The Emerald is the birthstone of the month of May. Emeralds, known for their beautiful deep green color, is amongst the oldest known gemstones. It has existed on earth for more than 2600 million years and was first found by humans in Egypt. However, these mines have been exhausted for a long time.
The Ancient Egyptians believed in the power of these beautiful stones. To them, the color of the stones represented good luck and well-being. In ancient Rome, emeralds and the color green was associated with Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Even today green is still considered a the holy color by Islam as well as a respected color by the Catholic Church since it has always been a part of the liturgy. By many cultures around the world, emeralds have always been considered to have healing powers specifically with eyes and infections as poorer quality stones are ground up to make lotions.
Emeralds have a hardness that measures at 7.5-8, which is rather hard, yet due to their dryness they tend to be brittle and break easily. The deeper the green, the more rare and valuable the stone. Even a stone with inclusions can be worth a lot more than a diamond, as long as it has a very rich and deep green color. Emeralds are beryllium-aluminium-silicates so belong to the beryl family of gems. Pure beryls are colorless but emeralds get their color from the traces of chromium and vanadium. Today the best and most beautiful emeralds can be found in Colombia, but also in countries such as Brazil and Zimbabwe, which are well-known for their emeralds.
Due to the stone's high value and its tendency for inclusions, the emerald is a dangerous stone to cut, which is also why this stone has its own cut, the classic "emerald-cut". The rectilinear shape shows off the beautiful color while staying true to the molecular structure of the mineral so as not to weaken it when cutting the stone. Emeralds are often enhanced with special oils that make their color pop even more, but also make the stones more sensitive, which is why they have to be handled with a lot of care. When buying an emerald, if possible one should opt for the deepest green color often found in a bigger stone, because just like other colored gemstones, the emerald shows its true beauty with more light. And don't be afraid of inclusions because that is what gives its character and how you know it's real.