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Roger Weller, geology instructor                     

Michael Schweska
Physical Geology
Spring 2005


                                        May Birthstone-Emerald

Emerald is the official birthstone for May as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Cancer. Emerald is suggested as a gem to give on the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. Emerald is 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. You may have heard that Emeralds from Colombia are the very best (and often they are), but equally fine Emeralds have been mined from such locations as Zambia, Nigeria, Brazil, Russia or other localities. Emerald

Archaeologists have traced the origins of the use of Emerald to almost 3000 B.C. in both ancient Egypt and India. One 78-carat Emerald talisman carries the inscription: "He who possesses this charm shall enjoy the special protection of God." Click here for a picture in natural form. Click here for more faceted and natural specimens.


The wonderful green color of Emerald is unparalleled in the gem kingdom. Emerald's precious green color is caused by small amounts of chromium and enhanced by traces of iron. Some definitions go further, demanding that beryls only be called Emeralds if they are green and colored primarily by chromium. If they are not green enough, they are referred to as Green Beryls. Unlike other Beryls, Emeralds often contain inclusions and other flaws. These flaws are not looked on as negative aspects for emerald like they would be for other gemstones. Indeed, these flaws are considered part of the character of the stone and are used to assure the purchaser of a natural stone. Emerald gets its name from the Greek word Greek "smaragdos" meaning "green gem" from a Semitic word meaning "to shine".


The formula for Emerald is a variety of Beryl, Be3Al2Si6O18, Berylium Aluminum Silicate. Emerald is the green variety of the mineral Beryl. Other gemstone color varieties that belong to Beryl include Aquamarine, Morganite, and Heliodor. Other colors of Beryl are simply refered to by their color, such as Red Beryl. Legends, Myths and Healing Properties:

Emerald Emeralds have been cherished for as long as there has been a written history. Cleopatra prized her Emeralds more than any other gem. The Romans also loved Emeralds because, as the ancient scholar Pliny said, "nothing greens greener." The Moguls of India loved Emeralds so much they inscribed them with sacred text and wore them as talismans. The Emerald enhances love, brings eloquence, gaiety, and popularity. Emeralds are also believed to brings strength, especially in old age and enhance courage in times of trial and emotional distress. If you seek to improve your memory and predict the future, legend prescribes the Emerald.

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All rights are reserved by original sources.
Smithsonian Institute 1998-2005 Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry. 1999-2004 Jewelry Central, JC Store.
2004 Amethyst Galleries, Inc. 1995-2005 Loretta Elaine's Gems for Friends.