Sunday, May 1, 2011

Emerald: May's Birthstone

Emerald green ... darker than the new green leaves of spring and the lovely apples of fall ... a gorgeous, rich, velvety green that captivates and allures. Emeralds have been considered special since ancient times. Top quality emeralds can be more valuable than diamonds, and definitely more scarce. While emeralds have been found in many places around the globe, today's finest emeralds come from the mines of Colombia.

Emerald is a fairly hard, but brittle stone. Unlike diamonds, emeralds are rarely ever free of inclusions and fissures. In fact, these defects form the famed jardin of an emerald when looked at under low power magnification. To conceal the fissures, almost all emeralds are impregnated with oil. Such treatment is not considered a detriment to the value of the gem.
Here's a good look at the emerald jardin under two different magnifications. Photo courtesy of All About Gemstones, an excellent website for research about gems, their structure, origin and history.
One beautiful aspect of emeralds is that many have been expertly carved through the years. These carved specimens create a genre of jewelry beyond the beautiful faceted gems that we normally see.
Cartier Pin with a Carved Emerald Gem (1920s)
Alas, we have just a few pieces of emerald jewelry here at Vintages. While we have many items with lovely light green peridots and several with emerald green glass or crystal, all beautiful in their own right, but still not emeralds. Jewelry with exotics green jade and classic chrysoprase are also wonderful, whether carved or left as cabochons. But emerald jewelry is a class unto itself. Here is some of the emerald jewelry that we have at this time.
Emerald & Diamond Pendant in 14K Setting and Chain ($145)
Edwardian Gold-filled Brooch with Emerald ($95)
Emerald & Diamond Ring in 14K Gold Setting ($295)

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