The Twelve Foundation Stones of the Holy City: Emerald

The power of crystals and gemstones has been seeping into many facets of our lives. Social media platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok, are awash with videos about gemstone jewelry, crystal healing, crystal grids, crystal skulls, crystal infused skincare—you name it. The crystal craze has extended into the category of home décor and was named a 2024 interior design trend. It makes sense that people want to bring calming, harmonizing elements from nature into their living spaces during these uncertain times.

Some are taking it a step further, placing crystals into the foundation of their new homes for a permanent infusion of high crystal vibes into their residence. Perhaps you have seen the TikTok videos of amethyst and selenite being placed into the wet concrete foundation on a new build site. You can find videos and articles suggesting specific crystals to place in your home’s foundation for purposes such as protection, abundance, love, and positive energy.

Although this might seem like a novel idea, as Ecclesiastes 1:9 states, “What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Interestingly, the idea of placing stones in the foundation of a building goes back to biblical times and can be found in the Book of Revelation.

The Book of Revelation is an enigmatic read, filled with visionary accounts of the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. The final two chapters, 21 and 22, are said to metaphorically describe the heavenly realm, and it is where we find mention of a future holy city. This city made of gold was described as having twelve stones in the foundation.

What are the Twelve Foundation Stones?

Revelation 21:19–20 reads, "The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst."

There’s debate among experts today about the accuracy of this list of foundation stones.

This is because the ancient names of gemstones don’t correspond with our modern mineral classifications. Instead of categorizing gemstones based on their crystalline forms and composition, like we do today, in ancient times stones were named based on their color, place of origin, or how they were used.

The International Gem Society published this list of the twelve foundation stones as the one they believe is the most accurate and correct version: garnet, amethyst, jasper, diamond, emerald, agate, turquoise, carnelian, chrysolite (peridot), beryl, topaz, and ruby.

Each article in this series will cover the geological properties, historical uses, and metaphysical qualities of one foundation stone. This month, it’s all about the fourth foundation stone, Emerald.

Emerald: Enchanting emerald is one of the four precious gemstones, prized throughout the ages for its exceptional beauty and rarity. Emeralds are twenty times rarer than diamonds, and the most valuable exhibit a dark, saturated green color and high transparency. Most emeralds do have inclusions, which can add character to the stone.

Emerald belongs to the beryl family, which also includes aquamarine and morganite. It has a hardness of 7.5 to 8 and a hexagonal crystal structure. Emerald crystals typically form striations running down the length of the stone that can amplify and channel energy. Columbia is the biggest hub where high quality emeralds are found. Brazil, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are also noteworthy sources of emerald.

There’s something about emerald’s rich green color that captivates the senses and feels so healing and enlivening—like a forest bath in a gemstone. Emerald gets its green coloration from traces of chromium, iron, and vanadium. Emerald is the traditional May birthstone and the 55th anniversary stone.

Historical Uses

Emerald has captured the hearts and imaginations of almost every culture on Earth, inspiring much fascinating lore going back at least 6,000 years, when it was sold in Babylonian markets. Some of the oldest emerald mines were in upper Egypt and were almost mined to exhaustion due to Cleopatra’s love of this gemstone. The ancient Egyptians associated emerald with eternal life and Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing. They buried their dead with emerald amulets, which they engraved with scarabs and passages from the Book of the Dead to ensure a fruitful afterlife.

The ancient Egyptians also believed that emerald was a stone for lovers, which promoted fidelity and fertility. It was thought that if a woman strayed from the relationship, the emerald would shatter and reveal her wrongdoing. Emeralds were also used in ancient Egyptian times to improve vision. It is believed that Hermes Trismegetus, the Egyptian king and magician, carved this magical phrase onto an emerald tablet: “As above, so below.” This tablet also included alchemical information, contributing to emerald’s reputation as being associated with magic and manifestation.

Emerald was also treasured in the Americas before the Europeans came. According to Incan legend, emeralds represent the crystallized tears of the moon goddess. The Incans and Aztecs used emerald in their spiritual ceremonies, as currency, and as centerpieces in exquisite jewelry creations. Emeralds have been found in pre-Columbian burial mounds. The Aztecs in Mexico named emerald quetzalitzli after the dazzling green feathers of the quetzal bird, which symbolized royalty.

