The King of Green... Emerald, with its rich green reflecting the colors of spring, has been treasured for thousands of years as an emblem of rebirth and enduring love. The favorite of Pharaohs, prized by the Mogul rulers of India, and coveted by the royal houses of Europe, no other green gemstone can rival the emeralds luxuriant green hue, entrancing beauty and eternal popularity.
Emerald is translucent to transparent. It is generally thought of as green in color. But look closer, and youll discover subtle but important differences in tones and hues. Some of the worlds finest emeralds are described as slightly bluish green in color and medium in tone. Pure green emeralds are also highly desirable. Emerald is part of the mineral family called beryl. If a gem is too light in tone it is no longer considered an emerald, but is referred to as green beryl. Common in many emeralds are a wide variety of internal characteristics or inclusions, often described collectively as a "garden." Many feel that this garden adds interest and individuality to an emerald. Emeralds without these internal features are very rare and valuable.
Emerald is the birthstone for May.
Current key sources for emerald include Colombia, Brazil, Pakistan, Africa and Russia.
Almost all emeralds are routinely enhanced to improve their appearance. Both natural and manmade fillers are commonly introduced into the fissures in emerald to reduce their visibility. Often referred to as oiling or infilling, similar enhancements have been done on emeralds for thousands of years. These types of enhancements are not considered stable, as fillers will come out over time or when exposed to high heat.
Care should be exercised when both wearing and cleaning emerald jewelry. The internal features found in most emeralds make them very susceptible to sharp blows and sudden temperature changes. Never clean an emerald with an ultrasonic cleaning machine or a steam cleaner. You should not clean emeralds with strong detergents or most commercial jewelry cleaners. The safest and best way to clean a piece of jewelry containing emeralds is with cool water, a very mild soap and a soft brush. Be sure to rinse and dry your jewelry thoroughly after cleaning.
Photo: Robert Weldon, Copyright Professional Jeweler Magazine
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