Emeralds part 1

Jim Morrison

" Give me songs to sing and emerald dreams to dream and I'll give you love unfolding"


We all know of them, some of us have one, some of us want one!  But for most of us we just lust after them and desire ownership. A natural one of course! And none of that synthetic nonsense that make up what the high street jeweller regard as an emerald.  This article is a two part-aH, as there is a lot to say. 


I still remember the first time I saw the “biggest bugger” of an emerald crystal and then there was the chest of cut emeralds, the size of small eggs, overflowing in the cabinet. And again, the  “Emerald Dagger” that was to be a gift in the early 18thCentury to the mighty Iranian conqueror Nadir Shah, but unfortunately it was not delivered as Nadir Shah was assassinated. Not that mighty after all, I dare say……and all that, was just in the first display cabinet. 


Have you been to the Jewel Rooms at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul?  Then you will know exactly what I am schmoozing about. I was in complete awe, shock and overcome with a desire to own and gaze at this bounty. Or was I just suffering the dreaded hazy-head; one like never before, after spending the previous evening drinking copious amounts of raki with an F-16 pilot from the Turkish Air Force. It's been a colourful life!


So what of these green beauties? Emeralds are from the Beryl family of gemstones containing trace amounts of chromium, iron and sometimes vanadium, which give emeralds their vibrant ravishing colour. The shades and depths of green that is reminiscent of spring, nature’s majesty and lush landscapes. Ireland is know as the Emerald Isle… Can’t think why?  But as global warming increases over time, this accolade is surely to change.


Emeralds, their colour and beauty have been known and coveted avidly for centuries.  The first emerald mines were in Egypt and date from around 330BC, Cleopatra was known for her passion for the gemstone and used them in her royal jewellery. While, Rome’s Pliny the Elder in his published work in the first century AD, the Natural History says of them“…nothing greens greener” than the colour of an emerald.


In India and Austria they were discovered and mined in the 14thcentury, where they were traded, treasured and eventually found their way into royal jewellery and royal treasuries around the world.  But no other Emerald can compare to a Columbian Emerald, in colour, depth, price or desirability.  From being worshiped and used in sacrificial rituals by the Aztecs to being plundered by the Spanish in the 16thcentury and being shipped back to Europe, emeralds have had a glorious and somewhat un-auspicious history, with battles and carnage, exciting discovery and ownership.