May Birthstone: Emerald


Family: Beryl

Color: Bluish Green - Green

Mohs Hardness: 7.5 – 8 (Great for everyday wear… With care!!)

Happy May! It is officially Emerald Month! I have always had a special relationship with emeralds. Not

only was I born in May, making emerald my birthstone, but as a child I watched the Wizard of Oz an unhealthy number of times turning emeralds and the Emerald City into the ultimate goal for success.

Emeralds have been used in jewelry dating back to 330 B.C. and have been a favorite gemstone of many famous women from Cleopatra to Elizabeth Taylor. For centuries, emeralds have captured attention and affection with their captivating color, conjuring images in our heads of lush green meadows, rolling fields and thick jungles, opulence, and an endless bounty of growth. Green signifies new beginnings and opportunity. It is a perfect stone for a springtime month of rebirth, like May!

The name Emerald comes from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus” (I think we can all hear that… Emerald… Smaragdus… Emerald… Smaragdus…)...

The color comes from trace levels of chromium, vanadium, and iron, with the presence of the elements helping gemologists determine the location of the specimen.

Emerald is the most well known member of the Beryl family of gemstones, which also includes Aquamarine and Morganite, as well as yellow beryl, Heliodor, green-hued beryl of lower saturation, Green Beryl, and colorless beryl, Goshenite.

The most notable emeralds in the world come from the Muzo district in Colombia. There, the Incas used emeralds in their jewelry and religious ceremonies, believing emeralds were derived directly from the gods. Spanish explorers plundered many emeralds during their invasions of the “New World”, bringing the finest emeralds ever seen back to Europe by the boatful.


As with so many colored stones, the most important aspect to consider when buying an Emerald is its COLOR! The ideal emerald ranges from a bluish green to a pure green without dark tonal areas. A beautiful emerald has high transparency and even coloration.

Unlike many other gemstones, the inclusions in emeralds are not only forgiven, but they are celebrated as evidence of the stone's genuineness. The finest examples of emerald inclusions are called jardin, French for garden.

My favorite emerald “phenomenon” can be seen in a very rare type of emerald. “Trapiche” emeralds

feature a dark six-spoke pattern of black carbon that fill the emerald crystal junctions. In a single crystal, which grows in a hexagonal form, the emerald is clearly divided into 6 trapezoidal sections. Super weird and super beautiful!

Trapiche Emerald Slices from the Tucson Gemshow 2017

Trapiche Emerald Slices from the Tucson Gemshow 2017