Every month of the year has their own May birthstone. For people born in May, it’s an emerald. With a history that can traced back to Ancient Egypt, emeralds are an interesting stone everyone should know more about. So, whether you were born in May or just want to learn more about this stunning gem, here is your ultimate guide to May birthstone: the emerald!
Chances are, you have probably seen or heard of an emerald before. These stones have been used for jewelry countless times, are commonly mentioned in literature, and are even used in home decor. Yet, despite how widespread this stone may be, there are still a few facts you may not know.
Emeralds get their signature green color from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium.
Along with rubies, diamonds, and sapphires, emeralds are viewed as one of the most recognized gemstones.
Emeralds were first mined in Egypt around 1500 BC. In fact, Cleopatra’s love for emeralds became so prevalent that a prominent mine in Egypt was named after her.
The origin of the name emeralds can be traced all the way back to the Greek word ‘smaragdus’, which can be translated to “green gem”.
In 1935, the first synthetic emerald was created by the American chemist, Carroll Chatham.
Similar to other stones, emeralds can be found in different varieties. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most popular types of emeralds.
Colombian Emerald – Known for its high quality, this emerald is mined in Colombia and has an intense green hue.
Zambian Emerald – Unlike the Colombian emerald, this emerald has more of a blue hue and is overall more transparent. Moreover, this type of emerald is usually cheaper than other emeralds.
Synthetic Emerald – To create synthetic emeralds, most labs use a technique involving dissolving crystal nutrients and other chemicals at high temperatures, then having them crystallize in a cooling chamber. These emeralds look very realistic and can usually be identified by their cheap price.
Natural Emerald – Also known as the natural beryl, these stones are emeralds that have not gone through any changes and their appearance is completely unrefined.
For the most part, emeralds are very resilient and strong stones. Depending on the type of emerald you get, most of these stones can handle small drops and pretty scratch resistant. However, emeralds are brittle thanks to their inclusions.
Having said that, emeralds are still very resistant to daylight and intense UV rays. Their intense green color will not be affected at all.
When it comes to cleaning your emerald, it is best to avoid using harsh products like bleach, detergent, alcohol, and acetone. Instead, you should use soapy warm water and a soft cloth.
Furthermore, once a year, you should visit your local jeweler and have your emerald cleaned professionally. This will ensure that your stone has a longer lifespan and continues to look brand-new!