Perhaps disappointingly the name ‘emerald’ isn’t actually taken from any romantic mythology or legend. Originally derived from the Greek ‘smaragdos’, and then taken from ‘esmeralde’ in the Old French dialect, the word’s literal interpretation simply means ‘green gem’. I told you it was disappointing!
While the name might not be awe inspiring, the emerald certainly has a history that is makes up for its moniker. These beautiful green gems have been the subject of desire and need, wanted by those who have sought it for its value and its perceived powers. Kings and queens, emperors and moguls, maharajahs and maharanis, popes and sultans have all possessed emeralds. The economic value of a large, well cut emerald is impressive, but so is the belief in its power.
Emeralds in legend
The emerald is thought to bring good luck, which has to be the most wanted intangible power humans crave. Green is the colour of luck and good fortune. To be worn or kept about the person could improve someone’s chances of finding prosperity or safe travel. It might seem like groundless superstition, but when it came to trade routes across continental plains, you would take all the help you could find!
Green also symbolises rebirth and fertility. It is the May birthstone, representing the oncoming summer and nature at its peak. This theme is echoed right back to Ancient Rome, where the colour green represented the goddess Venus. She was the goddess of love, of beauty and prosperity, Emeralds were the sacred stone of Venus, and would be set in emerald jewellery and given as gifts of love.
Emerald continues to be enjoyed today, losing none of its charm and attraction. South America, specifically Columbia, holds perhaps the richest strain of emeralds, which has been mined for centuries. In fact, it was the Incas who originally mined for these precious stones, and many of those deposits are still yielding emeralds to this day.
The primary emerald mine in Columbia is located at Coscuez. It’s believed that around 60 faces are currently being worked, offering up the majority of the country’s emerald output. Unlike emeralds found in other parts of the world, there is a certain uniqueness to Columbian emeralds. They are a truly shining green, often unencumbered by any other impurities or tints.
The Coscuez mine is a perfect example of the ongoing need for these beautiful gems, which are still adored by millions.
A choice of elegant gifts, including emerald May birthstone jewellery can be found at Parriss Jewellers
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