Emerald - May birthstone
If you were born in May, your birthstone is the emerald. This gemstone has small amounts of vanadium and chromium, which is what gives the stone its vibrant green colors. Most emeralds are bright green, although some have slight bluish or yellowish tones as well. When strongly heated, emeralds lose some of their color. Emeralds are actually a type of beryl.
If you wish to buy an emerald for your birthday or for the birthday of a loved one, you will need to select the cut of the gem. The popular rectangular cut, called the emerald cut, is the most popular type of cut for emeralds. However, emeralds can also be cut into ovals, squares, rounds, and cabochons. Emeralds look wonderful in silver and gold settings. The look fabulous set as necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches, and earrings. When selecting your emeralds, make sure that you are buying true emeralds. Because emeralds have long had a high value, many people tried to manufacture them synthetically. In the 1930s in Germany, a process was developed to manufacture false emeralds. Some synthetic emeralds today are manufactured by placing aquamarine crystals in the water solution. If it matters to you, make sure that you ask your jeweler whether the stone you are buying is a type of beryl or a crystal grown from aquamarine seeds. There's no way to tell with the naked eye, as the grown emeralds look very similar to the real thing.
Once you've purchased your emeralds, make sure that you avoid cleaning your emeralds with ultrasonic cleaners. Most emeralds are treated with oil before being sold, and if you clean your stone with an ultrasonic cleaner you can remove this oil. For the same reason, you should not clean your emerald in hot, soapy water. Ideally, clean your emerald only with a soft, dry cloth. Also, keep your emerald away from sudden temperature changes. When strongly heated, emeralds can lose some of their brilliance and color.
Emeralds date back as far as 2000 B.C., when they were gathered in upper Egypt for use in jewelry. Cleopatra is said to have collected many beautiful emeralds, mostly mined in Greece and the Red Sea coast. 16th century explorers discovered many beautiful emeralds in South America. Many of these stones belonged to the Incas and Aztecs. Many of the nobility in India elected emeralds, and some even wore them as talismans, describing them with special sacred text. These stones are now known as Mogul emeralds.
Emeralds are said to symbolize purity, rebirth, youth, faith, and kindness. Some ascribe a number of healing properties to the emeralds. Some believe that emeralds can heal eyes or can prevent convulsions in children. In the past, emeralds were also seen as an antidote to poisons. Some people believe that emeralds are effective in combating mental illness, neurological disorders, and spinal problems. Some believe that emeralds can remove evil spirits and preserve chastity, while others believe that the stone can bring wisdom. In ancient times, emeralds were credited with providing visions of the future, and even today an emerald is considered a symbol of good fortune. Many people think that emeralds can help discover false friends and can bring success in love.