Emerald: May’s Brilliant Green Birthstone

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May is the last full month of spring, a season that brings us warmer weather and blooming flowers. It’s only appropriate that the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is the gemstone for people who celebrate a birthday during a time of year that is associated with new life. Emerald is derived from the Greek word meaning green, and this birthstone is also said to bring good fortune and youth to its owner.

What Makes an Emerald DSCN1554

The emerald is the most valuable and well-known variety of Beryl, a mineral occurring in a wide range of colors that also includes the aquamarine gemstone. It can be found in granite deposits and metamorphic rocks, which are rocks created by physical or chemical changes resulting from extreme heat and pressure.

The oldest emeralds, which are nearly 3 billion years old, are from South Africa. The gemstone has been cherished since ancient times, with Cleopatra among its early admirers. The famous Egyptian pharaoh used the beautiful crystal in her royal adornments.

Today, Colombia boasts the finest emeralds. Most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Top-quality emeralds are a bluish-green color, and are even more valuable than diamonds.

Unfortunately, due to the high value of emeralds, there are many known imitations of this gemstone. This makes it especially important to only purchase emeralds from reliable dealers, since experts can recognize a fake and also determine if an emerald is treated to mask internal flaws. DSCN1552

Famous Emeralds

The Mogul Emerald is one of the world’s largest emeralds, weighing in at over 217 carats. This rectangular-cut emerald dates back to 1695 and is inscribed with Islamic prayers on one side and engraved with a floral design on the other. It sold for $2.2 million during an auction in 2001.

The Hooker Emerald is over 75 carats, and it originated in Colombia. This emerald was once owned by Abdul Hamid II, the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire. It was purchased by Tiffany & Co. in 1911 and set in its current brooch setting in 1950. In 1977, the Hooker Emerald was donated to the Smithsonian, and is now on display in the Gem Gallery of the National Museum of Natural History.

Individuals who celebrate a birthday in May are not only fortunate to have a beautiful birthstone with radiant green color that is perfect for spring, but also one with a rich and fascinating history. DSCN1546

Jeff Johnson & Co. is a full-service jeweler located in Upper Arlington, Ohio. We specialize in custom engagement rings, keepsakes for significant moments, and giving new life to family heirlooms. Our gemologists are trained by the Gemological Institute of America, and they work closely with each customer to ensure that we meet your vision and beyond. Stop by our showroom at 5025 Arlington Centre Blvd. (off Henderson Road), call 614-459-8890, orjjandcompany.com. You can also follow us on Facebook at Jeff Johnson & Co.