May Birthstone: Emerald
Emerald’s lush green has soothed souls and excited imaginations since antiquity. The word comes from the ancient Greek word for green ‘smaragdus’ means quite literally. Rome’s Pliny the Elder described emerald in his Natural History, published in the first century AD:’…nothing greens greener,” was his verdict.
He described the use of emerald by early lapidaries, who ‘ have no better method of restoring their eyes than by looking at the emerald, its soft, green colour comforting and removing their weariness and lassitude.’’ Even today, the colour green is known to relieve stress and eye strain.
The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC into 1700s. Cleopatra was known to have been passionate about emeralds and used it in her royal adornments.
Emeralds, from what is now Colombia, were part of the plunder when sixteenth-century Spanish explorers invaded the New World. The Indians had already been using emeralds in their jewellery and religious ceremonies for over 500 years. The Spanish, who treasured gold and silver far more than gems, traded emeralds for precious metals. their trades opened the eyes of European and Asian Royalty to emerald’s majesty.
Emerald is often mined and sold under peril—the natural resource Colombians cherish, is also coveted by underworld drug traders. The availability of fine-quality emerald is limited, and emerald was plagued in the late 1990s by negative publicity about treatments commonly used to improve its clarity.
Legend has it that emeralds give the power to make its wearer more intelligent and quick-witted. It was once also believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. The colour reflects new spring growth, which makes it the perfect choice of a birthstone for the month of May.
Emerald is the most famous member of the beryl family. It’s also the gemstone for twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
Colombia (highly regarded for their colour)
Zambia (known for good clarity)
CARE AND CLEANING
*Most emeralds have been fracture-filled. An emerald’s appearance may change over time due to the instability of its filling material. Depending upon their condition, emeralds may be retreated by an experienced professional
*Never steam clean or ultrasonic clean your emeralds alway; use warm soapy water for safety and to avoid vigorously scrubbing your gem.
*Never wear your emeralds while showering, swimming or sleeping.
*Always put your jewellery on after you’ve applied make-up, hairspray or perfumer the chemicals may damage the emeralds.
*Your emerald jewellery can be easily scratched, so be sure to store it separately from other gemstones.
TOP 3 MOST EXPENSIVE EMERALDS
Angelina Jolie’s Emerald Earrings – $2.5 Million
Her $2.5 million emerald drop earrings absolutely stole the show at the 2009 Oscas. That was a tough feat considering the fact that Angelina was wearing a sensational strapless black ensemble. The emerald look was such a hit that it instantly started a trend among jewellery and fashion enthusiasts alike
Elizabeth Taylor’s Emerald and Diamond Necklace, Brooch, Ring, Bracelet, and Earrings – $100 Million
Elizabeth Taylor was known for many things including her acting roles and multiple marriages. She was also known to have one of the most impressive jewellery collections in the world. Among her many jewels was her emerald set, which included a necklace, brooch, ring, bracelet, and pair of drop earrings. Together the pieces come to a sum of nearly $100 million! Her husband, Richard Burton, gifted her with these incredible jewels as well as many others.
“I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can’t possess radiance; you can only admire it.”
– Elizabeth Taylor
The Emerald and Diamond Tiara – $12.76 Million
In 1900, German Prince Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck commissioned this fabulous emerald and diamond tiara for his second wife Katherine. The exquisite, not to mention costly piece, features 11 pear-shaped polished emeralds totalling 500 carats as well as countless colourless diamonds. It is no surprise that this tiara managed to sell for nearly $13 million.
Written by Sary Rayess-AJP GIA