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What on Earth is Emerald?

Emeralds are gem-quality stones of the beryl mineral family found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Along with ruby and sapphire, emerald forms the “big three” of colored stones that are more popular than all other colored stones combined.

The Physical Properties of Emerald

Emeralds are famed for their deep and rich green color which can range between bluish and yellowish green. It’s the trace amounts of chromium or vanadium in beryl that create the deep green color, and trace amounts of iron can cause color variations in the form of bluish or yellowish green tint. There’s some confusion between what’s called a “green beryl” as opposed to emerald, because experts may disagree on where the line of differentiation should be drawn.

Natural emeralds almost always have inclusions, healed fractures or surface-reaching fractures. Because of these, an emerald’s durability can be compromised even though it’s very hard, scoring 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Hardness scale. It has vitreous luster and can be transparent, translucent or opaque.

The History of Emerald

Emerald’s name derives from the Greek word for greenstone, “smaragdos”. Egypt had the first known emerald mines since 330 B.C. lasting until the 1700s. When the Spanish explorers invaded the New World in the 16th century, they plundered the treasures from the Incas, among which were Colombian emeralds that they had been using for 500 years at that point. Oblivious of their worth, the Spanish traded emeralds for precious metals, which is how emeralds spread into Europe and Asia to enchant the royalty. Most of today’s emerald production comes from the original four source countries: Brazil, Zimbabwe, Colombia, and Zambia.

The Lore of Emerald

There are many legends woven around this gorgeous green gem. Its mystical and unique appearance inspired many tales – starting from the time of Cleopatra, who was so partial to it that she gave out emerald jewelry to foreign dignitaries as a display of wealth, all the way to the legend of King Solomon’s four precious stones gifted to him by God to gain power over all creation. According to legends, emerald would give the wearer the ability to see the future if he placed it under his tongue, and it could also reveal the truth and protect against evil spells.

The Metaphysical Properties of Emerald

It’s believed that emerald has many healing properties, and it’s also known as “the stone of successful love.” It enhances all positive human relationships such as unconditional love and friendship. It is said that emerald will keep a partnership in balance, but could change color as a signal of unfaithfulness.

Emerald is the stone of the heart chakra, so it works best at healing emotions, as well as treating disorders of the heart. It can also enhance psychic abilities, clairvoyance and stimulate one’s mental capacity to show in its full strength. Additionally, emerald can help in recovery after an infectious disease.

As a beautiful and mystic gem, emerald can inspire deep inner knowing, intuition and domestic bliss.

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