Lore and Legends around Emerald Gemstone
The rich verdant shade of emeralds has been a source of comfort and excitement for people over many generations. Its name is derived from the ancient Greek term "smaragdus," which translates to "green gem." The green hue of emeralds has always held a significant place in mythology, especially among the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, who believed that gazing upon the striking green rock could soothe the eyes and restore vision. Other cultures worldwide also associate emerald gemstone jewellery with spring, rebirth, and fertility. Legends and myths have long surrounded emerald jewellery, adding to its mystique. Let us explore the history behind this lush gemstone in greater depth.
Among the list of renowned royalty known for their emerald jewellery collection, Cleopatra stands out as an ancient emerald queen. It is said that she decorated herself and her palace with emerald jewellery, and presented them as gifts to foreign diplomats and dignitaries. Nonetheless, it is believed that Cleopatra's motive behind this was to showcase her affluence and authority, rather than to foster stronger international relations.
Across various cultures and time periods, emerald jewellery was believed to possess mystical powers and was used as a talisman. Wearing emerald jewellery was thought to bring wealth and power to the wearer. It was also believed to improve memory and sharpen one's intellect. However, the most coveted ability attributed to emerald jewellery was its supposed power to grant the wearer clairvoyance, enabling them to see into the future.
In earlier times, the Spanish, Arabs, and Hindus believed that emerald jewellery possessed healing properties and could be used to cure ailments such as dysentery, infections, and even ward off demonic possession.
To Soothe Vision
The natural emerald stone was believed to have a calming effect on vision, providing relief for tired eyes. This is why many gem cutters kept emeralds on their workbenches. After prolonged periods of working with other gemstones, they would rest their eyes and alleviate strain by gazing upon emerald jewellery.
Revealer of Truths
During medieval times, natural emerald jewellery was highly esteemed as a means of uncovering the truth. It was believed that emeralds could penetrate through spells and illusions. Many individuals wore emeralds around their necks or kept them in a small pouch that they carried with them at all times, as a safeguard against curses and the evil eye.
Offering to the Gods
In earlier times, followers of the Hindu religion believed that presenting emerald jewellery to the gods would elicit divine rewards and blessings from Lord Krishna. According to Hindu teachings, emerald jewellery is also linked to the planet Mercury, which gave rise to the Navaratna setting.
Conversely, in Western tradition, emerald jewellery is associated with the planet Venus, possibly influenced by Greek and Roman mythology where the goddess Aphrodite or Venus is said to have emerged from the sea. Thus, western mythology associates the sea-green hue of emerald with the planet named after the Roman goddess.
The Wealth of Cities
Between the 15th and 17th centuries, known as the Age of Exploration or the Age of Discovery, India was the source of many ancient myths and stories regarding precious stones, including emeralds. These tales of a land of immense wealth, where entire walls and temples were adorned with emerald jewellery and other precious gems, intrigued Europeans who sought to uncover this fabled and mystical land. As these stories spread throughout Europe, several countries dispatched ships in search of the New World.