The Green Glow of May's Birthstone, the Emerald 💚

May’s birthstone, the emerald, is not your quiet and modest gemstone. It demands your attention with their distinct rich green glow that had enraptured queens, kings, nobility and aristocrats since ancient times. 

It is known not only for its stunning green colour, but is also said to possess healing properties such as soothing strained eyes which is especially applicable these days with our constant screen time. Spiritually, it encourages authenticity, and supports emotional healing.

As the birthstone of May, it symbolises renewal, with plants and trees lush and green, and spring turning into summer.

Cleopatra may have been the biggest emerald enthusiast having had access to emerald mines in Egypt dating back to 330 B.C. She used emeralds as a showcase of Egypt’s wealth, often giving them as gifts to foreign dignitaries and with such a notable passionate supporter, let’s look at an object encrusted with emeralds that caught my eye.

The Crown of Our Lady of the Assumption of Popayán, or “Crown of the Andes”, is an impressive diadem that was originally made to adorn the sculpture of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception and was sanctioned for sale by Pope Pius X in 1914, ending up in United States in 1936 where it was displayed in various publicity events and fundraisers, even acting as a centerpiece for a dinner party.

Fast forward to 2015, The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired the piece, and it now belongs in their collection. Extensive restoration work went underway as it was in a fragile state after having been exhibited for ceremonial processions and various venues for publicity.

The arches of the crown were in danger of collapsing and The Met’s conservators did an amazing job building a structure that supported the arches that was crafted to be hidden and invisible to keep the integrity of the original design.

The Crown of the Andes before restoration work

The Crown of the Andes after restoration work

Title: Crown of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, known as the Crown of the Andes
Date: Ca. 1660 (diadem) and ca. 1770 (arches)
Geography: Made in Colombia
Culture: Colombian; Popayán
Medium: Gold, repoussé and chased; emeralds
Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Detail Shots

This piece is an impressive surviving example of Colonial Spanish American goldsmith work with its exquisite craftsmanship and the quality of the over 400 untreated emeralds adorning the crown. It is said that it took 24 craftsmen and 6 years to make although later, through Met's research, it is indicated that the crown was made in two parts, where the diadem was constructed in 1660, and the arches about a century later. The size of the emeralds at a total weight of 846.51 carats, the largest of which, known as the "Atahualpa emerald" weighing 24 carats, makes the standard alone, incomparable.

When Pliny wrote "Nothing greens greener" I imagine him looking at emeralds that are in the same league as those of the Crown of the Andes.

Explore the Emerald pieces we have in store now for your very own greener than green gemstone now at 15% off for the month of May 💚

14K Yellow Gold Triangular Synthetic Emerald Pendant

Mid-Century 14K White Gold Diamond Emerald Ring