Your engagement ring’s gemstone is more than just a shiny, colourful jewel. Here are the symbolic meanings attached to it…
Many gemstones were first discovered by ancient civilisations long before anyone knew anything about geology, mining or cutting and polishing techniques. The natural assumption was that these beautiful, shining lumps of colour They were gifts from the gods and the earth. Gems were treated with much reverence because they were such a rarity to come across, and these societies attached special meanings for them. Sadly the origins of these meanings are long since lost, so we can only guess.
It didn’t take the ancient worlds long to figure out that diamond was a harder substance than anything they’d ever come across before. For that reason, it quickly became associated with invincibility and was regarded as the most prestigious of all gems – a perception that still endures today. It was also seen as a ‘high energy’ stone with great spiritual properties like clarity and balance of the mind, psychic sight, spiritual protection from evil, and was even thought by some to help transport people to the afterlife.
The ancient Persians believed that pearls were tears of the gods (even though they come from oyster shells, but go figure), and ancient Chinese civilisations thought they were made by the moon. Pearls representing the moon has come up time and again in history, and it’s easy to see why. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have long been thought to have magical properties. In ancient China they protected a person from dragons and fire, while in other cultures they were said to protect a lady’s chastity.
For a long time, rubies were considered more valuable and precious than any other stone – even diamond. For that reason, they were usually associated with royalty and were thought to promote vitality and restore life forces. They also symbolised all those qualities a good king or queen should have; energy, youth, passion, beauty, and of course love. Some civilisations believed that on top of all that, rubies had prophetic powers; when danger was near they would turn a deeper red.
Since it’s deep blue hue matches the night sky, sapphires have always been associated with the heavens and the celestial world. Because of this it was seen as the ‘purity’ stone and promoted chastity and wisdom while warding off evil spirits, negative energy and even physical illness. In the Middle Ages, sapphires and many other gemstones were actually ground up and used as medical remedies for all sorts of conditions. Sapphires in particular were believed to strengthen the heart and muscles and give a persona courage!
Emerald is thought to be the gemstone of Venus, the Goddess of love and fertility. As such it’s associated with many similar qualities like growth, hope, renewal, peace, healing and eternity (all great things to be linked to your engagement ring, if you ask us). Ancient Romans believed that the soul of a person was restored when they wore an emerald, while in Hindu culture the colour green aligns the heart chakra to allow feelings of love to flow freely from a person’s core.
With that name and its calming pastel blue colour, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that aquamarine is associated with the sea. This captivating stone is linked to qualities like eternal life, youth, hope and fidelity, and it was often thought that it had a soothing effect on the wearer. For the Ancient Greeks, aquamarine helped bring about safe passage across the water, and it was also thought to bring victory in battles and render soldiers invincible.
Depending on who you choose to believe, Opal either symbolises hope, happiness, purity, and faithfulness, or it’s a demon stone. The latter connotation comes from Walter Scott’s novel Anne of Geierstein, in which Anne wears a magical opal that radiates multicoloured light when she’s in a good mood, and turns an angry red when she’s not. At the story’s climax holy water spills on the opal and Anne dies soon after, leading people to belief it was a stone of evil spirits and promoted bad luck. We still love it, though!