The month of May has one of my favorite stones for its birthstone – the emerald. It is also the stone for the 20th and the 35th wedding anniversaries. Why is it one of my favorite stones? Approximately 99% of all emeralds have inclusions, or flaws. And yet, they are one of the most precious and valuable gemstones in the world. It makes me think of all of us. None of us are perfect and yet we are all valuable too, aren’t we?
Emeralds are a variety of beryl and its name comes from the Greek word for green. It is a hard, durable stone with a hardness rating of 7.5-8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. In comparison, diamond is a hardness rating of 10. Today, they can be found worldwide including Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. In Colombia, the Muzo Indians had well-hidden and prized emerald mines. They were so well hidden; it took Spanish Conquistadors 20 years to find them!
Emeralds have a long history and there is an abundance of folklore surrounding them. The first known emerald mines were in Egypt and were mined from at least 330 BC. Cleopatra was known to have had a passion for emeralds and even claimed ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign.
Legends also say an emerald was one of the four precious stones given by God to King Solomon.
It has been believed that placing an emerald under the tongue gives one the ability to foresee the future, to reveal truth, and provides protection against evil spells. It was once also believed that emeralds could cure diseases like cholera and malaria.
Emeralds are also associated with lush green landscapes. Ireland is called the Emerald Isle and Seattle Washington is called the Emerald City. Thailand’s most sacred religious icon is called the Emerald Buddha due to its lush green color even though it is carved from jadeite.
There have been many famous emeralds over the years. Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant sold for a record of $280,000 per carat for a total of $6,578,500. The McKay Emerald is 167.79 carats and is the largest emerald in the Smithsonian National Gem Collection. The Bahia Emerald weighs 752
pounds and an amazing 180,000 carats. It originated in Bahia, Brazil. This amazing stone, one of the largest in the world, is in a complex ownership dispute. Approximately 8 different parties have claimed ownership.
Who has a May birthday and can claim this amazing stone as their birthstone? Singer Tim McGraw, Actor George Clooney, President John F. Kennedy and even Germany’s Red Baron, Baron Von Richtofen.
We often have emeralds for trade in the Naturally Wild Swap. Don’t know about the Naturally Wild Swap Shop? Click here for more information.