Emerald – May’s Only Birthstone
One of the most beautiful and rare gems found in nature is emerald. It is the most valuable variety of beryl and it is the only birthstone for May. Other beryls include, aquamarine, morganite and golden beryl (heliodore) as well as a few other lesser known varieties such as red beryl and a colorless variety.
Emerald’s Early Sources
Emeralds have been used in jewelry for thousands of years.
Everything changed though, when Spanish explorers arrived in the new world in the 16th century. Colombia quickly became known and recognized as the worlds premier emerald source; and has dominated the emerald market ever since.
Emeralds occur in an interesting range of modified greens. The perfect emerald color is described by GIA as “vivid, slightly bluish green.” This stunning color is rare indeed.
While beryl comes in many shades of green, to be classified as an emerald, the gem needs to be a medium or darker green. All other, lighter shades of green, are referred to as green beryl. While this might seem reasonable for practical purposes, scientifically, emerald is defined by its coloring agent. The American Gem Laboratory of New York, defines any green beryl colored by chromium and/or vanadium as emerald regardless of the tone. Although all emeralds contain iron as a trace element, a beryl variety that owes its green color to iron only is named green beryl.
Emerald – One of Natures Most Beautiful Gemstones
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