The Emerald marks the 20th & 35th wedding anniversaries. Its rich green hue reminds us
of the regeneration of life in Springtime and hope of new possibilities.
The History and Folklore of Emeralds
Emerald is the birthstone for May. The lush green emerald has soothed souls and excited imaginations since times of antiquity. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for green, smaragdus. In ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder described the early lapidaries as having “no better method of restoring their eyes than by looking at the emerald, its soft, green color comforting and removing their weariness and lassitude.” Even today, the color green is known to relieve stress and eye strain. The Gachala Emerald is pictured at right.
Some of the oldest known emerald finds were near the Red Sea in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians mined these precious gems as early as 3500 BC through to the time of Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh of Egypt, who had a passion for emeralds as sumptuous royal adornments. Mesopotamians, Greeks and Romans all prized this gem. Alexander the Great’s men braved heat, snakes and scorpions to unearth the wondrous gem.
Legend is that the emerald was one of the four precious stones given by God to King Solomon (whose reign was from 970 to 931 BC). These four stones were said to have endowed the king with power over all creation. In South America the Incas and Aztecs regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone and offered it to the gods. The Incas had already been using emeralds in religious ceremonies and for jewelry for at least 500 years when Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th Century. The Spaniards traded silver and gold for emeralds, soon touching Europe and Asia’s imaginations. The world’s eyes opened to the emerald’s majesty, and fantastic stories grew around this magnificent gem.
From the lore of gems, the emerald was thought to endow its wearer with the ability to foresee the future when placed under the tongue; as well as to reveal truth and be protected against evil. The emerald was once believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. The wearer of an emerald was believed to possess the ability to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath, and make one an eloquent speaker. Satiny or silky, warm or glowing, they are sometimes called ‘green fire’, and are linked to rejuvenation, fertility and the ‘Eternal Spring’. A fine emerald can be more expensive than a high quality diamond of the same carat weight. It is the most prominent of green gemstones in popularity and value.
Folklore of Emeralds as Healing Agents
There are many legends surrounding the healing properties of emeralds. Emeralds were considered to have the ability to cure all ailments. Boiled or crushed, they were also made into lotions and applied to cuts or various other skin ailments. Emeralds were believed to cure ear and digestive problems, heart diseases, gall stones, high blood pressure, insomnia, miscarriages, paralysis, mental illness and imbalance. The precious emerald is said to possess the power to give insight, foresight and hindsight in its wearer. The brilliant emerald, birthstone for the month of May, is the symbol of rebirth, said to grant its owner youthfulness and good fortune.
Special thanks for the use of the fine mineral photographs of Joe Budd ... Courtesy of The Arkenstone, www.iRocks.com