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Emerald is the birthstone for those born in the month of May (like myself). The word emerald is derived from the Greek word smaragdus which translates to green. Similar to aquamarine as mentioned above, an emerald is a green variety of beryl based on the impurities found in the beryl.
Emeralds are found commonly in Brazil, Colombia, Zambia, and Afghanistan. Most emeralds are heat treated to deepen their green color as high-quality emeralds are very rare. Cleopatra is known to have loved emeralds and claimed ownership of every single emerald mine in Egypt during her rule.
The emerald is part of the “big three” colored gemstones in addition to ruby and sapphire. These big three gemstones create more economic value than all other gemstones combined. Beryl picks up its green color from trace amounts of chromium or vanadium along with trace amounts of iron to give it a bluish green color.