|Name Origin:||From old French 'esmeralda' – meaning 'green gemstone'|
|Colour:||Various shades of green|
|Hardness:||7.5 out of 10 on Mohs Scale (softer than Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire)|
|Found in:||Primarily Colombia. Also other regions in South America, Africa and Australia.|
|Birth stone:||May (and Zodiac sign for Cancer)|
|Anniversary:||20th and 35th|
GREEN WITH ENVY
Emeralds belong to the ‘upper tier’ of well-known and sought-after gemstones. In fact, for more than 2000 years they have been a symbol of new life and devotion. The Egypti
ans, Indians, Incans and Aztecs all revered the stone, seeing it as everything from holy to a symbol of good luck and health.
For all their purity, emeralds are in fact naturally highly included. These many inclusions are referred to as “the jardin” – garden – due to each stone having its own unique ‘garden’ of fissures. It is the depth of colour however that determines value. The darker, richer hues are considerably more desirable.
Being synonymous with the colour green, it’s little wonder that the emerald has been linked to the season of Spring – specifically rebirth, fertility and love. The well-known ‘emerald cut’ seen in all gems today was originally created so that gemstone cutters could capture colour and light while avoiding damaging the natural inclusions of an emerald.
Columbian emeralds are often considered to be of the highest quality due to their saturated green colour.
The emerald is extremely popular as a gift that signifies love and new beginnings. Almost all emeralds are oiled – usually with cedar oil – to improve their clarity. If this oil coating is removed, the stone will lose its shine and inclusions may appear more noticeable. To avoid this, steer clear of cleaning agents – including soapy water. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners. Emeralds can be re-oiled to restore the previous appearance.
While the stone itself is quite hard, the occurrence of natural inclusions does mean special care should be taken with your emerald. Doing so will ensure years of service and plenty of great service!
A favourite with royalty – Queen Elizabeth II owns an emerald diadem, while 17th Century Indian Emperor Jahangir owned a cup made entirely from emerald. Also a favourite with ‘Hollywood royalty’ – Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich owned large collections of emerald jewellery. One of the world’s largest emeralds is the Bahia Emerald, at 1.9 million carats and valued at $400 million.