The Muisca from Columbia viewed Emerald as a fertility stone, and they are responsible for the El Dorado legend. When a new king was appointed, he would cover his body in gold dust and dive into Lake Guatavita. Numerous quantities of emeralds, gold, and other precious stones were cast into the lake as offerings to their underwater god. This piqued the interest of European explorers, and it is believed that the Muisca told them a story of a hidden city made of gold, emeralds, and jewels. Most likely, this was done to persuade the explorers to leave their area and go in search of it.

The inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent valued emerald, and they were written about in the Vedas, the most ancient Indian scriptures. The Vedas describe emerald as a stone of good luck, well-being, and protection. The god Vishnu, the preserver and protector of the universe, wore a necklace that contained emeralds. The emerald symbolized the earth and the passions of humanity. The Vedic texts share an interesting origin story for emerald. A demon god named Vala was killed and dismembered, with body parts being flung to the earth, where they became gemstones. Vala’s bile fell in mountainous areas of the earth that are lush and green, forming emeralds.

In Christianity, emeralds represent the resurrection and rebirth of Christ. Some legends suggest that the Holy Grail was carved from a large emerald and used at the last supper by Christ. Emerald was assigned to St. John to represent his youth, gentleness, and graceful doctrine. Emerald was named as the fourth stone in the Breastplate of the High Priest, and it was one of the four precious gemstones that God gave to King Solomon to bestow power and dominion over all creation.

In the West, Aristotle was one of the first to describe the properties of emeralds. According to Aristotle, emerald contributes to business and legal success by enhancing speech, acumen, and presence. He also wrote that emerald could treat epilepsy and soothe eyesight.

Here are some other historic beliefs about the power of emerald: It was used by travelers to protect them from danger. It was also seen as a stone that protected against spells, witchcraft, demons, and negative spirits. Worn around the neck, emerald would increase abundance. Emerald was used to heal many health concerns, such as dysentery, digestive upset, skin diseases, and pregnancy complications. It was seen as an antidote for poison and venom.

Emerald was known to enhance precognition, especially if held under the tongue. Dreaming of an emerald was an omen of good things to come. It was believed that if you suspended an emerald ring over a bowl of water with the alphabet displayed along the rim, it would serve as a Ouija board and spell out the answer to your questions.

Metaphysical Properties

Emerald’s reputation as a mystical healing stone has stood the test of time. It carries the green healing powers of nature, benefiting the physical body, the emotions, and the spirit.

Emerald is one of the most powerful stones for physical healing due to its harmonious crystalline structure, color, and chemical formation. Work with emerald when you want to support your general health or the healing of a specific condition, disease, illness, or injury. It is known to be especially helpful for treating the eyes, heart, lungs, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, and muscles.

Emerald infuses higher frequencies into the cells and promotes rejuvenation and revitalization of the organs. It helps the body dispel disharmony and toxins. Emerald harmonizes the mind, emotions, and body. It also addresses and clears the energetic and emotional root causes of disease or imbalance. Wearing high quality emerald consistently and daily has been shown to slow down, and sometimes even reverse, terminal illness in several documented cases.

Emerald is also medicine for the heart chakra and the emotions. Work with it to heal your emotional body and let go of trauma, heartache, or negative emotional responses and patterns. Emerald helps you let go of heaviness in your heart—especially trapped emotional pain from past experiences. It helps you to see a higher perspective and open your heart to forgiveness, compassion, and healing.

Emerald has been called the “Stone of Successful Love” because it can help in the realm of relationships. If you are single and looking, emerald can attract a romantic relationship with a compatible soulmate. It deepens the sense of love and connection in all your existing relationships with others.

Emerald is a growth stone that promotes expansion in the areas of finance, self-improvement, spiritual power, intuition, health, and love. It is a traditional abundance stone that moves your vibration into a space that is compatible with wealth and prosperity. Emerald removes blockages related to self-worth and scarcity so that you are receptive to the blessings of the universe.

Emerald also benefits the third eye and mental body. It expands psychic vision, precognition, divination, and intuition. Working with emerald can help you tap into your deeper wisdom and what’s hidden in the subconscious. It is an exceptional meditation stone that can alter your state of consciousness so that you align with the peace, love, and radiance of higher-dimensional realms. Emerald also sharpens the mind, assisting with memory and focus.

Emerald casts a healing green glow into the very foundation of the heavenly city. It shines the frequencies of love, healing, and abundance, which are certainly the cornerstones of the celestial realms. Treasured throughout time, emerald is still popular and beloved today for use in fine jewelry and in metaphysical practices. Stay tuned for the next article in this series, which will dive into the history and properties of the fifth foundation stone, onyx.