Emerald – The Enchanting Birthstone for May
Since antiquity, emeralds have been prized for their enigmatic beauty and mystical charm.
This deeply alluring precious gem has a striking color that is unmatched in its beauty, with shades of vibrant green mimicking Mother Nature’s rolling hills and grassy meadows; to the saturated tones of evergreen forests. The emerald is a fitting tribute to spring’s flowery month of May, making it the official birthstone of those who have the good fortune of celebrating their birthday this month. A perfect fit, as the color green is typically associated with renewal, wealth, prosperity, health and detoxification.
Emerald History: Enchantment Through the Ages
Part of the beryl family, emeralds are closely related to aquamarine and morganite. Their sought-after lush green color is a result of trace amounts of chromium and/or vanadium that are present during their formation which occurs deep below the earth’s surface. The oldest known emeralds date as far back as 2.97 billion years ago.
Its name comes from the French word “esmeralde” which is derived from the Greek word “smaragdos”, translating to “green stone”.
These gorgeous green gems are well known to have been the favorite precious stone of Cleopatra and were worn as jewelry in ancient Greece and Rome. The earliest known emerald mine is located in the valley of Wadi Sikait in Egypt, where mining is believed to have started during the first century BC.
Emeralds were first discovered in South America during the 16th century by invading Spanish conquistadors as they explored the New World. However, the Incas had prized emeralds for their mystical beauty for hundreds of years before. During the same time period, emeralds were cherished as the prized possessions of the Mogul emperors of India. They held the belief that emeralds were powerful talismans that offered the wearer protection of the gods and dispelled evil spirits.
Emerald Meaning and Lore
Emeralds hold a variety of different meanings that originate from different beliefs and cultures. In classical mythology, the stone is attributed to Venus, the goddess of love hence its many associations with romance. It is also sometimes referred to as the “stone of successful love” and is said to promote loyalty, passion and domestic bliss, as well as instilling sensitivity while helping to quiet confronting emotions. Some legends profess that emeralds will bestow the wearer with an ability to foresee the future and bring the truth into clear view. Emeralds are also believed by some to enhance memory and intelligence, while others consider the stone to have the power to cure disease.
Emerald’s Eternal Charm
The popularity of emerald jewelry has consistently surpassed other green gemstones such as peridot with its fever-green sparkle and the lush blue-green tones of tourmaline. Beloved by royalty, emperors and conquerors, the emerald continues to be admired to this day.
Its famous admirers include Elizabeth Taylor, who was gifted the legendary Bulgari Emerald Suite by beau Richard Burton while filming Cleopatra (another notable lover of emeralds) in Rome. Symbolizing eternal love and loyalty, emeralds have long been favored as the signature stone in engagement rings. Paragon of elegance and class, Jackie Kennedy wore an emerald engagement ring presented to her by John F. Kennedy. In 1936, King Edward VIII of England proposed to his divorced American love, Wallis Simpson with a 19ct emerald ring engraved with the message “We are ours now”. As a result of the scandal he abdicated the throne. And so it was that this gorgeous green gem was at the very heart of the 20th century’s most iconic love story.
With the resurgent popularity of colored gemstones, emerald jewelry (especially engagement rings) have become a hot ticket item. Immediately striking and captivating in their beauty, emerald jewelry makes a wonderful and heartfelt gift for a loved one who celebrates their birthday during the month of May. In the US, emerald jewelry is traditionally given to celebrate a 20th, 35th or 55th wedding anniversary, a fitting tribute to symbolize lasting love and commitment.
Looking for a signature piece of exquisitely crafted emerald jewelry to celebrate life’s precious moments? We invite you to browse through our beautiful collection of one-of-kind, handcrafted jewelry.