Beryllium, with atomic number 4, was discovered in 1798 by French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin, who found it as a component of the gemstone beryl. Beryllium was first isolated in 1828 independently by German chemist Friedrich Wöhler and French chemist Antoine Bussy.

The earliest citation of beryllium in the Oxford English Dictionary is from Henry Watts’s 1863 A Dictionary of Chemistry.1 The root beryl, as the name for the gemstone, is from Old French and Latin and ultimately Greek. It was probably borrowed into Greek from some other language. Cognates exist in Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian.2

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