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gemma, ae, f. [cf. Gr. γέμω, to be full; Lat. gumia; lit. a fulness, swelling. The ancients supposed the original meaning to be a precious stone, Quint. 8, 6, 6; cf. Cic. Or. 24, 81; id. de Or. 3, 38, 155], a bud, eye, or gem on a plant.

I. Lit.: ineunte vere exsistit tamquam ad articulos sarmentorum ea, quae gemma dicitur, Cic. de Sen. 15, 53: (pampinus) trudit gemmas et frondes explicat omnes, Verg. G. 2, 335; jam laeto turgent in palmite gemmae, id. E. 7, 48; Col. 4, 29, 4.—

II. Transf. (from the resemblance to buds in shape and color), a precious stone, esp. one already cut, a jewel, gem, the predom. signif. of the word (opp. lapillus, one that is opaque, v. Dig. 34, 2, 19, 17; cf. also: margarita, unio): nego in Sicilia tota ... ullam gemmam aut margaritam, quicquam ex auro aut ebore factum ... quin conquisierit, etc., Cic. Verr. 2, 4, 1, 1: pocula ex auro gemmis distincta clarissimis, id. ib. 2, 4, 27, 62: vas vinarium ex una gemma pergrandi, id. ib.: Cyri ornatus Persicus multo auro multisque gemmis, id. de Sen. 17, 59: gemmas sunt qui non habeant, Hor. Ep. 2, 2, 180: cum virides gemmas collo circumdedit (mulier), Juv. 6, 458: non gemmis venale, Hor. C. 2, 16, 7: vitrea, i. e. a false gem, Plin. 35, 6, 30, 48; also called facticia, id. 37, 7, 26, 98: nec premit articulos lucida gemma meos, Ov. H. 15, 74: nec sufferre queat majoris pondera gemmae, Juv. 1, 29: usus luxuriantis aetatis signaturas pretiosis gemmis coepit insculpere, Capitol. ap. Macr. S. 7, 13, 11; Vulg. Exod. 25, 7 et saep. —

2. Transf.

a. Things made of precious stones.

(a). A drinking-vessel, goblet or cup, made of a precious stone: nec bibit e gemma divite nostra sitis, Prop. 3, 5 (4, 4), 4; cf.: ut gemmā bibat, Verg. G. 2, 506: gemmā ministrare, Sen. Prov. 3 fin.; cf. also: in gemma posuere merum, Ov. M. 8, 572.—

(b). A seal ring, signet: protinus impressā signat sua crimina gemmā, Ov. M. 9, 566; cf. Plin. 37, 1, 2, 3; 37, 5, 20, 78: arguit ipsorum quos littera gemmaque, Juv. 13, 138; 1, 68.—Hence, comically: Pl. Opsecro parentis ne meos mihi prohibeas? Cu. Quid? ego sub gemmane apstrussos habeo tuam matrem et patrem? i. e. under lock and key, Plaut. Curc. 5, 2, 8.—

b. A pearl (poet.): legitur rubris gemma sub aequoribus. Prop. 1, 14, 12: cedet Erythraeis eruta gemma vadis, Mart. 8, 28, 14. —

c. The eyes of the peacock's tail: gemmis caudam stellantibus implet, Ov. M. 1, 723; cf.: gemmea cauda, Phaedr. 3, 18, 8). —

B. Trop., like gem in English, ornament, beauty (post-Aug. and very rare): multas in digitis, plures in carmine gemmas Invenies, Mart. 5, 11, 3: Hesperius gemma amicorum, Sid. Ep. 4, 22.