by John Brana May 01, 2010
Intense. Brilliant. Dazzling. How else could one describe the deep green color of May’s traditional birthstone, the emerald?
Emeralds are among the world’s oldest gemstones and have been discovered in many countries from as early as 1500 B.C. In the 1600s, the Emperor Jehangir of Persia owned a cup made from pure emerald which is now on display in New York City’s Museum of Natural History. In fact, Emeralds are featured in museum exhibits around the world and are also part of the Iranian National Treasury. Emeralds are also included among Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection and that of actress Elizabeth Taylor.
Emerald is actually a colorless mineral known as beryl and the intense color is derived from iron and chromium impurities. While natural emeralds come in many colors, green is the most commonly prized. Inclusions, or flaws are not unusual and in fact contribute to the character and fire of this gemstone. Fine emeralds are quite rare and are mined around the world in Brazil, Russia and India, while the most famous mines are located in Colombia and Zimbabwe.
Emerald’s natural flaws make the stones relatively fragile. Jewelry cutters developed a special cut specifically named for this gemstone because it helped to enhance its sparkle and brilliance and lessened the possibility of damage to the stone.
Cut Emeralds of today are routinely treated with special oils to enhance their beauty and require special care to maintain their sparkle and luster. Emerald jewelry should not be exposed to solvents or detergents as these can remove the oil, and therefore lessen the beauty and fire of the stone.
This fiery gemstone has a long and colorful history around the world and it is still highly valued in present day. The larger the stone, the more sparkle and brilliance is on display which makes May’s birthstone, the emerald, more highly prized than diamonds by many with a taste for fine jewelry. Green Tourmaline, Tsavorite Garnet, and Carnelian along with Bright Green Gemstones are considered the Alternative birthstones by Gem Dealers, Jewelry Designers, and Jewelry Manufacturers. If you are interested in custom jewelry set with Emeralds or Tourmaline, please Contact Me to request an estimate.
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