May’s birthstone is Emerald, that fabulous beryl gemstone, named from the Greek for ‘green’. It is one of the original ‘precious gemstones’, famed for its rich green colour, first mined in Egypt from 330BC, but nowadays there are two main sources – Columbia and Zambia.
The availability of fine quality emeralds is limited and treatments such as glass filling are widespread, in order to produce enough commercially viable stones.
Legend has it that emeralds have the power to make the wearer more intelligent and quick-witted. It was once also believed to cure diseases such as malaria and cholera. Its colour reflects new Spring growth, so it’s the perfect choice of birthstone for May and it is also the gemstone for 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
If you love the emerald look, but hate the price tag, why not look at green onyx? It’s a fraction of the cost. This even green opaque semi-precious stone can look equally as stylish. Part of the onyx and sardonyx family, onyx is a variety of chalcedony characterised by straight parallel bands of different colours, which makes it ideal for gem carvers to product cameos.
Anderson & Webb stock mostly green and black onyx – we love it for the density of its intense colour, providing the designer with a block of colour for contrast and complement.