Life cycle of Axis,” carved green beryl, aka beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate, aka emerald. Obtained by Marshall Field on his expedition to Madagascar in 1912, although it is unclear if the carving was added at a later time.

I like to imagine the world when Field returned with this specimen, the massive undertaking of a worldly expedition, the delight and wonder of an unexpected natural treasure in hand.


700-year-old English speech bubbles

If you thought comics were a modern invention, think again! The top image of c. 1300 shows a drawing that has the ingredients of a modern comic book drawing, including the fact that the text is placed in real speech bubbles: the words (which are in English!) are connected to the speaker’s mouth by means of a tiny line. It turns out this tradition was alive and kicking in medieval times. Read more about these 700-year-old speech bubbles - including what the funny English text says - in this longer blog I posted.

Pics: London, British Library, Stowe MS 49 (c. 1300); Los Angeles, Getty Museum, MS 66 (13th century); Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 11978 (15th century).

Looks like someone had a card up their sleeve because “The Death Card" by Denilson Luis da Silva is currently the highest scoring design in our Bad Luck design challenge! Here’s what Denilson had to say about this submission:

“The Death card is probably the most feared and misunderstood of all the cards in the Tarot deck”

Artists, you still have 4 days to turn that luck around and submit to this challenge!