“The Emerald Isle” is well known for its rolling hills of green grass, but what of these precious gems? Although emeralds are not native to Ireland, they can be found in many collections of Irish Jewelry thanks to their bright green hues that remind us of our homeland. Emeralds have been associated with rebirth, vitality, and prosperity for centuries.
Wearers of emeralds are said to become more intelligent and witty. The Persians were especially impressed with its healing abilities, saying that it had the ability to cure stomach pains and granted security to its owner. The gem was soaked in water to wash inflamed eyes or even grounded into a dust that was put directly on the eye to heal infections. It was also used to prevent epilepsy, “the falling sickness.”
Aristotle himself once wrote that emeralds had the power to increase one’s wealth and power in legal matters. He also related the stone to clear sight. The Roman historian Pliny wrote of the emerald, “this is the only one that feeds the sight without satiating it,” comforting our eyes of weariness and fatigue. Because emeralds are part of the Beryl gem family, they are heavily connected with vision. In the 16th century England, windows and mirrors were called “berrils”.
Highly valued by Queen Cleopatra, the ancient Egyptians named emerald’s “the lover’s stone”. It was believed to be a gift from the god of wisdom which symbolized eternal life. Germanic folk followed, entrusting the gem to revive their broken marriages that had fallen out of love.
The term “Emerald” that we use today is derived from the words “esmeraude” in Old French, “emeraude” in Middle English, and variants of the Greek word “smaragdus”, meaning “green gem”.
At the arrival of springtime, the lush foliage of Ireland begins to sprout. New leaves and flowers are budding that fill Ireland’s backyards and forests. Come May, everything is in full bloom! With spring blossoming, it’s no wonder emerald’s vibrant green makes the perfect birthstone!