May falls during the spring season, so it’s no wonder that the emerald is used to symbolize and celebrate birthdays occurring in the month. Emeralds are prized for their intense and brilliant green color. A symbol of rebirth, it is believed to bestow powers of eternal youth, good fortune and foresight on the wearer. The word ‘emerald’ is derived from the Greek term ‘smaragdus’, which means ‘green’.
Emeralds are a type of beryl; a mineral which develops six sides can grow up to one foot. The color of this gemstone can vary from light green to a rich and deep hue. The color’s intensity depends greatly on how the gem was cut by the gemologist. The depth and intensity of green in an emerald will determine its value. Some of the rarest emeralds have an intense blue-green coloration.
Emeralds are mined all over the globe but large deposits are found in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Afghanistan and Zambia. Since high quality emeralds are a rare find, many are treated in the lab to improve their clarity.
Emeralds were first mined in 330 BC in Egypt. Cleopatra is famous for adorning herself head-to-toe in emeralds. In fact, she claimed ownership over all the emerald mines during her reign. The Egyptians placed great value on emeralds. Not only did they use them in jewelry and ornaments but also during burial rituals. Many monarchs were often buried with emeralds.
In South America, the Muzzo Indians possessed knowledge of emerald mines which they carefully hid from other tribes for centuries. They kept them so well-hidden that it took Spanish conquistadors more than twenty years to unearth them.
Perhaps the most famous emerald of all is Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant. It sold for $6.5 million dollars in 2011.
It is believed that emeralds possess mystical powers. Wearing emeralds may cure stomach ailments, stop bleeding and control epileptic seizures. It’s intense green color wards of panic attacks and helps keep the wearer serene and calm.