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1 At the present day the ruby is next in esteem to the diamond.
2 Chapter 54, et seq.
3 The Emerald, and various other green precious stones, were included under this name.
4 "Virentes" seems a very preferable reading to "silentes," as given by the Bamberg MS.
5 The emerald is supposed to derive this colour from a minute portion of oxide of chrome.
6 Engraved emeralds are but seldom found among collections of ancient gems. In 1593, there was one found in the tomb of Maria, daughter of Stilicho, in the Vatican, with the head of Honorius, her husband, engraved upon it.
7 "It may here be objected that real emeralds are too small to admit of being used as mirrors; but the ancients speak of some sufficiently large for that purpose, and also of artificial ones; so that we may with certainty conclude, that they classed among the emeralds fluor spar, green vitrified lava, or the green Icelandic agate, as it is called, green jasper, and also green glass."—Beckmann, Hist. Inv. Vol. II. p. 67. Bohn's Edition. It has also been suggested, with reference to this passage, that Nero was shortsighted, and that this emerald was formed like a concave lens. The passage, however, will hardly support such a construction. Ajasson thinks that it must have been a Dioptase or Siberian emerald; or else a green Corundum.
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