Emerald is the green to a greenish-blue variety of beryl, a mineral species that also includes aquamarine as well as beryls in other colours. Most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and coloured stone dealers, find it more appropriate to call a stone green beryl instead of an emerald, if its colour is too light for it to be classified so.
Emerald’s lush green has soothed several souls and piqued interest since time immemorial. Its name originates from the ancient Greek word for green, smaragdus.
Pliny the Elder, the Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher, described emerald in his book Natural History, published in the first century AD as “… nothing greens greener”. Even in the present day and age, the colour green is known to relieve stress, eye strain and have a calming effect on one's being.
Emeralds that come from what is present-day Colombia were part of the plunder when sixteenth-century Spanish explorers had invaded the New World. The Incas had already been using emeralds in their jewellery and religious ceremonies for 500 years at the time. The Spanish traders opened the eyes of European and Asian royalty to the emerald’s magnificence.
The oldest of emeralds, from South Africa, have been dated back to 97 billion years. The first-known emerald mines were located in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC. Queen Cleopatra was known for her passion for emeralds. The 2011 sale price of $6,578,50 for late Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant set a record at $280,000 per carat.
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