The word "emerald" was derived from French "esmeraude" which in turn goes back via Latin to the Greek root "smaragdos", meaning simply "green gemstone". The ancient Incas and Aztecs, in South America where the best emeralds are still found today, worshipped them as a holy stone. However, probably the most ancient occurrences which were known are located near the Red Sea where mines were already exploited by Egyptian Pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 B.C.. The mines gained fame under he name of "Cleopatra's Mines", but were already exhausted when they were rediscovered.

What is surprising with emeralds is that, in spite of the beauty of the green they feature, inclusions are allowed, and nevertheless, in top qualities fine emerald are even more valuable than diamonds. Large emeralds with no inclusions and of the better color are so rare that if you had one it would be more expensive than a diamond. Therefore most emeralds will have inclusions - traces of an active history of origin characterising the gemstone. Fine inclusions, after all, do not diminish the value; on the contrary. An emerald of deep, vivid green with inclusions will be valued higher than an inclusion-free stone of paler color. Almost endearingly, experts call the many crystal inclusions or fissures which are so typical for this gemstone a "jardin" (meaning "garden" in French). The tender green plant-like structures in the emerald garden are considered as identifying characteristics of a naturally grown emerald.

Many centuries ago in the Veda, the ancient sacred writings of Hinduism, there was written down information on the valuable green gemstones and their healing power: "emeralds promise good luck", or "The emerald enhances your well-being". It does not come as a surprise, then, that the treasure chests of Indian Maharajas and Maharanis contained most wonderful emeralds. One of the largest emeralds in the world is the "Mogul Emerald". It goes back to the year 1695, weighs 217.80 carats and is about 10 cm high. One side is inscribed with prayers, on the other side there are engraved opulent flower ornaments. The legendary emerald was auctioned off at Christie's of London for 2.2 million US dollars to an anonymous buyer.

Emeralds have been coveted ever since ancient times. Some of the most famous emeralds can therefore be admired in museums and collections. For example, The New York Museum of Natural History not only shows a cup from pure emerald which was owned by Emperor Jehingar, but also a Colombian emerald crystal weighing 632 carats. The collection owned by the Bank of Bogota contains no less than five valuable emerald crystals weighing between 220 and 1796 carats. Also in the Irani State Treasure there are guarded some wonderful emeralds, among them the tiara of ex-Empress Farah.

Emerald's reported healing properties:
  • guards against poison and venomous bites
  • cures epilepsy
  • induces fertility and prevents abortions
  • heals and relaxes the eyes
  • helps with stomach disorders, such as dysentery
  • induces sleep
  • aids in leprosy wounds

Emerald's reported power properties:
  • protection against demoniacal possession
  • increase brain powers
  • provide clairvoyance
  • mental clarity
  • strengthen love and fidelity

See some antique jewelry with emeralds

More information on precious stones and their healing and power properties.

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