Long ago the emerald was dedicated to Venus, the goddess of love. Lovers were told that this gemstone could reveal the faithfulness of their beloved. Faithfulness was reflected in a fresh, bright green color; a cheating heart was betrayed by a lifeless color.
The ancients prized the emerald highly and believed it held many powers. They felt it could endow the wearer with the ability to think clearly in the past, present and future. It was supposed to improve one's memory, promote eloquent speech, quicken intelligence and endow the ability to foretell the future. It was also believed to promote honesty and frugality. Powdered and taken as a medicine, it was considered a preventative of epilepsy and other serious disorders.
Emeralds have always been highly prized by royalty. Cleopatra, queen of Egypt wore emeralds from her mine in Upper Egypt. Emeralds are heavily represented in the Russian Crown Jewels from the time of the czars. The Emperor Nero is said to have gazed through a large emerald to soothe his eyes as he watched the gladiator games in the Coliseum.