Birthstone of the Month: May is for Emeralds

emerald bracelet april birthstone

Emerald is a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace and security, making it not only a beautiful gem to wear, but also a meaningful gift to be treasured by the receiver.

Emerald, the birthstone of May, carries the rich green color of spring, and radiates a beautiful vivid tone.

They are considered to be a symbol of rebirth and love. From the poetic description of Ireland as “the Emerald Isle” to the vibrant green of the famed gemstone itself—the May birthstone emerald has captured hearts and minds through the ages.

Prized for its brilliant and beautiful green color, the emerald is often favored by the rich and famous to wear as statement pieces for big events. Coming from Greek ‘smaragdos’, simply meaning green stone, its rich color has been seen from royal crowns to rings and more.

Today, emerald is a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace and security, making it not only a beautiful gem to wear, but also a meaningful gift to be treasured by the receiver.

Like other gemstones, the emerald was always believed to have many mystical powers that accompanied its beauty. Maybe due to its soothing green color, it was thought to be able to ward off panic and keep the wearer relaxed and serene.
May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring, and the emerald is the perfect gem to symbolize and celebrate this month.

One of the best months when it comes to weather, the final month before summer comes, it also offers one of the most iconic of all gem and birthstones. If you are looking for any more information on the emerald, keep reading to get better acquainted with this marvelous gemstone.

Emerald journey

The emerald, among the most famous member of the beryl family, is formed when chromium, vanadium, and iron are present when the mineral is formed. The varying amounts of these 3 elements is what give the emerald a range of colors.

The iron gives the stone the blueish tint, and the other two give the deep green color it is known for.

There are other green gems, like tourmaline and peridot, but emerald is the one that’s always associated with the lushest landscapes and the richest greens. Ireland is the Emerald Isle. Seattle, in the US state of Washington, is the Emerald City. Thailand’s most sacred religious icon is called the Emerald Buddha, even though it’s carved from green jadeite.

The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments.

Emeralds from what is now Colombia were part of the plunder when 16-century Spanish explorers invaded the New World. The Incas had already been using emeralds in their jewelry and religious ceremonies for 500 years. The last Inca king of Peru, Atahualpa, wore the crown of Andes that is believed to consist of 450 emeralds weighing about 10 ounces or 1523 carats.

The Spanish, who treasured gold and silver far more than gems, traded emeralds for precious metals. Their trades opened the eyes of European and Asian royalty to emerald’s majesty.

At present, Colombia and Brazil are two top emeralds producing countries. The Colombian emeralds are considered to be the best amongst the best. Some other countries that also produce emeralds are Australia, India, Madagascar, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, South African, United States, and Zambia.

The rarest of the greens

As is with most birthstones, the darker and richer the green color, the more valuable the stone becomes. Good quality emeralds are deep green in color, while emeralds with a slighter quality are light green in color and have a yellowish tinge.

However, some of the most precious of these emeralds have the iconic dark green, but with a slight blueish tint. The most valuable and beautiful emeralds exhibit an intense bluish hue in addition to their basic bold green color.

Actually, emerald has the same composition as aquamarine, heliodor and morganite, which all have a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on Moh’s scale, rendering them just a little bit fragile. Emeralds rank behind sapphires (at 9) and diamonds (at 10, the highest number), making emeralds a bit more fragile than these other gemstones.

However, unlike its other family members, which tend to be beautifully transparent, emeralds are rarely so and are more commonly found to be heavily included with cracks and flaws.

Emeralds are almost always found with birthmarks, known as inclusions. Some inclusions are expected and do not detract from the value of the stone as much as with other gemstones.

It is common practice to oil fill gemstones to disguise inclusions, but also to enhance the color to achieve the most desirable vivid green, which occurs due to the presence of chromium and vanadium. With more of a tolerance to inclusions on emeralds, the jewelry industry finds this gem is exceptionally rare.

Emerald powers

Like many gemstones, emeralds have a multitude of meanings stemming from different cultures and beliefs. In Roman mythology, emerald is the stone of the goddess Venus, resulting in the association of emeralds with romance, passion, and bliss.

Early Romans believed emeralds represented fertility and love and they gave them as gifts to young wives and mothers.

In turn, the Egyptians believed emeralds contained the secret to eternal youth. That’s why so many have been found inside Pharaohs’ tombs.

According to modern astrology, emeralds are aligned with the star sign of Taurus and symbolize wisdom, patience, love and fidelity. Today, emeralds represent insight, growth, and tolerance.

It is believed that the emerald has many healing powers. It is supposed to alleviate emotional heaviness and balance energy. It is also known to help with inspirations, faith, calmness, and wealth. The emerald is also known to bring in brilliance, love, liveliness, and empathy.

Choose it carefully

Most gemologists agree that it all comes down to color when purchasing an emerald. Color should be evenly distributed and not too dark. Rare emeralds will appear as a deep green-blue, while lighter colored gems are more common (and therefore, often more reasonably priced).

Like other beryls, emeralds often have inclusions that are visible without a microscope. Most gemologists readily accept this about these gemstones and don’t detract too much from the overall value of the stone when inclusions are present.

Finding an emerald that is unadulterated and in its natural state with no noticeable inclusions is very rare and very costly. Again, it’s all about the hue and saturation of the gem!

The cut is also very important on an emerald because it helps to maximize that desirable green color. Many emeralds are cut into an emerald shape, which helps to make a bright stone with sparkle while minimizing inclusions or fissures.

Clear emeralds are difficult to find in large sizes. So the bigger they get, the more dramatically they rise in price.

The emerald lends itself beautifully to all jewelry – from bracelets to full eternity bands. From large emerald brooches, pendants, and earrings, this gemstone will surely enhance the beauty of the lucky one who wears it.

To make sure that the emerald you have chosen is genuine, you can always see a professional jeweler or gemologist who can give you the information that you need to accurately read the authenticity of your stone.