Magic and mystery: the fascinating world of gems
Gemstones play a remarkably rich role in our everyday life, although we are often not aware of it. I have acquaintances who are not interested in gemstones and some friends who do not wear any jewellery at all. Unheard of! Yes, there is such a thing! Nevertheless, hopefully, everyone knows what gemstones are.
Since our childhood…
Gemstones in our everyday life? What can this mean? One way gemstones permeate our world is through literature. Gemstones are very often found in stories and novels. It is not surprising because gems and jewels can embody not only beauty but also wealth and these elements are very useful for dramaturgical developments and action.
Since our childhood and adolescence, gems have appeared in stories and novels such as “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” or “Treasure Island”.
Gems in storytelling
Who hasn’t been desperately feverish until D’Artagnan finally returns to France with the queen’s diamonds? Didn’t you covet the long Pearl necklace of Daisy Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby”?
There are so many novels from different epochs in which gems play a role. I always remember the beloved novel “100 Years of Solitude” by the great Gabriel García Márquez. One of the central figures, Melchiades, had a ring with a huge black opal.
Can’t Judge a book by its cover…
I am thinking of an ancient Arab legend in which a normal stone disguised itself as a precious stone. He wanted to be special. So he would dress up as an Emerald, Ruby or Aquamarine and he was so good at it that nobody noticed that he was a fraud. Until one day a child came and played with the stone. After a while, he just threw the stone away. The stone broke when it fell on the floor. Inside the stone was a Diamond. Moral of the story: what you have inside is much more important than your outward appearance.
The language of gems
In some legends, and in history Gemstones have played the role of cyphers in cryptic messaging. In the first half of the 19th century, “emotional” jewellery was very fashionable in England. This kind of jewellery was meant to be given to a loved one – usually, it was given to a “forbidden love”. They were medallions or cameos decorated with a series of precious stones. The recipient should be more familiar with the language of gems, for example, the word love was: a Lapis Lazuli, an Opal, a Vermeil (the original name for red Garnets) and an Emerald. For the word dearest, you needed a Diamond, an Emerald, Amethyst, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire and a Topaz. The word “Dearest” (with ciphered gems) was found in a medallion of King George IV of England when he died. The medallion – hidden under his shirt – protected a miniature portrait of Mrs Fitsherbert, his long-time lover!
The sad Gem story of Why an Onion makes us cry
Do you know the legend of onions? Even if you don’t think it’s possible, this story is also about gems.
There used to be a very nice vegetable garden. Beautiful and rare bulbs grew there. They were onions you hadn’t seen anywhere else. These onions had different gemstones at their centre, which gave them the corresponding colours. So, some grew with a Ruby, others had Sapphires, Emeralds or Amethysts. But the other vegetables started to talk about it: “It can’t be that these onions have such colours”, “It can’t be good” – they said and became louder and louder – “It’s a shame to have such onions in our garden”, “They are undoubtedly bad onions”. And so the onions began to feel ashamed. They tried to cover their colours with several layers. They looked like normal onions. One day an old man came into the vegetable garden. When he saw the onions, he asked why they were so big. The onions told him about their suffering, each onion had its own story, some of them could not even remember the colour of their hearts. The old man cried with every story. And since then, cutting an onion makes us cry. Isn’t the story beautiful? But what is much nicer is that when you see our beautiful gemstone jewellery you can only cry with joy!