Emerald is both May’s birthstone and Cleopatra’s favorite gem. May’s birthstone is the extraordinary Emerald. Emerald is a precious gemstone as well as a valuable one and is considered the stone of Success and Love.
The History of Emeralds
Emeralds were discovered approximately 4000 years ago and have since been prized by connoisseurs and sought by the rich and powerful. Cleopatra herself had an extraordinary collection of emeralds mined at the Red Sea which she wore lavishly.
When the Spanish arrived in the Americas, they were surprised to find that the Aztecs and Incas also possessed these gems, and that they used them as cult objects.
Early Christians associated Emeralds with the resurrection which has carried on into our lifetime since now Emeralds are thought to be a symbol of rebirth. The ancient Romans thought Emeralds symbolized fertility. And during the Middle Ages, Emeralds were used to foretells the future.
Where are Emeralds Found?
Columbia is considered the most important exporter of emeralds because it is here where the biggest and the purest gems have been found. In fact, the worlds largest such crystal of 7052 carats was found in the mines of Cruces in Achaia, Columbia. Besides Columbia, other exceptional emeralds come from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Brazil.
When looking for an emerald, the most important factor to consider is color. Genuine Emerald is a green variety of Beryl and a similar variety of corundum. The more vivid the green, the more valuable the stone.
The Emerald is translucent to transparent with the finer grades leaning toward transparent. The color can range from an almost milky medium green to a richer and more transparent deep green. The very transparent Emeralds are considered by some as more valuable than diamonds.
Experts advise not to be put off by a few fissures, or inclusions, in your stone. It is rare to find a crystal without these natural birthmarks, and they do not detract from the stone’s beauty or value as they might with another type of stone. However, these fissures do affect the way you take care of an emerald.
Emerald Care and Cleaning
Emeralds will remain beautiful and durable for years if they’re taken care of properly. Do what the experts advise: Avoid abrupt temperature changes and contact with rough or sharp surfaces, including those of other gemstones.
Store your emeralds in a fabric-lined jewelry box or wrap them in a soft cloth or tissue. To ensure a long and safe life to your stone, go to the jeweler to check the setting at least once a year and also clean the stone.
While there is no official alternate choice for May’s birthstone, those seeking a different stone could choose one with an equally vivid shade of green. These include tsavorite garnet, green tourmaline or the less-known, but equally beautiful chrome diopside.
Whether the emerald actually has the power to heal maladies or improve vision as some ancient peoples believed, few can resist its universal beauty. Regarded as one of the rarest and most precious gemstones in the world, a verdant green emerald set into a ring or pendant can bring years of pleasure to the lucky owner.