May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring, so it’s only fitting that the bold emerald be the symbol of the month. It carries the rich, green color of this season of rebirth.
Derived from the word “smaragdus” meaning green in Greek, it was believed to give the owner foresight, good fortune and youth. Today the emerald is a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings
A Storied History
First mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, Cleopatra was famous for wearing emeralds. This female monarch even claimed ownership of all the emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. Ancient civilizations believed emeralds had mystical powers and could cure stomach problems, epilepsy and even stop bleeding. Emeralds were thought to ward off panic and keep the wearer relaxed. They were so important in Egyptian culture, that mummies often were buried with an emerald carved on their necks to symbolize eternal youth.
Today, these gemstones are mined mostly in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. They are the rarest of the gems, and the availability of high-quality emeralds is limited.
All About Color
Emeralds are part of the beryl mineral family, just like aquamarine. Their color can range from light green to a deep, rich green. The way the color presents itself depends on a good cut.
The deeper and more vivid the green color, the more valuable the stone is. The most expensive and beautiful gems exhibit an intense bluish hue in addition to their bold, green color.
How to Buy an Emerald
With an emerald, it all comes down to color when deciding on your gem. Look for color that is evenly distributed and not too dark. When checking its hue and saturation, know that the cut is critical as this is what will maximize the desirable green color. The traditional “emerald” cut helps the stone really sparkle.
You will likely see inclusions with the naked eye, but this will not detract from the value of your stone as emeralds are known for these markings. You will, however, see a big difference in price based on the size of the stone. While emeralds are often worn by the rich and famous as a statement piece, you might not be in the market for a tiara (think Princess Eugenie’s eye-catching pop of color [at her wedding). Your jeweler can help you choose the perfect piece for you no matter what your budget.
If you are looking at an emerald for an engagement ring or including emeralds with a diamond solitaire, be aware that emeralds are not as hard as diamonds. Due to that, and because up to 90 percent of emeralds may be fracture-filled, it’s important to take extra care when wearing and cleaning. Heat, light and chemicals can damage the gemstone so no steam or ultrasound cleaning methods should be used. Clean with only mild soap, warm water and gentle scrubbing to keep your gem sparkling for many years to come.
In addition to the care you provide your jewelry, be sure to get it insured right away. Ask for a personalized jewelry insurance quote from Lavalier, and get the peace of mind you deserve.
- May Birthstone. www.AmericanGemSociety.com. (accessed April 3 2019).
- Guide to Gemstones. www.wixonjewelers.com. (accessed April 3 2019).
- All About Emeralds, The May Birthstone. www.brilliantearth.com. (accessed April 3 2019).