Gemstones are not only beautiful, but are also very interesting. Their colors, properties, and legends are diverse and fascinating. Folklore and legends about gemstones has been honored for centuries in all cultures, and to this day many people are interested in the myths and healing properties of gems.
I’d like to talk about some gemstones in particular that are very common .
Agate is a variety of chalcedony formed from layers of quartz which usually show varicolored bands. It usually occurs as rounded nodules or veins.
The lines and the patterns within are very unique and beautiful. Agate is a relatively inexpensive stone except for some varieties with unusual banded or scenic markings. Many varieties of agate can be found all over the world including Africa, Asia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, and the USA.
The esoteric properties are principally that it can balance emotions, help one to better discern the truth, and to accept circumstances. Agate is a powerful emotional healer.
Legend says that Agate improves memory and concentration, increases stamina and encourages honesty. Agate is said to be particularly beneficial to people born under the sign of Gemini as it helps them to remain calm and focused.
It is believed to prevent insomnia and insure pleasant dreams, to enhance personal courage and protect one against danger. Agate provides a calming influence, improves perception, concentration and helps to develop and increase one’s analytical talents.
It has been highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect against fever. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms.
No gemstone is more creatively designed by Nature than agate, it is a chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers in a wide variety of colours and textures.
Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in host rock, and therefor is formed as a rounded nodule with concentric bands like the rings of a tree trunk. The bands sometimes look like eyes, fanciful scallops, or even a landscape with trees.
The next gemstone I would like to mention is Lapis Lazuli.
It is technically classified as a rock, but has been valued since ancient times . The Egyptians ground it into fine powder and used it as an eye cosmetic.
This opaque, deep blue gemstone with brilliant reflections has a glorious past. It was among the first gemstones to be worn as jewelry and it has been used for fine inlay designs as well.
Lapis has been used for thousands of years and was found in archeological excavations as figurines in Mesopotamia and Greece.
In the Middle East, it was thought to have magical powers. Countless signet rings, scarabs and figures were wrought from the blue stone which Alexander the Great brought to Europe.
There, the color was referred to as ‘ultramarine’, which means ‘from beyond the sea’. The color is named thus in pigments for artists, and called Ultramarine Blue.
There are letters that Michaelangelo wrote while painting the Sistine ceiling in Rome, to his brother in Florence requesting him to purchase the finest of ultramarine, with instructions that if it is not the best, to not buy it. He was known to be very frugal, and the expense for the color was considered almost a luxury.
Ground up into a powder and stirred up together with binding agents, the gemstone can be used to manufacture radiant blue watercolors, tempera or oil paints. In 1834, it became possible to produce this color synthetically. In all paintings before then the artists utilized the only ultramarine available, which was that expensive powder made from genuine lapis lazuli .
This Lapis shines out at us from many works of art today, especially those of the Renaissance.
Lapis Lazuli is regarded as the stone of friendship and truth and is said to encourage harmony in relationships.
It can help its wearer to be honest and openly give his or her opinion.
Charms of Light says of Lapis Lazuli:
“Lapis Lazuli quickly releases stress, bringing deep peace. It brings harmony and deep inner self-knowledge. Encourages self-awareness, allows self-expression and reveals inner truth, providing qualities of honesty, compassion and morality to the personality. Stimulates objectivity, clarity and encourages creativity. Lapis Lazuli assists to confront and speak one’s truth and inspires confidence. It bonds relationships, aiding in expression of feelings and emotions.
Lapis Lazuli boosts the immune system, purifies blood, lowers blood pressure, cooling and soothing areas of inflammation. It alleviates insomnia and vertigo, and overcomes depression. Lapis Lazuli benefits the respiratory and nervous systems and the throat, vocal chords, and thyroid, cleanses organs, bone marrow and thymus.”
I will be talking about more fascinating gemstones in my next post!