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Article: Emeralds in Antiquity: Uses and Meanings


Emeralds in Antiquity: Uses and Meanings

Emeralds have captivated humanity since ancient times, not only for their unique beauty but also for the meaning and uses attributed to them in various cultures. In this article, we will explore the role that emeralds played in antiquity, from their symbolism to their multiple applications in jewelry and art.

Meaning of Emeralds in Antiquity

In antiquity, emeralds had a deep and symbolic meaning in many civilizations. They were considered symbols of fertility, renewal, and protection. It was believed that they had healing powers and could strengthen vision and intuition. Additionally, they were associated with wisdom and good fortune, being used by leaders and shamans in ceremonies and rituals.

10 Uses of Emeralds in Antiquity

  1. Protection Amulets: Emeralds were believed to protect against diseases and evil spirits when worn as amulets.
  2. Cult Objects: Emeralds adorned statues and religious objects as symbols of power and connection with the divine.
  3. Traditional Medicine: In some cultures, pulverized emeralds were used in water as a remedy for various ailments.
  4. Decorative Elements: They were embedded in decorative objects such as scepters, crowns, and thrones to symbolize authority and prestige.
  5. Ceremonial Offerings: Emeralds were offered as gifts to gods in rituals of gratitude and blessings.
  6. Divination: Some civilizations used emeralds for divination practices to obtain visions of the future.
  7. Seals and Talismans: Symbols and sacred texts were engraved on emeralds to create seals and talismans of power and protection.
  8. Coins and Royal Treasures: Emeralds were part of royal treasures and used as valuable coins in commercial transactions.
  9. Funerary Ornaments: Emeralds were placed in the tombs of important individuals as a symbol of wealth and status in the afterlife.
  10. Jewelry Components: Emeralds were widely used in jewelry making, including tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, and rings.

Ancient Famous Jewelry with Emeralds

  1. The Emerald Necklace of Mary, Queen of Scots: This historic necklace belonged to Queen Mary, Queen of Scots, and is composed of emeralds, pearls, and diamonds.
  2. Napoleon's Emerald Brooch: An iconic brooch that belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte featuring a large central emerald surrounded by diamonds.
  3. Queen Victoria's Emerald Necklace: An impressive necklace owned by Queen Victoria of England made of emeralds and diamonds, becoming an emblematic piece of British royalty.
  4. Mary Magdalene's Emerald Necklace: An ancient jewel believed to have belonged to Mary Magdalene, composed of emeralds set in gold.
  5. Cleopatra's Emerald Ring: Though not found, Cleopatra's emerald ring was said to symbolize her power and beauty.
  6. Wallis Simpson's Emerald Brooch: A notable brooch with a central emerald surrounded by diamonds, belonging to Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor.
  7. The Mogul Emerald: One of the largest and most famous emeralds in the ancient world, with a legendary history linked to royalty.
  8. Queen Isabel II of Spain's Emerald Necklace: A royal necklace with large emeralds, part of the Spanish monarchy's collection.
  9. The Austrian Emerald Crown: A historical crown with numerous emeralds, part of the Austrian crown jewels.
  10. Marie Antoinette's Emerald Bracelet: A legendary jewel of Queen Marie Antoinette of France, featuring emeralds set in a gold bracelet.

Paula A. Bonilla 

Social communicator and journalist from Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. She is also a jeweler and is passionate about constantly learning about precious gems and national high jewelry.

Currently, she is working for one of Bogotá's most important jewelry stores, Emerald by Love. This jewelry store has over 40 years of experience and has 2 physical branches in the capital city of Colombia, located in the city center.

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