Gem Trivia and Mythology

Diamonds were worn by aristocratic families to ward off the plague during the Middle Ages. The poorest people always died first, since they lived closer to the docks, where the ships often brought the plague from other countries. The rich had an idea that since the poor went first, that displaying their wealth (diamonds) would keep them from infection. This just goes to show how naive people were about what really caused the plague.


  • The crystal has always been greatly prized in Scotland. Several clans possessed crystal balls which were regarded as “stones of victory,” and water in which they were washed was given as medicine to sick men and cattle.
  • Some of the Mexican Indians believe that the souls of both living and dead people dwell in crystal.
  • Nephrite jade is found in abundance in Tewahi Punamu in New Zealand, and on the west coast, it is called “Punamu Stone.” The Maoris wear figures of their ancestral gods in Nephyrite, suspended around their necks.
  • Materia Medica by Dioscorides (2nd century) was a textbook of pharmacy for more than 1600 years. Volume Five pertained to the use of over 200 stones.
  • During antiquity, quartz crystals were believed to have been forced by the action of intense cold on the still waters found in mountainous caves. It was not until the 1770’s that this theory was rejected.Crysallos literally meant “frozen ice.”
  • When miners dug in South Africa, in the earliest times, they sold red garnets as “Cape Rubies.”
  • Gems have always been used as talismans to protect their wearer from harm. Soldiers often carried garnets to guard them against injury and death.
  • Garnets were thought to be talismans of war and many Crusaders carried red garnets. Even today, in the Middle East and Asia, fighting men carry a talisman of red garnet into battle.
  • In 1892, Indian nationalists ambushed and fired on British troops. Hanza tribesmen along the borders of Kashmir fired ball-shaped garnets which caused serious and often fatal wounds to the “Red Coats.”

To read the rest of this interesting article click on this link:

It was written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.



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