Written by rdjadmin On May 15, 2017.
The beauty of May is the nice sunny days it provides. The grass is greener than ever, every flower is in full bloom and the trees are back to being covered by green leaves. In the gemological world, May is associated with a birthstone which has a narrow color range of intense, bright, and cool colors that has been sought after since ancient times. This month’s birthstone is Emerald. Emerald is a stone that belongs to the species (or family) called Beryl which includes other stones like: Aquamarine, Morganite, Heliodor and Red Beryl.
Photo courtesy of GIA.
Emerald got its name from the Greek word smaragdus which means green.
Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder once said, “Nothing green is greener than emerald.” Emeralds have many unique characteristics, but their color is the most important one of them. This is why Emerald is the world’s premier green stone, but the fascination for the color of this stone began around 330 B.C. Cleopatra began to mine for emeralds around the Red Sea and used to wear them in necklaces, but it was not just Cleopatra who fell in love with the green of emerald. The Incas in South America used emeralds in their jewelry. The emeralds found in Colombia were and still are considered the most beautiful in the world.
Photo courtesy of GIA
Geography of Emerald
Top quality emerald comes from four major sources Colombia, Brazil, Zambia and Sandiwara. Emerald found outside of one of these major sources, tends to be lower quality and rarely used in fine jewelry. These four countries are used as references for what color makes an emerald.
Chemical Composition, Crystal Structure and Physical Properties
Most quality emerald grows from metamorphic or sedimentary rocks. Natural emeralds occur when beryllium, aluminum, silicon, oxygen and one or more of the trace elements – chromium,vanadium and iron modify the color of the emerald crystal. Rough Emerald typically grows as a elongated six-sided prism. Since they have uniform physical properties, cutters appreciate that they can cut the stone in almost any direction. All emeralds have inclusions inside them, some of which can resemble garden looking structures known as Jardin (french for garden). Emerald cut emeralds (no pun intended) are the most common shape that this gem is cut to, but they can also be found in round, oval, pear, marquise, and when stones are heavily included they are cut into cabochons.
Emerald gives us a range of green colors that can be greenish blue to a pale green, these colors get enhanced when set in yellow metal , but you will find the stone also set in white metal. This beautiful greens make it highly attractive for designers and consumers alike. Emeralds can be found in necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings, and can be used for carvings and fantasy cuts (wild non-traditional shapes with intricate patterns.)
Wear and care of Emerald
Emerald has a 8 – 8.2 on the Moh’s scale. The Moh’s scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals on an exponential scale from 10 to 0. The top of the scale is Diamond at 10 and graphite at 0. Due to its relatively low hardness, Emerald is not ideal for heavy everyday wear. In the right setting and with the right care, this stone can look great for decades.
Just like a beautiful garden emerald offers unique characteristics that resemble the beauty of nature. Emerald is a stone that has become more popular in the recent years and can create some astonishing engagement rings, birthday or anniversary gifts. We have several sizes and shapes and not to mention many mountings to choose from, so on your next visit please ask us to show you the spectacular greens of Emerald.