May Birthstone: Emerald

June 15, 2021

May Birthstone: Emerald

Spring is the season of rebirth as the world turns green again after months of slumber. The renewed energy of the season is captured beautifully by May’s birthstone, the emerald. This green stone was historically sought after for its rich color and its perceived ability to increase the intelligence and sharpen the wits of its wearer. Smart and beautiful, you say?

The name emerald literally means ‘green gem’ and it comes in all shades of color. No matter the hue, emeralds need to be treated with care. With a hardness rating of 7.5-8, they can be scratched and are susceptible to damage from prolonged exposure to heat, extreme changes in air pressure, and chemical exposure. The stones are even more prone to damage when they are treated to improve clarity and/or color, which is common. For these reasons, it is best to wear emerald jewelry for special occasions and clean with care - warm, soapy water and a soft brush will do the trick.

For hundreds of years Colombia has been the primary source for fine emeralds; the Muzo mine is known for producing coveted richly colored, pure green gemstones. Smaller mining operations in Brazil, Africa, Pakistan, and Afghanistan also contribute to the supply chain. Each region supplies a different shade of stone, ranging from light yellow-green to rich blue-green.

The ancient Roman author, Pliny the Elder, claimed emeralds had healing powers and when gem cutters gazed at them their eyes would become reenergized as their weariness was washed away by its soft, comforting green color. Turns out, he wasn’t wrong. Science has proven the color green can relieve eye strain and stress. So maybe it really can improve one’s wits as well?

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