Emeralds-A Brief History

The name Emerald comes from the Latin word for green, smaragdus. As with the seven colors of the rainbow, the rich green of Emeralds is centered within the treasured hues of the world's most precious colored gemstones. They are the lush green flowers of the mineral kingdom. For over 4,000 years, cultures around the globe have sought Emeralds to bear as gifts to royalty. During the last years of the Pharaohs (69-30 B.C.), Cleopatra treasured Emeralds more than all her other gems. The location of her ancient Emerald mines remained an historical enigma until they were rediscovered in the late 1800's near the Red Sea. Tools within the mine shafts dated to 1650 B.C., but only marginal quality Emeralds could be found. A century and a half after Cleopatra's reign, the Roman governor and scholar, Pliny, declared that "nothing greens greener" than Emeralds. They were the only gemstones which delighted the eye without fatiguing it. In fact, Emperor Nero wore Emerald sunglasses to watch the gladiators.
Emeralds became the May birthstone on August 12, 1912 when the American Retail Jeweler's Association arbitrarily released its list of "Official Birthstones." This list, with citrine added, was adopted by the American Gem Society in 1938. In 1952, a variation of this list was adopted jointly by the American National Retail Jeweler's Association, the American Gem Society, and the National Jewelers Association, thus establishing a standard, and the list in use today.
Emeralds are also the appropriate gemstone for 20th. and 55th. anniversaries and identified as the Planetary Stone for Taurus (April 20-May 20) and the Lucky Charm Stone for Gemini (May 21-June 20) and Cancer (June 21-July 22).