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Emerald Birthstone: A Detailed Look at the Мay Gem

What is an emerald?

Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl. This precious gemstone has a distinguished reputation for its striking tones that range from deep woodland to iced pistachio.

With a low facet structure, emeralds emit a softer brilliance which is balanced by their wider depth of colour compared to diamonds. An emerald looks beautiful when set in any metal colour and can be incorporated into both vintage and contemporary designs.

While emeralds register at 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, most are treated with oils and resins that fill their natural internal fractures, reducing the chance of breakage or damage to the stone.

Where do emeralds come from?

Emeralds can be found in various spots around the world, but today almost 80% of all production comes from three main areas in Colombia: Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor. The second-biggest producer, Zambia, is responsible for around 20% of the world’s production.

Emerald Meaning and Folklore

The May birthstone’s allure is steeped in history and legend. Across civilisations and epochs, the famed green gem has symbolised wealth, love and wisdom. From the days of Cleopatra’s reign in Egypt to the heights of the Inca empire and the grandeur of Indian kingdoms, emerald’s lush verdant hue has been synonymous with prosperity and passion.

In ancient Greece and Rome, the emerald was revered as the gemstone of Venus, embodying love and hope. Believed to possess calming energy and healing properties, the emerald was even thought to cure illnesses.

Today, it continues to symbolise loyalty, renewal and peace, making it a cherished token for celebrating love and commemorating milestones like the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

@taylorandhart Here are two truths and a lie about emeralds.💚 Can you guess which is which? Cleopatra was a huge fan, they are formed deep within the Earth's crust and wearing emerald earrings increases your chance of becoming best friends with Zendaya. Our jewellery expert, Mark, separates the facts from the fiction 💚 #maybrithstone #emerald #emeraldjewellery #greenwithenvy #birthstonejewellery ♬ Emeralds – Prod. By Rose

What do emeralds symbolise?

Various qualities and meanings have been attributed to emeralds across different cultures and traditions. Some common symbolic associations include:

Love and Relationships: Emeralds are often associated with adoration, affection, and emotional balance. They symbolise deep connections and loyalty in romantic relationships.

Growth and Renewal: The lush green colour of emeralds can be associated with vitality and regeneration. They’re often seen as symbols of new beginnings and fresh starts. Yes, please.

Wisdom and Insight: Emeralds are believed to enhance mental clarity, intuition and knowledge. They’re associated with intellectual pursuits and spiritual enlightenment.

Healing and Protection: In many cultures, emeralds are thought to have healing properties, both physical and emotional. They are believed to offer protection from negative energies and promote overall well-being. And, breathe…

Wealth and Prosperity: Historically, emeralds have been symbols of financial success and abundance. They have been treasured by royalty and elites throughout history as symbols of power and prestige. Count us in.

Harmony and Balance: Emeralds are often seen as symbols of peace and equilibrium both for oneself and in relationships. They represent a connection between the mind, body and spirit.

Overall, emeralds carry so many meanings and symbolism, making them highly valued and sought-after gemstones with enduring appeal, especially to people born in May.

Emerald History

The history of emeralds spans millennia, with the earliest recorded mining dating back to 330 B.C. in Egypt. Queen Cleopatra cherished emeralds and loved adorning herself as well as her palace with these exquisite gems. She even claimed ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. Yes, queen.

Emeralds were highly significant to the Egyptians, connoting fertility and new beginnings, and were often buried with monarchs as a form of protection in the afterlife. Further east, The Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, though made of a form of jasper, attests to emerald’s enduring cultural importance in the region.

Throughout history, emeralds have captivated civilisations worldwide, from their mystical associations in Roman times to their healing properties valued by the Aztecs and Incas. Even during the European Renaissance, emeralds adorned nobility, signifying wealth and cultural sophistication.

Emeralds continue to fascinate today, featuring prominently in pop culture, associated with the land of Oz, Disney’s Encanto and the Sonic game universe. They also command high prices in the world of jewellery, often seen on Hollywood stars such as Zoë Kravitz and Emma Stone, not to mention Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic $6 million emerald pendant.

Emerald Geological Properties

These gemstones have distinct geological characteristics that highlight their appeal. Bear with us, this might get a bit technical.

