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history of gemstones -3

Hard stones like diamonds and rubies were also collected as pretty objects that could be worn. Once the techniques discovered to cut and polished these gemstones, men shaped gemstones into beads and strung them into necklaces and bangles. Gemstones were then set into metal and wear around the neck as necklaces, talismans, or amulets. The earliest use of such charms dates to the Mesolithic period when carves amulets were worn to protects hunters against wild beasts. In fact the word 'amulet' is derived from the Arabic 'hamalet' but according to Varro it was adopted from amoliri because it drove away sickness or harm. The Greek word 'telesma' became the Arabic 'tisam' and from this word talisman evolved. As protective talismans sailors often carried aquamarines carved with the image of Poseidon, the god of the sea as protection against storms.

Archeological excavations have shown that lustrous minerals were used for adornment as far back as 100,000 BC. The ancient civilizations of Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and India excelled in the art of cutting and polishing of gemstones. Around 100,000BC to 75,000BC rock crystals, amethyst and citrine, part of the quarts group of mineral were worn as jewellery. AS the demand for gems increased, regular digging such as the ancient lapis lazuli mines of Afghanistan began to operate and have been producing stones continuously for the last 7000 years. Excavations have revealed that around 4000 BC, emeralds were mines from near the red sea and set into jewelry and that ruby jewellery came to be worn around 600 to 500 BC, while the use of diamonds began later around 480 BC. Soft colored gemstones like lapis and agate were engraved into cylinder seals, beads and rings and often fashioned into talismans.

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