By Anna Samsonova, CGA, Ben Bridge Jewelers
The Pantone Color of the Year is making a huge comeback!
Often imitated, never duplicated. It’s a phrase that describes emeralds, May’s birthstone, very well. Since the beginning of time emeralds have been a hot commodity. Cleopatra is believed to have had a huge love and admiration for the gemstone, although most of her collection turned out to be peridot. Roman Emperor Nero is believed to have had sunglasses made of emeralds, however this is unlikely due to their included and cloudy nature.
Nero’s supposed sunglasses were a representation of the stone’s power. Emeralds are mythically believed to help the eyes and open them to the future. Emerald is Spring’s stone; it signifies life force and has been associated with fertility.
Just like many Sapphires are heat treated to improve their appearance, most emeralds are oiled to improve theirs. This type of treatment is a normal and accepted practice in the world colored stone industry, and has been done in the same way for centuries. It is important to take extra care when cleaning your emerald jewelry. Use a soft toothbrush with warm soapy water instead of putting it in an ultrasonic cleaner which can damage or change the oil filling.
Emeralds, like diamonds, have a variety of interesting inclusions that make each stone unique. Their inclusions are sometimes called jardin, meaning garden (French), because when you look under a microscope they can look like beautiful mossy plant-life. These inclusions are not only beautiful, but can also aid in the identification of country of origin.
Most emeralds are now being mined in Columbia, Zambia and Brazil. Up until very recently, there was an Old West atmosphere surrounding the emerald mines in Columbia. Emeralds are very important to their economic structure and people will sometimes kill to get them.
Color is also a very important factor in the world of emeralds. Very slightly bluish green is the richest and most sought after color. All emeralds, regardless of color and inclusions are beautiful in their own way, just like May babies.
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