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May’s Birthstone, Emerald

Pliny, the first century traveller wrote about emerald that “no other stone has a colour more pleasing to the human eye’ and I think on that we can agree.  Emerald is the birthstone for May, the Zodiac stone for Cancer & the traditional 55th wedding anniversary gift – although I think we can forgive anyone who asks for one before this!

Emerald is from the Beryl family of gemstones, other members are Aquamarine (blue) and Morganite (peachy-pink).  Emerald is coloured by the element Chromium which gives it its distinctive green colour.  Gem deposits are found in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia amongst others. It is number 7 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, so suitable to be used in jewellery but perhaps not an everyday wear in rings.

It is rare to obtain extremely clean emeralds, especially in larger sizes, however the inclusions are known as le Jardin or the garden, as they are an attractive feature rather than a flaw.  As a brittle stone, emerald became fashioned into the ‘emerald-cut,’ a shape developed with cut corners to minimise the chances of knocks and chips.

Emerald is usually oiled to decrease the appearance of cracks and fissures through the stones, with this in mind, never do the washing up wearing your emerald sparkler (!) and avoid ultra-sonic cleaning machines.

Emerald is traditionally believed to strengthen the heart, liver and kidneys, and it’s supposedly calms the mind and relieves eye strain.  I for one would feel far less mind and eye strain if I had a whopper of an emerald on my finger, it must be true.

Emerald, May’s Distinctive Green Stone of the Month.

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