Emerald is one of the most popular gemstones in the world today. It is a beautiful green gem and it is considered to be the May birthstone. The name “emerald” comes from the Greek word “smaragdos” which means “green gem” and it is often used as a symbol of wealth, abundance, love and passion, success and wisdom. Emeralds have been associated with many different cultures over the years across the globe. In this article, we delve a bit deeper into the emerald birthstone including the history of the birthstone and its characteristics, the symbolism and modern uses of emeralds and how to choose a quality emerald.

History Of The Emerald As The May Birthstone


The history of the emerald birthstone spans centuries of different meanings and uses. This includes people in the middle ages who believed that they were symbols of fertility, in Hinduism where it was believed that emeralds were associated with the heart chakra and in Roman mythology where the jewel was linked to the goddess Venus, the goddess of love. Other cultures also believed that the jewel could aid physical ailments and restore exhausted travellers on their journeys across different countries.

Emeralds are one of the oldest known stones and have been used for thousands of years. They have been mined in Egypt, India, Brazil and Colombia. The earliest emerald mines date back to 330 BC, in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians began mining emeralds in their region of Aswan at this time. They were considered very valuable at the time, and they were used in jewellery and religious ceremonies. There are also many famous emeralds used throughout history: The Chalk Emerald made up of 37.82-carat emerald, the Seringapatam Jewels which was given to British Major-General George Harris after he won at the battle of Seringapatam and the Mogul Mughal Emerald which was sold to a figure in the Mughal Empire in India.

Characteristics Of Emeralds


The chemical composition and physical properties of emeralds vary slightly depending on the exact shade of green, but they generally have a bluish-green to pure green colour with vivid colour saturation.

Emeralds are formed from beryllium aluminium silicate hydroxide, which is commonly known as beryl. They are created when a pegmatite forms when magma cools, leaving some elements behind in the remaining fluid. A pegmatite is a deposit of minerals such as quartz and feldspar that form in veins within other rocks.

There are three types of emeralds, natural, synthetic and treated. Natural emeralds are mined from mines around the world, but historically most have come from Colombia. Synthetic emeralds can be created by artificially heating beryl ore to create crystals known as "flux." Treated emeralds are treated with oil or wax to change their appearance so they look like natural emeralds but cost less money to produce.

Symbolism Of Emeralds


Emeralds are the birthstone of May and are associated with the astrological signs of Taurus and Gemini. Emeralds are often associated with love and fertility, as well as rebirth and renewal. The ancient Egyptians believed that emeralds could keep away evil spirits, and many people today still believe that wearing an emerald can protect you from harm.

Modern Uses Of Emeralds


In the modern world, emeralds are used in a variety of ways. The most common is for jewellery and fashion. Emeralds have been prized throughout history for their colour and lustre, and they are still the birthstone for people born in May.

Emeralds are also used industrially in the production of high-strength, lightweight metal with high corrosion resistance. This makes them ideal for use in the manufacture of electrical equipment, nuclear reactors, electronic components and aerospace components.

How To Choose A Quality Emerald?

You must know what to look for when you are shopping for an emerald and how to test it if you want to buy a quality stone. The first thing that you should look at when evaluating an emerald is its colour and clarity. Emeralds come in many different shades of green, ranging from light green to dark green. Generally speaking, the lighter the shade, the higher the price will be. Also, an emerald with good clarity will have less haziness or cloudiness within it and will reflect light easily so that it appears bright and sparkling.

Emerald Birthstone Care & Cleaning

Emeralds are a one-of-a-kind gemstone, with a rich green colour that needs carefully looking after. There is no doubt that you will want to wear this beautiful stone often if you own a piece of emerald jewellery, but it is important to know how to care for it properly.

Emeralds should be cleaned with warm soapy water and a gentle cloth. You should avoid harsh products and detergents, as they can dull your emeralds over time. Never soak emeralds in solvents such as alcohol or acetone, as this may damage the integrity of the gem itself.

As you can see, there is so much to know about emeralds, and they can be found in many different places around the world. They can be used in all kinds of manufacturing while also acting as a statement jewellery piece. With so much cultural significance behind them and their uses throughout history, it's no surprise that they are such a sought-after stone today.

Want to learn more about birthstone meanings? Check out our birthstone guides by month: