Gemstones have exerted a powerful influence over mankind ever since they were first unearthed centuries ago. It was not just their colour, brilliance or sparkle that captured the imagination of our ancestors. Each gemstone was also believed to possess remarkable healing properties, and magical powers to cure any and everything from a stomach ache to a broken heart; from warding off evil and bad dreams to attracting abundance and wealth. Kings and queens wore them as symbols of power; religious heads wore them as symbols of divine authority and the commoners lusted after them.
The history of gemstones is dotted with stunning finds of precious stones that have delighted and mesmerised their finders with their sheer size and dazzling beauty. These rare stones have spawned bitter tussles for their possessions; they have adorned kings and divas and have been surrounded by intriguing folklore; they have been the objects of daring heists and have been jealously guarded by their royal owners.
Here are the legends and superstitions that surround some of the world’s most famous, rare and valuable gems: