Emerald Is May's Birthstone
By Sam Serio
If you're still young enough to remember your birthday,
you probably also remember the special birthstone assigned to it. But at your age, we bet
you don't really know the SIGNIFICANCE of your birthstone and what power the ancients felt
would be bestowed about you by wearing it.
May's Birthstone: Emerald
Birthstone Properties: Symbolizes serenity and peace of mind.
Alternative Birthstone: Sapphire
Emerald is the birthstone for May and also the anniversary
gemstone for the 20th and 35th years of marriage. Some people believe wearing an emerald
brings wisdom, growth
patience. It is perhaps this last attribute that may explain
why a gift of emerald for an anniversary -- or any occasion -- is symbolic of love and
All Eyes on Emeralds
Emeralds were once prescribed for eye diseases because the
green color was believed to be soothing to the eyes. Early stone cutters kept emeralds at
their tables to gaze upon as a way to give their eyes a break. Even 21st Century color
specialists agree that green is soothing, restful, and relaxing for the eyes.
Today's versatile emeralds continue to be "easy on
the eyes," used in earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and other body adornment.
The Color of Spring
An emerald shines like green lightning, filling us with
the same wonder as the civilizations that came before us. Ancient Egyptians mined emeralds
in the eastern desert region 2,000 years before Cleopatras birth, yet today recent
finds in North Carolina may provide a new source for quality emeralds in the U.S.
Colombia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Russia are
where most emeralds are mined in the 21st Century.
May's birthstone seems perfectly suited to the rites of
Spring, matching the colors of the season with its own bottomless green. In fact, the
Egyptians engraved emeralds with symbols for Spring foliage to represent eternal youth,
and then buried the jewels with their dead. Elsewhere in the ancient world, the Romans
associated emeralds with fertility and the rebirth brought about each Spring. Nero, it's
said, watched the gladiators through emerald glasses
The Incas worshiped emeralds
as long as they could.
In the 1500's, they were invaded by Spanish Conquistadors who stole their gemstones and
pillaged their mines. As a result, many of the world's most magnificent emeralds were lost
at the bottom of the sea inside shipwrecked Spanish galleons.
It's Not Easy Being Green
The word "emerald" is a variation of the Greek
word "smaragdos," which means "green stone"
for a gemstone that is, in fact, the green variety of the mineral beryl. Emeralds range
from strong bluish-green to green hues, although some emeralds have a slightly yellowish
green. If the hue is too yellow
or too blue
it loses its "emerald"
status and is simply a different variety of beryl.
Colombian emeralds are generally agreed to be among the
most beautiful gemstones in the world, with a grass-green coloring highlighted by a touch