Feeding the imagination since ancient times by its captivating green color, emerald is one of the 4 precious stones, along with diamond, ruby and sapphire.  Birthstone of May, it is characterized by many specificities that we will discover in this article.


If its name in Sanskrit means “the green of things that grow”, the  gem under the name we know  it today takes its roots in Greek etymology.  The Greek  “smaragdos”  means  “the green stone”. The Greek word “smaragdos”, meanwhile, comes from the Persian term “zamarat” which means heart of stone.


Since ancient times, the green gemstone inspires with its lush green hue with subtle nuances.

The first traces of the May birthstone extraction date back 5000 years in Egypt. Cleopatra was known for her adoration of the green gem, which she collected. She owned the  emerald mines of Egypt, named “Cleopatra’s Mines”, which were later exploited by Alexander the Great.

On another continent, from the middle  of the sixteenth century,  the conquistadors exploited the Colombian mines and were seduced by the brilliance and transparency of these gems.  

The Incas already used the precious green gem in their jewelry and religious ceremonies. The popularity of the gem among the royalty of Europe and Asia began with Spanish trade.  The latter, more fond of gold and  silver than  precious stones, exchanged green stones for precious metals.

Even if several other green gemstones exist, (Peridot, Tsavorite (green garnet), Tourmaline), none is as adored as emerald.


Despite the Egyptian roots of the green gem mentioned above, today, the main mines and deposits of the gem are not located in Egypt. Egyptian resources are depleted  and the main mines of the green gem are in  Russia, Zambia and Colombia. Moreover,  Colombia is the world’s leading producer  of the stone and its deposits are reknown for producing emeralds of exceptional quality.


The green gems is the most famous variety of the Beryl family, to which Aquamarine also belongs.
The particularity of the natural emerald is that it has micro-fractures called inclusions or, more poetically, “garden”. These defects  give it its character and their absence is so rare that it can lead to question the authenticity of the stone. These micro-fractures  are found in even the purest gems, which also makes it one of the most fragile gems.
The hardness of the gemstone is between 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale.


In the world of jewelry, the emerald cut is a very specific gem cut of rectangular shape with oblique corners.
Whatever jewel is created to be set with a stone of this size, the lapidary must be vigilant when working the green stone, because of its fragility.



To maintain the brilliance of this fragile stone, the simplest and most natural tricks are to be preferred.
It is  recommended to avoid contact with chemicals, and ultrasound baths is also not recommended for this stone.  Indeed, in order to fill the inclusions of the stone, it is customary to oil them at the exit of the mine. By cleaning them thoroughly, you risk removing the oil from within the stone  and making it dull and opaque.

A simple wash with soapy water will clean the stone without any risk.  You can then polish it with cedar, sweet almond or sandalwood oil to make it brighter.


On the psychic level, the green gemstone is a stone of  wisdom and patience.
Birthstone of May, it helps to strengthen friendship and  romantic relationships, encouraging loyalty and sincerity.
For the Romans, the emerald is the stone of Venus, sometimes called “chastity stone“, which is troubled in case of infidelity.

The precious gem also symbolizes  hope and renewal. It is said that its power doubles in the spring. Finally, the emerald wedding celebrates 40 years of marriage.