in – Columbia, Brazil, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Austria,
Norway, Pakistan, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, and the USA.
History – A green variety of Beryl, whose name is from the Latin term
smargdus. Emerald’s green colour is from the presence of chromium and
vanadium. These stones are the primary birthstone for May and the
accepted stone for the 20th, 35th and the 55th wedding anniversaries.
They are also the stone for the Zodiac sign of Taurus and Cancer.
Emeralds are rarely flawless and are frequently oiled to fill and
disguise cracks, and add colour. These flaws may seem to detract from the
stone’s worth but are sometimes crucial to proving it’s the natural
origin. It is often possible to trace the mine an emerald originated
from by the inclusions found within the stone. Ancient engravings of
cameos and beads made use of flawed stones. Most historical emeralds
were from Cleopatra’s mines in Egypt (Djebel Zabarah – the oldest in the
world), which now yield only poor quality stones. The finest emeralds
are from Colombia. It was known as early as 4000BC, where it was traded
in the gem markets of Babylon. Egyptian mines near the Red Sea were
worked as early as 2000BC – these were the main source till the 16th
century, when the Colombian emeralds were found. The Egyptians displayed
emeralds as a symbol of wealth, but by the middle ages they were so
rare in Europe that they were reserved for decorating holy places, such
as the reliquary of St. Genevieve (patron saint of Paris), set with 175
stones. Conquistadors first brought stone back from South America as
treasure from the Incas and the Aztecs. These stones were from the mines
of Muzo and Cooquez, which are still in use today and still produce the
best emeralds in the world. Metaphysical – Emeralds are traditionally
the stone of truth and superstition is that if anyone wearing an emerald
lies, the stone will immediately shatter. As the stone was associated
with Mercury, the god of travel, it became the protection stone for
travellers. It was thought to offset lasciviousness, shoo away demons,
help memory, and make the owner good at arguing. Also thought to
increase creativity, memory, problem-solving, perception, eye disorders,
epilepsy, diseases of the eye & to help neurological disorders.