LEARN ABOUT MAY'S BIRTHSTONE: EMERALD
THE VERDANT HUE OF EMERALD GREEN IS PERFECT FOR REPRESENTING SPRING
In India, the name for emerald is translated from the Sanskrit,“marakatia” which means “the green of growing things” (Jewels for Me). That the root of its name is itself rooted in plants, is a quintessential expression of how this stone is found in nature. When emerald’s luminous, transparent crystal forms, the green gem appears to quite literally sprout from the cracks of larger, dirt colored rocks; as if the crystal formations are vines petrified in time. The May birthstone has been associated with the heart, and like a verdant landscape, has been thought to symbolize the acceptance of change as a constant. At once intense and tranquilizing, the lustrous hue of this stone is perfect representation of Spring.
HISTORY OF EMERALDS
The emerald has deep historical associations with Egypt, as Cleopatra was a lover of the stone, and these gems were likely mined as early as 300 BC (GIA). The Egyptians utilized this stone excessively (both in life and for rituals of afterlife) as it was a common piece to accompany mummies in tombs, representing both eternal youth and change (Crystal Vaults). The history of the emerald has been a historically violent one as well, as the jewel was used for religious ceremonies by the Incas and was eventually discovered by their Spanish invaders (Multicolour). Perhaps one of its most unique sartorial uses was emerald's function as a looking glass, which the Emperor Nero was said to hold to his eye as he watched gladiator fights - the deep green imbuing the viewer with a soothing sense of clarity (Multicolour). The belief that emerald was calming extended to topical uses as well, when the stone was crushed into a fine power and made into an eye cream in the time of Hippocrates (Four Mine). More medicinal theories included Emerald as a cure for both malaria and cholera. While the Viennese treasury boasts a purely decorative purpose, a vase 4 and ¾ inches high and weighing 2205ct, cut from a single emerald crystal (Gemstones of the World).
CHEMICAL AND MYSTICAL PROPERTIES
The distribution of color in emeralds are often irregular. That said, the clarity or transparency of a stone is indicative of its high quality. An emerald is a “brittle” stone making them delicate to pressure. They are formed by a “hydrothermal” process within magma, and mining is done from cracks of “host rock” where the emerald grows (Gemstones of the World). Emeralds are now found all over the world, where currently the largest deposits are in Colombia and Brazil. A green Beryl, it is part of the "precious" gemstones which include its partners: Ruby, Sapphire, and Diamonds (Crystal Vaults).
Emerald has been associated with Venus, the Goddess of Love. Perhaps this is why the stone came to carry associations as a physical heart strengthener or emotionally, “the stone of successful love,” which inspires sensitivity between oneself and the other (Crystal Vaults). In Chakric thought, it is likewise tied to the heart, and assists in opening the heart chakra and quieting the emotions towards tranquility. For meditative purposes, the emerald is said to assist in the physical flow of meditative breathing, and can further be thought of as an aid in the rise and fall of the heart, the necessary movements of a life force energy.