While Ancient Greece may have named the emerald or “the green gem,” this gorgeous stone, whose hue is actually a mixture of green, blue, and yellow, has been enjoyed by cultures all over the world, including seas away in South America.
The Incas were known to revere emeralds as children of the goddess, Esmeralda. In Cusco, temples to Esmeralda were filled with emeralds, as it was custom for the Inca faithful to present them to her. These temples were then raided a few hundred years later by the Spanish conquistadors. Some of the emeralds made it back to Spain to be set in emerald rings and emerald necklaces, but some were destroyed, as the conquistadors were ordered by Spanish authorities to break some of the emeralds open in failed attempts at confirming the green gem's authenticity.
Where Cusco once stood now stands Columbia, the largest producer of emeralds in the world. While it is no longer believed that emeralds are the children of a goddess, the emerald is the birthstone for May. And as May's birthstone, emerald jewelry is the perfect gift for any loved one with a birthday this month.