Foxfire Jewelers The Creative
Custom Jewelry Studio since 1985
14176 NE Woodinville-Duvall
Woodinville, Washington 98072-8551
This rich green form of the mineral
Beryl gets its name from the Latin and Greek term 'Smaragdus.'
Even fine examples often show inclusions, while poorer stones
may be completely opaque.
The inclusions cause Emerald to be
somewhat on the fragile side. Thought should be given to designing
jewelry which protects the stone from harsh wear. As part of the
normal fashioning process, most Emeralds are immersed in clear
oil to fill minute voids. Emerald is found today primarily in
Columbia, Brazil, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, though it has a rich history
stretching into ancient times.
The first known Emerald mines were
in southern Egypt and show evidence of being worked since 2000
BC. The ancient Egyptians believed Emerald stood for fertility
The stone also was prized in ancient
Rome, where many Roman citizens wore Emerald jewelry, some of
which has survived to this day. Nero supposedly viewed the gladiators'
fights through a lens cut from a large transparent emerald because
he found the color calming.
In some legends of King Arthur, the
Holy Grail is described as being fashioned from an Emerald. Stories
also say that a serpent which gazes upon Emerald is immediately
Emerald was used in the Middle Ages
to foretell the future, and was thought to ward off evil sorcery
and cure demonic possession. It was also believed to be a symbol
of faith and loyal friendship. The gem was closely associated
with love, and with contentment in marriage. Its calming, healing
nature in legends is evidentially a result of its soothing color.
As such it was thought to be good for eye ailments and irritations.
Emeralds were among the treasures brought
back by the conquistadors from the new world. Treasure hunters
have found gold ornaments set with Emeralds on sunken galleons.
Early stone cutters kept an Emerald on their workbench so as to
rest their eyes with a gaze at its soothing color.
The Emerald's use in ancient medicines
was widespread and Emerald was thought to cure a wide range of
ills, from poor eyesight to infertility. It was believed to ease
childbirth, and aid the liver, as well as guard against fits and
convulsions. Even today, the powder of poorer quality Emeralds
is used in folk medicines in China.