6 thousand years of history: See the relationship of the emerald with the different cultures
This beautiful green stone has been an object of desire for many centuries, and like most precious stones, the history of the emerald is full of interesting facts and mysticisms, making it become even more fascinating and desired. But how did this relationship between emerald and man begin, and how did it manifest itself in different cultures?
The emerald is a gemstone that has fascinated many cultures for more than six thousand years, and is one of four precious stones recognized along with ruby, diamond and sapphire.
According to Indian mythology, the emerald name was first translated from Sanskrit as "marakata", which means "the green that grows in things". The name we know now came from an ancient Persian word, translated into Latin as "smaragdus," meaning "green."
The earliest emeralds are about 2.97 billion years old, and records show that the stone was already known and sold in markets in Babylon in 4000 BC. It is a stone that was part of diverse cultures throughout the world, was worshiped by the Incas and mentioned in biblical writings on the apocalypse.
It is known that the emerald was Cleopatra's favorite jewel, and the mine of that stone in Upper Egypt, rediscovered hundreds of years ago, was one of the first occurrences of the emerald in human history. Emeralds also adorned the jewels of the Russian crown, and in some legends of King Arthur, the Holy Grail is described as being formed from an emerald.
The earliest reference to emeralds in Western literature comes from Aristotle. He was a big fan of this gemstone and wrote that having an emerald enhances the speech during business, assists in victory, helps solve problems, gives comfort, and calms vision.
The powers and meaning of the emerald, according to different cultures
Many cultures over time believed that the emerald was an extremely powerful stone, in different ways.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the emerald represented fertility and rebirth. For the Romans, the emerald was related to Venus, the goddess of love, and believed that it could protect the couples from infidelity: if the lovers' hearts were loyal, the gem would shine in a vibrant green color, but if they were not , the stone would have a less vivid color. It was also associated with growth and spring.
In addition, Emperor Nero was supposed to watch gladiatorial fights through a large transparent emerald as he thought the color calmed him down. Already in Greece, in the years 800 to 250 BC, this stone was related to Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and it was known as the stone of truth and eloquence.
The Aztecs, who lived between the 14th and 16th centuries, called the emerald of Earth's Stone, and it was also associated with fertility, being found in statues that celebrated it.
In medieval times Christians related the beautiful emerald to Lucifer the devil. For them, this stone was present in their crown, and although it was a stone of the devil, it was not seen in a negative way, because it was believed that it helped people to be sincere and well behaved.
Once there were records on the emeralds, there also appeared evidence of their healing powers, especially on sight. The Sumerians said that if an emerald was worn on a ring on the small finger of the left hand, it would cure inflammation of the eyes. During the time of Hippocrates, the emeralds were crushed into fine powder and turned into a lotion for the eyes.
Where emeralds can be found
Although there are earlier records of trade in this stone, the earliest known emerald mines were in southern Egypt and date back to before 2000 BC.
This gem can be found all over the world, however some of the best stones today are from Colombia, which produces more than half of all emeralds in the world. Some of the other countries where we can find it include the USA, Brazil, Afghanistan, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Cambodia and China.
In ancient times, many gems were called emeralds just because they were green. Today there are about six or seven types of stones, classified as different types of emeralds, but a true emerald is called simply emerald, without any complementary name.
A fascination that continues until today
Color, clarity, cut and carat are four factors used to determine the value of an emerald, the most important of these four being the color. Valuable and high quality emeralds are very transparent, and the best color is vivid green or bluish green, with uniform saturation and no color zoning.
Decreasing inclusions results in more transparency and, therefore, the price of emeralds increases with decreasing inclusion. However, most emeralds have some kind of imperfection, and emeralds without these inclusions are very rare.
Instead of the term imperfection, distributors like to refer to the inclusions of emeralds as an internal "garden," and many even use them as one of the factors to identify whether an emerald is true or not.
And the rarity of that currency is also an important factor. There are fewer emeralds in the world than there are diamonds, so high quality emeralds can be worth more than diamonds per carat.