The emerald (smaragd) and a deep blue-greenish stone, the aquamarine, belong to the beryl family - that of the precious stone corresponding to Jacob's eleventh son Joseph. The beryl is a light green colored stone, although one also encounters beryl of a yellow color, which was discovered in the southern part of Africa and the word “heliodor” (the gift of the sun) is used to denote it.
Writing about the beryl family of stones, Pliny the Elder says that the gems belonging to this family do not overburden the eyesight. Even when one's eyes are overtired by looking at other objects, concentrating on this stone helps them to relax.
It was believed in the east that the stones of the beryl family blinded snakes.
The beryl was used in medieval medicine: beryl powder was utilized in the preparation of an ointment, which was then applied to the eye to treat eye diseases, leprosy and old injuries. Travelers used to wear yellow or greenish beryls.
From the mystical properties of this gem, its linkage with the process of thinking is singled out. It was considered an aid to scholars and philosophers.
According to St. Epiphanies of Cyprus, the beryl is a gem, which usually adorns the royal crowns and garments of grandees and the women who shared bread with Jesus. We read in the “Life of St. Nino” (IVc) that when St. Nino subverted the pagan Armazi idol by her prayers, it was this very stone that fell out of her eye. European legend has it that when Lucifer fell down, he dropped a smaragd-beryl gem, from which the angels made the Holy Grail. Therefore, the beryl- smaragd stone points to the pre-Christian understanding of truth.
According to the Bible, the beryl is the main stone of the zodiac sign Scorpio (October 23 - November 21) and, from Christ's twelve disciples, Paul is the apostle of the Scorpio.
The beryl is known to strengthen teeth if put into the mouth along with silver; it also regulates the nervous system and pulse and enhances the memory.