Gems, Jewels, Baubles, and Beads by Aaron Chang

The dictionary is full of beautiful gems and minerals that make perfect words to study for spelling. Why don’t we take a look at a few?

Aeroides (air-ROYD-eez)-

Aeroides is a pale blue beryl, and the word itself comes from Greek. While aeroides is usually used to describe aquamarine, it can also be used to detail any light blue beryl. Being a lighter blue means it is much more different than the dark blue maxixe beryl. (While maxixe isn’t entered in Merriam-Webster as a gemstone, and is found as a dance instead, it still is a very cool word!) This word comes from the Greek aeroeides, which means like the sky. This can of course be broken up into aer- meaning atmosphere and eides or -oid meaning resembling.

Aegyptilla (ee-jip-TILL-uh)-

Aegyptilla is actually not a specific type of gemstone. The word is used for a cut of a gem, usually agate. Agate is a type of chalcedony, which constitutes a type of quartz. It’s often found in fine bands, rings, or stripes, as well as the occasional cloud or moss shapes. In its ringed and banded form, it can be cut crosswise so that the agate resembles a tree with colorful rosettes. When only two layers and colors are present when cut, the gem is (rather obscurely) known as an aegyptilla. However, agate is rarely cut lengthwise to display the bands. When agate has dendritic or ‘mossy’ patterns, it’s often cut into a cabochon. Aegyptilla comes from the uncommon Latin diminutive suffix -illa and Aegyptus meaning Egypt.

Taaffeite (TAHF-ight)-

Taaffeite is an extremely rare mineral that resembles mauve colored spinel. In fact, it was thought first, by its discoverer Richard Taaffe, to be spinel. There is a very low amount of information surrounding the gemstone, as there are few to no specimens of taaffeite. The locations that taaffeite has been found in are even more baffling. They seem to be very random, with specimens found in the alluvial deposits of Sri Lanka, the limestone sediments of China, and even southern Tanzania. They have even been observed in microscopic amounts, nestled within rolled pebbles. The language of origin is very tricky, as it comes from an Irish name, but the person for which the stone was named was originally from Bohemia. Taaffeite also comes from the English -ite meaning mineral.

As always, happy studying!

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