is the very term ýáëï? used by Socrates to describe a burning glass
(and consequently a magnifying lens) in Aristophanes (Nubes, 758). By
some lucky accident the observer of this property in his Beryl had been
led by induction to apply a fact, similar to that involved in Nero's
recorded use of his Emerald lorgnette so many centuries before, to the
working out of a most important result, through the happy thought that
the marvellous effect was due not to the occult virtue of the gem
itself,* but to the artificial shape imparted to it.
the absurd nomenclature current with the English lapidaries in the last
century, as Lessing has noticed, the name of Beryl was given to every
variety of the Sard in which yellow predominated : the red alone,
following the French example, was distinguished as the Cornelian. Dr.
Woodward and Hill both notice this singular misnomer. In the same
jargon the true Beryl is only mentioned as the Aquamarine. Even Natter,
who should have known better, has adopted the same system of misnaming
these stones, in the various Catalogues he has drawn up. This has been
a fruitful source of error to foreign archœologists, who, trusting to
the English description, give so large a proportion of works preserved
in our Cabinets as upon Beryl which are in truth on Sard, according to
the well-known rule of the preponderance in numbers of the latter over
all other species, used by the ancients, collectively.
* The concave Emerald was supposed to aid the myopic eye, because its nature was beneficial to the sight.