Like many gemstones, the emerald possesses a number of different symbolic meanings.
The symbolism of the emerald stretches back thousands of years. Although most emeralds today are mined in the South American nation of Colombia, there were a number of locations in the Old World where the stones were also found, and cultures in those areas assigned various symbolic meanings to this marvelous gem.
Due to its green color, the emerald is associated with the sea and with fertility. Both of these associations gave the stone a connection to Aphrodite, the Greco-Roman goddess of love, who was born from the sea. The ancient Egyptians and the Incas of Peru also held the emerald sacred, and in India it was one of the navaratnas, a series of nine specific gems that were used to represent the heavenly bodies as part of an ancient astrological system. In this case the emerald was representative of the planet Mercury.
In addition to such esoteric symbolism, the emerald also has a widespread reputation for medicinal effects on the human body; everything from protection against poison to curing certain diseases have all been assigned to this stone at one time or another. While such effects may not carry the same weight that they once did, they clearly speak to the importance that many cultures assigned to the emerald.
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