For more than 4,000 years, emeralds have been among the most sought-after gems among the rich and powerful. Their green fiery brilliance was so irresistible, even Egypt’s famed Queen Cleopatra was dazzled by them, and vast emerald mines dating to her reign were recently discovered. In his writing, the Greek philosopher Aristotle extolled the virtues of emeralds, citing their power in aiding litigants during court trials, in helping business ventures succeed and even in improving eyesight; in fact, Emperor Nero is reported to have used a large, clear emerald to improve his view of gladiator events.
The popularity of the emerald continued with the Incans and Aztecs, who discovered the gems in Colombia and used them to decorate sacred statues and temples and as gleaming body art, reflecting the brilliance of the sun god. In the mid-17th century India’s Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, inscribed sacred blessing within the surface of the largest of the emeralds in his own vast collection.
The reputation of the stone and its use as a talisman throughout history is owed to the properties ascribed to it. Many ancients believed wearing the stone would help ensure a long life and even immortality, perhaps because of its green “springtime-like” color. Emeralds have also been associated with amazing regenerative powers and powers of renewal, especially with regard to spiritual healing. The stones have long been lined with security and success in love, unlocking the heart’s deepest desires and bathing the wearer with energy said to promote harmony at home and at work.
Because of its association with the heart, emeralds are also purported to unlock an individual’s creative impulses, improving work performance and even memory. Especially when worn near the belly or the face, the stone is said to calm the heart and mind, allowing for clearer insight, assurance and serenity and promoting more satisfying and longer-lasting relationships.
As the color of renewal, healing and hope, emeralds strengthen the heart and the upper respiratory tract, strengthen the immune system and aid in childbirth and labor. Perhaps because of the stone’s association with both the heart and the mind, emeralds are also said to aid in treating depression and insomnia, offering the wearer personal insight and spiritual awareness that lead to overall peace of mind.