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May is finally here! If you are as sick of the brownish gray and white landscape that has befallen us here in the middle eastern part of the United States this last winter as I am and you are thinking to yourselves "show me the green", project your mind into the land of May's birthstone, the glorious green of emerald. The Wizard of Oz Emerald City green, grass green, tree green, chlorophyll filled plant green, and any green in between. The word emerald is derived from the Greek word smaragdos meaning a green gemstone. Emerald is a tradional 55th wedding anniversary gift.
Facts: The pigments responsible for making emeralds green is chrome with vanadium sometimes in the mix. Emerald is in the Beryl mineral species along with aquamarine, heliodor, morganite and other varieties such as yellow beryl, green beryl and goshenite. Most emeralds have quite a few inclusions. The most common inclusions in emerald are liquid gas bubbles, cracks and healing fissures and crystals from other mineral species. Because of these inclusions, emeralds are generally brittle which is why the "Emerald Cut" was developed for cutting emeralds into step cuts because this is a kinder cutting process than others with more faceting. If an emerald is very clear and transparent, sometimes it will be able to withstand a brilliant cut shape such as in rounds or ovals, etc. Emeralds have a hardness level of 7 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. These beautiful stones are in the hexagonal crystal system. The Muzo Mine in Columbia is the most important producer of fine quality emeralds. Among all the countries that have emerald deposits (Brazil, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Egypt, China, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, the United States), Columbia produces 70 to 90% of the world's supply.
Folklore: Clairvoyance is thought to be enhaced in the wearer of emeralds. They are believed to aid healing and bring the wearer love and a contented life. Emeralds were thought in ancient times to strengthen memory, increase intelligence and bring about honesty.