin. This operation is repeated until the horizontal beds in which the emeralds are found lie exposed.
A handsome necklace set with emeralds and diamonds
The tourmaline, which sometimes figures as an emerald, is a stone of much interest. It is marked out from other gems by a curious optical structure and a complex chemical constitution. Though softer than an emerald it is much harder than a peridot, and has varied and beautiful colourings which commend it from an artistic standpoint. When green and transparent it is known as a chrysolite, or a Brazilian emerald.
Tourmalines occur in Ceylon, Siberia, Brazil, and in certain parts of Burma. Some years ago tourmalines were almost unknown, but are now much appreciated.
The green garnets of the Ural are lustrous gems, but their softness has its drawbacks. Peridots are included under the olivine specie s. They have an exquisite green colour, and are called eve n i ng emeralds. But they lack hardness, and polished specimens are easily damaged. The peridot is found in Brazil, Mexico, and Egypt. It is at its best set in diamonds. The chrysolite is a gem that has double refractions, and under friction it becomes electric. It is of a green hue, and also comes from Brazil and Egypt.
The chrysoberyl is a stone that is almost as hard as a sapphire, and the best specimens are very beautiful. It occurs in Ceylon and the Ural mountains, is cf a yellowish green hue, and its chemical composition is of great complexity. More will be said on these stones in another article on less expensive jewellery.
Their intrinsic value may not entitle them to rank with the rarer and therefore more precious stones, but their delicacy and beauty of colour make them well worthy of the craftsman's art.