Thursday, November 17, 2011


This clunky antique is the birthstone for Scorpio.

Beryl (pronounced "BEHR-el") is derived from the Greek beryllos, which was their word for sea-green gems. Beryllos is also the root for the word "brilliance." But it's ultimately derived from the Sanskrit word vaidurya. Once source listed it as a Yiddish name, but I doubt that.

Strictly speaking, beryl is not a specific type of gem but a category of gem that includes emeralds, morganites, golden beryls, goshenites, red beryls, and aquamarines. Therefore it's found in many places including Norway, Brazil, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Columbia, Ireland, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa, Zambia, and the United States. Finding this stone's magickal properties and mythical history is tough because it's actually a lot of different stones. In the Bible, the eighth foundation stone of the wall of New Jerusalem was made out of beryl. It's often not listed on Wiccan sites. So I can't help much there.

Luckily, this name has many prominent namesakes, mostly women. There's the alliterative Beryl Bender Birch who introduced "power yoga" to the United States. Beryl Markham was a Jill-of-all-trades as an aviatrix, horse trainer, and author living in Kenya. There's artist Beryl Cook, novelist Beryl Bainbridge, ballerina Beryl Goldwyn, jazz singer Beryl Bryden, and Australian politician and feminist Beryl Beaurepaire.

This name came into fashion at the end of the 1800s. In the United States, Beryl was most popular as a girls name in the 1900s. It peaked at #410. As a boys name it's highest height was in the 1910s at #793. So clearly it was seen more as a feminine name, even though it seems more masculine to me personally. Berilo is a variant masculine form.

I'm not overly found of the sound of this name, I keep hearing "barrel." But that's not so much of a big deal that it should deter anyone who really loves it. There is a section of name enthusiasts that really are enamored with these no-frills, clunky old names. I think that Beryl fits into that category.


Image Credit:
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  1. I've been thinking Beryl was ripe for resurrection lately too. Got that clunkly old-fashioned charm, plus all the lovely Pagan overtones :).

  2. Beryl and Barrel have the exact same pronunciation to me, too, but I didn't even think about it until you mentioned it. The name's dressed up enough that you don't see it (until someone sees it ;).

  3. "Beryl," spelled phonetically, is "bErrel" While "barrel," spelled phonetically, is Baarrel" like the sound a sheep makes.

    Beryl is a Yiddish name and means "bear."



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