Birthstone of the Month: May

emerald2May’s birthstone is the lush, opulent emerald – one of the most recognizable gemstones.

Emerald comes from the old Latin name “Esmeralda” meaning “green gem.” Its mesmerizing, tranquil color was once believed to give foresight into the future and heal illnesses. By association of its color, it has come to represent the regenerative powers of nature, fertility, and abundance. Ancient civilizations – from the Egyptians to the Inca and Aztecs – sought after it as a prized symbol of wealth and power. Image: Gemological Institute of America

Emeralds, like their blue cousins aquamarines, are actually a kind of beryl, and get their vivid green color from the mineral chromium. They don’t have the sturdy crystal structure of the hardest gems like diamonds or sapphires, so they often have many small fissures that can grow over time. Most emerald jewelry is treated with specials oils or resins that protect the gem’s surface and enhance its luster. Protect your emeralds by storing them in a soft compartment and using gentle cleaning methods.

With emeralds, the more vibrant the color, and the clearer the stone, the more desirable it is. A fine emerald may cost more than a diamond of equal weight.

EmeraldFine emeralds are found all over the world, including the US. The highest concentration of gem-quality stones come from Colombia, where the largest emerald ever found was discovered. The famous Bahia emerald, mined in Brazil, has been nicknamed the “$400 Million Emerald”.

Jewelry Information Center: Emerald Birthstones