I first got turned on to emeralds in Munich, Germany, while walking through a museum housing some of the most fantastic pieces I had seen. I remember being in a short passage (lined with cases of incredible jewelry) and glancing to my left seeing green fire. The emerald in the collection was a square emerald cut, absolutely clear, and a sparkling, radiant green. This beauty was what had truly made people admire, love, and desire emeralds, and helped me appreciate what the finest quality in a gemstone can truly evoke. Emerald is May’s traditional birthstone, symbolizing love and success. Both are appropriate symbols for this stone, as love and success can be fragile, as is this gemstone.
Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl and get their green coloring through trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. A fine emerald must possess a pure verdant green coloring, although they can range in hue from yellow-green to blue-green.
Although many of my customers are drawn to the emerald because of its beautiful color, with a hardness of just 7.5 to 8 on the 10-point Mohs scale, emeralds must be expertly set by jewelers to ensure their safety and protection. Whenever I work with emeralds, I tell my customers to wear these stones carefully, especially in rings.
When I look for an emerald for a customer, I use a grading scale: Color, Cut, Clarity and Crystal, also knows as “the four Cs” of gemstone quality. Of these four, emerald color is by far the most important with ‘crystal’ or transparency – which gemologists call ‘diaphaneity’ — a close second.
Emeralds can have numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures, unlike their much stronger cousins, the diamond. These diminish as the quality of the emerald goes up. Again, this is why it pays to buy from an experienced jeweler like myself, so you know you are getting the very best emerald for your investment.
Love emeralds? Come see me to find the best cut, the most beautiful color — and best setting for your beautiful May gemstone.