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The Emerald: Birthstone for May
The emerald derives its name from the Greek word smaragdus, meaning green gem. Aptly named, this lush stone is one of the most popular gemstones of the beryl family. They come in colours ranging from yellow-green to blue-green, usually defined by the impurities (in this case, chromium and vanadium) that Mother Nature mixes into an otherwise clear formula.
These green gems were first introduced to the world by the Egyptians, where they were mined circa 1500BC. Even Cleopatra, the pharaoh of Egypt, was known to have a deep passion for emeralds; using them in her royal regalia. However, the stones that were mined from here were thought to be much duller, and are not considered high quality by today’s standards.

Natural emeralds 

Today most of the world’s emeralds are mined from countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia etc. The most magnificent and valuable emeralds, however, come from Colombia- the world largest producer of these stones. Colombian emeralds are considered the most beautiful because of their rich verdant colouring that is often kissed with a touch of blue. Rare trapiche emeralds are also found in Colombia; distinguished by a six- pointed ray-like spokes of dark carbon impurities.

The Birthstone of the May Born:

Emeralds are widely known as the gems of royalty, love and intrigue. They are commonly known as the birthstone for all born in May, and are traditionally gifted on the 20th wedding anniversary. The ultimate symbol of rebirth, emeralds are believed to grant their wearer foresight, good fortune and youth. They are also worn to enhance love and contentment.

Cut Emeralds


Buying an emerald:

Like all gemstones, the emerald is graded on the four Cs: cut, clarity, carat and colour; colour being the most important factor that defines its value, i.e., pure vivid green or bluish green colouring. In addition, fine emeralds should also be highly transparent.

These verdant stones are thought to be relatively hard, rating 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, but the fissures and cracks (typical characteristic of the gem) affect their durability. Gem specialists call these numerous inclusions jardin, a French term for garden. These natural markings are so highly regarded that some emeralds are actually valued more if their fissures create an attractive pattern.

Synthetic Emeralds:

Natural emeralds are scarce gemstones, and because of the high demand they are costly too. Today, many jewellery brands, including Radiant Bay, have started producing lab-grown emeralds. These synthetic emeralds have the same inclusions, and other characteristics as their natural counterparts. Reputed jewellers will always disclose if an emerald is lab-grown, but if you are buying an expensive gemstone, be it emeralds or diamonds, always ask if they are created or natural.

Wear and Care:

Emerald Jewellery

Emeralds have many natural cracks and fissures, so a majority of emeralds produced are treated with Cedar oil or resins to make the cracks less visible, and to improve transparency. Because of this one should take care when cleaning them. Avoid cleaning emeralds with ultra sonic devices or steam cleaning, because the process can remove the coatings making the gemstone vulnerable to cracks and damage.


Tales and Lore:


Emeralds were used as amulets to ward off epilepsy in children, and are thought to cure diseases of the eye. Ancient folklore suggests putting an emerald under your tongue would enhance clairvoyance, thus helping you see into the future. Even the Aztecs and Incans of South America regard the emerald as a holy gemstone. The Incans even had an emerald goddess that was the size of an ostrich egg.

Famous Emeralds:

Chalk Emerald, Galchala Emerald, & Mogul Mughal Emerald

Curious about gemstones and the powers they have over you? Check out the Alexandrite to know more about this mesmerising gemstone.

The Orna-mentals is a blog by Radiant Bay with a mission to bring you expert opinions, news, ideas and inspirations about fashion, jewellery and all its nuances. Register with us for all the BEST deals & NEW arrivals at Radiant Bay.


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