Emerald's rich, pure green color connects it to new growth in nature - the beginning of springtime. So naturally it's the best choice for May's birthstone. Part of the beryl family of minerals and gemstones, there are many colors of beryls and the only reason one is called emerald is the special shade of green.
History & Lore
Emerald comes from the Greek word for green, "smaragdus." These gems were admired by ancient Egyptians (mostly famously Cleopatra herself), ancient Romans, and even the Incas on the South American continent.
Apart from other green gems like tourmaline and peridot, the rich blue/green hue of emeralds are associated with luscious landscapes. For instance, Ireland is the Emerald Isle; Seattle, Washington is known as the Emerald City; and Thailand's most sacred religious icon is the Emerald Buddha, even though it's carved from green jadeite.
Historic legends credit emeralds with bestowing the gift of foresight to people, as well as the ability to sense truth. This helps protect one from evil spirits too, but can also make you a an eloquent speaker. And, if you held one under your tongue you could cure cholera or malaria.
Emerald Stories from EBJ
In the spring on 2017 I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia for a two week exchange with jewelry designer Mazal Blanco. We traveled from Barranquilla to Bogota and on a rainy afternoon, walking out of the Museo de Oro (The Gold Museum) I discovered the magical world of Colombian emeralds. There were kiosks everywhere selling the shining green stones, polished and rough, tiny and huge the market glowed with a bright green hue. For the next few days I went back again and again speaking with the miners and finding more treasures.
We still have a collection of these stones, most of them are rough and small, but just as brilliant as your finest emerald cut. Natural, raw and uncut emeralds show off that great faceted bar shape they grow in.
To begin your own custom emerald project, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to fill out a custom project form.
For more information about emeralds and other gemstones, we love the Gemological Institute of America's website and gemstone encyclopedia.