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The name emerald is a derivative of an ancient Persian word, coming to us through the corruption of the Latin `Smaragdus'. The history of the emerald is as fascinating as it is voluminous. The ancients prized it as the symbol of love, rebirth and eternal youth. Because the rich green color of emerald reminds of spring, it has been treasured for at least the past 4,000 years by different cultures all around the world. Cleopatra reportedly valued her emeralds more than any other gem, and with good cause as the ancient Egyptians revered them as symbols of fertility and rebirth.

The Romans believed that emeralds with a pale hue were immature and would grow to a deeper, richer colour with age. The ancient Roman scholar Pliny was so moved by the emerald's lush colour he wrote, «nothing is more intense than the green of emerald» and «sight is refreshed and restored by gazing upon this stone». Following his advise, Roman emperor Nero wore emerald sunglasses to watch the gladiators. Emerald is said to give a supernatural ability to foretell future events. A surprising variety of virtues have been ascribed to emerald. Among these, emerald was thought to improve its owner’s memory and eloquence, and was also said to quicken intelligence. In a particular instance of emerald’s use, as a measure against ills, women wearing the stone were believed to be immune from epilepsy.

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