Emerald, the Gem of Rebirth, is May's Birthstone

Posted on Thursday, May 4th, 2017 at 1:47 pm by Jeremy

According to the American Gem Society, "As the birthstone for May, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Emerald, derived from the word “smaragdus,” means, quite literally, “green” in Greek."

Emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral that grows with six sides and up to a foot in length. It's color can range from light green to a deep, rich green. Fun Fact: Chromium is what gives emeralds their signature green color. If the beryl is touched by iron deposits instead, the result is an aquamarine. Most emeralds end up being heat treated to deepen or enhance the color. The deeper or more green an emerald, the more valuable it is. The rarest emeralds will appear to be an intense green-blue (American Gem Society).

Emerald History & Facts

  • The emerald was mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, but some estimate that the oldest emeralds are 2.97 billion years old.
  • Cleopatra might be the most famous historical figure to cherish emeralds. She even claimed ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign.
  • The Egyptians used emeralds both in jewelry, and in their elaborate burials, often burying emeralds with monarchs as symbols of protection.
  • During the Roman Empire, it was thought that staring at emeralds could soothe tired eyes. Legend has it that the Roman Emperor Nero used to watch the gladiator fights through an emerald, as he found the green color calming.
  • The purported healing powers of emeralds include lifting depression, reducing stress, promoting mental clarity, and warding off evil spirits. 
  • Green was also the color for the Roman goddess of love and beauty, Venus. In astrology, the planet Venus is the ruling force over the sun sign of Taurus (April 21- May 21), so it may come as no surprise that the emerald was designated as the birthstone for May.
  • The mines of Colombia remain the premier sources for emeralds in the world.
  • The largest volume of emerald production in modern times comes from Brazil.
  • Another place from which emeralds are frequently mined is Zambia.
  • Smaller deposits of the precious beryl are also found in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and even parts of the United States (on a very limited scale).

The emeralds affiliation with "rebirth" is still prevelant to this day, as the birthstone for May, the month in which warm weather and the blossoming new life of spring arrives. If you're looking for a sensational emerald necklace, emerald earrings, or emerald ring, there is no better way to celebrate your birthday and the start of spring than with emeralds from RIJ.

Check out our online emerald jewelry collection here.