The emerald is the birthstone for May and belongs to the beryl family of minerals. Emeralds vary in color from light to deep green. The dark green emeralds are the most prized and rare and also the most expensive.
Emeralds were discovered in Russia in the 1800s ,however, Colombia produces the largest and highest quality emeralds. In the U.S., emeralds can be found in North Carolina. Other countries that mine emeralds are Brazil, Pakistan, India, Australia and Madagascar.
In addition to natural emeralds, lab grown or synthetic emeralds are a source for this stone. German chemists first manufactured synthetic emeralds decades ago and the U.S. began to grow good quality stones by 1946. But emeralds can be traced back to ancient times when they were worn by royalty in places such as Egypt. Queen Cleopatra wore emeralds that were thought to have been mined in Egypt near the Red Sea.
During the Spanish invasion to South America, the Spanish conquistadors took large quantities of emeralds from Peru but didn't discover their source. Later, in the 1500s, the Spaniards found and took over mines in Columbia. These mines have continued to be in use and produce some of the best emeralds in the world.
The emerald has many myths associated with it. It was once thought to prevent epilepsy, cure dysentery and fever, stop bleeding and protect the wearer from panic. The ancient romans dedicated the stone to the goddess Venus because the green emerald represented the reproductive forces of nature. Christians took it as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. The emerald was also believed to hold the power to tell the future in the Middle Ages. Whether these tales are true or not, the emerald continues to be a favorite and coveted stone and will probably continue to be sought after for centuries to come.
Photo 1: statesymbolsusa.org
Photo 2: Emeral rough: https://www.pinterest.com/triosjewelry/elegant-emeralds/
Photo 3: Spanish emerald and gold pendant: Wikipedia.org
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