Happy birthday, May Babies!
(This is a personal favorite as this month is my birth-month too!)
Emerald Rough

Emerald Rough


​Emeralds are one of the most expensive and sought after gemstones on this planet. Ranging from a rich deep green through a pale soft mint, Emeralds can range from translucent – seeming to glow from within – to opaque. Almost all Emeralds contain within them, Inclusions that will affect the clarity of the stone. These tiny inclusions are actually what makes these gemstones seem to glow! The smaller and less dense the inclusions and the  more translucent and deep green, the more valuable, while the opaque/more included are less expensive. 
Emerald Rough 
Emerald Rough
Spanish emerald and gold pendant at Victoria and Albert Museum - By Junho Jung from Seoul, South Korea - Flickr, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8122208 
Spanish emerald and gold pendant at Victoria and Albert Museum
They are on the Moh’s Hardness Scale at 7.5-8, which would ordinarily be considered quite hard, but in reality their toughness is considered quite poor as they have inclusions that will “Cleave” and break along those inclusion lines that run inside the gemstone, sometimes without barely any pressure. A seemingly beautiful and perfect gemstone can practically fall apart in your hands if the right conditions present themselves. They are considered quite difficult to work with and are usually set into soft precious metals in Fine Jewelry. Lower quality opaque Emeralds are often sold as Green Beryl which are more easily obtained for less expensive jewelry and for crystal healing.

​​Emeralds are the green version of Beryl, a columnar and hexagonal prism crystal. Also in the Beryl family are Morganite (pink, purple, peach), Aquamarine (blue-green), Goshenite (colorless), Heliodor (yellow, golden), and Bixbite (red). Oriental Emerald is not in fact a true Beryl form of Emerald and instead is actually a Sapphire! Emeralds green color comes from Chromium, and in some stones you might find trace amounts of Vanadium as well. 
Varieties of Beryl- Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, Bixbite, and Heliodor.  Jeff Scovil photo 
Varieties of Beryl - Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, Bixbite, and Heliodor. Jeff Scovil photo
 Carolina Emperor Emerald - Source: CNN
Carolina Emperor Emerald
Emeralds are found all over the world, most notably: in Columbia, Russia, Austria, Norway, New South Wales, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Zambia, and in the USA – Connecticut, Montana, Nevada, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In North Carolina a huge Emerald named the Carolina Emperor was found in 2009 that rivals a famous Emerald once owned by Catherine The Great of Russia!

​A very special rare variety of Emerald is call a Trapiche Emerald. The rays or "Spokes" of Emerald is alternated with dark carbon rich mineral impurities forming a star or wheel with spokes. This type of Emerald has only been found (to date) in Columbia. 

​The World’s most extensive collection of natural emeralds is held in the Republic of Bogota Bank in Columbia. The largest crystal in the collection comes in at 1,795 carats (360g)!
A Trapiche Emerald: By Luciana Barbosa, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50318371 
A Trapiche Emerald
​History and Lore:
Emerald Specimine 
Emerald Specimen

​Long been thought of a symbol of fertility and life, Emeralds have also been associated with seasonal renewal. Seems fitting that Emeralds should be the birthstone for the month of May where Spring has officially Sprung in most places in the Northern Hemisphere, and flowers pop through the cool soil into the open air, ready for the next season of growth!

