Emerald: The Birthstone of May and the Green Gem of Power - Part I
It's also the month of emerald, the gemstone that embodies the essence of May with its verdant hue.
For centuries, emerald has been linked to various powers and virtues, such as love, loyalty, wisdom, and foresight. It has been used for talismans, amulets, and royal regalia, as well as for every day jewellery for those without titles and crowns.
So what are the many facets (pun intended) of emerald, from its history to its science, from its symbolism to its market value?
Whether you're a gemologist, a historian, a poet, or a designer, you'll find something of interest and inspiration..
Want to check out some famous Emeralds? See: Chalk Emerald, Mogul Emerald, Patricia Emerald.
The History and Lore of Emerald
Let's travel back in time to discover the earliest mentions of emerald in human culture, and how it has been used and valued by different civilizations, and the myths, legends, and beliefs associated with emerald that have shaped its symbolism and meaning. Some of the most famous Emeralds in History
survived wars, thefts, and accidents to become treasures of the world.
The first recorded discovery of emerald dates back to ancient Egypt, around 4,000 years ago, where it was called "smaragdus", and was associated with the goddess Venus. Egyptian pharaohs, such as Cleopatra, were known for their love of emeralds, and used them as symbols of power and beauty.
There are countless stories throughout history from dynasties in countries like Egypt, Spain, India, and Italy, as well as countries in the Middle East, that regarded emerald as a healing gem; for curing eye problems, common diseases, fever, epilepsy, and infertility. For those employed as “seers” or mystics back in ancient times, emerald was a sacred stone. It was THE gem for revealing truths and to protect against evil.
Medieval merchants who were fortunate enough to find themselves in possession of emeralds traded them
for gold and silver, or used in rituals and ceremonies to bless crops and livestock.
So what exactly is an Emerald?
If we delve into the chemical composition, physical properties, and geological origins of emerald, it’s easy to see how those factors contribute to its rarity and beauty.
Emerald is a variety of beryl that gets its green color from the trace elements of chromium and vanadium. The intensity and hue of the green depend on the amount and combination of these elements, as well as on the presence of other impurities, such as iron, manganese, and titanium. The freak occurrence of
nature creating a large, deep green, mostly transparent emerald is like winning a lottery.
(Internal characteristics or fractures, are referred to as “le jardin” or the “garden” of the gem. Nearly every Emerald has SOME internal characteristics and surface-reaching fractures; ones with less are rare and
The most famous emerald deposits are located in Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, and Madagascar, but emeralds can also be found in other countries, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.
To be continued...