Four of the worlds best loved, most precious and as well most valuable stones are that of the diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald. Then, here is the hidden, surprising and as well sometimes strange meanings and lore behind each of these gems.
The stone of all stones, diamond is one of the most popular, loved, coveted, valuable and hard materials known to man. As such, its lore and hold on our hearts has proved as enduring and unbreakable as diamond itself.
Best loved and most often worn today as an engagement ring stone, diamonds are synonymous with eternal love and to give one, traditionally to a female, is understood to confer offering ones heart and to do so forever more.
Diamonds have not always been a stone most synonymous with love and marriage though. To begin with diamonds were in fact said to be the stone of invincibility and were said in ancient cultures to endow their wearer with superior strength, fortitude, courage and the spiritual power necessary to thwart and conquer ones enemies.
Sapphires are the name given to all corundums except rubies. Hence, sapphires are actually formed in a rainbow of different colours from pink to orange and purple to yellow. Throughout history though man has been most enamoured with one colour of sapphire in particular and that is of course the blue sapphire.
Loved and worn by royalty for its royal blue colour from antiquity until modern day (with Princess Dianas sapphire engagement ring now belonging to her Son Prince Williams wife, Kate Middleton) to monks and priests who have long associated its rich blue colouring with the heavens, blue sapphires remain to this day one of the most popular, precious and most loved stones used in modern jewellery making.
Just as there are numerous colours of sapphire so too are there numerous meanings attributed to the stone. All of the virtues and attributes associated with blue sapphires, which include faith, wisdom and sincerity, share one similarity though; the meanings or even powers blue sapphires are said to represent are all morally charged as a posed to simply emotional qualities; in ancient Greece sapphires were said to be such a noble stone that simply wearing them was supposed to protect a person from self destructive feelings and vices such as envy.
The July birthstone, rubies are the most valuable type of corundum, more valuable even than sapphires, and register 9 on the MOHS hardness scale. What distinguishes a corundum which forms a sapphire and one destined to become a ruby is perhaps surprisingly rather simple in fact; corundum which contain traces of chromium as they form become rubies. Meanwhile, those lacking any trace of chromium are destined to be sapphires. Perhaps less surprisingly now knowing that is the fact that chromium is also responsible for producing the vivid red colouring rubies are famed for having and which has been celebrated from ancient times to this very day.
The name Ruby derives from an ancient Sanskrit word: ratnaraj which translates into English to mean King of stones. Given the modern popularity of using the name ruby as a baby name, it does make one wonder why Ruby is given as an exclusively female name and not used as a boys name, although some do argue that the name actually derives from the Latin word for red, which is ruber, and this is why we associate rubies with love, passion and as well females.
The most famous, best loved and some of the most precious emeralds are of course green in colour. A specific type of beryl, emeralds are also the most valuable examples of beryl to exist and have been for thousands of years.
Before our modern obsession with this amazing green stone, it was worn and prized by Egyptian pharaohs, Inca kings and Spanish conquistadors. Cleopatra in fact was a well known lover of emeralds, as was Elizabeth Taylor whose own emerald pendant sold for a record breaking $280,000 per carat in 2011.
Legend has it that those who place an emerald under their tongue can see into the future. Legend also has it that those who carry emeralds (although perhaps not in their mouth this time) shall become eloquent speakers as emeralds have long been believed to ward off lies and reveal untruths.