EMERALD: A GEMSTONE FOR GOOD LUCK AND MAY’S BIRTHSTONE

The great naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote in the first century AD “no stone has a color that is more delightful to the eye, there being no green in existence more intense than this.” Pliny is referring to the beautiful and vibrant hues of the beloved emerald. The emerald gemstone is a medium to dark green color and is part of the beryl family.  Emeralds are the birthstone for the month of May and also the gemstone for celebrating the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

The name emerald comes from the Greek word “smaragdos” through the Old French word “esmeralde,” which actually means ‘green gemstone.’  The emerald has been considered a valuable gemstone since the ancient times and worn by royalty.

Emeralds were first discovered in Egypt near the Red Sea, where they were mined for Egyptian pharaohs.  Cleopatra was a huge fan of emeralds and they even named the emerald mines in Egypt after her. She would often present visiting diplomats with emeralds carved in her likeness as a symbol of her power.  The Inca priests’ filled their templs with emeralds because they believe their goddess loved emeralds over anything else. In Islam, emeralds are often associated with paradise and is also the official color of Islam. The historical and cultural significance of Emeralds make it a widely popular and sought-after stone throughout the world.

People of ancient times thought of emeralds as a promise of good luck, and also to have healing properties or promoting good health.  The Aztecs regarded the stone as holy.   The deep green color emits a love of nature and harmony with the earth.

Today the emerald gemstone is mostly mined in South America and still plentiful.  Columbia is the home of the Muzo mine, where some of the finest quality emeralds are mined in the deep emerald color.  A large amount of emeralds are also found in Brazilian mines, which are lighter in color and have no inclusions.  Emeralds can also be found in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Zambia.

It is difficult to find an emerald with no inclusion, almost all have some type of eye-visible inclusion. However, emerald inclusions are often little signs that help us determine origin and the nature of the stone. The inclusions in an Emerald are actually very beautiful and is often referred to as a “jardin”. It is important to note that the inclusions in an emerald do make the gemstone more fragile than others.  The inclusions also tell you know that the gemstone is authentic and not synthetic or man-made.

As mentioned above, the emerald is a member of the beryl family.  Beryl is a clear and colorless gemstone.  Emeralds are formed when the beryl is combined with another element.  In this case, beryl, chromium, and vanadium combine for the deep rich emerald green color.   The beautiful deep green stone is fragile and makes cutting the stone a challenge for even the best gemologists.   The emerald rates a 7.5-8 on the Moh’s scale of hardness.

The emerald, one of the most precious gemstones is often found showcased in museums around the world.  You can see the famous emerald clad cup that belonged to Emperor Jehangir at the New YorkMuseum of Natural History.  This museum also houses one of the largest emeralds found, weighing in at 632 carats and nam
ed “Patricia.”

Signature pieces of jewelry have been a common thing for women for centuries and sometimes passed down through the generations.   You may want to create your own signature piece of jewelry with emeralds.  Emeralds are lovely in cocktail rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.   We can help you design your own signature piece of jewelry at Diamonds Forever.  Call me at  (619) 223-2151 to schedule an appointment for us to show you our exclusive designs or to create a design just for you.

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