Emerald, one of the most valuable gemstones available today and a member of the “precious four” group of gemstones, is defined by the American jewelry industry as green beryl colored by chromium or vanadium. However, in the UK and Europe, vanadium colored beryl is not recognized, and it only recently became recognized in the US in the 1960’s. There is no other green colored stone in the gemstone world that rivals the color of the emerald. Emeralds are great gemstones for most kinds of jewelry. They lend themselves to open settings due to their level of fire and brilliance. Many places around the world contain emerald deposits– including the newly discovered deposits in Africa, South America and Europe– but the most famous source of the highest quality emeralds is Colombia. Following right behind are Zambian and Brazilian emeralds, producing well known bluish green and yellowish green stones, respectively. An emerald just the right shade of green can be more valuable than a diamond. This gemstone’s resistance to breakage is generally poor, due to its naturally included state. Thus, it is normally cut into round shapes to reduce the likelihood of chipping or breaking. Its crystal structure is hexagonal.
Emerald officially represents the month of May and the 20th, 35th and 50th anniversaries of marriage. It is regarded as a holy gemstone where the highest quality stones are still found to this day– in the Incas and the Aztecs of South America. Exhausted mines near the Red Sea in Egypt were rediscovered in the early 19thcentury, which we now refer to as “Cleopatra’s mines.” These were exploited by Egyptian pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 B.C. Emeralds are regarded as good luck in the holy scriptures of the Hindus. It is the sacred stone of the Greek goddess Venus– the goddess of love and beauty. Many consider it to be the stone of prophecy. It is believed to calm the troubled mind and bring its wearer wisdom and reason, as well as improve the memory and intelligence. It is also believed to preserve love and protect lovers from unfaithfulness. If one’s lover’s motives are pure, giving him or her an emerald should bring him or her closer to the giver. Emeralds are also a symbol of hope and faith, as well as fertilizing rain in some cultures.
The powers of the emerald are said to be strongest in the spring, and particularly during a full moon. It is used to help heal the heart by healers, and it is reported to help eyesight. In some cultures, if someone had an eye disease, water from a container in which emeralds soaked over the course of the previous night would be poured over the eyes in order to facilitate the healing process. Eye lotions containing crushed emeralds were used in the time of Hippocrates. It is also believed the protect pregnant women and unborn children from complications in childbirth, to prevent disease and infection, and cure ailments including but not limited to headache, epilepsy, heart disorder, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma and skin disorders. Emeralds are still used in medicines in China.