Emerald History

Emerald History loose sale price & Emerald Gemstone Information

The Treasures of the Incas and Aztecs

Ancient emeralds were from mines in Egypt and perhaps what is now Afghanistan. But Spaniards arriving on the continent of South America were stunned to see emeralds finer and larger than any ever seen before. The Spaniards spent years searching for the source of the fantastic green stones favored by the Incas. They found it finally in what is today Colombia: Chivor, also known as Somondoco or "God of the green gems," then later Muzo and Cosquez, the richest emerald mines in the planet and still the source of the finest stones today.

Hernando Cortes, the conquerer of Mexico, was carrying carved emeralds taken from the Aztecs in the shapes of fish and flowers and a carved emerald bell, and an emerald the size of a man's palm when he was shipwrecked. Many of the finest stones were lost forever. The Incas had an emerald goddess, a fabulous emerald the size of an ostrich egg. In tribute they sacrificed her children: smaller emeralds which were presented to the goddess. Treasure hunters seeking wrecks of Spanish galleons are occasionally rewarded with the ultimate treasure: emeralds lost by the conquistadores long ago.