The King of Green
with its rich green reflecting the colors of spring, has been treasured
for thousands of years as an emblem of rebirth and enduring love. The
favorite of Pharaohs, prized by the Mogul rulers of India, and coveted
by the royal houses of Europe, no other green gemstone can rival the
emerald’s luxuriant green hue, entrancing beauty and eternal popularity.
Emerald is translucent to transparent. It is generally thought of as
green in color. But look closer, and you’ll discover subtle but
important differences in tones and hues. Some of the world’s finest
emeralds are described as slightly bluish green in color and medium in
tone. Pure green emeralds are also highly desirable. Emerald is part of
the mineral family called beryl. If a gem is too light in tone it is no
longer considered an emerald, but is referred to as green beryl. Common
in many emeralds are a wide variety of internal characteristics or
inclusions, often described collectively as a “garden.” Many feel that
this garden adds interest and individuality to an emerald. Emeralds
without these internal features are very rare and valuable.
Emerald is the birthstone for May.
Current key sources for emerald include Colombia, Brazil, Pakistan,
Africa and Russia.
Almost all emeralds are routinely enhanced to improve their
appearance. Both natural and manmade fillers are commonly introduced
into the fissures in emerald to reduce their visibility. Often referred
to as oiling or infilling, similar enhancements have been done on
emeralds for thousands of years. These types of enhancements are not
considered stable, as fillers will come out over time or when exposed to
Care should be exercised when both wearing and cleaning emerald
jewelry. The internal features found in most emeralds make them very
susceptible to sharp blows and sudden temperature changes. Never clean
an emerald with an ultrasonic cleaning machine or a steam cleaner. You
should not clean emeralds with strong detergents or most commercial
jewelry cleaners. The safest and best way to clean a piece of jewelry
containing emeralds is with cool water, a very mild soap and a soft
brush. Be sure to rinse and dry your jewelry thoroughly after cleaning.
Photo: Robert Weldon,
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