Gemstones have been around for centuries, playing various roles in myths and legends.
The precious stones or jewels typically come from mineral crystal (diamonds), rocks (opal) and organic materials (amber, jet, and pearl), which are cut and polished and used to make jewelry and other ornaments. Each one is unique with a special colour, birthplace and story.
Precious stones, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, are the most expensive, with all other gemstones known as semi-precious.
Here is a look at some of the most popular gemstones and their meanings:
Emerald, the May birthstone, is said to activate the heart chakra and helps the wearer make choices from love and compassion. Like chrysoprase (an apple-green gemstone), it can help heal heartbreak and nourish emotions. As the gem of Venus, it was also considered to aid in fertility.
Many historians associate emeralds with Queen Cleopatra, the last Egyptian pharaoh. She was so obsessed with the jewels that she often adorned her robes, jewelry, and crowns with them.
The deeper and more vivid the colour of green, showing an intense bluish hue, the more valuable the jewel.
Emeralds, among the rarest of gems, are almost always found with birthmarks, known as inclusions but they do not detract from the value of the stone as other gemstones do.
A rare ruby and diamond necklace and earrings from the 19th century are displayed at Sotheby’s on October 22, 2009 in London with an estimated value (at the time of auction) of $780,000 to £1.4 million