Friday, 26 July 2013

What are Emeralds ?

Emeralds are famous for their intense green color, which is often referred to as "green fire". They belong to the family of cardinal gemstones ( diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald ) and are one of the most popular and valued gemstones in the world. They have been mined and used in jewellery as far back as 6,000 years ago. Emeralds are made from a mineral called Beryl. Emeralds also contain two other trace elements, vanadium and chromium. Depending on the amount of these two trace elements, the emerald can appear light green to a very deep dark green.

For thousands of years, emeralds have been mined and are considered one of the worlds most valuable jewels. The history of emeralds dates back to ancient Egypt, when they were particularly coveted by Queen Cleopatra. Emeralds are found in several locations around the world, but the most highly prized are Colombian emeralds. Some of the rarest and most expensive emeralds in the world have come from the three main mining areas of Colombia : Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor. Emeralds have been mined in these regions long before the Spanish conquistadors arrived.

The name "emerald" is believed to have come from the ancient Persian word, translated to latin as "Swaragdus" and eventually over time became know as "emerald". It is a stone that was worshipped by the Incas and they amassed huge quantities of emeralds from the province of quite. Many cultures throughout the centuries have believed thhat emeralds have enormous power in different ways. During the middle ages it was believed that it would keep a woman chaste. Not surprisingly, the same was not believed to be true for a man. It was also said that emeralds enabled people to foretell the future, if put on the tongue or worn on the left side of the body. Emeralds were also believed to reveal what was true or false and was said to be a sure antidote for enchantments and spells. They were also believed to give eloquence in speech and make people more intelligent and honest.

The Mogul Emerald, which dates back to 1695 is one of the largest emeralds in the world. The Mogul Emerald weigh is 217.80 carats and one side is inscribed with Islamic prayers. The other side is engraved with opulent flower ornaments. It was discovered in Colombia by the Spanish  conquistadors and was thought to have been own by Emperor Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mogul rules. In 2001 the emerald was auctioned at Christie`s of London for $2.2 million to an anonymous buyer.

The world`s most valuable stones