​Emeralds were first mined in Northern Egypt as early as 1300BCE, and in the book of Exodus in the Bible Emeralds are mentioned with other stones representing the Tribes of Israel, used in the breastplate of the High Priest. 
​​In the 17th Century, Anselmus de Boodt, the official physician to the Holy Roman Emperor recommended that an amulet made of Emerald was able to prevent panic, stop bleeding, and cool fevers. Taken internally it was recommended for protecting eyesight. Aztecs and Incas thought Emeralds sacred and carved them into jewelry and goblets. Emeralds were also believed to be a cure for dysentery when held in the mouth, and cured epilepsy when worn as an amulet. Emeralds were used to assist in childbirth, and warded off evil spirits – protecting chastity. However... ​The Smithsonian mentions one such unlucky sap, Albertus Magnus, who reported that Emeralds were also a sexual buzzkill – in the 13th century he reported that as the King of Hungary embraced his wife, his favorite emerald broke to pieces! (However maybe in a fit of jealousy during that hug, Albertus might have been clutching his stone pretty  hard, and being that Emeralds are brittle and fracture so easily, the force of just his mighty jealous fist might have popped is emerald along some weaker points in the specimen… Just a thought! Poor Albertus.....)
Anselmus de Boodt - By Iacono scanned the image, Sadeler is original artist - Syracuse University Art Galleries, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10516863 
Anselmus de Boodt
​​Today, emeralds are still used in metaphysical practices. Known as the “Stone of Successful Love” they are associated with the Heart Chakra and are thought to stimulate love in its purest form. They are also known to foster healing and protection, quieting your emotions. Emeralds are thought to enhance wisdom and deep inner awareness, and they strengthen love in relationships. They are thought to improve eyesight and support liver function, bring luck in legal matters, and bring awareness to the unknown realms of consciousness.  In healing layouts, to enhance love and clearer expressions place Emeralds over the Heart, Throat, or Third Eye Chakras. 
Gemstone Treatments:
Due to being so susceptible to breakage, Emeralds are usually treated in some way to protect them. These treatments could be injecting or filling them with epoxy or resin via intense pressure to help bind them from fracturing, or coating them with oil to prevent drying out. Some Emeralds are dyed to enhance the color of the stone but these are usually easily recognized by trained eyes. All treatments, if known, should be disclosed to the consumer. However, it is such a common practice to treat Emeralds that even if a treatment is not disclosed or known, Emeralds in general are considered to be treated in some way unless specifically mentioned as Untreated.  
Emerald Ring 

 ***Like the rest of the Jewelry and Gemstone Industry, I accept treating of Emeralds as long as the treatment is safe and permanent. However, I prefer to avoid Emeralds that have been dyed as I try to used stones as true to their natural state as possible. Plus, the dye may not be permanent in the long run. 

A word about Fakes: Synthetic Emeralds have made their way into the market starting in 1937 and they’ve had a lot of time to perfect the process so the fakes can actually look quite convincing. It’s important to source your Emeralds from reputable dealers. And if something looks too good to be true, ask about it! 

Famous Emeralds:
 The Hooker Emerald Brooch on display in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History - By dbking - Flickr 300_0016, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3244763
The Hooker Emerald Brooch set in Platinum by Tiffany and Co. weighing 75.47 carats and surrounded by 108 diamond. On display in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History
 The Gachala Emerald - By thisisbossi - https://www.flickr.com/photos/thisisbossi/3526711557/in/photostream/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10257070
The Gachala Emerald, found in Gachala, Colombia is one of the largest emeralds in the world at 858 carats (172 g). It was donated in 1969 by Harry Winston to the Smithsonian Museum.
The Chalk Emerald - Source: bellatory 
The Chalk Emerald ring, believed to have been formerly owned by the Maharani of Boroda, India, containing a top-quality 37-carat emerald set in Platinum by Harry Winston, in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History

  • The Guinness Emerald Crystal was discovered in the Coscuez emerald mines. It is one of the largest gem-quality emerald crystals in the world—1759 carats—and is the largest emerald crystal in the collection of emeralds belonging to the Banco Nacionale de la Republica in Bogota, Colombia. Source: ritani.com
    The Guinness Emerald Crystal was discovered in the Coscuez emerald mines. It is one of the largest gem-quality emerald crystals in the world—1759 carats—and is the largest emerald crystal in the collection of emeralds belonging to the Banco Nacionale de la Republica in Bogota, Colombia.
  • The Mogul Emerald - Source: thepracticalgemologist.com
    The Mogul Tablet, a rectangular tablet dating back to 1695. It weighs 217.80 carats and is about 10 cm high. One side of the tablet is inscribed with Islamic prayers and the other is engraved with scrolling foliage and poppy flowers. The emerald was originally mined in Colombia. It was then sold in India. Emeralds were much desired by the rulers of the Mughal Empire of the time. The Mogul bears a date of 1107 A.H. (1695-1696 AD) which falls under the reign of Aurangzeb, the sixth emperor. The Mogul emerald is unique among its contemporaries in that the inscription is Shi'a however Mughal rulers were Sunni. The explanation is that it likely did not belong to not to Aurangzeb but that it belonged but to one of his courtiers or officers. It was sold on 27 September 2001 by Christie’s for £1,543,750
  • The spectacular Seringapatam Jewels on display in the V&A Museum Image: Bellatory
    The famous Seringapatam Jewels, which is housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in England. The set consists of a necklace, brooch, bracelet, and earrings created from emeralds, diamonds, gold, and platinum. The emeralds were originally a reward given to British Major-General George Harris, following a victory at the Battle of Seringapatam in India in 17
I hope you've enjoyed learning about May's beautiful birthstone powerhouse, the Emerald! Enjoy your month! 
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