Emeralds, like aquamarines, are a variety of the mineral beryl. One of the most precious and highly-valued gemstones, fine emeralds are rarer than fine diamonds. This is due in part to the limited geological environments in which they are found; most emeralds were formed in areas where hot lava came into contact with sedimentary rocks.
Emeralds are mentioned in several places in the Bible. First, in the Breastplate of the High Priest in Exodus 28; in a listing of the gems of the King of Tyrus in Ezekiel 28; and (my favorite) as decorating the foundations of the city walls of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21.
With their beautiful green color, it is to be expected that emeralds would be associated with Spring. In many cultures emerald represents immortality. In the Christian tradition, emeralds are a symbol of faith and hope.
See our beautiful selection of gift suggestions for May birthdays, and read more about the origins of symbolic gifts for birthdays and anniversaries.
Proverbs 31 is a popular Scripture passage which describes the qualities of an ideal woman. In the original language, Proverbs 31:10-31 is an acrostic, in which each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (Click the link to read the passage in its entirety.)
Grace Communion’s Bible study website asks,
Of what value can this ancient poem be to the diverse, complex life-styles of women today? To the married, to the single, to the young, to the old, to those working outside the home or inside the home, to those women with children or without children? It is more relevant than you might at first expect. . .
For contemporary application of these qualities, we like the Proverbs 31 Ministries blog.
The month of May has several appreciation events of particular interest to women and those who honor them.
Of course there’s Mother’s Day on May 9 (which, in a glorious example of irony, I will probably spend at a major league baseball game watching my daughter’s choir sing the national anthem, or out in the woods hunting morel mushrooms with my husband).
In addition, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week May 3rd-7th, and National Nurses Week May 6th -12th. Of course not all nurses and teachers are women, but they still represent the majority in those professions, and have a unique ability to touch people’s lives.
Take this opportunity to think about the women in your life, and find a way to show them that you value and appreciate who they are and what they do! A handwritten note is meaningful and always appropriate. We also have a beautifully chosen selection of gift items on CelebrateYourFaith.com. (I have to put in a plug for one of my favorites, a beautiful gold and silver pendant symbolizing the Proverbs 31 passage.)
The Sistine Chapel was built in the 15th century by Pope Sixtus IV (hence the name). Though the walls were done by celebrated artist such as Botticelli and Perugino, the chapel is perhaps most famous for the ceiling frescoes of scenes from the Book of Genesis painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the early 1500s.
Michaelangelo was a sculptor, not a painter; his brilliance provoked the jealousy of the established artists of the day, who persuaded Pope Julius II to offer the ceiling commission to the young Michaelangelo in hopes that he would fail!
They were convinced that the young sculptor, who had never attempted a fresco before, would inevitably fail or, at the very least, become embroiled in a time consuming effort that would remove him from the competition for years. Michelangelo at first refused, protesting that he was a sculptor, not a painter. However, Pope Julius insisted and finally prevailed. . . after four years, [Michaelangelo] revealed a masterpiece.
Turn on your computer’s sound before taking the tour so you get the full effect.