The birthstone for May is the beautiful emerald. Known as the gem of spring, its green colour evokes the freshness of new growth. Emeralds are also given on twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
Emerald gemstones were mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC and Cleopatra is perhaps the most famous historical figure to covert emerald gemstones, claiming ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign.
When it comes to emeralds, colour is the most important factor, subtle variations make a big difference in value. The most desirable emerald colours are bluish green to pure green, with a vivid colour saturation, and the most-prized emeralds are highly transparent.
Named after the gemstone, the emerald cut (or step cut) is classic, featuring parallel facets that are precisely cut, going down in steps from the top open facet, enabling the colour to shine through.
The brilliant cut option has triangular cut facets varying in number depending on the shape of the emerald. It requires very precise cutting and produces the most sparkle.
The mixed cut combines the emerald cut and the brilliant cut to provide a stunning balance of sparkle and colour.
Cabochon cut emeralds have a smooth rounded exterior and a flat bottom. They are easier to produce than other cuts and are therefore more affordable.
Emeralds are a little more delicate than a lot of other stones so need to be cared for correctly, they can be easily chipped or scratched so be careful not to store your emerald so it can rub against other pieces in your jewellery box.
Cleaning chemicals can affect your emerald over time and cause it to lose its lustre, they also attract grease and soap. So don’t wear your emerald when gardening or cleaning.
Warm, soapy water coupled with gentle scrubbing is the safest way to clean emeralds. Ultrasonic cleaning is not recommended as emeralds have often been fracture filled.
Emeralds are beautiful stones and with proper care and love, they will last for generations.