The Symbolism of Emerald: Myths and Beliefs


Fascination with this mesmerizing stone is prevalent all over the world, throughout history.

Emeralds come in many shapes and sizes and can be cut into almost any facet pattern. We’ll take a look into the history and explore the value of emeralds. We’ll also help you choose which emeralds to buy.

Read on to find out more about the myths and beliefs surrounding this precious gem.

First Some Emerald Facts

Emerald is one of the most beautiful and rare minerals on Earth.

We have been in awe of its beauty and unique color since the beginning of recorded history.

In fact, emerald mining started almost 2,500 years ago and continues today.

First mined in Ancient Egypt around 330 BC, emeralds were also found in Persia and Sumeria. It takes billions of years to form an emerald, and the oldest gems are around 3 billion years old.

This makes them older than any other gemstone found on earth today.

Beryl is a mineral made up of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate. Beryl is one of two minerals that make up emeralds; the other mineral is chromite.

The name “emerald” comes from the Greek word “smaragdos,” which means “green stone” or “green gem” in English.

The Emerald Over the Ages

Emeralds have made an appearance in the myths and legends of countries worldwide. The Ancient civilizations all believed in the sacred healing powers of emeralds.

Ancient Egypt

In Ancient Egyptian mythology, the emerald was a symbol of immortality and rebirth. Ancient Egyptians believed that wearing an emerald could help them achieve immortality. They often placed one on their mummy’s necklaces to ensure eternal life in the afterlife.

Cleopatra laid claim to the emerald mines of Ancient Egypt, and she didn’t try to hide her love for them. The legend goes that she gave these precious stones as gifts to show off her power and riches.

Ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, emeralds decorated the crowns of emperors. Emerald gems were a symbol of wealth, power, and authority. To Romans, emeralds also had healing powers.

The Roman historian Pliny wrote, “The emerald is not only worn for its beauty but also for its medicinal properties.”

People believed that emeralds protected them from evil spirits and diseases. Some even thought that emeralds could give them clairvoyant powers.

Incas and Aztecs

In both the Incan and Aztec cultures, emeralds were set into jewelry. They were also used in religious ceremonies and as currency.

Montezuma II, emperor of the Aztec empire, owned a collection of emeralds. Legend has it that his treasure still lies buried in the Casa Grande ruins. Stories abound of a room lined with cabinets filled with emeralds.

Ancient India

Emeralds held high value in Ancient India, too. The Vedas refers to many occasions where emerald was used. In spiritual practices and in the course of day-to-day life, emeralds played a part.

In Ancient India, it was believed that emeralds had magical powers, bringing good luck. It was also thought that they could destroy evil spirits and protect their wearer against demons. Emeralds were also considered sacred to Vishnu and Shiva as well as other deities such as Indra or Agni.

Emeralds of Myth and Lore

Emerald is the birthstone for those born in May. It’s also the traditional gift for couples celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.

Emeralds have been worn as talismans, good luck charms, and protective stones. With its brilliant green hue, it’s easy to see why natural emerald stones conjure thoughts of new life. They represent fertility, birth, growth, and prosperity.

It was in medieval times that emeralds became associated with magic and alchemy. The belief was that alchemists could transform base metals into gold with a sprinkling of emerald dust.

Given as a symbol of hope and good health, emeralds may bring good fortune to their owner.

Emeralds have been associated with the planet Mercury since ancient times. Some believed that they were powerful when used against witches or evil spirits.

Today, many people believe that emeralds have healing powers.

It is believed that wearing an emerald can help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, and increase intelligence. It’s thought to improve memory and reduce insomnia.

It’s beneficial to stimulate circulation, ease muscle tension, and soothe arthritis pain. Emeralds are also said to strengthen intuition, enhance creativity and bring prosperity and luck.

Choosing Which Emeralds to Buy

If you’re thinking of buying an emerald, it’s important to know what to look for. The color is the most obvious feature, but there are other attributes that will help you determine whether or not an emerald is worth its price tag.

Here are some tips on how to choose the right stone:

How Big Is Your Budget?

Emeralds are available in a range of sizes, from small to extra-large. The larger the stone, the more expensive it will be.

If you’re looking for natural emerald earrings or a pendant, it’s best to start with a small stone. Work your way up until you find one that feels right.

Jewelry isn’t for everyone, though, and some people may prefer to invest in loose emeralds.

How Much Green Can You Handle?

Emerald’s color ranges from pale green to deep forest green. They can even sometimes appear bluish-green. Some people prefer vivid green stones, while others prefer muted tones.

How to Tell if an Emerald Is Real or Natural

Natural emeralds don’t sparkle! The reason is that natural emeralds have a refractive index of 1.57 -1.58, while diamond has a refractive index of 2.4. This means that when light hits an emerald, it bends and reflects rather than bouncing back at you.

There are other ways to check the authenticity of your emeralds.

One way is to check for inclusions. Inclusions are tiny imperfections or flaws that you can see with the eye. Most natural emeralds will have inclusions.

Flaws that reach the gem’s surface will affect the emerald’s value though, so choose with care.

Wrapping Up

Over the centuries, emeralds have become valuable gems to own and adorn.

The lore surrounding them lives on as the history of the ancient world merges with modern symbolism. These qualities make this green stone a much-loved treasure.

When choosing which emeralds to buy, put serious thought into the choice of stone and setting style. This will ensure that you will have a gemstone that will last you a lifetime.

Find out more about investing in emeralds by contacting us today!