Emeralds are one of the world’s most sought-after green gemstones, and those born in May are lucky to have it as their designated stone. The May birthstone comes in an array of hues, from yellow-green to blue-green to deep, velvety green.
WHY ARE EMERALDS GREEN?
The emerald’s deep, attractive green is derived from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium, while smaller amounts of iron lead to hints of yellow and blue.
Only the gemstones that are relatively dark in tone are considered emeralds, and those with a green-blue hue are considered most rare. However, both bluish green to pure green emeralds are highly desirable worldwide — as the May birthstone and as a stunning gem in their own right. The most sought-after emeralds are strongly to vividly saturated and have excellent transparency and a medium-dark tone.
Emeralds are classified as “included.” Inclusions are expected in the emerald, nearly always occurring in this mined stone. Even AAA+ emeralds, the highest grade possible, can have inclusions over 10 to 20% of their surface and body.
These imperfections are when material such as crystals, other minerals, gas bubbles, or liquids becomes trapped inside the gemstone. Fractures from radioactive material can also lead to inclusions. Professionals in the industry may refer to these as “jardins,” French for gardens.
Emeralds that have less inclusions are naturally more valuable and more rare. Heavily included emeralds can look less beautiful as their ability to reflect light is lessened and their color is hidden by the inclusions.
ARE EMERALDS CONSIDERED SOFT GEMSTONES?
The emerald gemstone doesn’t always chip easily, but it is more prone to scratches and damage than diamonds or similarly hard stones. This birthstone of May also measures 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale.
THE MAY BIRTHSTONE AND THE EMERALD CUT
Are you wondering if the emerald has any connection to the “emerald cut?” It does! This cut originated in the 1500s precisely because of the sometimes fragile nature of emerald cutting.
Since emeralds naturally form long crystals, they are prone to breaking and chipping if fashioned into a narrow point. Gemstone cutters and engravers created this cut to soften the corners and maximize the strongest parts of the gem.
EMERALD’S ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY
For over 2,500 years, the emerald has been heralded as one of the most prized stones.
These gemstones were first mined in Egypt around 500 B.C., but the name comes from the Greek word “smaragdus,” meaning green stone.
By the 1500s, large-scale mining had begun in Colombia. Colombia remains the most abundant source of emeralds, with mines in Muzo, Chivor, and Coscuez. Emeralds are also mined in Brazil, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Madagascar.
Today, the emerald birthstone is the crowned jewel chosen to celebrate the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
SYMBOLISM AND MEANING OF EMERALDS
Traditionally, people thought wearing emeralds would let someone become a soothsayer or prophet. Emeralds were also said to be stones of truth able to detect falsehoods. People even wore emeralds as talismans to protect against demons and increase their chances for wealth and prosperity.
Emeralds are also thought to have peaceful, harmonious effects on married couples and promote unity within the family.
WHY WEAR EMERALD JEWELRY?
Many people prefer the flaws, fractures, and inclusions in emeralds as they view them as a sign of authenticity. Others enjoy emeralds for the rumored spiritual and metaphysical benefits and the mythological connotations.
At Brinker’s Jewelers, we think emeralds are a thing of beauty and deserve to be worn as such. Browse through our online inventory of May birthstone jewelry or stop by the store. Our expert staff can help you find a unique gift for your loved one or create the perfect emerald piece for your collection.