Symbolism and Meanings
Good health, love, faithfulness and happiness.
May’s birthstone, the emerald, has long been a favorite for its vibrancy of color, and would often be used in jewelry for royalty. Emeralds belong to the mineral family beryl, which is the same as the aquamarine. These stones can have a range in hue from light green to the deep green.
Gregorian Birthstone Poem
There is a Gregorian calendar birthstone poem for each month in the year. The May verse is shown below:
Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet flowery month of May
And wears an emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and happy wife.
—Gregorian Birthstone Poems
Emeralds have a rich history with such famous individuals as Queen Cleopatra having been known to wear them. The Crown of the Andes is set with 450 emeralds, and was worn by the last Inca king. More than just jewelry, archeologists have also found emeralds to have been used as tools in the ancient Egyptian mines dating back to 1300 B.C.
Romans dedicated emeralds to the goddess Venus, and used them to symbolically represent the fertile nature of the earth and women. In the middle ages, soothsayers used the power of the stone to foretell the future, and Christians believed it a symbol of the resurrection. Emeralds have been said to be a cure for epilepsy, to stop bleeding, and were used by doctors in ancient times to rid patients of dysentery. The stone was given as a pendant to ladies with a delicate nature in order to prevent them from having panic attacks.
Today the emerald is the birthstone for the month of May and is often given for anniversaries as a symbol of love and fertility.
The rarest form of emerald is sometimes found in one of the mines of Colombia, it is called the trapiche. The trapiche is a stone with an inclusions in the form of a star, it has pointed spokes that give it its six point radial formation. Most of the rarest emeralds in the world come from mining in this area and are known for their fine color, transparency and fire.
The dictionary.com definition of Emerald is a “a rare variety of beryl that is colored green by chromium and valued as a gem.“
Origin of the word Emerald
The word Emerald comes from Middle English ‘emeraude’ c1300. ‘Emeraude’ likely comes from old french ‘esmeraude’ c1200 and Medieval Latin ‘esmaraldus‘. This originates from the Latin ‘smaragdus’ from Greek ‘smaragdos’, meaning green gemstone .
Emerald is variety of beryl which has a green color due to traces of chromium in it. It has the formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6 and a hexagonal crystal system. It has a hardness of 7.5-8 on Mohs scale. It is transparent to opaque with a vitreous luster. It’s specific gravity is 2.76 and has a refractive index of approximately 1.56 -1.62.
Natural or Synthetic
There are three methods for making synthetic emeralds: hydrothermal, flux growth, and a process that produces an overgrowth of emerald on clear beryl. While some stones may be entirely lab engineered, the emerald is made using the original structure of clear beryl transfigured into an emerald and is a created stone, not synthetic by definition.