Emerald, May’s Birthstone Secrets Revealed, The emerald
May’s birthstone is the emerald. Since the early ages, people have believed that birthstones lend special powers to their wearers, especially if a person wears a stone that is associated with his or her birth month. Some also believe that being born in a specific month gives you specific virtues, which are embodied by your birth stone. In the case of the emerald, the virtues happen to be purity, both of the mind and the body.
Since this particular gem represents clarity of thought, individuals who wear the emerald are thought of as pensive, insightful people.
It is believed that wearing the emerald not only clears the mind and the body, but also cleanses the spirit. Some even believe that emerald jewelry protects its wearer from evil spirits!
The color green itself – the color of most emeralds, and therefore the color associated with the jewel – speaks of harmony, a communion with nature, and an affinity for the act of creation and preservation. Green is the color of new things sprung from the earth, whereby it is associated with freshness, and also the feeling of being refreshed.
Like many other gems, May’s birthstone doesn’t come in just one color. There are other shades and colors of it, of course, but among the rarest ones is the color red. The “red emerald,” also known as the bixbite or red beryl, is one of the hardest stones to find on earth, and also one of the most difficult to cut! A perfectly cut red emerald is very small, hardly large enough to fit into metal bases in order to make jewelry. Thus, jewelry made of red emerald comes at an extremely high price. In fact, jewelry made of the green emerald alone can be very expensive!
Perhaps the least-known secret about the emerald is that it is the most valuable stone in the world, in terms of carat weight. Everyone thinks it’s the diamond, right? Well, the diamond may be the hardest and most highly prized gem out in stores… it’s certainly the most hyped-up one. But when it comes to gemstone appraisal, the emerald holds more weight, as it were. Inclusions, which are found in nearly all emeralds, depreciate its value, but in its purest form, nothing approaches the emerald’s worth.
The emerald is a form of the mineral beryl, the purest form of which is colorless, but which is more commonly found in colors like blue, white, yellow, green and red. Since the emerald is commonly green, it is also known as the “green beryl.”
Emeralds can be manufactured synthetically, through a process called flux growth. You can tell an artificial emerald from a natural one by looking very closely: an artificial emerald emits a reddish sheen, which means it was manufactured with the help of long wave UV light. Synthetic emeralds are often full of easily-detected inclusions, which means they are significantly less in value than natural emeralds.
Another mystery of the May’s birthstone is its real significance in the Bible. It was said by Rebbenu Bachnya, a 13th-century rabbi and scholar of Judaism, that the emerald was the stone on the Ephod representing the tribe of Judah. However, other scholars claim this was actually the garnet, and that the emerald truly represented the tribe of Levi.
May’s birthstone is popular among both the old and young nowadays despite the mysteries and enigmatic roles it has played in cultural history. Or perhaps it is the emerald’s enigmatic significance in various cultures — plus its beauty — that makes it so attractive.