Sunday, 21 July 2013

27 Hooker emerald




There’s something incredibly mysterious about the largest emeralds. It’s one of the rarest of gemstones, unattainable for most of us, at least in a good-quality stone. This magnificent 75.57-carat emerald was supposedly owned by the Ottoman Empire until 1900. Legend has it was used in the belt buckle of a sultan!





The stone was featured in Tiffany's 1950 Christmas Catalog. Mrs. Janet Annenberg Hooker bought the stone in 1955 from Tiffany's and donated it to the museum in 1977.



Emeralds are part of the beryl family of jewels. Green beryls are called emeralds, while blue-green beryls are called aquamarines. A pink shade of beryl is called Morganite. There’s even a red beryl that’s rarer than emeralds themselves.





The name emerald comes from the Greek smaragdos via the Old French esmeralde, and really just means 'green gemstone'. Innumerable fantastic stories have grown up around this magnificent gem. The Incas and Aztecs of South America, where the best emeralds are still found today, regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone. However, probably the oldest known finds were once made near the Red Sea in Egypt. Having said that, these gemstone mines, already exploited by Egyptian pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 B.C. and later referred to as 'Cleopatra's Mines', had already been exhausted by the time they were rediscovered in the early 19th century.





But it has also, for centuries, been the color of beauty and of constant love. In ancient Rome, green was the color of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. And today, this color still occupies a special position in many cultures and religions. Green, for example, is the holy color of Islam. Many of the states of the Arab League have green in their flags as a symbol of the unity of their faith. Yet this color has a high status in the Catholic Church too, where green is regarded as the most natural and the most elemental of the liturgical colors.

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