- Mohs hardness scale: 7.5-8
- Found in Columbia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Afghanistan, US
The name of this remarkable gemstone comes from Greek smaragdos, meaning "green stone." Long a stone of myth and mysticism, emeralds were considered to be the gem of seers and sorcerers, those who wished to look into the future and know its events. So strongly connected to the spirit world was the emerald that it was used to help exorcise evil spirits.
Legend has it that that looking into an emerald increased eye strength and eliminated eye pain. Emeralds were believed to be an antidote to poison, and a cure for ailments such as bleeding, fever, stomach problems, and epilepsy. Emeralds not only soothed the insides of its wearer but sharpened the wearer’s wits and made him or her a more persuasive speaker. For women, emeralds were once approved fertility enhancers, and were worn during labor to ease the pains of childbirth.
For those who are considering setting a colored stone in an engagement ring, the emerald, though hard, is a rather brittle gemstone. It can crack or chip when subjected to the rigors of everyday wear, and thus is best kept for special occasion jewelry.