Green with Envy: A Spotlight on May’s Birthstone
You know how the old saying goes: “April showers bring May flowers.” The month of May is when the spring season comes into full bloom – quite literally. Therefore, many people associate this time with one of rebirth. Animals have their young, the lovely shade of green once again returns to the leaves, and, as we stated above, flowers blossom.
Not only is the earth around us in a state of rebirth in the spring, but many people report feeling happier and lighter after the last of winter’s ice melts away. This is the time of year where change is embraced. People head outdoors to soak up the sun. Creative types look to nature and its annual “rebirth” for inspiration. Not to mention, May is a hugely popular time for weddings.
So, it is no surprise to discover that May’s birthstone is an emerald. The beautiful green color emulates spring in every way. The stone symbolizes love and rebirth. The intense jewel tone and vivid shade of dark green captivate the eye. Upon gazing at an emerald, it’s not hard to see why the stone has been a longtime favorite. Emeralds are a luxurious addition to anyone’s collection.
For those special May babies, this gorgeous green stone is your birthstone. But, what exactly does a birthstone symbolize and why should you wear yours?
Below, in celebration of the month of May and the gorgeous green emerald, we brought you a brief history lesson on the tradition of how the emerald came to be one of the most popular stones in the world.
When talking about emeralds, we first have to go to Egypt, where the stone was mined as early as 330 B.C. Ancient Egyptians were big fans of the stone. In fact, ancient mummies were buried with emeralds carved on their necks to symbolize eternal youth. Cleopatra herself was known for wearing emeralds, and she prized these stones over any other precious jewel or stone in her possession.
The ancient Egyptians weren’t the only fans of the green jewel. The ancient Romans also loved emeralds, as the scholar Pliny was said to exclaim that emeralds were the only gem that delighted the eye without fatiguing it.
As you’ve just learned, ancient emeralds come from mines in Egypt and, likely, in the Middle East. So you can imagine the surprise that came when the Spaniards landed in South America to find emeralds bigger than they had ever seen before. These were favored by the Incas, and they even had an emerald goddess they would make sacrifices to. The Aztecs also favored the gem, and large emeralds were carved in the shapes of fish and flowers.
Emeralds are believed to grant those who wear the stone insight, good fortune, and youth. The ancient peoples rendered the gemstone to symbolize love and rebirth from the deep green hue, which is something that still stands today. It is also believed that the precious stone quickens intelligence and the heart for those who wear it. While ancient civilizations from Egypt, to Rome, to the Incas all treasured emeralds, it is still a favorite today.
Today, emeralds are precious and finding a high-quality stone is difficult, to say the least. As the rarest gemstone, emeralds are often found with “birthmarks” or inclusions on them. This occurs naturally and is quite common. Inclusions don’t always take away from an emerald’s value as they might in other stones.
Most of today’s emeralds on the market are mined in Columbia, Afghanistan, Brazil, and Zambia. When choosing an emerald, keep in mind that the most important factor to consider is color. As we have mentioned, inclusions are common, and it is extremely rare to find gems without them. Not to mention, those would be extremely pricey.
In terms of value or price, look at the color. The more vivid the green of an emerald, the more valuable the stone. However, that’s not to say that lighter emeralds don’t make beautiful pieces of jewelry. No matter the size or the shade of the emerald, they make stunning additions to your rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.