Enchanting Emeralds: The Ultimate Guide to May's Birthstone

In this month's gemstone blog, we'll focus on May's birthstone. Prized for its lush green hue, emeralds are synonymous with spring, making it a perfect birthstone for May babies. Let’s take a closer look at this captivating gemstone.

Emerald History and Lore

The first known emerald mines were located in Egypt. It's been long-believed that Cleopatra favored emeralds above all other gemstones. Emeralds were associated with revealing truth and protecting the wearer from evil spirits.

It was once believed that emeralds had the ability to cure malaria and cholera. During medieval times, emeralds were used as a treatment for eye disease. To this day, emeralds are regarded as a talisman for healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, etc.

Emeralds were a popular choice for Queen Victoria of England. The Queen's husband, Albert, had a passion for designing jewelry for his wife. Since Queen Victoria was born in May, many of the pieces created for her featured emeralds. Among them was a magnificent emerald and tiara, designed in 1845 by the queen's jeweler.

The Hooker Emerald (pictured below) showcases a 75.47 carat Colombian emerald surrounded by diamonds. The emerald once belonged to Abdul Hamid II, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. This brooch is now on display at the Natural Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

The Hooker Emerald Brooch features a 75.47ct Colombian Emerald and approximately 13 carats of diamonds.

Emerald Characteristics: Emerald is a member of the beryl family, alongside gemstones such as aquamarine and morganite. Emeralds come in varying shades of green. Lighter-colored stones are classified as green beryl, while stones with a richer, saturated color are called emeralds. There are diverse opinions among gemologists as to the exact shade that differentiates beryl from emerald. The first recorded emerald mines were in Egypt. Today, high-producing emerald mines are found in Colombia, Brazil, and Pakistan. Emerald has a hardness of 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for a ring stone. Since emeralds are considered a rare gem, they are often more expensive than diamonds.

Emerald Information

Family Beryl
Hardness 7.5 - 8
Color Green
Treatment Oil Treatment
Top Countries of Origin Brazil, Colombia, Pakistan
Queen Victoria's emerald tiara

Emerald Care: A common treatment used for emeralds is fracture filling. Waxes and oils are used to fill surface-level fractures in emeralds in order to improve the stone’s clarity. Avoid exposing your emerald jewelry to heat and changes in air pressure, as these extremes can cause the filler substances to sweat out of the fractures. As with many gemstones, it is best to use a soft brush and apply warm, soapy water when cleaning emeralds.

Ready to find the perfect emerald piece? Shop our emerald jewelry here.