Named from the Greek smaragdos, meaning “green stone”, the emerald has been one of the most coveted and valuable gemstones for over 5,000 years and is one of the “big three” coloured stones along with rubies and sapphires, together generating more economic activity than all other coloured stones combined. Emeralds are a radiant green variety of the beryl mineral family, and some of the oldest emerald specimens are 2.97 billion years old from South Africa. The stone was once thought to protect against epilepsy, assist women at childbirth, and to drive away evil spirits.
The vibrant green gem took pride of place in Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring, as well the rings of actresses Halle Berry, Elizabeth Olsen, Hilary Swank. Emeralds have also been known as favourites of Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie. One of the most unique emeralds in the world is the Moghul Mughal, which sold for $2.2 million at a 2001 Christie’s London auction. The gem features a Muslim prayer engraved on one side, and a floral design on the other.
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