This time of year, things are as green as green can be. Maybe things aren’t any greener than before, but after months of grey and brown, the green of May seems particularly special. It’s no small coincidence that this month’s birthstone is the brilliant green emerald. Like the season of spring, the emerald is a symbol of rebirth, good fortune, and youth.
Some of the oldest emeralds known date back almost 3 billion years. When the Egyptians started to mine emeralds in 330 B.C., Cleopatra promptly proclaimed ownership over the mines throughout the country. The association with Cleopatra and emeralds began a long connection with the jewel and royalty. Cleopatra likely thought she found something that was hers, and hers alone, but on the other side of the world, the Muzo Indians of Columbia were also mining emeralds. The gem and the mines were so cherished, they remained hidden from the Spanish conquistadors for almost twenty years before they were eventually found.