Amber

Naming a car after an exploding chariot

Naming a car after an exploding chariot

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I was talking to my students today about the stories of Amber.  Our word “electricity” is derived from the Greek word for Amber as it creates static electricity when rubbed and caused early scientists to wonder why.

Another favorite myth for the creation of Amber was the Greek myth of Phaeton, the teen-ager who borrows dad (Helios, the Sun god) chariot and loses control.  He burns the earth so Zeus is forced to stop him by shooting him with a lightening bolt.  Phaeton plummets to the ground and his co-conspirator sisters turn into trees by his body as they weep, amber is formed.

Bigger question.  Early open-air cars were called “Phaeton” and more recently Volkswagon came out with a Phaeton to Compete with Mercedes.  Naming cars after out-of-control burning disasters?

Peridot

I gave a lecture on Peridot to my students today.  I love Peridot, the evening emerald. When you know that they are the only gemstone that comes from outer space, that they are only green because of the iron content and that they ‘glow’ at twilight…and are somewhat affordable.  The largest peridot mine is located in the United States at the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona.  It makes me sad that the Native Americans who live there can make more money working in the casino.

Joan is wearing a necklace and earrings were by archduchess Isabella part of a set that dates from the 1820s and is attributed to Kochert, court jeweler to the sprawling Habsburg family in Austria. Amazing Peridot!