It is said that natural emeralds were first discovered in Egypt, dating back from at least 330 BC into the 1700s. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments. Today Egypt is full of excavations and tunnels. The poor quality and small stone production truly explains the practical reason why the mines were originally abandoned.
Emeralds from what is now Colombia were part of the plunder when sixteenth-century Spanish explorers invaded the New World. The Incas had already been using emeralds in their jewelry and religious ceremonies for 500 years.
Emeralds were also highly prized by the Incas and Aztecs when discovered in Columbia. Many other cultures have embraced this gemstone as one of their own & given it so much value for this enormously amazing green color, but in the sixteenth century violence became part of the history of emerald when the Spanish Conquistadors looted thousands of emeralds from the mines in South America. This immediately put the whole of continent on the gemstone map. Since then royalties around the world looked to South America for supply of its amazing green emerald gemstone to adorn their rings, necklaces, crowns and other artifacts.
Emerald is the most famous member of the beryl family. Legends endowed the wearer with the ability to foresee the future when emerald was placed under the tongue, as well as to reveal truth and be protected against evil spells. Emerald was once also believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. Wearing an emerald was believed to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath as well as make one an eloquent speaker.
Its said that its distinct green color reflects new spring growth, which makes it the perfect choice of birthstone for the month of May. Natural Emerald gemstone is also the gemstone for both the thirty-fifth and twentieth wedding anniversaries.
CROWN OF THE ANDES
The oldest parts of the crown are the orb and cross at the top. The rest was added, year by year, with donations from the congregation. The centerpiece is the Atahualpa Emerald, named after the last of the Inca emperors and reputedly seized after his defeat by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro. The crown was displayed once a year during the majestic processions in Holy Week, but word of its splendor soon spread, and so to protect it from treasure hunters, the church decided to set up a clandestine group of local nobles called the Confraternity of the immaculate Conception. At the first sign of trouble, its members were entrusted with dismantling the crown and hiding its parts in the jungle.
The group kept the crown safe until 1936, when the local clergy sold it to pay for a new hospital and orphanage. The buyers were a syndicate of American gem dealers, who wanted to break up the crown and sell its jewels. However, it proved such a popular attraction, including at the 1939 World's Fair, that this decision was reversed It is now displayed intact at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Us.