There are less than 5 days left in May! This month has absolutely flown by. May babies, I didn't forget about you! Your birthstone is the Emerald, and I've been saving this post until a very special ring came in:)
Its hard to believe that it has nearly been a year since my incredible adventure to Brazil. Emeralds will always hold a special place in my heart not only because of their beauty but because of my personal experience pretending to be a gem hunter in the emerald mines of Minas Gerais last Summer.
Gemology books can teach you a lot about gemstones, but for me something really magical happened when I stepped into the world of the miners and gem dealers of Brazil last year. I was living in New York at the time- and the only side of the gem industry that I saw was the pristine classrooms at the Gemological Institute and in the tiny offices of gem brokers along 47th Street. Its all so regulated. They take your resale license, you peruse gems with your loupe and your tweezers in hand, the dealer tells you the price, swipes your plastic, and off you go with your new stone.
In Brazil, miners were dumping heaps of Emeralds on truck beds, negotiations were loud and tough, all transactions were fast and in cash. The buyer needs a trained eye- one that can look into the dirty rough and mentally plot what areas to cut away and know how much money they can get from what remains. There were real dangers- not just the fear of dropping your parcel in a subway grate. It was incredible. I brought back a few emeralds from my travels, and I recently turned the first of my four stones into this beautiful little ring. I bezel set the emerald in 14k gold and surrounded it was a half band of micro-prong set white diamonds. I went through a pretty exciting adventure to get this stone, so the ring really is a very special one to me.
Emeralds have such a rich history. They have adorned the royal jewels and crowns of many countries throughout time. Emerald was an important stone in Ancient Egypt and was considered a stone of eternal life. Ancient Incan and Aztec civilizations also regarded Emerald as a holy stone. The best emeralds are still found in these regions of South America. In addition to the sources in Colombia and Brazil, emeralds are mined in Zambia and Afghanistan.
Metaphysically- Emerald is often thought to be a stone of rebirth. The bright green color looks like spring- a time of new beginnings. The stone is also said to provide mental clarity and excellent foresight/intuition.
Emerald is the most prized stone coming from the Beryl species. Aquamarine and Morganite are also varieties of Beryl, but the vibrant green color of Emerald makes it the star of the species. Emerald has good hardness, ranking in at a 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale. But despite it's hardness, Emerald is actually a rather fragile stone. Emeralds rarely form eye-clean. They almost always form with inclusions and natural internal characteristics. In many types of stones, these would be considered flaws, but in emeralds inclusions are tolerated much more than in almost any other gemstone. When I don't see inclusions within an emerald, it is typically a red flag to me that the stone may not be real. I like to think of the clarity characteristics within an emerald as nature's fingerprint on the stone- there to assure me that it is real! People actually refer to emeralds as "Jardin" (the French word for Garden) due to their sometimes mossy looking inclusions.
Because emeralds have more fissures and inclusions than other stones, they are unfortunately more prone to damage from wear. That is why on my ring, I set the emerald in a bezel that protects the edge of the stone all the way around instead of in a prong setting that would leave the stone open and susceptible to damage. Emeralds are stunning stones, but wearing one on your finger or wrist requires special care! If you're a May-baby or just an emerald-lover who wants to wear emeralds but fears that a ring may be too delicate for your lifestyle, earrings and necklaces are a much safer place to wear your emerald jewelry. The stones are much less prone to being knocked, hit, or abraded when they are worn on or above the neck.
They do look mighty good on a finger though:)
I hope everyone born in May is having a fabulous b-day month! Between the fun summer vibes, and this gorgeous birthstone- this month could make all the rest green with envy.