The ever-so elegant, breathtakingly beautiful and alluring gemstones used to accessorize outfits and adorn the human body do not just have a high monetary value, but also has to some an immutable mystical significance. It is true that people pay hefty amounts of money to possess jewels embellished with gems that were curated from the Earth’s center, but their worth is much more valuable for some. Whether the attributes associated with gemstones are accurate or not is a different debate altogether; nonetheless, the connection between the two cannot be denied.
Even if someone doesn’t believe in their symbolism and rebuffs all supposed properties assigned to material things, it wouldn’t change the fact that gemstones have been regarded as sacred objects for centuries. Keeping that in mind, we are here to discuss the meaning given to gems without questioning the rationale behind them. So, without further ado, let’s dive into gemstone symbolism.
Here is a list of legends and the resulting mythical narratives given to some of the most popular gemstones.
This crimson beauty is one of the most enthralling natural stones and is known for its color and hardness. Due to its color, many civilizations in the past believed it to hold the power of life.
Ancient Hindus would present ruby to their God Krishna as they believed doing so would make them emperors in the next life. Christians also hold the ruby dear because it’s mentioned in the Bible four times that it represents beauty and wisdom.
Ruby, which comes from the Sanskrit word Ratnaraj, meaning king of precious stones, was considered lucky in many cultures, especially among European royalties and upper class of the medieval times. The ancient elite in Europe would collect ruby stones because it was believed that having one guarantees wealth, wisdom, success in love and good health.
In sum, the ruby is known to signify vitality, prosperity and royalty.
Lapis Lazuli is among the gems that are associated with deities and royalties. It is because of this association that we got the distinctive color categorization ‘royal blue.’
Egyptians believed that Lapis came from the heavens and provided protection in the afterlife, which is why they kept the stone in their graves and used it to make statues of their gods, totemic objects and burial masks.
Egyptians were not the only ones to regard Lapis as a gemstone that provides safety in the afterlife; many cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe also believed so and would bury it with the dead.
During the time of Renaissance, painters used Lapis to produce ultramarine pigment for their paintings by crushing the stone to dust so as to add a touch of reality.
Lapis is a stone that is supposed to bring enlightenment and awareness. In other words, possessing a lapis lazuli stone gives wisdom and the ability to see and understand the truth.
The Emerald is one of the many stones given to King Solomon by God or so narrated by legend. It was a gift to the king that endowed him with power over all creation. The Incas, people of the Inca Empire of Pre-Columbian America, used it to make jewelry and conduct religious ceremonies. However, the Spanish would trade it for other more valuable stones such as gold.
The Emerald is supposed to grant psychic powers to the wearer; some ancient civilizations believed that keeping it under the tongue would reveal the truth and show the future. Now, however, the emerald is associated with peace and balance. People think that it provides inner peace and relieves stress. A factor behind this idea could be the color of the stone. Since the color green symbolizes harmony, growth and emotional well-being; hence, the emerald stone is also assigned similar properties.
Not a bad idea if it works, noting the turmoil we are subjected to at this time.
Although amber is not an earthy stone and is actually fossilized tree resin, it is still recognized as a gem. In the mythology of the Northern German people, called the Norse folklore, Freyr, the God of fertility’s tears would turn into gold and amber stones when she cried because her husband was away.
Furthermore, amber is associated with light and electricity and is believed to result from the concealment of sunlight. If only Edison knew! Because of this connection to the sun, amber carries the reputation of being a nurturing, warm stone used to provide comfort to the ill.
In the time of ancient Greeks, this yellowish stone was highly regarded as it was sacred to the Greek God of Apollo. Lastly, the Chinese once believed that amber is the soul of a dead tiger transformed into the rocky shape of the sunny gem.
Early gem experts regarded topaz as a stone that was capable of protecting against diseases, untimely death, strengthening the intellect, lessening sadness and anger and eliminating cowardice. It was also believed that topaz could cool down boiling water and emit light.
Legend has it that the mystic Roman Catholic Saint of Hildegard of Bingen claimed that she read prayers in a darkened church with the light emitted from a topaz stone.
Since topaz has long been associated with creating light and reducing negativity, it is believed to provide mental clarity, positivity and the ability to focus on the wearer.
Garnet is also one of the stones gifted to King Solomon by God. It was also used by Prophet Noah to light up his ark; hence it is associated with the removal of darkness and imbuement of life, passion and love.
Garnet is considered a totem that brings good luck and eliminates dangers and distress. It is given to travelers for a safe return or people trying their hand at business as it is supposed to bring good fortune. It is also known for removing emotional distress between lovers, especially if caused due to distance.
Although these are only a few of the gemstones with the meanings behind them, there are many more, but these are enough to give you an idea of the legendary and mystical significance gems carry. With that said, it’s possible that all the stories regarding gems aren’t real, but many people worldwide believe in them (possibly psychologically) benefit from their unfaltering belief. But whether these legends are true or false, why would it matter if people do feel better when they are in their possession?