We’ve been all about emeralds this month which is fitting as emerald is indeed May’s birthstone. Traditionally it’s been used as a symbol of fidelity, goodness and love.. and it’s a cracking colour to boot. Pliny, the first century explorer, is noted to have said of emerald, ‘no other stone has a colour more pleasing to the human eye’ – I’m inclined to agree.
Emeralds are a form of Beryl and it’s distinctive green colour comes from the element chromium. Amongst others, emeralds are mined in Colombia, Russia, Africa, Pakistan, Brazil and Zambia.
It is rare to obtain extremely clean emeralds, especially in larger sizes, however the inclusions are known as Jardin or garden as they are an attractive feature rather than a flaw. As a brittle stone, the cutting of this stone led to the creation and subsequent popularity of ‘emerald cut’ stones (cut corners). Emerald is usually oiled to decrease the appearance of cracks and fissures through the stones – keep them well away from the washing up liquid, now there’s an excuse!
As well as being the birthstone for May it is also the stone for the Zodiac sign of Cancer and is the traditional gift for 55th wedding anniversaries – although to me, the colour of this beautiful gemstone is reason enough.