The History of the Emerald – The May Birthstone

Tear_drop_emeraldWhat better way to signify the spring season than with a green emerald that reflects growth and prosperity, which makes sense why the emerald is the birthstone of the month of May.

The name emerald comes from the ancient Greek word for green “smaragdus”. Not only is the emerald green color beautiful, it was also believed to have healing powers. Since their discovery in Egypt around 300BC, emeralds were used to help ease eye strain and relieve stress, and later believed to cure cholera and malaria.

When describing something that is beautiful and green the word emerald is often used. Ireland is know as the “Emerald Isle”, Seattle is known as the “Emerald City”, and in Thailand there is the “Emerald Buddha”, which is a statue made from green jadeite.

Cleopatra and the Emerald

The first emerald mines were located in Egypt, close to the Red Sea. These mines produced emeralds from 300 BC till the 1700s, and were adopted by Cleopatra herself as her own personal emerald mines. Cleopatra’s love for emeralds was deep and strong. It is believed that when visiting royalty and nobility of other countries, Cleopatra would have their likeness carved into a large emerald and given as gift from her.

King Solomon and the Emerald

As if the association with Cleopatra was not enough, legend also states that the emerald was one of the four gemstones presented to King Solomon directly from God. The Seal of Solomon or Solomon’s Ring was believed to contain supernatural powers that allowed King Solomon to command demons, command genies and speak to animals. Bill Bo Baggins has nothing on this ring.

Emeralds were also believed to hold special abilities that allowed the wearer to foresee the future. If placed on the tongue, the wearer was believed to reveal the truth and be protected from evil spirits. Wow – what a gemstone!

When looking for the perfect gift for that special someone in your life, why not consider the historical and mystical emerald. Set in yellow or white gold, emerald jewelry is a classic piece for any jewelry collection and a nice alternative to diamond jewelry. To schedule an appointment to see our emerald inventory, click here.

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