May's Birthstone: Emerald
Emerald has been a highly sought after stone since early history, with the first known Emerald mines being in Egypt from 330 BC right into the 1700s. Cleopatra was particularly fond of Emeralds, using them in her royal adornments. The Incas had been using Emeralds in their religious ceremonies for 500 years before the 16th Century Spanish Explorers invaded "The New World."
The word Emerald actually comes from the ancient Greek word for green, "smaragdus," and even Pliny the Elder of Rome wrote about Emerald in his Natural History published in the 1st Century AD. Emeralds come from the Beryl family, a mineral species that includes Aquamarine, Morganite, and Heliodor.
The Emerald has rich lore and history. Legend has it that placing an Emerald under the tongue allowed the wearer to see into the future, discern the truth, and be protected against evil spells. Emeralds also were said to have healing properties, curing diseases like malaria and cholera. The deep green color of the Emerald calls to the exciting new growth of Spring, thus it is the perfect birthstone for May.