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'The Jewel' EMERALD

 

Emerald, derived from the Greek "smaragdos" means green stone, and probably in ancient times referred not only to emeralds, but most green stones. Emerald is the birthstone for May and the zodiac stone for those born under Cancer's sign. Throughout history emerald has been one of the most coveted and desired of gems. Associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, the emerald was believed to bestow upon the wearer faithfulness and unchanging love. Gazing into an emerald was also beneficial to the eyes.

Emerald belongs to the gem family beryl, the emerald being the most precious of the group. The most important deposits are in Colombia, producing the biggest and most beautiful emeralds. Much smaller quantities come from Brazil and from small deposits in East Africa which have been mined the last few decades, but there is an increasing shortage of fine emerald, and producers are having trouble keeping up with world demand.

Emerald is rarely free of flaws. More often than not emeralds contain numerous natural "inclusions," or small foreign bodies inside the stone. The inclusions can be tiny crystals of other gems that formed while the emerald itself was forming, small gas bubbles, or little pockets of liquid trapped inside the stone.

Note: Flawless emeralds are so rare that inclusions are expected in genuine emerald. When there aren't any inclusions, one wonders if the stone is in fact an emerald. Inclusions in emerald are very important. They can tell a jeweler many things about the stone. The inclusions themselves are part of the stone's look and personality. The French word jardin, meaning "garden," is a lovely and often-used term to describe inclusions in emerald.

The rare, rich green color of emerald has given it a unique place among gems. Ideal for classic designs and truly special occasions, emerald will always be cherished by its wearer. Emerald is a hard gem, but it can chip easily because it is somewhat brittle. It is important that it be treated with special care and cleaned only with a mild soap solution free of ammonia or other harsh cleaning solutions.

Stones of fine color, weighing more than 2 carats, are among the most highly valued gemstones, and their price may equal or exceed that of diamonds. 

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This page was last  updated on 31 May 2008