The word chrysalis derives from the ancient Greek word χρυσός (chrysos) which means gold. When you view some butterfly pupae, such as this Small Tortoiseshell, you can see how well suited the etymology (another Greek word!) of chrysalis can be. Out of interest, the term Aurelian was once given to a person interested in butterflies, more commonly known these days of course as a lepidopterist!

Chrysalis of Small Tortoiseshell

People have long been obsessed with gold and through alchemy have tried to produce it themselves. I believe that natures own alchemy is at work through the amazing process of metamorphosis that butterflies go through during their life cycle. The protective casket of gold becomes translucent and reveals the magic at work inside, just before the emergence of the adult butterfly…

Small Tortoiseshell Pupa

Then the magic act is complete, when the butterfly is released and a living jewel adorns the world…

Small Tortoiseshell

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