By Katie McMath
If you’ve celebrated your birthday recently, or will soon, you may have settled for something simpler than usual. Maybe you cozied up on the couch with a loved one and watched your favorite movie or ordered some delicious takeout. To make your special day a little more special we’ve compiled a list of exciting facts about May’s birthstone.
1: Emeralds Are Part of the ‘Big Four’ Gemstones
Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds: they’re stones everyone has heard of, even if they aren’t big jewelry fans. These four are the only “precious” gemstones, meaning May’s birthstone is up there with the best.
2: They Are Quite Rare
Emeralds are even less abundant than diamonds. Less than 4 million carats worth of emeralds were mined in 2015, compared to diamonds’ 11 million. Even with these statistics, it’s possible to find a good emerald if you keep your eyes peeled. One of Eve’s gallery staff found a raw, natural emerald on the beach this year!
3: Just Like Your Coffee, Most of them Come from Colombia
Colombia’s lush geography isn’t just good for growing coffee beans. It is also the point of origin for 50% or more of the world’s emeralds. Long ago Inca people used this supply to decorate their jewelry and precious vessels. If you have an emerald, there’s a half and half chance you can guess where it came from.
4: They’ve Been Used as Writing Tablets
Green is a scared Islamic color, symbolizing paradise. The Mogul Empire, home to a thriving stone carving industry, is responsible for this beautiful dual-sided emerald. Carved in the late 16th century, with sacred text on the front and flora on the back, this emerald weighs around 218 carats. It is one example of how large emeralds can grow!
5: Emeralds Soothe the Eyes
Emeralds are a beautiful, earthy color. Looking on them is like looking at a rich green landscape. In fact Ireland and Seattle, WA have both been nicknamed after the stone because of their greenery. Many believe the soothing color of an emerald relieves eye stress. Stone cutters once kept the gem handy to relieve their eyes after hours of hard work.
6: They’ve Been Around a Long Time
The oldest emeralds are nearly 3 billion years old. Considering the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, emeralds have been around for most of our planet’s history! If only they could tell us their stories.
7: Emeralds Were Cleopatra’s Favorite
Egypt is the oldest known site of emerald mining. Cleopatra took ownership of this ancient mine from the Greeks, and collected a bounty of emeralds for her palace and jewelry. Her cache included a massive emerald named after her. It is a whopping 97 carats, and rumored to be cursed.
8: Aquamarine is Cut From the Same Cloth
Both greenish gems are made of the mineral beryl, though this was not known until the 19th century. Beryl comes in a variety of colors. It is called heliodor when bright yellow and morganite when soft pink.
9: More Bang for Your Buck
One carat emeralds are larger than one carat diamonds. How is this possible? Carats measure weight, not size. A stone’s density, material, and cut all affect its carat total. Since emeralds are less dense and lighter than diamonds their beauty comes in bigger packages.
10: It Tastes Sweet, but Please Don’t Lick Your Emeralds
A few hundred years ago chemists would use all their senses to collect data, even taste. They found that beryl had a sweet taste, and nearly named it ‘glyceynum’ after glucose (or sugar.) We now know that beryllium is toxic when ingested. Don’t follow these scientists’ lead.
Bonus Fact: Eve Has Designed Many Emerald Pieces
A lover of green, Eve has crafted many gorgeous articles honoring the emerald. Her “Mistress of the House” earrings come with removable emerald drops, and give the feeling of Italian royalty. Their rich 18 karat gold plays off the emerald’s warmth.
The “Emerald Amulet” makes a beautiful, delicate gift for someone with a May birthday. Also set in 18 karat gold, featuring graceful leaf designs, this pendant may be worn on different chains to customize the look. Perhaps it could make up for the unusual circumstances eclipsing this year’s spring celebrations.
Now is a great time to get in touch with Eve’s Gallery and order a custom piece, or browse tantalizing creations on our website and Instagram. Eve hasn’t stopped creating, and continues to gain joy from passing on her one-of-a-kind treasures. Why not treat yourself?