You may know it as May's birthstone or as the enchanting gemstone given for the 20th or 35th wedding anniversaries. But did you also know that emerald has a long history of being used for spiritual and celebratory practices over the centuries?
The Incas used emeralds as offerings to their gods, the first known emerald mines were in Egypt (330 BC), and emerald was a favorite stone of Cleopatra. The name "emerald" comes from the Greek 'smaragdus,' which means green gem.
Here are a few fun facts:
- Emeralds get their color from chromium, vanadium, and iron.
- Emerald is a variety of beryl — a species that includes morganite, aquamarine, and heliodor.
- Columbia produces some of the world's finest emeralds and mines 50% of worldwide production.
- The largest cut emerald in the world weighs 25 lbs! That translates to over 57,500 cts.
With the renewed interest in crystals and their healing powers, emeralds have been believed to enhance intuition, guard against memory loss, and are considered a symbol of rebirth. Emeralds have also been used to represent growth, peace, balance, and good fortune.
Don't have the deep pockets for emeralds? Did you know there are other gemstones that can be substituted as a birthstone for May? Chrysoprase, green moss agate, prehnite, and malachite are just a few. Check out these other alternate green gemstones!