The intense brilliant green of the Emerald, May’s birthstone, is as refreshing to the eyes as a spring garden after a rain. Within it’s depths are often tiny fractures or inclusions, which the French call "jardin," or garden, because of their resemblance to foliage. The ancient Roman scholar Pliny was so moved by the emerald's lush colour he wrote, nothing is more intense than the green of emerald and sight is refreshed and restored by gazing upon this stone . Following his advise, Roman emperor Nero wore emerald sunglasses to watch the gladiators, it's said that he found the color calming. A surprising variety of virtues have been ascribed to emerald. Among these, emerald was thought to improve its owner s memory and eloquence, and was also said to quicken intelligence. In a particular instance of emerald s use, as a measure against ills, women wearing the stone were believed to be immune from epilepsy. The emerald has been a gem of fascination in many cultures for over six thousand years. It is so prized, that carat for carat, a fine emerald may be two to three times as valuable as a diamond. According to Indian mythology, the name emerald was first translated from Sanskrit as “marakata,” meaning “the green of growing things.” The name we know it as now is believed to come from an ancient Persian word, translated to Latin as “smaragdus,” and eventually over time, corrupted to “emerald.” Records show that the stone was known and sold in markets in Babylon as early as 4000 BC. It is a stone that was worshiped by the Incas and mentioned in biblical information about the apocalypse. The earliest reference to emeralds in Western literature come from Aristotle. He was a great fan of the gemstone and wrote that owning an emerald increases the owner’s importance in presence and speech during business, gives victory in trials, and helps settle litigation. Emerald is also said to give a supernatural ability to foretell future events.
Many cultures throughout time have believed the emerald to be an enormously powerful stone in different ways. The Chaldeans believed the stone contained a goddess. And in the Islamic faith, an amulet of an emerald might be engraved with a verse from the Koran. The ancient Egyptians believed the emerald stood for fertility and rebirth. In some legends of King Arthur, the Holy Grail is described as being fashioned from an emerald. In China, Thursday was the day for wearing green and emeralds for good luck. However, various countries in the East and West varied in opinion on which day the emerald would bring good luck. The Romans once considered light-colored Emeralds to be unripe, and believed that an Emerald becomes a darker shade of green as it matures. Legend has it that Hernando Cortes, the conqueror of Mexico, tried to bring huge chunks of Emerald that he took from the Aztecs back home with him. However, one of his ships was shipwrecked, and delicately carved Emeralds in the shape of flowers and fish and other rare Emeralds, including an Emerald the size of a man’s palm, became lost forever.
In the sixteenth century, the Spanish Conquistadors were amazed to find the native people wearing Emeralds larger and more magnificent than any they had ever seen. Although the natives attempted to hide their Emerald mines, the Spaniards soon discovered and conquered most of them. But it took twenty years before they found the abundant mining operation held by the Muzo Indians, and another thirty years to overtake this aggressive tribe. The Muzo mine was in the area known today as Colombia, and it remains the source of the most prized Emerald specimens. Other sources of Emeralds are Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Russia. Some people believe that wearing an Emerald brings wisdom, growth, and patience. And as any couple in a long-term relationship would agree, all of these qualities are essential for a successful and lasting love. This may explain why a gift of Emerald for an anniversary -- or anytime -- is considered
symbolic of love and fidelity. The Romans believed that emeralds with a pale hue were immature and would grow to a deeper, richer colour with age. It was known that Emerald was a favorite gem of Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt.She often wore lavish emerald jewelry, and it is said that she bestowed visiting dignitaries with large Emeralds carved with her likeness when they departed Egypt. The Emerald mine in Upper Egypt, rediscovered a hundred years ago near the Red Sea, was one of the earliest Emerald occurrences in the human history. Emeralds also adorned Russian crown jewels. The Irani State Treasure contains an exquisite collection of Emeralds, as well as the Emerald tiara of ex-Empress Farah. Shah Jahan, one of the moguls of India that built the Taj Mahal, loved Emeralds so much that he had sacred texts inscribed into them and used these gemstones as talismans. The ancient writings of Veda, the sacred text of Hinduism, testifies to Emerald as being the “gem of good luck” and the “gem that improves one’s well-being”. These “Mogul Emeralds”, as they are known today, can be found in modern museums and collections.