We continue our series of articles telling curious observations and historical facts about jewelry and various gemstones.
In the first series of facts we talked about the first engagement rings, Murano glass, jewelry and insects. In the second part we talked about the interesting properties of stones. In this article we devote ourselves to the mystical side of the jewelry world.
Every people at some time developed and passed on a funny, sometimes romantic and sometimes quite unexpected superstitions and beliefs about gemstones. Let's go through a dozen of the most remarkable examples.
1. in the Middle Ages three gemstones were at the same time the talisman of thieves and robbers: opal, heliotrope and chrysoprase. The reason for this versatility is that all three stones had a very important feature in common. So when a thief was pursued, he had to wear a ring with one of these gemstones, and he immediately became invisible to his pursuers.
2. in the XIX century in Brazil there were recommendations for all professions to wear one or another precious stone. Doctors preferred emeralds, lawyers rubies and military engineers turquoises. However Sapphires were also recommended to ordinary people who did not belong to any of the above professions.
3. in ancient India, as expected, the diamond was the most popular gemstone. And it was one that was "shared" between members of different social classes - castes. More specifically, each caste was only allowed to wear diamond jewelry of a certain color. The highest caste, the priests, could wear flawless, colorless diamonds. The warrior caste was considered to have pink stones. The landowners "got" yellow gems. But the lower ranks of the pariahs could only own black diamonds.
4. jade is considered the national stone of China and has been considered a symbol of power since ancient times. In ancient times, the stone served as an indicator of position in society. Local officials, for example, wore a jade bead on their cap. The size and color of the bead signaled the person's position in the hierarchy.
5. there is a belief that a person wearing an emerald will never be bitten by a cobra, as it will immediately go blind as soon as it looks at the stone.
6. the story about the snake repellent properties of green beryl cannot continue without mentioning the amazing story of the Tajik scholar Abu-Reihan Muhammad ibn Ahmed al-Biruni, who lived thousands of years ago. Biruni categorically denied any magical power of gemstones, including emeralds. To convey the invalidity of these fantasies to the masses, he spent a lot of time on seemingly ridiculous tests and came to the following conclusion:
"Despite the unanimity of storytellers, this statement is not borne out by experience. I have made so many tests that it is impossible to do more: I have girded the snake with an emerald necklace, I have poured emeralds on the bottom of a basket of snakes, I have strung emeralds on a thread before them, and all this I have done for nine months and in heat and cold; but nothing remained on it except an emerald plaque, and it had no effect on its eyes, if not increased the sharpness of its vision."
7. in ancient times it was believed that a Pomegranate with the image of a lion on its surface could cure its owner of all ailments and protect him from danger on long journeys. But if the royal cat wore a carnelian instead of a pomegranate, the stone could only ward off poisoning and quell fevers.
8. turquoise is not only a symbol of romantic love, but also for a long time was the talisman of cavalrymen. It was believed that this beautiful stone could protect from falling off a horse.
9. curiously, in the XVI century, people assumed that turquoise could protect from any fall. However, some treated this superstition with irony. When one of the Tudors was asked about this unique property of a stone, he is said to have replied, "All I know is that if I put a ring with turquoise on my finger, climb a tower and fall down, the inlay in the ring will not break."
10. Let's end our list of omens and superstitions with a healing stone. In medieval England, ghagate, a type of coal, was one of the favorite remedies of local lithotherapists. It was used to treat poisoning, epilepsy, hysteria, gastrointestinal disorders, snakebites, the "evil eye," as well as to ward off evil spirits, witchcraft, and - unexpectedly - even storms.
For centuries, gemstones have been imbued with rich symbolism, often giving rise to mystical beliefs about the magical powers of this or that stone. We do not recommend that you put your gemstones to the test. However, if you want to express your passionate feelings with a beautiful ring with a bright scarlet ruby, it certainly can't hurt.