The emerald, a gemstone that is consistently green, is the May birthstone.
The emerald is a member of the beryl family of minerals, which also includes aquamarine (March’s birthstone), heliodor, and morganite. Beryl, also known as beryllium aluminum silicate in chemistry, is a six-sided symmetrical crystal. Beryl is made up of the elements beryllium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen.
The hue of emeralds ranges from pale to dark green. The presence of chromium and/or vanadium replacing part of the aluminum in the mineral’s structure is assumed to be responsible for the color of an emerald. When heated to a high temperature, the stone might lose its color.
Emeralds are most often found inside shale, a fine-grained sedimentary rock. Changes in the physical environment, such as pressure and temperature, have triggered the recrystallization of emerald-bearing shale. Colombia is known for producing the biggest and best grade emeralds. They were also found and later mined, in Russia’s Ural Mountains about 1830. Emeralds may be found in North Carolina, the United States. They may also be found in Zambia, Brazil, Pakistan, Norway, Austria, India, Madagascar, and Australia.
German scientists succeeded in synthesizing emeralds soon before World War II. However, the cultivation of high-quality synthetic stones started in the United States in 1946. There are also beautiful fake emeralds made of colored cut glass on the market.
The Emerald’s History
The name “emerald” is derived indirectly from the Greek word “smaragdos,” which refers to a variety of green stones. Emeralds have a long history dating back to antiquity. They were worn by Babylonian and Egyptian rulers. Tools going back to 1300 B.C., during the time of Ramesses II, have been discovered in Egyptian emerald mines. The emeralds used by Queen Cleopatra were said to have come from mines in southern Egypt, near the Red Sea.
When the Spanish conquistadors landed in South America, they encountered indigenous monarchs wearing emeralds. During the invasion, they took significant amounts of emeralds from the Peruvians, although the source of the emeralds was never located. The Spaniards then discovered Chivor in Colombia in 1537, which is currently the site of a major emerald mine. Following the defeat of the Muzo Indians, they also took over the Muzo mine. Mining activities in Muzo have been nearly continuous since the Spanish conquest. It is possibly Colombia’s most renowned emerald mine, producing some of the world’s greatest emeralds.
Several well-known historical objects were crafted from emeralds. Among them is the Crown of the Andes, which is supposed to be composed of emeralds and was worn by Atahualpa, Peru’s final Inca (king). The crown is set with around 450 emeralds weighing a total of 10 ounces (1523 carats).
There are several myths around the emerald. The stone was previously thought to prevent epilepsy, halt bleeding, treat diarrhea and fever, and keep the wearer calm. Its lovely green tint was supposed to relax and soothe the eyes. Emeralds were devoted to the goddess Venus by the ancient Romans because the green emerald represented nature’s reproductive energies. Early Christians interpreted it as a sign of Christ’s resurrection. Emeralds were thought to have the ability to predict the future throughout the Middle Ages.