May Birthstone: Emerald

It is believed that emerald was mined by the ancient Egyptians as far back as 1800 BCE

12/05/2023     Jewellery & Gems


It is believed that emerald was mined by the ancient Egyptians as far back as 1800 BCE. Thought to be a symbol for protection, they were often buried with royals and people of importance within their society. They were a status symbol amongst the Inca peoples, and it is said that it took the Spanish conquistadors over 20 years to find the hidden mines.

Emerald is a variety of Beryl and is highly sought after the world over. Morganite and aquamarine are two other varieties of Beryl. Emerald is loved for its rich yet soft green colour. The emerald cut was originally designed for emeralds as they can fracture if knocked relatively easily so gem cutters decided to take off the corners and so helping to protect the stone.

One of the world's most famous emeralds is the Chalk emerald, weighing approximately 38.7 carats. It was re-cut by Harry Winston Inc. for its current ring mount. The Chalk emerald was donated to The Smithsonian by Mr. and Mrs. Chalk in the 1970s it is now on display in the National Museum in Washington D.C, USA.

Another famous emerald was once in the collection of Elizabeth Taylor, it holds the record of the most expensive piece of jewellery sold at auction, realising an eye watering $6.6 million at Christie’s in 2011. Weighing just over 23 carats, the emerald is set in a brooch by Bulgari, it was bought for the actress by Richard Burton whilst she was filming ‘Cleopatra’.


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