May Birthstone Emerald
The emerald is a type of beryl that is a beautiful, rich and radiant green, due to its high chromium content. This gem, the birthstone of the month of May, takes its name from the Greek root "smaragdos" which means "green gemstone." Natural emeralds contain small deposits of iron which don't detract from, but rather enhances, the value of the gem.
These beauties were revered by the Aztecs and Incas of Central and South America, where some of the best specimens of emeralds have been and can still be found. In fact, Colombia and Brazil are considered the finest locations to uncover these beautiful beryls. They can also be unearthed in India, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Russia.
In ancient Egypt, emeralds were buried with mummies. The oldest known emeralds come from the infamous "Cleopatra Mines" and were a much duller green than the emeralds we've come to know and love. The gem stone was also popular in ancient Rome and India. In the Vedas, scriptures of the Hindu religion, healing properties are attributed to emeralds. They were also considered to promote well-being and bring good luck. Today, emeralds are used to increase the clairvoyance (second-sight) of the wearer as well as to enhance love and add to one's sense of contentment. They're a harmonious stone.
Emeralds range from 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. Although they are a tough gem, they are prone to cracks. Such a fissure in the gem can impact its value and durability. As a result, most emeralds undergo some form of treatment prior to their purchase. Oils and epoxy resins are often used to fill-in surface cracks and improve the gem's transparency.
In addition to being the May birthstone, emeralds are given as traditional gifts for the 20th and 35th anniversary. They're also considered a wonderful alternative on the 55th wedding anniversary.
Birthstones: January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December
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