Chemical Composition: Part of the beryl family, emeralds consist mostly of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate. Also, the reason they’re green is because of trace amounts of chromium and vanadium embedded in their crystalline lattice.

Formation Process: Forming deep within the Earth’s crust, emeralds are affected by intense pressure and heat. This environment fosters the mixing of beryllium-rich minerals over millions of years. Totally worth the wait though.

Crystal Structure: Emeralds crystallise in a hexagonal system, manifested as six-sided prismatic structures, epitomising nature’s precise geometric formations.

Variability in Colour: Each emerald showcases a unique spectrum of greens, ranging from deep, intense shades to lighter, more nuanced tones. This diversity in colouration is influenced by factors such as impurities and the specific geological conditions when they’re formed. It’s similar to hydrangeas, for the green fingered amongst us. The colour of their petals is influenced by the PH levels of the soil they grow in-the same goes for emeralds but instead of PH levels, it’s influenced by the nutrients and minerals present in the earth where they form.

Inherent Characteristics: The term jardin, derived from French for garden, encapsulates the natural inclusions or flaws found within emeralds. These imperfections, ranging from tiny mineral inclusions to gas bubbles, contribute to the individuality and character of each gem and result in an almost moss-like appearance when you look beneath the stone’s surface – it’s part of its charm. Oui, oui.

Geographical Distribution: Major deposits of emeralds can be found in various regions worldwide, including Colombia, Brazil and Zambia. Each place influences them depending on what can be found underground, shaping their unique aesthetic and attributes. We have suppliers all across the world and will ensure we source the best stones based on your preferences. Whether you’re after an ever-so-slight teal tinge or whether you want the purest green stones, we’ve got you covered.

In essence, emeralds are a beautiful example of nature’s artistry that encapsulates really complex geological processes and has captivated admirers across civilisations for centuries.

Emerald Quality

When it comes to emeralds, what makes them truly special is a mix of factors that bring out their beauty and rarity. Let’s break it down:

Colour: The colour of an emerald is a big deal. The ones considered the best ones have a lush green tone with minimal hints of brown or grey. Think of it as that perfect shade of green you’d find in an enchanted forest, known as ‘pure green’ in the industry. Emeralds can appear in a range of tones that include yellow-green or extremely dark forest-green, but ultimately, what the best colour is the one you choose for yourself. It’s often said if you have three good emerald options – you’ll likely have one that almost calls to you and just feels like the right choice. Follow your gut.

Clarity: You might notice little flaws inside emeralds, called inclusions. They’re like nature’s fingerprints and actually add character to the gem. In fact, with these stones in particular, the whole charm of an emerald lies in its inclusions. If you’re looking for a flawless looking stone, emeralds might not be the choice for you. On the flip side, too many can make the stone look slightly cloudy, which then affects its quality so it’s important to get the balance right. We will only recommend stones that have a desirable amount of inclusions – nothing that features an obvious large placement on the stone’s surface or that could compromise its integrity.

Carat Weight: Like with any gem, size matters. Bigger emeralds are harder to come by and have a larger surface area to display internal imperfections – this means that finding the perfect one often comes at a premium. But a smaller emerald with top-notch colour and clarity can sometimes be even more prized. Decide which of the emerald quality factors is most important to you and then work to balance the remaining factors to fit within your price point.

What are the Best Cuts for Emeralds?

Emeralds are known to be softer than stones like diamonds and sapphires and can have various inclusions. This prompted the ’emerald cut’ to be developed. Characterised by rectangular facets and larger tables, these cuts are uniquely designed to enhance stability and form. This then allows a naturally fragile gem to be worn every day. An emerald cut engagement ring with an emerald centre stone is one of the most popular styles for this charismatic gemstone.

Some high-quality emeralds won’t have many inclusions, allowing them to be cut in the classic round, oval or other fancy shapes.

Those born in May, are quite lucky to have such a special stone to guide them through their birthday month. With connections to Cleopatra, Liz Taylor and even the Wizard of Oz himself, these precious gems have a rich history and a lot of meaning which makes them so special. So whether you’d like to wear an emerald as a talisman in the form of a pendant, keep them close to your thoughts as a pair of earrings or commit to making it the centrepiece of an emerald engagement ring, we’ve got you covered.

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