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Emerald - May's Regal Birthstone

Posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 1:29 pm by Rob

The most famous member of the beryl family, the Emerald, is a symbol of rebirth. Its color reflects new spring growth, making it the perfect choice for May’s birthstone. It’s also the gemstone for twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries. The word “emerald” is derived from the Greek word "smaragdus", which means green.  In his treatise on Natural History, written in the first century A,D., Rome’s Pliny the Elder wrote that “nothing greens greener” than the emerald. He went on to describe the use of emerald by early stone cutters, who ” have no better method of restoring their eyes than by looking at the emerald, its soft, green color comforting and removing their weariness and lassitude”. To this day, it is known that the color green can relieve stress and reduce eyestrain.

There is a great deal of lore and legend surrounding the precious green stone. It was once believed that placing an emerald under the tongue gave a person the ability to foresee the future, and protected against evil spells. Wearing an emerald was believed to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath as well as make one an eloquent speaker. Emerald was believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. And legend also states that emerald was one of the four precious stones given by God to King Solomon. These four stones were said to have endowed the king with power over all creation.

The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from as early as 330 B.C. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments. Today, most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia.  

The most desirable color for emeralds ranges from a bluish green to pure green, with vivid color saturation. The most-prized emeralds are highly transparent, but emeralds typically contain inclusions that are visible to the unaided eye.  The availability of high-quality emerald is very limited; consequently, a fine emerald displaying intense color and a high degree of clarity is an extremely rare and valuable gem.