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You don’t need to follow a yellow brick road to find an “emerald city”. Look no further than your local jeweler, and you will find one of the most sought after gemstones known to man. The luscious green hues of an emerald remind us of growth and prosperity, as well as the endless sea, leaving us with the feeling that anything is possible. Emeralds are also the seasonal gem of spring, so it’s quite apropos that it is the birthstone of May.
Facts about Emeralds
The best emeralds are from Colombia, though they are also sourced from China, South Africa, the Middle East, and the US. Infamous for their flaws, it is rare to find a flawless emerald so their value is very high. These flaws can be concealed by manufacturers through treatment with synthetic oils, and many prefer emeralds with flaws because it proves they are authentic. The value of an emerald can exceed that of a ruby or sapphire, though they are also quite expensive. Together they generate more economic activity than all other colored stones combined, which is why they are called the “Big Three.”
Although they are considered quite hard for a gemstone, emeralds have durability issues. It is due to small fractures throughout the stone that weaken them, causing them to break easily. It is not a gemstone to wear on a daily basis. The aforementioned oils they are treated with can help the appearance, but unfortunately it does nothing for the durability.
Mystical, Historical and Healing Significance
Much has been written about the emerald, and its mystical attributes are varied. Known as the “Stone of Successful Love,” the emerald nurtures the heart, symbolizing unity, compassion, and unconditional love. It is said to have been dedicated to the goddess Venus because it could “ensure security in love.” In ancient Egypt, the emerald was a symbol of eternal life and a favorite of Cleopatra. A recent discovery of emerald mines in Upper Egypt contains some of the oldest emeralds in the world; they have been named in her honor. In Jewish lore, it states that an emerald was one of four precious stones given to King Solomon by God, bestowing him with power over all creation. During King Arthur’s time, there was said to be a chalice made of a single emerald, endowed with the powers of prolonging life, among others. It is believed to be none other than the “San Graal,” or the Holy Grail.
It is no wonder then, that emeralds are considered to offer significant rejuvenating qualities, from age to illness, as well as malignant conditions. As for emotional healing, it is said that emeralds extend hope and strength, alleviating heaviness of the heart. Spiritually, the emerald inspires acting from the heart, allowing blessings to arise in everyday life.
While it’s hard to pick a favorite gemstone, the emerald stands out among the best if only for its striking shade. It has also been the focus of fairy tales, songs and some of our favorite movies (who can forget Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone?), endearing the green gem to our hearts for generations to come.