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May babies lay claim to one of the most coveted gemstones of all time: the emerald. Derived from the Greek word smaragdos, meaning "green gem," emeralds are infamous for their intensely eye-catching color palette.
Although the oldest emeralds (almost 3 billion years) have been discovered in South Africa, the oldest emerald mines originated in Egypt. Cleopatra is perhaps the most fervent emerald-lover in our history books, commissioning them for most of her royal jewelry. The Incas were also clued in to the wonders of the gem, using them as ceremonial jewels for 500 years prior to Spanish exploration. The most notable Emerald mines of the past several centuries belong to Colombia, including the famous Muzo mine, where the deepest and richest green emeralds are found.
Scientifically proven to calm nerves and prevent eye strain, the color green is also associated with wealth and prosperity. Not surprisingly, emeralds also share those associations, in addition to luck, truth, health, growth, and enlightenment... making them a perfect birthstone for May.