May is an exciting time of the year. It’s not too far into the year, nor is it close to the beginning or ending, either. This month is also the last month of spring for many Northern Hemisphere countries. With the lush green of spring drawing to a close, what better birthstone for the month can be than the deep green of Emerald?
Emeralds were a popular gemstone for many years, even considered by many to be one of the most precious gemstones known to man. Though this definition has changed over the years, it’s still loved by many gemstone collectors, and it holds decisive symbolic significance. Read on to find out just what emeralds are and what they can do for those who wear them.
What is an Emerald?
Emeralds are actually not a type of gemstone by themselves, unlike diamonds. They are actually a subcategory of a mineral known commonly as beryl. Beryl is a mineral that actually comes in various forms, with one such form being aquamarine, the birthstone for March’s month. We also covered the blue-green birthstone in another article, so give that a read when you have the time.
Emeralds owe their green color to the presence of an element known as chromium, or in some cases, vanadium. Though there are different hues of green, only dark green beryl minerals are classified as emeralds. Lighter variants are simply called green beryl and are another type of stone entirely.
Another factor that can be helpful in determining whether, the beryl sample is an emerald or not is its transparency. The beryl must reach a certain level of transparency to be considered as an emerald. That’s why you can almost see right through emeralds if you look at them. The beauty of emeralds was well-known for hundreds of years, with famous figures such as Cleopatra adoring the gemstone.
It is also possible to synthetically produce emeralds. They look nothing like natural emeralds, with brighter hues and less transparency. They’re classified as laboratory-grown, so you can tell if an emerald is genuine or not merely by looking at its classification.
What does Emerald Signify?
Many historical records note the emerald’s beauty and value. For example, a 16th-century writer by the name of Brantôme wrote of the many emeralds that had come from Latin America all the way back to Europe. This historian was also very particular about emeralds’ purity, arguing that any engravings done to the stone was sacrilegious in nature.
Since only the deepest green beryls can be classified as emeralds, the gemstone has heavily been associated with fertility. For the last month of spring, May, this is an appropriate birthstone indeed. Cleopatra is a famous fan of emerald, also contributes to the concept of fertility for this gemstone.
Another well-known meaning behind emeralds is that they serve as a symbol of love. This emotion isn’t exclusive with emeralds, mind you – diamonds, which are April’s birthstone, signify love’s emotion. For example, ancient Romans associated emeralds with the Roman goddess of love, Venus (or Aphrodite in Greek mythology).
Emeralds are also known to signify rebirth. Rebirth isn’t something that we humans can physically do, so this is more spiritual or metaphorical rebirth. If you’re closing out a chapter in your life (by moving to another city, for example), the emerald can signify that you’ve become a completely new person. This type of rebirth is one that is manifested in the mind and soul, not the body.
In the same vein, many believe emeralds to signify growth and wisdom. Being reborn on a spiritual level brings new insights and understanding to your life, which, in turn, bestows wisdom and, effectively, growth. It’s the gemstone that signifies progress within one’s life, much like how the month of May represents progress to the next season.
Only the finest of beryl minerals can be classified as the rich green emeralds we know of today. The gemstone symbolizes the growth of the human soul and also serves as a symbol of love. So, just as the spring leaves fade and summer draws near, the emerald showcases the growth and rebirth of man.