Emeralds have always had an opulent allure and an aura of healing about them. Twenty times more rare than colourless diamonds, they were first discovered some 5,000 years ago. In that time, they have been credited with everything from curing snakebites to easing childbirth, divining truth and seeing the future. Emeralds are believed to symbolise hope, growth and fresh starts – particularly apt in the challenging days we currently face.
As well as their exquisite physical characteristics, the talismanic properties that have long been associated with emeralds are a large factor in their enduring popularity. Romans believed they could revitalise the soul of those who wore them; early Christians believed they symbolised the resurrection of Christ; Cleopatra – after whom early Egyptian emerald mines were named – used to present them to subjects as talismans; the ancient Egyptians viewed emeralds as sacred, and ancient civilisations in general valued them for their healing properties far more than for their material value. In 1609, a Belgian physician suggested they could cure everything from dysentery, fever and bleeding to epilepsy and panic.