In the Midwest, spring brings the return of color and life to our outdoor views, making emerald the perfect birthstone for the month May. The deeply saturated green of emerald reminds us of walking barefoot in the grass and the soft rustle of new leaves in the trees. Let’s learn more about this spectacular precious gemstone!
What are Emeralds?
Emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral that grows with six sides and up to a foot in length. Emerald color can range from light green to a deep, rich green. The emerald was mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, but some estimate that the oldest emeralds are 2.97 billion years old. (Source: www.americangemsociety.org) Emerald gets its green color from trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale. Most emeralds are highly included, so their toughness (resistance to breakage) is typically classified as poor.
Where are Emeralds found?
Emeralds are found all over the world, including Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly. (Source: www.americangemsociety.org)
Metaphysical Properties of Emeralds
Called the “Stone of Successful Love,” Emerald opens and nurtures the heart and the Heart Chakra. Its soothing energy provides healing to all levels of the being, bringing freshness and vitality to the spirit. A stone of inspiration and infinite patience, it embodies unity, compassion and unconditional love. Emerald promotes friendship, balance between partners, and is particularly known for providing domestic bliss, contentment and loyalty. It was dedicated in the ancient world to the goddess Venus for its ability to insure security in love. [Melody, 257][Hall, 126][Ahsian, 148][Gienger, 36][Mella, 84]
The Chalk Emerald
The superb clarity and color of the Chalk Emerald ranks it among one of the world’s finest Colombian emeralds. This 37.8-carat emerald exhibits the velvety deep green color that is highly prized. According to legend, the Chalk Emerald was once the centerpiece of an emerald and diamond necklace belonging to a Maharani of the former state of Baroda, India. It originally weighed 38.4 carats, but was recut and set in a platinum and gold ring designed by Harry Winston, Inc., where it is surrounded by 60 pear-shaped diamonds totaling 15 carats. It was donated to the Smithsonian by Mr. and Mrs. O. Roy Chalk in 1972 and is on display in the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. Source: www.ritani.com
Diadem of the Duchess of Angoulême Marie Thérèse of France
The history of this exquisite tiara is almost as complicated as that of its famous owner, the Duchess of Angouleme. It’s value is immense not only because of the exceptional stones used for its creation but also because of the fact it is one of the few pieces of jewelry of the period that remain in their original state.
This tiara was commissioned in 1819 by Louis-Antoine, the Duke of Angouleme for his wife Marie-Therese, the Duchess of Angouleme. According to Bernard Morel’s masterpiece “Les Joyaux de la Couronne de France” (Crown Jewels of France), pictured below. The final work on the tiara was completed in late 1819 or early 1820. After a long list of owners the diadem finally became the property of the Louvre Museum, where it is displayed today.
If you love emeralds you’re in good company. These bright, saturated gems are a favorite amongst celebrities, too!
Elizabeth Taylor stunning diamond and emerald earrings by Bulgari were gift from Richard Burton while filming Cleopatra in Italy. The earrings features 15.06 carat total weight dangle earrings with over 7.5 carat total weight pear shaped emeralds and 1.64 carat weight round cut diamonds set in 18k while gold. Source: www.mydiamondblog.com
Angelina Jolie wore a pair of now famous emerald-drop earrings to the 2009 Oscar red carpet. The expensive emerald drop earrings by Lorraine Schwarts valued at $2.5 million and weighing a total of 115 carats. Jolie also wore a matching 65-carat emerald ring by Lorraine Shwartz worth over $1million. Angelina Jolie’s jewelries total sum was $3.5 million. Source: www.mydiamondblog.com
Beyonce wore more than $10 million in Lorraine Schwartz diamonds to the 2015 Grammy’s, including 80-carat Colombian emerald-and-diamond chandelier earrings and over 100-carats of emerald and diamond rings.
Blake Lively wore $7 million worth of extravagant jewelry, featuring two Lorraine Schwartz cuffs set with enormous vivid green emeralds and diamonds.
How to Choose an Emerald
Look for an emerald that is bluish green to pure green, with vivid color saturation and tone that’s not too dark. The most-prized emeralds are highly transparent – their color is evenly distributed, with no eye-visible color zoning.
Emeralds typically contain inclusions that are visible to the unaided eye. Because of this the presence of inclusions in emeralds is generally accepted. Eye-clean emeralds are especially valuable because they’re so rare.
The emerald cut is especially important. Since the emerald is an inherently brittle gem, great care must be taken with the cut design to minimize the effect of inclusions or fractures on the finished stone. The emerald cut can help protect against damage because the vulnerable corners are faceted and provide a comparatively safe place for prongs. The cut can also affect the color of the finished gem, thus affecting the emerald’s value. The proportions and number of facets can either add or detract from the stone’s hue, tone and saturation. The table should be oriented so that it’s perpendicular to the crystal’s length, thus accentuating the prized bluish green color. Source: www.gia.edu
How to Care for Emerald Jewelry
Some estimates state that 90 percent or more of emeralds are fracture-filled. Since the great majority of fashioned natural emeralds contain filled fractures, it’s risky to clean them ultrasonically or with steam. Ultrasonic vibrations can weaken already-fractured stones, and hot steam can cause oil or unhardened resin to sweat out of fractures. Using warm, soapy water coupled with gentle scrubbing is the safest way to clean emeralds. Source: www.gia.edu