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Emerlid History

The soothing green color of emerald was believed to have a calming, healing affect on those who wore it. This makes sense, since scientifically speaking, green color is the least fatiguing on the eyes, because green light is "pure"--in fact, this purity is why leafy plants are green. Green light contains no nutrition, so it's the only portion of sunlight that chlorophyll pigments don't absorb for photosynthesis!

Used in the Middle Ages to foretell the future, emerald also guarded against evil spirits and were believed to cure a range of ailments from poor eyesight to infertility. Historically, emerald has been closely associated with love, since the ancient Romans dedicated this gem to Venus. Emerald has also signified hope, new growth and eternal life since it is the "color of spring." In fact, the French refer to the natural inclusions in emeralds as "jardin," French for "garden."

Emerald is mentioned in numerous Islamic texts that describe the green Garden of Paradise as carpeted in emeralds. But it has its place in the other major world religions, too: According to one version of the legend, The Holy Grail, for which King Arthur's knights searched so futilely, was supposed to have been carved from one large emerald which had originally fallen from Lucifer's crown as he tumbled from grace. And the greatest of the Hindu Moguls, India's Shah Jahan, had inscriptions carved in emeralds to be worn as sacred talismans.

The early Spanish Conquistadores were as greedy for emeralds as they were for gold when they penetrated the jungles of South America, eventually discovering the mines of Colombia, still considered the best source of top-quality emeralds in the world today. Also plundered were the gem treasures of Montezuma's Aztec halls, deep in the heart of Mexico. Among the priceless treasures lost when Spanish galleons shipwrecked on the high seas were probably some of the largest emeralds in the world. The legends of the great lost emeralds live on, from the Inca story of the ostrich egg-sized Emerald Goddess, to modern movies like Romancing The Stone, where a heart-shaped emerald called El Corazon (the heart) is discovered in Mexico (and pursued relentlessly by a Colombian!)

In addition to its place as May's birthstone, emerald is also a recommended gift for couples celebrating their 20th or 35th wedding anniversary. According to Hindu astrology, emerald is the zodiacal gem for Cancer (June 22-July 22); in the Arab tradition emerald represents Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21).

 

 

 

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