The birthstone for the month of May is the emerald, which makes the official May birthstone color green. The emerald is a part of the beryl family, which includes morganite, heliodor, and aquamarine. Emeralds can come in a light or a deep green. It is believed that the stone gets its color from vanadium or chromium replacing part of the aluminum in the structure of the mineral. If heated strongly the stone can lose color.
History of Emeralds
There are several historical artifacts that have been made out of emeralds. One of them is the Crown of Andes. It is said that the crown is made from emeralds and was worn by Atahualpa who was the last of the Inca kings in Peru. There are about 450 emeralds set in the crown.
German chemists synthetically manufactured emeralds just before the second world war. In 1946, growing fine quality synthetic stones started in the United States. There are some really good imitation emeralds on the market. These are made out of colored glass that has been cut.
The name emerald comes from smaragdos, which is a Greek word that is applied to several different green stones. The emerald’s history can be traced to antiquity. Royalty in Egypt and Babylon wore emeralds. There have been tools that date clear back to 1300 BC that have been found in the emerald mines of ancient Egypt. The emeralds of Queen Cleopatra are thought to have originated in southern Egypt mines, close to the Red Sea.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America they saw emeralds being worn by rulers. During the invasion they took a large amount of the mineral, but they did not discover where they came from. In the year 1537, Chivor was discovered by the Spanish. This is an important emerald mine found in Colombia. The Spanish took over Muzo mine as well once they defeated the Muzo Indians. Since the Spanish invaded mining operations at Muzo have continued ulmost uninterrupted. It is one fo the most famous emerald mines in Columbus and is thought to produce some of the best emeralds in the world.
Emeralds were once believed to stop bleeding, prevent epilepsy, cure fever and dysentery, and protect te wearer from panic. The great green color was thought to help the eye rest. Ancient romans dedicated emeralds to Venus because the green symbolized reproductive forces.
May Birth Flower
Lily of the Valley is the birth month flower for May. These are low growing perennials that have flowers that are in the shape of a bell. The flowers are quite fragrant. The 2 oblong lancelet leaves will bloom white and they are extremely poisonous.
The Lily of the Valley was adopted as the official national flower of Finland around the year 1967. The flower has been the floral emblem for Yugoslavia. It also makes an appearance in the coat of arms for Lunner, a principality for Norway. More recent traditions include selling the flower for labor day, which occurs on the first of May next year.