ZUMMURRUD…The Mother Gem
Deception. Lies. Thievery. Superstition. Enchanted quarries protected by a
dragon who spewed forth thunder and lightning to fry anyone daring to
approach to steal the gems.
And the gem…you may all well ask? Zummurrud…the Persian word
meaning “green”, from which is derived the word “emerald.” You like
stories and legends folks? Here we go.
There is a legend that says that when Satan fell from Heaven, an
emerald dropped from his crown because of the purity of its clear
It was, at one time, believed that the Holy Grail was made of emerald.
In the temple of Manta, Ecuador, was the alter of Umi�a, the goddess
of health. She was represented by a statuette made of emerald the size of
and ostrich egg and cut to the shape of the upper part of a human figure.
You like romance, folks? Move over Pocahontas. We’re on the shores of Lake
Guatavita, in the Columbian Andes, where once lived a beautiful maiden who
was also sister to a tribal chieftain. The most amazing thing about fairy
tales is their parallelism the world over. If anyone out there wants to
get mystical about this, here’s your moment to ponder. In any case, our
beautiful maiden fell in love with a young warrior. But alas, he was poor,
as warriors often are, and it had been decreed that our maiden was to
marry of man of substance and position. She refused her destiny. The
warrior was banished from the tribe and ordered to never return. Never!
Unless of course he found some sort of great fortune. At which point he
would be embraced as a brother by the ruling classes. Money talks and
warriors walk, I guess. Or something like that.
Off he went, into the jungle, jeers and taunts mocking his exile. He
tramped and trudged through the wilderness, till he arrived at a spot
along the Andes where edges of rock bordered on the precipitous chasms of
the lowlands. Night came, and he sought shelter in a cave where the earth
then trembled and rocks crashed and our warrior was almost buried alive by
the landslide. When he awoke, he found himself clutching…yup …you
guessed it…an emerald. A prodigious emerald in fact. Of course, he
returned to his village, threw the emeralds down at the feet of the ruler,
and got his bride.
The conquistadors, who stripped Peru bare in their quest for gold,
destroyed fortunes in emeralds…fortunes worth many times more than
the heavy gold they stole.
There is a myth about emerald mines that states that if a woman
approaches such a mine, the emeralds would disappear.
And for a last tasty dish…when emerald production was in its rage,
lapidaries worked furiously, cutting large stones. The shards of
emeralds which resulted from the cuttings were strewn on the ground,
attracting chickens to try this treasured meal. They developed a taste for
emerald…but as the market value increased, the chickens’ chance for
survival decreased. They were beheaded in the presence of officials, in
order to reclaim from their gizzards that which they had gleaned from the
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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