No known inscription of Cleopatra's reign connects her with the emerald
mining area, but texts of the early Roman period in which her preference
for the green stone is expressed are manifold. Besides other kinds
of precious stones and metals, her palaces were decorated with emeralds.
Departing favorite ambassadors were given a giant emerald with her
portrait engraved on it. Also according to these stories, Cleopatra
often covered herself with emerald jewelry during official occasions.
She preferred this gemstone in fact, above all others, and made the
mines her personal possession, stating that emerald was only fitting
for Egyptian royalty. Although evidence is thus far limited, emerald
mining in this area during the rule of the Ptolemaic kings and queens
is likely. The large rock cut temple in Sikait is typical for the
pre-Roman period. And the description by Strabo of Egyptians digging
deep mine shafts to collect emeralds, shortly after the dead of Cleopatra,
can only be related to this area.