It’s May 1 and time to review the birthstone of the month – emerald. Congratulations to all of our readers whose birthdays are in May because your birthstone is fabulous, empowering, unique, beautiful and incomparable. The gemstone has been coveted for more than 4,000 years and even Cleopatra was said to be an avid collector.
Emeralds are steeped in symbolism and mysticism. Ancients believed emeralds could allow the wearer to see into the future. Others believed it was a talisman of good fortune. To many, emeralds symbolize rebirth and the regeneration of life in the springtime. Each emerald has its own “fingerprint,” a network of natural inclusions that resemble foliage. The French call this the jardin, or garden.
One of the world’s largest and most famous emeralds is the “Gachala Emerald” (shown above). Weighing in at an astounding 858 carats, the gem-quality treasure that has been called “one of the most beautiful emerald gemstones ever known” was discovered in 1967 at the Vega de San Juan mine in Colombia and is named for district in which the mine the located. The uncut gem exhibits a dark vivid green color and is a bit larger than a golf ball – 5 cm by 5 cm.
The Gachala mines have been responsible for producing other spectacular emeralds, including the 7,025-carat “Emilia Emerald” and the 16,020-carat “El Monstro Emerald.”
The “Gachala Emerald” makes its home at the National Museum of Natural History, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. It was donated in 1969 by the famed New York jeweler, Harry Winston.
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