While fine jewelry is usually very high in its monetary value, what often makes it exceptional is it’s perfused with significance. A piece of fine jewelry always emits a particular aura that does not fade; because it is with that piece we mark our special moments and milestones of our lives---engagement, marriage, friendships, birthdays, traditions, love, and countless other things.
Jewelry, some say, serves as a symbol of all things beauty.
When we consider the materials that jewelry is made of like the metals mined from the earth's crust and precious gemstones, like quartz and crystals, that possess significant metaphysical properties, it is hard to deny their cosmic allure.
According to Maria Leach’s book Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, these materials have been honored and have special powers. The Ancient Roman texts also note that the Cupid’s arrows were tipped with magical diamonds. In Eastern narratives, dragons were often depicted with wish-granting pearls that were hidden in their chins or in their claws. In early written documents and accounts, people used to adorn themselves with various materials like feathers, bones, shells, and colored stones. We now, of course, know that these naturally occurring materials were used in jewelry and the colored stones were gemstones.
There are so many stories regarding the magical and symbolic properties of gemstones. Ancient people also believed that certain gemstones would protect them from various misfortunes of lives like illness, unhappiness, etc.
The list of gem related superstitions and their contradictions is really long! For example, opal was thought to bring bad luck in certain communities, while others cherished it as a symbol of hope, purity and truth.
During the Middle Ages, in countries like Europe and India, pharmacists sold powdered gems as medicines. They were typically taken with water, milk or herbal tea. The more expensive the gemstone is, the more curative powers it was thought to have. For instance, red gems were supposed to help stop bleeding, green gemstones were supposedly helpful in good vision, and yellow stones were believed to cure jaundice.
Gemstones have been related to religions as well. The twelve gems in the breastplate of Aaron, the first high priest of the Hebrews, represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Among Christians, these symbolic gems represent the twelve apostles.
Throughout history, people have treasured gems for many reasons. Some wore them in beautiful decorative ornaments, some in religious symbols, and others used in amulets or good luck charms. Gemstones have also been part of the barter system and for medicinal purposes. For royalty, gemstones have been a great source to display their power, social status and wealth.
Famous royals were a major fan of these jewels, for instance Cleopatra used to adorn herself from head to toe in emeralds believing that it would keep her young. The Romans and Greeks were very much invested in the metaphysical properties of various gemstones.
In past centuries, royalty have often owned the finest of gems. Some of these gems still exist and their histories are fascinating. For example, the Black Prince’s Ruby and Timur Ruby are both set in the Imperial Crown of the British Jewels.
In 1367, England’s Prince Edward who was famously known as the Black Prince helped the Spanish King win a battle. Then the grateful king gifted him with a dark red ruby. Legend also says that King Henry V wore the same gem in his helmet crown and it saved his life by deflecting a blow in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
The gemstone sapphire has also been held dearly by the royals, and can be seen in the Crown Jewels of England. For example the sapphire and diamond brooch worn by Queen Mary, the spectacular crown worn by Her Majesty the Queen.
Gemstones In Today’s Jewelry
Today gemstones are valued as much as they were in the past. While some adorn them for the decorative purposes, some also believe in the mystical powers they hold. To help you, we have compiled below a list of gemstones, their meaning and the jewelry you need to own for a beautiful collection. So let’s get started.
Known to be the birthstone of July, Rubies are also one of the three crown jewels of royalty. In Sanskrit, the word for ruby is ‘ratnaraj’, or the king of precious stones. Throughout ancient texts belonging to Hinduism and the Bible, rubies are mentioned numerous times. It is believed to be a representative of beauty and wisdom. Because of the stone’s likeness to blood, rubies are also believed to hold the power of life. Among the European royalty, rubies were thought to guarantee wealth, great health, wisdom, and success in love and life. They are still one of the most sought after gems.
According to the legend, emerald was one of the gems given by gods to King Solomon. It was a gift that granted the king with powers over all creation. The Incas used the emeralds both in their jewelry and religious ceremonies, while the Spanish traded them for precious metals like gold and silver as they treasured them more than gems. In doing so, they made the European and Asian royalty privy to the gem’s majestic qualities. Myths and legends have always surrounded this gemstone, for example, some believed that placing an emerald under the tongue can help one see the future, reveal truths. Some believe that emeralds protect the wearer from negative energies and evil spirits. It was also said that wearing an emerald granted a person the ability to reveal the truth or deceit of a lover. Whatever be the stories be, this May birthstone is also one of the most expensive, enchanting and sought after stones.
Tourmalines are one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. They majorly occur in the colours of pink, blue, yellow, green and red. According to the Egyptian legend, the reason behind the array of colors is that when the stone left the center of the Earth, it passed through a rainbow. Some African and Australian shamans also believe that tourmalines provide an insight to its wearer and guides him/her towards good and away from trouble.
Diamonds are known to be the only gemstones that are comprised of one pure element, i.e., carbon. The molecules of carbon bond in perfect symmetry and thus make the hardest occurring substance on the planet. Due to these physical properties, diamonds have long symbolized power, strength, longevity, good fortune, etc. Depending on its cut and clarity diamonds are also considered to be one of the most expensive gemstones of the world.
Opals are created when bits of silica gel get trapped or deposited into the crevices of rocks. They have long been regarded as one of the luckiest and the most magical of gemstones because of their iridescent effect. According to many Arabian legends, opals fell from the heavens during the flashes of lightning. In Greek mythology, Gyges apparently found an opal ring that bestowed him with invisibility powers. He then killed the king of Lydia and married his queen. Opals are affiliated with hope, purity and truth.
Sapphires are famously known as the stones of wisdom and serenity. They are also one of the crown jewels of royalty. Sapphires occur in a number of colors like yellow, blue, green, black, pink, green, purple, and every color is attached to certain metaphysical properties. For instance the blue sapphire is known as a talisman to protect the wearer from mental illnesses like depression, whilst the yellow sapphire represents wealth and knowledge. They are believed to facilitate meditation, by calming the mind and getting rid of the hysteria.
How to take care of your gemstone jewelry?
Owning a piece of gemstone jewelry not only completes your jewelry collection but also bestows you with metaphysical properties, you might believe in them or just use them for decorative purposes. But you sure need to take care of your gemstone jewelry to wear it for a lifetime.
Below are some tips that you need to follow to have your gemstone jewelry looking the same when you got them.
#1 Never use harsh chemicals to clean your jewelry as this may not only cause tarnish but also ruin the shine of the gemstones.
#2 Do Not use a rough cloth to clean the gemstones as it may lead to scratches on the surface, resulting in a dull shine.
#3 Always use a mild detergent, warm water and a soft brush to clean your gemstone jewelry.
#4 As a first step, always leave your gemstone jewelry to sit in the warm water for a certain time. This will also dissolve the dirt and it will be easier to clean them.
#5 Store the jewelry in different air tight boxes to protect them from scratches.