Gemstone History and Properties
The Emerald belongs to the beryl mineral group, which is distinguished by the chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6. Beryl gemstones are relatively hard at 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, but at the same time quite susceptible to chemicals and blows, especially if the stone has many inclusions. Beryl gemstones which contain chromium or vanadium possess an intense green color and became famous as Emeralds, while those that possess greenish or bluish hues are called Aquamarines. Beryl gemstones also come in other colors such as pink (Morganite), red (Bixbite), yellow (Heliodor) and white (Goshenite).
When it comes to Hindu gem therapy, each color of Beryl is assigned a different planetary association: Morganite and Bixbite are considered the Sun’s gemstones, Heliodors are Jupiter’s, Aquamarines and Emeralds are Mercury’s and pale ones and Goshenites are assigned to Venus.
Unlike most other gemstones, including other Beryls, Emeralds almost always contain fractures and inclusions due to their formation process, with even eye clean stones being extremely rare. For this reason, even the Hindu Gem Therapy system allows some latitude when it comes to the quality of emeralds used, yet stones with severe fracturing or dark inclusions which noticeably affect its appearance are still out of the question.
The unique and captivating color of the Emerald captured the hearts of men since the dawn of human history, with a myriad of myths and legends developing around it throughout the ages. While many believe that the Emerald was mentioned in the bible, the stone usually referred to as an Emerald during that period was actually the Peridot, which most likely was also the Pit’dah set in the priestly breastplate or Hoshen. Despite this, the Emerald itself was always valued in its own right, often adorning the crowns of emperors and kings and serving as a talisman for fertility, prosperity and business success.
Legendary properties and historical uses
While the history of its use in the east goes back at least to the biblical times, the Emerald first became common in the west during the Hellenistic period replacing the Peridot which until then was the main green gem.
The main influence attributed to the Emerald was the ability to increase or restore the youthfulness and vitality of its owner due to the association of its color with the fresh greenery of spring. This association also connected the Emerald with fertility and even immortality, especially in ancient Egypt, and to various fertility goddesses such as Astarte, Venus and Demeter. The connection to fertility was also the reason it was often set in royal crowns as a symbol for the prosperity of the realm.
In contrast to the association with Venus and fertility common in the west, in the east the Emerald was mostly associated with Mercury, the god of communication, making it a popular talisman for merchants, traders and sometimes even charlatans and swindlers. This association also made it popular among scholars and alchemist who believed it would aid them in gaining more knowledge and understanding. A famous example of this association is the legendary Emerald tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, aka Mercury the thrice-great.
The medicinal properties attributed to Mercury included the ability to control emotions and calm the nerves, cure various diseases and speed up the healing process, and to improve the eyesight. The ability of Emeralds to affect eyesight was actually corroborated in modern times by the discovery that lush green colors have a relaxing effect on the eyes which allows them to rest and refocus.
The association of Emeralds with various love and fertility goddesses in the west sometimes made it a symbol of love as well, making it quite popular for wedding rings. In the east however, it is considered to be quite unsuitable for such a role as it is said to quell desires and even create problems with the sex drive.
The stone according to Hindu belief
In Hindu belief certain gemstones are connected to certain planetary deities, and these gemstones are able to transmit the energies associated with these deities to a person wearing them, allowing him to enjoy the benefits of those energies in the process.
According to Hindu belief, the Emerald is a representation of the energy of Mercury, the god Budha, on earth. The god Budha, who physically manifests as the planet Mercury, is considered to be the young Prince of the Hindu pantheon and the god of speech, communication and information. Please note that despite the similarity in their names, there is no direct connection to the Buddha of Buddhism.
According to vedic astrology, an Emerald is suitable for a person if Mercury is well positioned in his natal chart, and is especially recommend if its placement is weak as that is an indicator for speech and memory problems. If Mercury’s position is harmful however, the use of Emeralds is considered dangerous and is highly discouraged.
Among the properties ascribed to an Emerald when it suits a person, are the ability to significantly improve memory and concentration, along with language and communication skills. In addition, it is said that Emeralds can help with balancing emotions, slowing down the aging process and curing diseases.
If however, the Emerald proves unsuitable it is said to cause speech problems and confusion, memory problems and even various diseases.
According to Hindu belief, if one wishes to gain the blessing of Mercury, he should wear an good quality Emerald that is set in jewelry made of one of the following metals: gold, multiple metals alloy or brass. The jewelry has to be made in such a way that the stone will be in contact with the skin, hence earrings are unsuitable. If the stone is set in a ring, the ring must be worn on the little finger of the right hand for right handed people or the left for left handed people and women.
Before wearing such a talisman for the first time, it must be washed in fresh milk and afterwards washed again in ganges water (or any other holy water). The talisman must be worn for the first time on a Wednesday falling close to the full moon, in the first hour after sunrise.
Aside from the Emerald, several secondary gemstones are also associated with Mercury: Peridot, Tsavorite Garnet, Jadeite and Green Tourmaline.
Personal experience – Emerald
After years of experience with gemstones both as a therapist and a patient, it became clear that every gemstone type has certain effects typical of this stone which can both assist in selecting the right gemstone and in identifying side effects due to unsuitable gemstone type or size.
In my experience the Emerald has a calming and focusing effect. Among the positive effects observed were improvements in concentration and short term memory, a sensation of calmness and inner peace, stress relief and a notable improvement in academic performance.
In cases of incompatibility and excess, the side effects observed included severe weakness and decrease in energy levels, low blood pressure, fear and anxiety, loss of appetite and reduced sex drive.
Please note that the more profound effects mentioned were only observed after prolonged use of the stone.