Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet flowery month of May
And wears an emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and happy wife..
The sweltering month of May is upon us with all the wrath of the sun in its folds with emerald stone. Maybe we can distract you from the scorching heat with a little insight on gemstones by the month of birth. And what better month to start with than the one that currently torments us!
May borns are understood to be resolute, yet understanding. Their enthusiasm and physical attractiveness make them quite irresistible. As charming as these May-borns are, they always claim the attention of everybody around them. It is no wonder then, that the birthstone of those born in May, is the regal Emerald stone.
Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl, coloured green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale. Most Emeralds are highly included, so their toughness is classified as generally poor. And yet, the rarity of finding a beautiful emerald in rich hues makes it a gemstone dearer than all, but diamonds.
The word “Emerald” is derived from the Latin Esmaralda/Esmaraldus, a variant of Latin Smaragdus, meaning green. Emeralds in antiquity have been mined in Egypt since 1500 BCE, and India and Austria since at least the 14th century CE. Colombia is by far the world’s largest producer of Emeralds, constituting 50–95% of the world production. Rare ‘trapiche’ Emeralds are found in Colombia, distinguished by a six-pointed radial pattern made of ray-like spokes of dark carbon impurities. Zambia is the world’s second-biggest producer, with its Kafubu River area deposits.
In general, while grading coloured gemstones, colour is the most important criterion. However, in the case of Emeralds, clarity is considered a close second, and both colour and clarity are necessary conditions. A fine emerald must possess not only a pure verdant green hue but also a high degree of transparency to be considered a top gem. Emeralds tend to have numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures. Unlike diamond, where the loupe standard, or a 10× magnification, is used to grade clarity, Emerald is graded by eye. If an emerald has no visible inclusions to the eye, it is considered flawless. It is important to note that now jewellers across the world have embraced paler hues with enthusiasm, the uncommonness of the colours in jewellery being a large motivation to do so.
Emeralds that lack surface breaking fissures are extremely rare and therefore almost all Emeralds are treated to enhance the apparent clarity. The inclusions and fissures within an Emerald are sometimes described as “Jardin” (French for ‘garden’), because of their mossy appearance. These imperfections within the stone are unique to each emerald and can be used to identify a particular stone and make Emeralds more likely than other gemstones to be cut into cabochons, rather than faceted shapes. Faceted Emeralds are most commonly given the Oval cut, or the signature Emerald cut, a rectangular cut with facets around the top edge.
Green is the colour of fertility and prosperity. In the western world, as the gem of Venus, the Emerald was considered to aid in fertility. Cleopatra, Egypt’s tempestuous female monarch was as famous for wearing Emeralds in her time as Liz Taylor is for wearing diamonds in our time. Ancient Egyptian mummies were often buried with an Emerald carved with the symbol of verdure– flourishing greenness–on their necks to symbolize eternal youth.
In India, the Emerald is considered the gemstone of planet Mercury. In Hindu mythology, Mercury is the son of the Lord of Love and is a manifestation of Wisdom and Words. However, the planet is also known for its dual nature and as shrewd and astute are those born under the sign of Mercury, those afflicted by the negative effects of the planet may suffer memory loss, inadequate reasoning power, speech defects, lack of concentration, and/or insomnia. The Emerald is believed to shield its wearer from these ill effects of the largely benefic planet. It is believed to harness the positive energy of the planet to its wearer and bring him/her confidence. Mercury also symbolizes younger siblings, in particular, sisters, and the Emerald is therefore believed to nourish the bond between siblings. To reap the astrological benefits of any gemstone, it is recommended that the stone remains in close contact with the skin, as it would in an open set ring or pendant.
The Emerald has been an integral part of quintessential Indian jewellery. Temple Jewellery of South India uses the green hues to brilliantly contrast the rubicund shades of rubies, while Kundan and Moghul Jewellery showcase the Emerald in all its glory. Stones of higher caratage are now being used in conjunction with diamonds for added splendour.
Whether it wards off the ill effects of Mercury, or to aid fertility, or maybe just because you need Emeralds to coordinate with your favourite outfit, we, at Gehna, understand and respect every need. Visit us, or contact us to design your Emerald masterpiece. Talk to us about what other gemstones you would like to enhance the beauty of your precious Emeralds. Brainstorm with our designers on how you can make your emerald sing the green song and wear the perfect handcrafted piece with pride.
If you liked reading our blog on exquisite emeralds, you may also be interested to explore more about our article on Legends and Lore Surrounding Emerald Jewelry & Elegant Emerald Jewellery for a Taurus Woman.