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The May birthstone

Learn more about the May birthstone, the emerald! 
Strand of emerald chips
© Nastya22 |
wizard of oz image
© Welburnstuart |

What city do Dorothy and Toto travel to when they visit the Wizard of Oz? If you know your Wizard of Oz trivia, you guessed right! The city is the Emerald City and if you remember the movie, you'll recall the tall emerald skyscrapers at the end of the yellow brick road.

I've never thought too hard about emerald being the color of choice where the famous Wizard of Oz resides but looking back, I'm sure there is a reason for it. Emerald is the color of the May birthstone, and as with most birthstones, there are many mystical and philosophical properties surrounding this stone.

The idea of a different gemstone representing each month of the year dates back to Biblical times. The Jewish historian Josephus made a record of Aaron from the Book of Exodus wearing a breastplate decorated by twelve stones all the way back in the first century. We've been exploring all the different birthstones every month on Facet and for this month, the American Gem Society's stone is the glowing EMERALD.

emerald three stones
© Igor Kaliuzhny |
A Brief Background

April showers bring May flowers and since May falls in the heart of a budding spring, there is no shade more fitting than the emerald, whose derivation “smaragdus,” means, quite literally, “green” in Greek. Green is all around us: tall tufts of grass, small flower buds and stems poking up out of the ground, and green thumbs chipping away at backyard gardens! If you're anything like me, though, and you have a poor excuse for a green thumb, you can just admire from afar the handiwork of more skilled gardeners. 

You can also don some emerald as a tribute to the month of May! As a symbol of rebirth, emerald is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Remember that shout-out to the Emerald City I mentioned before? Well, if you want to get real philosophical about it, maybe, just maybe, the Emerald City is emerald in color because it's a beacon of fortune for all the weary travelers (such as Dorothy and her crew) that make it along the Yellow Brick Road!

If you don't believe me, consider the history of this gemstone. 

Emeralds around the world

Like its cousin month's birthstone - aquamarine - emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral that grows with six sides and up to a foot in length. The color of emerald can range from a light green to a deep, rich green, which is the color we typically associate with higher value and royalty. Rare emeralds will sometimes even appear as a dark-green blue, hence the steep price, while the lighter shade is more common and reasonably priced.

According to the American Gem Society, the emerald was originally mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC but some claim the oldest emerald is actually as old as 2.97 billion years old! Cleopatra herself is known to have cherished the stone but all Egyptians traditionally used them in both jewelry and in elaborate burials as a symbol of protection for those leaving this world and entering another.

In the states, the celebrity, Elizabeth Taylor, is remembered for her famous emerald pendant. 

Take a trip around the globe and you would find that Colombians also prized and coveted emeralds as a token of beauty and mystical power. Supposedly, the Colombian emerald mines were so well hidden that it took Spanish conquistadors nearly twenty years to find them!

Today, it is worn around the world by famous and non-famous alike, and Colombia harvests more than half the world's emeralds.

emerald glowing green
© Fedor Kondratenko |
The Mystical Emerald

In mythology, emerald is the stone of the goddess Venus, and perhaps this is why the emerald cut is so popular in traditional romance language. Emeralds are purported to bring passion, bliss, and good fortune to those who don them. It also has a reputation for keeping certain ailments at bay, such as stomach problems, controlling epilepsy, and stopping bleeding. Look into this soothing green color and you will be convinced in its ability to ward off panic and keep its wearer feeling relaxed and serene. 

There's a reason why it has made such a worldwide impact and yes, its beauty definitely factors into that! 

So, you've got an itching for some emerald jewelry? We've got you covered! See below for some Facet projects that incorporate this stunning shade. 


May birthstone Emerald bracelet
The fresh spring color of this bracelet is reminiscent of grass on a hillside, and it's all made with vintage German milk glass as a stand-in for emerald! Because sometimes you can't pull a Cleopatra and bring out your very own authentic emerald. 
May birthstone Emerald earrings
These darling earrings transport us to a time of elegance, fusing the lighter green of the emerald color with that dark green-blue hue I mentioned before. Everyone needs a pair of emerald earrings!
May birthstone Emerald rondelle necklace
Emerald rondelles lend an earthy look to this necklace and have some fun with the pendant to really capture the essence of spring!
May birthstone Emerald flower necklace
Not feeling the earthy tones as much? Spring has sprung and you want flowers! This necklace has that bright and glowing use of emerald going on, and the flowers have just a touch of sparkle! 
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