Emerald is the perfect birthstone for May, as it bears the luscious green color of springtime, reminding one of re-growth and fertility.
Emeralds have been coveted throughout human history, giving them deep spiritual meaning and incorporating them into the beliefs and religions of many cultures.
The ancient Romans associated emeralds with the love goddess, Venus, and believed the gem would bring passion, joy and unconditional love. Early Christians saw them as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection and the virtue of hope. Green is the holy color of Islam, and six of the seven heavens are said to be made of precious stones, the first being emerald. The Incas and Aztecs believed emerald was a holy gemstone and offered it to the gods.
Emeralds originally were worn by royalty including Queen Cleopatra and Atahualpa, the final Inca King of Peru whose headdress was the Crown of the Andes, a magnificent piece set with over 1,523 carats of high quality emeralds.
During the Middle Ages it was believed that emeralds held the ability to predict the future. Many also thought wearing emeralds would grant patience, insure youth and good fortune and were a symbol of rebirth. While the soothing color of the stone was believed to rejuvenate the eyes, stop bleeding and prevent epilepsy.
Taken from the Greek word, “smaragdos” which loosely translates as green stones, emerald is the vivid green member of the beryl family. (Other beryl members include aquamarine, heliodor and morganite.) In fact, emerald is defined by its very specific, rich color and it is also the most important quality factor for the gemstone. Chromium, vanadium, and iron are the trace elements that cause emerald’s color, which ranges from bluish green to pure green. Beryls with weak saturation or light tone should be called "green beryl" rather than emerald; and stones with hues that are too blue-ish are typically classified as aquamarine.
Usually discovered inside shale which is a fine-grained sedimentary rock, emeralds typically contain inclusions or fractures, referred to as “jardin,” from the French word meaning garden. Eye-clean emeralds are rare, extremely valuable and almost impossible to find. Unlike many other gemstones, the inclusions and additional flaws found in emeralds are considered part of the stone’s character and charm, and the lack of any inclusions is often a sign of a fraudulent stone. With that said, when the inclusions cloud the stone and have a negative effect on transparency, they also dramatically reduce in value.
Because of their coloring, emeralds work well set in all types of metals. But don’t surround them with too many other stones, emeralds are so rich and elegant, they need to shine on their own! Contact us to find you the perfect emerald for your one of a kind piece!
Gifting Emerald: Emerald is always a perfect birthstone for a May baby, but it is also the customary 20th and 35th wedding anniversary gift.
Origins: The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating back to 330 BC. However, the most famous emerald mines, producing the world’s largest and highest quality stones are located in Colombia. Zambia is the second largest producer. Emeralds are also mined in Brazil, Russia, Pakistan, Australia, and here in the United States, emeralds can be found in North Carolina.
Emerald Care: They are classified with a hardness of 7.5-8 the Mohs scale, making them hard enough for all types of jewelry. However, because emeralds contain numerous inclusions, they can be brittle and easily fractured. So we would not recommend wearing an emerald gemstone for daily use or when you might be engaging in physical activity that might scratch the stone.
To clean your emerald, use warm water, mild dish soap and a toothbrush to scrub behind the gemstone where dirt can collect. Do not clean an emerald in ultrasonic cleaners or steam cleaners.
Many natural emeralds are soaked in a green-colored oil to help define their shading and luster. Over the years as the stone begins to dull a quick soak in mineral oil can help return the emerald to its original shine.
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