May’s Birthstone: Emerald

When we think of emeralds, we typically think of vibrant or blueish green and, for many, the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz immediately comes to mind.

Emeralds have been prized throughout history, from Ancient Egypt to modern times, often associated with royalty and wealth. They are one of two well-known varieties of the mineral beryl (the other is aquamarine).

Necklace with a large emerald in it.

Emerald Color

Emeralds are the green variety of beryl. Gem experts often disagree on what differentiates an emerald from what is known as green beryl.

Essentially, variants whose green is too light are called “green beryl” — a less-expensive alternative to emeralds — while the darker, more vibrant-green stones are emeralds.

Emerald Significance

Emeralds have historically been associated with wealth and power. They are one of the 5 Cardinal Gems, which are traditionally considered more precious than others.

In modern times, emeralds are thought to have healing properties, and to represent hope for the future, and good fortune.

Emerald History

Emeralds are included among the 5 Cardinal Gems in part because they were historically revered by royalty. Ancient Egyptians discovered the first emeralds, and Cleopatra was known to adore them.

Romans associated the stones with the goddess Venus, and in medieval times, emeralds were believed to protect the wearer from evil.

Emerald Facts

Emeralds are considered one of the 5 Cardinal Gems.

A 2.5-pound, 5,655-carat emerald was discovered in Zambia in 2018.

An even bigger emerald, a 6,225-carat gem, was unearthed in Zambia in 2010.

Emeralds mined in Colombia, Africa, Brazil, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

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