The Detective’s Daughter — The Emerald

Kim in Baltimore soaking up the sun…finally!

I’m sure every woman has heard the cheesy line “what’s your sign?” at least once in their life, but how about “what’s your birthstone?” No, really, I’m asking. What is your birthstone? As you’ve probably guessed from the title, mine is an emerald. That’s right, I’m a May baby and on the last day of this month I’ll be…well, it’s only a number, right?

I’ve been told a girl’s first piece of “real” jewelry is her birthstone. That was true for me. On my tenth birthday Nana and Pop-Pop gave me my first ring, an emerald. I wore it everyday for years and still do on special occasions. They bought it at Earkes’ Jewelry store on Light Street, the same place Dad bought presents for Mom.

You can only imagine how grown-up I felt with my emerald ring. I’d always admired my grandmother’s rings. Nana had been married twice. On the ring finger of her left hand she wore the wedding set  Pop-Pop had given her and on her right hand she wore a large square diamond which had been the rings given to her by her first husband, John. After his death, Nana had the set combined to make one large ring. Though her diamonds were sparkly and beautiful, and maybe even a girl’s best friend, they were not as lovely as my small emerald.

The first year I taught school I did a really stupid thing. Well, I probably did a lot of stupid things, but this one landed me in the emergency room with my fingers stuck in a plastic toy. It was one of those boxes where you hammer in a shape. The shape was stuck and I thought it would be easy enough to stick my finger in and push it out. The problem was my ring…the emerald… got caught on an edge. After a few teachers prodded and pulled at my hand, my finger swelled. I was in tears by the time they got me to the hospital, but not because I was in any pain, I was terrified my ring would be destroyed. Fortunately, my ring survived, the toy wasn’t as lucky.

The emerald is the symbol of rebirth, fertility, and love. It is believed the owner of an emerald will have foresight, good fortune and youth. It may even cure stomach problems and ward off panic, keeping the wearer relaxed and serene. I’m not so sure about that, relaxed and serene are not two words anyone would use to describe me!

My grandparents have been gone many years and I now have Nana’s rings. Every Mother’s Day I wear them to honor her. Gemstones may have healing powers, but this emerald holds the power of keeping the memory of my grandparents alive for me.

Readers: Do you wear your birthstone? Have you investigated the history and meaning of your stone?

18 thoughts on “The Detective’s Daughter — The Emerald

  1. Interesting stuff about emeralds, Kim. My topaz ring was also my first real jewelry, but I have no idea where it took itself off to. I remember loving its yellow-gold color, perfect for the start of November. Maybe I’ll acquire another version one of these days!

  2. Opal for me. Legend says it’s bad luck to buy one for yourself unless it’s your birthstone. Or something like that. They are pretty stones with lots of color variations inside them, but a bit more fragile than most gems.

  3. I received my birthstone ring when I was 6 years old, on my golden birthday, a tradition in the South. I am a February baby and my birthstone is amethyst. I never investigated what the amethyst is meant to mean, until now. This is what I discovered: “Ancient Greeks believed that the stone protected the wearer from drunkenness and enabled them to keep a balanced mindset.” Ha!

    • Ramona, I read the word amethyst is derived from a Greek word which means “sober.” The amethyst also strengthens relationships and gives the wearer courage, which you may need if subjected to a lot of drunkenness!

  4. I’m another May baby but I’ve never had an emerald. The first ring I ever had (and didn’t lose) was a nice jade one–green but not an emerald (the lost one, left in a roadside Howard Johnson’s, was a peridot–also green. Hmm, there seems to be a theme here). The one I treasure most now is a natural (not manufactured) star sapphire, said to have been given to my widowed grandmother by a lover. I never asked her who.

    • Sheila, you were destined for the isle of green! I’m not sure what jade means, but the peridot symbolizes strength and protects the wearer from nightmares. The sapphire guards against evil and poisoning and is a symbol of purity and wisdom. I can’t believe you never asked about your aunt’s lover! What a story that might be!

  5. Mine is a sapphire. My parents gave me a sapphire ring on my 16th birthday and I wore it daily. Recently I noticed the stone had fallen out! Probably due to the fact I never took it to be cleaned or maintained. I’ll replace it – eventually. I have sapphire earrings and a bracelet I bought when I was in St. Croix. My “big” purchase (I was 22 and it was a lot of money for jewelry!).

    About sapphire: “The magnificent and holy Sapphire, in all its celestial hues, is a stone of wisdom and royalty, of prophecy and Divine favor. It is forever associated with sacred things and considered the gem of gems, a jewel steeped in the history and lore of nearly every religion. To the ancient and medieval world, Sapphire of heavenly blue signified the height of celestial hope and faith, and was believed to bring protection, good fortune and spiritual insight. It was a symbol of power and strength, but also of kindness and wise judgment.”

    • I, too, discovered the importance of caring for jewelry when I realized a diamond (small, thank goodness!) had been lost from one of my rings. You certainly have done your sapphire research! It was also believed to keep away snakes and protect the wearer from poisoning and evil.

  6. Kim, your emerald ring is a beauty. And how lovely, that you have your grandmother’s rings.

    My birthstone is opal, too, but they are far too fragile to wear everyday. My mother gave me one when I was in high school, with two opals intertwined. I’ve replaced both sets twice each, so I don’t wear it anymore. I did buy some opal jewelry in Australia, but no ring. The ring I wear is a sapphire that I bought myself with book sale money!

    My first jewelry, like everyone in my family, was as a newborn. Mine was a tiny gold ring in the shape of a little bow, with a minuscule seed pearl in the knot. I’ve always been afraid to lose the pearl, so up until just a year or two, I wore my younger brother’s plain one on my pinky. Yes, my hands are (were) that small!

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