The luscious, vibrant green of May's birthstone has been captivating people since antiquity. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for green, smaragdus. Emeralds and green are so synonymous that our lovely Seattle (which is especially green right now after a record-breaking streak of rain) is called the Emerald City.
Emeralds were mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC. The Egyptians used emeralds for jewelry as well as protection, and buried their kings and queens with emeralds. Cleopatra, probably the world's most famous emerald lovers, claimed ownership of every emerald mine in Egypt during her reign. Another famous Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor, also famously loved emeralds. Her Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace was given to her by Richard Burton while filming Cleopatra in Rome. In 2011 it sold at a Christie's auction for $6.1 million!
On the other side of the world, the Muzo Indians of Colombia had well-hidden and prized emerald mines. These mines were so hidden, it took the Spanish conquistadors nearly twenty years to find them. The emeralds they did find were traded throughout Europe and Asia. The most famous emerald from this time period, the Hooker Emerald, was purchased by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He wore it on his belt buckle. It was later set into a platinum and diamond brooch by Tiffany, and currently resides at the Smithsonian, a gift from Janet Annenberg Hooker.
Emeralds are believed to have many powers. Its soothing green color is thought to ward off panic and keep the wearer calm. Anciently it was believed that emeralds could cure stomach problems, control epilepsy, and stop bleeding. Today emeralds are a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace, and security. Its vibrant green color is perfectly symbolic of the month of May, and it is also the traditional gemstone of the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. Come in and take a look at our two gorgeous emerald and diamond anniversary bands from Suwa: