old. I came to gems early, as I came early to pearls, for I was a child
born to parents who had dealt before me in these commodities. It was in
Vienna fifty-odd years ago, then, that I saw my first parcel of gem
stones, and the memory is still bright as only a childish memory can be.
mother opened a bulky parcel and tipped its glittering fantastic
contents across a very ordinary tablecloth. I gazed with rapture. By
the merest coincidence I had but a few weeks before, and not without
painful mental concentration, succeeded in learning the string of
Hebrew words which stood for the names of the twelve gems in the High
Priest's breastplate. "Sardius, Topaz, Carbuncle, Emerald, Sapphire,
Diamond . . ." "Odem, Pitdah, Bare-keth . . ."
The unexpected first vision of so many colourful and lustrous stones, some of which flashed an amount of fire