May Birthstone: The Elegant Emerald
The May birthstone is the emerald a symbol of Spring and eternal youth. It is also usually associated with the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
The emerald’s green color is reflective of life, love and unity in many cultures and religions and thus emerald birthstones are associated with these qualities as well.
They’re among the most stunning of birthstones with a rich vibrant emerald green and an exciting sense of luxury. Fine quality emeralds are fairly uncommon and can be even more valuable than diamonds.
A Brief History of the Emerald
Emeralds were first mined in what are recognized at present as ‘Cleopatra’s Mines’ near the Red Sea in historic Egypt (now exhausted).
They were found across the necks of mummies with symbols carved into them to summon rebirth and new beginnings. Cleopatra wore emerald jewelry herself to reinforce her already unbelievable beauty.
The treasure chests for Indian maharajahs contained exquisite emeralds and were thought to have properties of health and prosperity.
The Mogul Emerald, one of the world’s largest found in one of these treasure chests was last sold at Christie’s of London in 2001 for $2.2 million dollars. It dates back to 1695 and weighs 217.80 carats. It is an unusual emerald with Islamic prayers carved on one side.
The modern emerald birthstone is derived from South America where the Incas and Aztecs once honored the gem as a holy stone.? The finest emeralds on this planet still come from this area today, in particular the Coscuez Mine in Columbia. The green color of the emeralds from this mine is especially shining and intense.
Interesting Facts about the Emerald Gemstone
Almost all emerald jewelry comes with stones that have inclusions, or small cracks and fissures within the stone that does not take away from its beauty. These inclusions are referred to as “jardin” (French for garden) to describe their unique plant-like appearance. Bigger inclusions are usually filled with oils or resin to make them less noticeable.
Despite the fact that emeralds are a hard stone, their natural inclusions give them a somewhat fragile makeup. The typical emerald rectangular cut was engineered to not only bring out the beauty of the gem, but to protect it from mechanical strain.
Since many emeralds today are treated with resins, it’s worth noting that there is a consequence to this remedy in sensitivity to cleansers. These emeralds should not be soaked in an ultrasonic cleaner or plunged in soapy water.
Emerald ring wearers ought to at all times remove the ring before doing any type of cleaning. Cleaning agents can strip the seal of the added resins, resulting in a dull look on the surface of the jewel.
May Birthstone Alternatives
As emeralds usually are very expensive a large number of people are looking for cheaper alternatives. A great alternative is the garnet, which is (together with the emerald) the traditional birthstone of May.
The agate can be found in an astonishing variety of colors and patterns. If you would like to stick to the birthstone color of April, which is green, you can easily find an amazing looking green agate for just a few dollars per carat.
How to Clean and Care for Emerald Jewelry
Because of the fragile nature of emeralds, it’s best not to wear your emerald jewelry on a daily basis – save it for special occasions. To clean emeralds, dip in a bowl of room temperature water without any soap added for about 10 seconds or so (no longer) and wipe down gently with a soft clean cloth. Cleaning should be infrequent, once a month at the most.