Emeralds of May

The birthstone for May is the most precious gemstone in the beryl family - the much-loved emerald which is often likened to the lushness of green grass! Emeralds are also the gemstone for 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries, plus they are linked to Gemini, Taurus, Leo, and Aries astrological signs.

Emeralds in History

Emerald Bangles from the Olbia Treasure

The earliest known use of emeralds has been traced back to the ancient Egyptians - it is thought they were mining them around 2000 BC, near the Red Sea. Historically, Emeralds symbolised power and wealth and they became highly desirable throughout the world.

Cleopatra, Egypt's most famous Queen, adored emeralds and had a vast collection of these precious gemstones for her jewellery. The ancient Egyptians believed emeralds were a symbol of immortality, fertility, and rebirth, with the added benefit of soothing the eyes and restoring vision.

The Incas viewed Emeralds as sacred, using them as offerings to their gods and goddesses. In ancient India, Emeralds were worn as talismans to bring good health and protection. Meanwhile, 16th century Spanish explorers plundered Emeralds from what is now Colombia ... They then traded emeralds for gold and silver across Europe and Asia.

Today, Colombia is the world's biggest supplier of emeralds, with other significant deposits found in Brazil, Zambia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia. Non-commercial quality emeralds are found in Australia and the United States of America.

Famous Emeralds

Certain emeralds stand out for their size, clarity, or famous owners. These exceptional emeralds are sure to catch the eye of any emerald enthusiast!

The Mogul Mughal Emerald

The Mogul Mughal Emerald

One of the largest known emeralds in the world is the Moghul Emerald, pictured above. Dating back to 1695, this emerald weighs a whopping 217.80 carats and is engraved on both sides … One side of this exquisite piece is inscribed with Islamic prayers, on the other side is a beautiful floral pattern.

The Chalk Emerald

The Chalk Emerald Ring

According to legend, one of Colombia's finest emeralds, the Chalk Emerald, was originally part of a necklace owned by a Maharani in India. Initially weighing 38.4 carats, the emerald was recut to 37.8 carats by Harry Winston and set into a platinum and gold diamond cocktail ring for Claire and Roy Chalk. In 1972 Mr and Mrs Chalk donated the Chalk Emerald to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. It is currently available to view by the public.

The Bahia Emerald

The Bahia Emerald

Probably one of the largest (and most famous) emeralds in the world is the Bahia Emerald which was discovered in 2001 in Bahia, Brazil. This incredible emerald weighs approximately 341kgs and contains over 180,000 carats. Said to have survived an ambush by panthers and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Bahia Emerald is estimated to be worth $372 million or more.

The Bahia Emerald has been the subject of a long legal battle which resulted in it finally being returned to Brazil - you can read about the Bahia Emerald legal battle here.

Emerald Trivia

Raw Emerald Gemstone
    • There are only 4 gemstones in the world that are considered to be precious and the emerald is one of them. The other 3 precious gemstones are the diamond, ruby, and sapphire.

    • The word 'emerald' is derived from the Latin word 'smaragdos' which means 'green stone'.

    • Emeralds get their colour due to their chrome content.

    • Other members of the beryl family include:

      • Aquamarine (light blue, dark blue or blue green in colour)

      • Morganite (light pink to soft violet in colour)

      • Heliodor (light yellow green in colour)

      • Golden beryl (lemon yellow to golden yellow in colour)

      • Bixbite (raspberry red in colour)

      • Goshenite (colourless)

    • Care needs to be taken with emeralds as they are brittle – never put them in an ultrasonic cleaner, near heat or in acidic solutions.

    • The chemical formula for emeralds is (Be3Al2Si6O18).

    • Most emeralds on the market will have inclusions in them ... Emeralds without inclusions could possibly be fake.

    Emeralds at Seaspray Jewellery

    Emerald earrings the birthstone for May

    At Seaspray Jewellery we have a lovely selection of beautiful emerald jewellery. Visit us in-store at 314 West Street, Umina Beach and try on a lovely piece of jewellery for the month of May!

    20th wedding anniversary gemstone35th wedding anniversary gemstoneAquamarineBeryl gemstonesBixbiteChalk emeraldCleopatra emeraldsColombia emeraldsEgyptian emeraldsEmeraldEmeralds for ariesEmeralds for geminiEmeralds for leoEmeralds for taurusGolden berylGosheniteHeliodorMay birthstoneMoghul emeraldMogul mughal emeraldMorganiteThe bahia emeraldThe chalk emerald