Emerald is regarded as the birthstone for
May, as well as the traditional gemstone for the astrological sign of Taurus and
Cancer. But above all, it is undoubtedly a stone
of beauty, power and wonder that has captivated mankind since its
Because the intense green color of emerald is
the color of spring, the ancient cultures prized it as the gemstone
symbolizing love and rebirth.
Treasured for at least 4,000 years by different
civilizations all around the world, emerald is said to quicken the intelligence as
well as the heart. Legend gives its owner the gift of eloquence.
Emerald was one of the first precious stone to be mined and fashioned by the ancient Egyptians,
at what is generally
accepted to be the world's oldest source for this gem, an area now called
Cleopatra's Mines. From mines in the Egyptian desert, emeralds made
their way to all parts of the then 'known world'. They became prized jewels to
the Romans, Greeks, Turks, Persians, and highly
estimated by the Indus (the inhabitants of the Indus Valley
Civilization or today's India)
In the Vedas, the ancient sacred writings of Hinduism, it is said that the
emerald could give mental power and wisdom, and could make the wearer
a very persuasive and charismatic speaker. It does not come as a surprise, then,
that in medieval India, the treasure chests of Indian Maharajas and Maharanis contained
the most wonderful emeralds.
But these emeralds were not the average quality Egyptian stones,
but a new kind of emerald of extraordinary color, size and transparency. It is
in the 16th century that history takes a turn, when the Spanish Conquistadores
arrived in Central and South America and realized that they
had a valuable gem resource to exploit.
The Muzo and Muisca
Colombian natives of the northern regions of Bogota', who wore emeralds for
adornment and ritualistic purposes, fought fiercely the
Spaniards to protect their heritage and the location of the emerald
mines. The invaders discovered that the emerald mines were at Somondoco,
which means "god of the green stones", and which is now known as Chivor.
Thus, the Conquistadores took control and began to bring the green
gems back to Europe. For the following two centuries, emeralds flowed
from the Colombian mines back to Spain, Europe, and throughout the world
bringing great wealth and prestige to the Spanish empire. The unparalleled color
and size of the Colombian emeralds earned them their well-deserved reputation of
being the world's finest.