Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today in History....

a historical Vesuvianite necklace

Here is an interesting bit of history for you on this date in the year 79 AD, near the Bay of Naples; Mount Vesuvius violently erupted. This eruption and ensuing clouds of ash, stone and pumice decimated the town of Pompeii, entombing many of its inhabitants in the fallout. Meanwhile, to the northwest, a mudslide was destroying the nearby town of Herculaneum. The words penned by Pliny, the younger, describing a very gruesome scene following the eruption:

We also saw the sea sucked away and apparently forced back by the earthquake: at any rate it receded from the shore so that quantities of sea creatures were left stranded on dry sand. On the landward side a fearful black cloud was rent by forked and quivering bursts of flame, and parted to reveal great tongues of fire, like flashes of lightning magnified in size . . .. We had scarcely sat down to rest when darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy night, but as if the lamp had been put out in a closed room. You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying.

Since that fateful day, Mount Vesuvius has erupted more than 50 times and it remains an active volcano to this day. Its most recent major eruption was in 1944. Yet in spite of this, there are more than 2 million people living in the shadow of this volcano. They are living in cities and town surrounding the volcano, and farming its very fertile soil, which supports many orchards and vineyards.

There is a lovely stone found in the lava on Mount Vesuvius, many of you may have never heard of before, it is called Vesuvianite or Idocrase. It comes in several colors including: green, brown, yellow, or blue silicate. I found this about its origins on Wikipedia:

Vesuvianite occurs as tetragonal crystals in skarn deposits and limestone that have been subjected to contact metamorphism. It was first discovered within included blocks or adjacent to lavas on Mount Vesuvius, hence its name.

Quite some time ago, I purchased this gorgeous Vesuvianite briolette and decided to make a very simple and classic necklace so as not to detract from the stone. This beautiful olive green stone is wrapped in very fine sterling silver wire; and including the wrapped bale it is ¾ of and inch in length. It hangs gracefully from an 18-inch sterling silver rope chain and you will find it listed in my Etsy shop here.

I hope you have enjoyed this history and geology lesson for today! Thank you for looking and have a blessed day!



Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesuvianite
Answers.com - http://www.answers.com/topic/mount-vesuvius
Center for Technologies - http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/volcanoes/vmtvesuvius.html

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