'Love is an emerald. Its brilliant light wards off dragons On this treacherous path.'
'No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be emerald, my colour undiminished.'
Emerald is a gemstone comprised of high-end green beryl1. Typically only those stones of the deepest and richest green make the classification - and some authorities do not recognise the vanadium-coloured variety as true emeralds either. Emeralds are somewhat soft and fragile by gemstone standards and prone to surface imperfections that are traditionally remediated by a coat of oil. This - or naturally occurring fluid collecting in such flaws - can be behind the tendency of emeralds to "sweat" when heated.
As usual emeralds are valued depending on their cut, clarity, colour and carat weight - and, given that treatment is so common, the degree of it to which they have been subjected. That being said, they tend to be worth less carat by carat than the other "big name" gems, coming in at number 4 (behind diamond, ruby and sapphire) but ahead of pretty much everything else. The trapiche phenomenon, sometimes found in emeralds from Colombia, in which wheel-like spokes of dark impurity radiate from the centre of the stone, has been known to substantially boost value in the same way that asterism does for the corundum stones.
Mystically speaking emerald is associated with the astrological signs of Taurus, Gemini, and sometimes Cancer. It was sacred to the Greco-Roman deities Mercury and Venus and thus associated with both travellers and romantic love (but perversely also with wisdom and prophecy as well). As usual, it was said to have healing properties, especially with relation to healing and recovery.
Game and Story Use
- Obviously the mystical properties are of interest to anyone making magic items or otherwise using gemstones in magic.
- A wheel like trapiche emerald would seem especially suitable for making something related to travel.
- Emeralds can follow many of the same plot points covered under the concept of the blood diamond.
- Note that the position of diamonds as #1 gemstone is relatively new … rubies used to hold the top slot until fairly recently and fashion and culture were always major players. Presumably a culture with a prevalence of green-eyed women might place a much higher value on emeralds.