Most people are familiar with their astrological sign, but fewer know their "birthstone." Your birthstone is the gemstone that corresponds to the month you were born in.
The birthstone for May is the Emerald. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about emeralds, from their history to their symbolism.
Emerald is the most famous green gemstone in the world and also one of the most prized gemstones in the world. They are a beautiful shade of green, and their color is said to be associated with good luck, prosperity, and love.
The History of Emeralds
Part of the Beryl family of gemstones, which also includes Aquamarine and Morganite, Emerald has been mined for around 4,000 years. The first emeralds were found in Egypt, and they were believed to be a symbol of fertility and rebirth.
According to legend, the special allure of this gemstone entranced Cleopatra, who thereafter decorated herself in the best Emeralds. The Greek miners who worked in Alexander the Great's mines are said to have given the Egyptian Queen their emeralds. Cleopatra's mines, which were previously believed to be nothing more than legend, were rediscovered on the Red Sea coast in 1817, giving her legend a great deal more legitimacy.
The Incas and Aztecs also valued emeralds, and they believed that they could bring good luck and fortune. The Incan Empire in South America (1438 - 1533 AD) had been using emerald in jewellery for 500 years before trading with the 16th century explorers in order to obtain precious metals.
Today, emeralds are still mined in many parts of the world, including Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia. The most famous emerald mine is located in Muzo, Colombia, which produces some of the finest emeralds in the world.
The Emerald's name is derived from the Greek word "smaragdos," which was originally used to refer to several jewels having a common green hue. This intense color has long been associated with lush green landscapes. For example, Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle and Seattle as the Emerald City.
The Symbolism of Emeralds
Emeralds are often associated with good luck, prosperity, and love. They are also said to be a symbol of truth, courage, and healing. Emeralds are a popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry, and they are said to bring good fortune to the wearer. Emeralds are traditionally given for the anniversary gemstone for the 20th, 35th and 55th year of marriage, which is the Emerald wedding anniversary is the 55th Wedding Anniversary; a huge achievement!
Emeralds' green hue is caused by impurities in the crystal structure of the gem, which are typically a combination of chromium, vanadium, and occasionally iron. Emerald is one of the few gemstones where the variety of inclusions and flaws are not only accepted but frequently enhance the beauty of the stone.
Emeralds are very hard, measuring 7.5-8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Howevr because of their brittle crystal structure and common inclusions, cutting the gem is a challenge; they need to be cut by a specialist lapidurist.
Created emeralds are an alternative to the mined gemstones. Created stones are made in a laboratory, and are chemically, physically and optically identical to those mined underground — However they have a higher clarity and colour grade, are ethical, conflict free and are much less expensive.
Our Top Picks of Emerald Jewellery
The Bottom Line
Emeralds have earned their place in luxury jewellery and will stay there for many years to come. Created emeralds are an alternative to achieve the same look for less.
Interested in the Birthstones for other months? Take a look at our guide here: Your Guide to Birthstones (sennenjewellery.com)