The gemstone for May is the emerald, which has been used for jewellery for over 4000 years, not surprising given its beauty. Emerald is a green stone from the Beryl family.To be considered an emerald, the colour of the stone must fall into a range from yellow-green to blue-green. Very light green stones are called green beryl. The green of the emerald needs to be quite vivid too. A few of the green stones in the Victorian ring pictured below are light in colour and might be considered to be green beryl. It is not always clear cut, though, about when a green beryl becomes an emerald.
Emeralds can also have a lot of natural inclusions and fractures, and have been traditionally heated and oiled to fill the fractures. Inclusions can be useful though as you know that the stone is natural and that it is not a synthetic stone.
The clearer an emerald is, without inclusions, the more valuable it will be. As well as inclusions, the emerald can be a tricky stone to use because, although it is a hard stone, it can be quite brittle. This brittleness affects the way that an emerald is cut, resulting in the ’emerald cut’ which has a flat table and stepped sides, thus reducing the possibility of chipping. Other cuts are used, of course, depending on the stone and how it is to be worn.
I hadn’t realised when I selected the pieces for today’s post that all partnered pearls with the emeralds. Pearls and emeralds complement each other so well, particularly when set in gold.