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May Birthstone – The Elusive Emerald

The emerald has been revered as one of the most popular and valued gemstones throughout history. With its deep green color, caused by traces of chromium, many people associate it with a lush green garden in full bloom. One defining characteristic of the emerald is their many natural inclusions. The French call these inclusions “jardin” or garden because of their resemblance to foliage. The Egyptians used to engrave the stones with the symbol for foliage to represent eternal youth as well as bury them with their dead. The ancient Romans associated this precious gem with fertility and rebirth, and dedicated it to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.


emerald crystal


Emeralds are very difficult to cut because they are quite brittle and have inclusions that cause the stone to easily crack or chip. Emeralds grow very slowly within metamorphic rocks and are usually restricted in size by the rock, making large emeralds very costly  and rare. The most prized emerald specimens come from a mine in Colombia but they also are found in Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Nigeria and Russia.


An emerald is believed to promote mental growth, perceptiveness and be effective against headaches. It symbolizes hope, development and maturity. It is supposed to bring luck and success as well as power. They were once considered an antidote to poison in India. The emerald is the traditional gift for the 55th wedding anniversary but is also used as a 20th and 35th wedding anniversary stone.