The Secret Life of Emeralds
When I hit Victoria Finlay's section on Colombian emeralds in Jewels: A Secret History, I was instantly transported to the movie Romancing the Stone and it's spectacularly large, glittering green treasure. Sad that my closest association with Colombia and emeralds is a Hollywood fantasy, but unfortunately that's about as deep as I get. Well I suppose the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz comes in as a close second. Who wouldn't be fascinated by a city that reminds you of lime jello?
I love the color of leaves, grass, and moss, but for the life of me I can't get enthused about working with these kelly green stones. They are definitely pretty, and when I see emeralds paired with pearls the effect is quite stunning, but I'm guessing it must take a gorgeous brunette or red head to make these gems really come to life.
Nevertheless, my reluctance to use or wear emeralds, doesn't mean that I am not secretly fascinated by these gems. Perhaps it's my association between emeralds and opulence -- the royal booty of kings and queens -- that makes this stone seem almost magical. In the enchantment department, Finlay's book Jewels: A Secret History delivers a wonderfully romantic story of a queen and her favorite stones, when she travels to Egypt to visit Cleopatra's emerald mines.
By far the best part of this chapter on emeralds was being alongside Finlay as she makes her way across the desert and down into some ancient caves looking for emnants of the elusive stone. Her trip definitely made me feel like I was having an Indiana Jones moment!
She even had me believing in spooky ghost stories and the connection between emeralds and the messenger god Mercury, who is also the deity of sleep and dreams. I promise that you'll love this chapter for it's densely packed with all sorts of archaeological romps and tidbits about some of the most rich and famous of the ancient world.
For more information on gemstones, check out my series The Secret Life of Gems to learn more about Victoria Finlay's Jewels: A Secret History.