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Home > Virtual Office > Birthstones By Month > May - Emerald

May - Emerald

Gem of the Month – Emerald


gem stone
 Orana Emerald Earring
  • Color: Various shades of green, cause by the presence of chrome
  • Chemical composition: Be3Al2Si6O18
  • Mohs scale hardness: 7.5-8 
  • Specific gravity: 2.7
  • Refractive index: 1.56-1.57
  • Crystal system: Hexagonal
  • Planetary association: Lunar 
  • Zodiac: Cancer
  • Christian apostle: John the Baptist
  • Kabala-associated angel: Morael
  • Hindu chakra: Anahata – the fourth chakra, representing the heart

Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl. The word "Emerald" derives from the Greek "smaragdos", meaning "green gem", which is believed to have developed from the Sanskrit word "marakata", which means "green".


Emeralds are mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The gem was one of the Hoshen stones – the gems adorning the ceremonial breastplate worn by the high priest of the ancient Israelites – and is associated with the Tribe of Levy. Nevertheless, since none of the Hoshen stones are depicted in detail, it is hard to know whether the biblical emerald is the one we know today.  


According to Jewish Midrash, the Tribe of Levy, which was chosen to serve God in the Temple, was given the gem as a sign of their wisdom and devotion. Both the Talmud and Midrash associate emeralds with intelligence and wisdom.


gem stone
 Emerald Ring

Emeralds are said to possess several healing attributes: they are supposed to alleviate stress, back pains and respiratory and eye problems, promote physical, mental and spiritual balance and bring the wearer good fortune.


Emeralds have always been considered valuable gemstones. The use of emeralds in ancient cultures dates back to the great dynasties of Egypt – emeralds have been found in ancient sarcophaguses, placed there as currency meant to facilitate the dead in the afterlife. Egypt was the main supplier of emeralds in ancient times.


The Roman senator Pliny the Younger mentions the use of emerald jewelry throughout the roman world and the East. Later, emeralds were discovered in South America, by the Spanish. 


Emeralds are often mentioned in myth and legend: The "Emerald Tablet", also known as the "Secretum Secretorum" ("The Secret of Secrets") is an ancient sacred text carved into a solid emerald tablet, and is believed to reveal the secret of the primordial substance and its transmutations. According to mythology, it is the work of Hermes Trismegistus – a divine entity that is the combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth. According to other beliefs, the Holy Grail is part emerald.


Emerald deposits are found in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, South Africa, Russia and India.


Famous May birthdays: Queen Victoria, Charles II, Igor Sikorsky.

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