One of the world’s largest emeralds is the so-called ‘Mogul Emerald’. It dates from 1695, weighs 217.80 carats, and is some 10cm tall. One side of it is inscribed with prayer texts, and there are magnificent floral engravings on the other side. This legendary emerald was auctioned by Christie’s of London to an unidentified buyer for 2.2 million dollars on September 28th, 2001.
Emeralds have been held in high esteem since ancient times. For that reason, some of the most famous emeralds are to be seen in museums and private collections. The New York Museum of Natural History, for example, exhibits a cup made of pure emerald, which belonged to the Emperor Jehangir, next to the ‘Patricia’, one of the largest Colombian emerald crystals, which weighs 632 carats.
The collection of the Bank of Bogotá includes five valuable emerald crystals with weights of between 220 and 1796 carats. Splendid emeralds form part of the Iranian National Jewelry Treasury, adorning, amongst other things, the majestic diadem of the former Empress Farah. The Turkish sultans also loved emeralds. In Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace there are exhibits of items of jewelry, writing implements and daggers, each lavishly adorned with emeralds and other gems. The Viennese treasury contains a vase, 4.5 inches (12 cm) high, with a weight of 2205 carats, which was cut from a single emerald crystal.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has so much jewelry that she has a special room to keep it in, said to be about the size of an ice rink, and situated 40 feet beneath Buckingham Palace. This does not even include the British Crown Jewels, which are kept in the Tower of London. The Queen’s personal jewelry is conservatively valued at $57 million and most of it was received as gifts. The fabulous gems in her collection include the “Cambridge and Delhi Dunbar Parure”, a fantastic suite of emerald jewelry which includes an emerald diadem.
Elizabeth Taylor also had a well-known jewelry collection. As an engagement present, Richard Burton gave her an emerald and diamond brooch, which she wore with an emerald necklace he gave her as a wedding present. Earrings, a bracelet, and a ring followed.