Anniversary stone: 35th year of marriage
Like aquamarine, emerald is a member of the beryl family. Its vivid green colour combined with its rarity has helped make emerald one of the world's most valuable and popular gemstones. A fine quality emerald with a good colour and clarity is considered to be more valuable than many diamonds. South America is the world's major supplier of emeralds followed by Colombia and Brazil. There are also several mines in Africa still in operation. Derived from the Greek word “smaragdos” meaning “green gem”, it is the emeralds stunning green colour that has earned it the name “green fire”.
All emeralds contain natural inclusions called “jardin”, from the French word “garden”, due to their resemblance to foliage. These inclusions provide the stone with additional depth. Well loved by jewellery designers, a special cut was developed for this particular gem called the “emerald cut”. The clear design of this rectangular or square cut with its bevelled corners shows the beauty of this gemstone to its best advantage and also protects it from any strain during the setting process.
The Mohs’ scale measures a gems relative hardness on a scale of 1 to 10 based on the stones “scratchability”. Diamond is the hardest at 10, sapphire and rubies measure 9, with pearl at around 3 ½ and amber at 2 ½. Emerald is relatively hard at 7 ½ on the Mohs’ scale.
Care and Cleaning:
Emeralds are reasonably hard and so do not scratch particularly easily, however the natural inclusions that they carry can make them fragile if they receive a hard blow . For many years it has been standard practice to treat emeralds with colourless oils or resins to seal any inclusions that appear on the surface of the stone. The oils enter the inclusions and make them less apparent. These treatments can dramatically improve the appearance of the gems but also require special cleaning and care.
Any emerald jewellery should be removed before using strong detergents or carrying out heavy work. Steam and ultra sonic cleaners found in jewellery stores should not be used to clean emerald jewellery as they can remove the oils that make the inclusions invisible. The use of solvents should also be avoided. The best way to clean your emerald jewellery is by using warm soapy water and a toothbrush to remove any dirt and grease.
Legend and Lore:
Cleopatra was a great lover of emeralds often wearing lavish emerald jewellery and giving carved emerald gemstones as gifts to dignitaries when they left Egypt.
The green colour of the emerald is said to symbolise new life and re-growth and is associated with spring time. For centuries it has also been the colour of beauty and of constant love, a gift of emerald is considered symbolic of love and devotion. As green is considered to be a calming colour some people use emeralds to soothe their eyes and bring them good health. Emeralds are also said to have healing properties and are extensively used for physical and emotional healing.