Do you believe that gemstones hold special meanings and powers? Legends about jewels span among differing cultures, from Ancient Greek to Aboriginal. Early humans in Ancient Greece considered amethysts to have originated from the tears of the Greek God Dionysus, whereas onyx from Venus’ fingernails. For the Aboriginals of southern Australia, opals came into existence when their ancestral God descended to Earth in a rainbow. But what could be the reason behind these symbolisms and beliefs?

The talismanic quality of gemstones has been exploited by diplomats, traders, and lovers. Different gemstones hold different significance. For example, moonstones are believed to be mediums to communicate with the gods. Diamonds have powers over health and love, yet can also be used as poison. Pearls, on the other hand, symbolize powers for the nobility. Pliny the Elder, a Roman philosopher and author, wrote about how Cleopatra dissolved an invaluable pearl in vinegar to impress Marc Anthony. Currently, the interests in gemstones and jewelry have become more and more unique and personal. English jeweler Vicki Ambery-Smith once created a ring to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of one of her clients. The ring was based on the church where her customer was married, her home, and even her car. When it comes to the topic of recycling heirlooms, it has been a common practice since Roman times. English General Oliver Cromwell once ordered to repurpose the late King Charles I’s crown jewels to coins stamped with “Commonwealth of England.”

For London jeweler Esther Eyre, jewelry became the “ultimate in recycling” nowadays. “It’s an interesting conjecture that particles of the gold in modern pieces may have been worn by the Ancient Egyptians,” she added. Even though jewelry are mere “accessories,” they hold significant value to some, and perhaps even to our ancestors.