For all those born in May, your birthstone is one of the Big Four....Emerald!
The name Emerald comes from the old French word "esmeralde", which itself came from the Greek word "smaragdos" which means "green stone". The most famous place for deep green Emeralds is Columbia, but Brazil and Zambia also produce fine emeralds - Brazilian emeralds are prized for their excellent clarity and slightly yellowish-green colour while the Zambian emeralds have a slight bluish-green colour.
There are so many fantastic stories surrounding Emeralds from around the world. The oldest known emerald mines are known as Cleopatra's mines in Egypt. These were mined between 3000 and 1500 B.C. and were completely exhausted by the time they were discovered in the late 1800's!
The Inca's and the Aztecs of South America (where the best Emeralds are found!) regarded the Emerald as a holy gemstone, while the Hindu holy scriptures say that Emeralds promise good luck and enhance well-being.
There are many famous Emeralds, here are just a few:
This is the Mackay Emerald, 167.97 carats that was mined in Muzo, Columbia. This Art Deco diamond and platinum necklace was created by Cartier and was given as a wedding present in 1931 by Clarence H Mackay to his very lucky wife!
I adore this necklace! Created by Harry Winston in 1956, this stunning piece is made up of graduated diamonds and emeralds set in platinum, the drop being a detachable brooch weighing just under 19 carats.
This beautiful big emerald weighs 217.80 carats and is nearly four inches tall! It is believed to come from the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mogul rulers of India. It has been carved with a floral motif on the one side and a Shi'a prayer on the other, with a date of 1695-1696.
And finally.....Have you ever seen an Emerald this big???? Weighing in at 57,500 carats (!), this 11.5 kilo emerald is the fifth largest ever found but the largest that has been faceted. It went up for auction in 2012 but nobody bid for it!