the birthstone for May, represents wisdom, growth and patience, as you can see from its deep green color.Today, it is the gemstone for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversary. The name of this alluring gemstone comes from the Latin term ‘stargates’, which means ‘ green stone’. Its rich color can be found in royal crowns, rings, and much more. Rarer and more valuable than other stones, the emerald is known for the joy it brings.
Emerald Birthstone History
Natural Emerald gemstones were mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, but some estimate that the oldest emeralds are 2.97 billion years old. Cleopatra is perhaps the most famous historical figure who appreciated emeralds. She even claimed ownership of all the emerald mines in Egypt during her reign.
Where is the May birthstone found? Where beryllium, chromium and vanadium mix, you are likely to find an emerald mine. The most famous emeralds come from South America.
Colombia is now the largest supplier of emeralds, responsible for more than 60 percent of the world’s production. Colombian emeralds are among the most beautiful emerald specimens in the world. Emeralds from Colombia have a low iron content, which gives them a green color with a slight blue tint. Colombian emeralds usually have few impurities or inclusions, a quality rarely found in emeralds.
Emerald mines can be found in:
- South Africa
- The United States
Emerald birthstone care and cleaning:
Emerald stone has a hardness of 7.5 to 8.0 on the Mohs hardness scale. For comparison, a diamond has a hardness of 10, while chalk has a hardness of 3. The emerald stone is durable and scratch resistant. However, because emeralds have inclusions, they are susceptible to damage from prolonged and daily wear.
Wearing an emerald daily causes it to lose some of its luster and the edges of the facets can deteriorate. The May birthstone is often treated to improve its color or clarity. Common treatment methods include:
- dyeing: Paler emeralds with numerous fractures can be dyed green to improve their color.
- filling fractures: oils, waxes and resins are commonly used to fill superficial fractures in emeralds. The aim is to reduce the visibility of the fractures and improve the apparent clarity.
Care and Cleaning Consider:
- The safest way to clean emeralds is to gently scrub them with a soft brush and warm soapy water.
- Emeralds can be placed in water, but be careful not to let them soak longer than necessary.
- Dry your emerald jewelry with a soft microfiber cloth.
- Do not use steam, chemical, or high heat cleaning techniques when cleaning your emerald jewelry as this can cause fractures in the gemstone.
- Avoid heat, air pressure fluctuations (such as in an airplane cabin), and harsh chemicals.
- Never place an emerald in an ultrasonic cleaner, as the vibrations and heat can cause the filler to sweat out of the fractures.
- Filled emeralds can also be damaged if exposed to hot water used for dishwashing.
Want to learn more about birthstone meanings? Check out our guide to
birthstones by month:
- January – Garnet and Rose Quartz
- February – Amethyst
- March – Aquamarine
- April – Diamond
- June – Moonstone, Alexandrite, Pearl
- July – Ruby
- August – Peridot, Spinel and Sardonyx
- September – Sapphire
- October – Opal
- November – Citrine
- December – Blue Topaz and Turquoise
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