Dis­cov­er­ing Dundee!

The People's Friend Special - - CONTENTS -

Hid­den se­crets of our home city

If ever there was a jewel in the crown, this is it! On July 10, 1914, King Ge­orge V and Queen Mary vis­ited Dundee. The pur­pose of their trip was to lay the foun­da­tion stone of the Caird Hall, the city’s grand new con­cert and events venue.

Dur­ing their visit, the Royal cou­ple took part in what was then a unique cer­e­mony. At Ash­ton Works in the Hawkhill area of Dundee, they each pressed elec­tronic but­tons un­der the watch­ful eye of bene­fac­tor and jute baron Sir James Key Caird (18371916), who gifted the venue to the city.

The but­tons trig­gered the low­er­ing of the foun­da­tion stone into place in the Green­mar­ket re­gion of the city, which was more than a mile away.

King Ge­orge pressed an emer­ald but­ton and Queen Mary pressed a jade but­ton. Both of the but­tons were then pre­sented to Their Majesties as a me­mento of the oc­ca­sion.

Queen Mary ac­cepted the jade stone but the King handed the emer­ald back to Sir James Caird, with the in­struc­tion that it should re­main in the hands of the city for its ben­e­fit.

Emer­alds, as with other gems, come in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent sizes and forms. Those used in jew­ellery are typ­i­cally very clear and although not of­ten “per­fect”, they do have bril­liance sim­i­lar to ru­bies and sap­phires.

The stone in­cor­po­rated into the Chain of Of­fice is a grand ex­am­ple of a cloudy emer­ald. These are very rarely used to form gem­stones and re­mark­ably, the Dundee emer­ald is known to be the sec­ond-largest emer­ald ever dis­cov­ered.

It is so rare, in fact, that it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to put a re­al­is­tic value on the stone, mak­ing it one of Dundee’s true hid­den gems.

Su­san Mc­Mul­lan finds there’s more to the home city of the “Friend” than jute, jam and jour­nal­ism!

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