Green as the colour of new life, the emerald is an apt birthstone for those born in May, the height of spring.
Esteemed in all cultures across history, the emerald is a stone that is rich in symbolic meaning. Over centuries it has been believed to bring victory to its wearer, settle disputes, encourage eloquence in speech, provide a cure for epilepsy and calm a nervous disposition. More commonly, it is understood as a symbol of fidelity.
Although regarded as one of the most timeless and popular of gemstones, the emerald is also one of the most fragile. A great deal of care must be taken both when setting the stone into jewellery and even greater care when being worn. The crystal structure of the stone lends itself very easily to fracture. Even the highest quality emeralds will have a certain level of inclusions, and although rather pretty, these inclusions weaken the stone and make it very prone to breakage.
Because its fragility, the emerald is most often found in a cut-cornered, rectangular-form know as ‘emerald-cut’. This popular style allows metal claws to be set safely at the corners of the stone without putting undue stress or pressure on the emerald. The ‘emerald cut’ also allows a lot of light into the open top of the stone (or table as it is known), and thus is frequently used as it maximises the vivid green colour of an emerald.
Colour is one of the most important factors when it comes to valuing an emerald. The richer the green-tone the higher the price, with an intense blueish-green tone being highly coveted. Columbia is viewed as the premier source of the purest, best-quality emeralds and stones mined from here can collect many times the price of an inferior stone. It is worth noting that emeralds are often treated to strengthen the gemstone and enhance the green colour. This can detract from the gemstone’s value, and therefore it is important when buying emeralds (and all gemstones) that any treatment is disclosed and explained.
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