May Birthstone: Emeralds
Emerald, the mystical gemstone that was a favorite of Cleopatra and numerous Maharajas of India is one of the oldest known gemstones. Its first reliable reference dates back to 3500 BC in Egyptian records. This magical green gemstone is a member of the beryl mineral family, along with aquamarine, golden beryl, morganite, goshenite, green beryl, and heliodor. Chromium, vanadium, and iron are the trace elements which create emerald from the colorless pure beryl. Color is the most important characteristic of emerald. Deep green hue without yellow or blue secondary hues is the most valued. Clarity is the second most important characteristic, almost all emeralds have inclusions. Their effect on the value depends on the overall look of the gemstone. Most emerald gemstones are heat treated with Cedar oil to improve their looks. It is a traditional practice and one that is generally accepted by the trade. Emeralds should be treated with care. During their initial formation trace elements settled on the crystal formations which caused the inclusions we see today. These inclusions, sometimes called ‘gardens’ can weaken the crystal structure. Clean your emeralds with gentle soap and water. Never use ultrasound. Never subject emeralds to abrupt temperature change. Emerald is the May birthstone and represents the beginning of Spring and the renewal of life. It symbolizes mercy, compassion, universal love, and promotes healing. In addition to being the May birthstone, it is also the traditional anniversary gift for the 20th, 35th, and 55th wedding anniversary. Emerald jewelry is so pleasurable to wear. Emeralds enhance every skin tone. They are beautifully set in both yellow and white metals. Traditionally, emeralds were set with an abundance of diamonds in magnificent tiaras and parures as well as adorning the headdresses of maharajas. Today we see emeralds combined with pearls, and just about every color of gemstone we have. Think green and yellow, green and red, green and purple, endless combinations. Put on your emeralds and enjoy them.