18K Mogul / Mughal Emerald and Diamond Stick Pin, India, ca. 1850. Green emerald adorns tip with an accent diamond just below. 18K gold is scored in swirling fashion from diamond to tip. In excellent condition. 3 1/4" long. According to Gemfields, the history of emeralds is long and prolific; in fact, records show that the gem was bought and sold in Babylonian markets as early as 4000 BC. Egyptian Queen Cleopatra is possibly the most famous admirer of emeralds, and her own mine was rediscovered a century ago – one of the earliest confirmations of emeralds in history. Even ancient Western literature contains references to these rare stones: Aristotle wrote that owning an emerald would help the wearer with victory in trials, settling litigation, success in business matters and even with poor eyesight.
Later, emeralds were highly prized by the Incas and Aztecs when discovered in Colombia. Many other cultures have embraced emeralds as their own, and ascribe much value to the green gems. Whether a centerpiece of Russian crown jewels, part of a collection of the Iranian State Treasure, or a favorite of Indian Shahs, emeralds have long been associated with royalty and status. Shah Jahan of India, famous for building the Taj Mahal, was so enamored by emeralds that he inscribed his collection with sacred texts and used them as talismans.