Emerald, a rich green precious stone. A flawless emerald may be more valuable than a diamond of the same size. An emerald is the softest of the precious stones, and can therefore be easily cut into any of the various shapes required for jewelry. An emerald is one form of the mineral beryl, and derives its green color from a chromium compound in the mineral. The emerald is the birthstone for May and represents love and success. Ireland is often called the Emerald Isle because of its green landscape.
Colombia is the most important source of emeralds. They are also found in Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Russia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the United States. In ancient times, emeralds were mined by the Egyptians and sold to other nations. The Colombian emerald mines were worked by the Inca Indians before the coming of the Spaniards. The largest emerald found in modern times, weighing six pounds (2.7 kg), was taken from a mine in the Ural Mountains in Russia. It is now displayed in a St. Petersburg museum.