The Historical Symbology of Emeralds

Emeralds are beautiful and vibrant stones that have long featured in jewellery the world over. From the ancient Greeks to modern times, these gorgeous green gemstones have multiple meanings and historical associations that are fascinating, especially for those with a particular penchant for emeralds and vintage jewellery.


It’s often the history behind vintage pieces that makes them so appealing to collectors and the general public alike, so added symbolism can really pique peoples’ interests. Known as ‘The Jewel of Kings’, the emerald is the birthstone of May, and is said to symbolise wit, elegance and foresight. Here we look at the symbology of emeralds through time, and why they’re still such a popular choice in vintage and modern day jewellery.


Spiritual meaning

Emeralds are typically associated with truth and love, which is perhaps why emerald rings are frequently seen in vintage engagement pieces. Revered by every culture around the world from the Incas of South America, to the ancient Romans and Greeks, emeralds have long been said to bring love and hope.


Ancient Egyptians, on the other hand, thought the vibrant colour of emeralds held the source of eternal life, which is why they were the first choice gemstone of historic icons such as queen Cleopatra. In many civilisations, emeralds were reserved for those in the top echelons of society, often exclusive to royalty and members of the royal circle.



Whilst considered a wonder, there are also reports throughout history of supposed mystical properties of emeralds. In multiple different cultures from the Celts to the Ancient Egyptians, emeralds were considered to have properties that enabled the wearer to have ‘additional sight’ and be gifted with the ability to to reveal future events before they happen. It was also said that those in possession of emeralds were able to uncover truths that weren’t known, and have heightened intuition.


Emotional connotations

Nowadays, rubies are more frequently seen as symbols of love and passion, but historically it was actually the emerald that was considered most closely aligned with love, devotion and fidelity. The vibrant green colour was said to represent new beginnings, and particularly marital bonds and the new joining together of two families, giving emeralds a lot of emotional significance throughout different periods in time.


Wellness & healing

Long before the sophisitcaiton of modern day medicine, spiritual healers would rely on natural materials to heal their patients and promote general wellness. Emeralds were an integral part of this process, as they were always widely believed to have healing properties for both the body and mind.


In many cultures, this is still the case, and emeralds are still said to help specifically with the heart, internal organs and to heal visual ailments. Emeralds are also used to promote mental clarity and focus, with wearers in some cultures reporting a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings and improved concentration.


Whatever your reasons for choosing emerald jewellery, you can be sure that your choice will be a popular one, especially if it’s a gift for someone who knows their history and the meaning behind the piece you have chosen.