An Introduction to Emeralds, May's Birthstone

May 23, 2019

Raw emerald crystals by GIA Robert Weldon

If you are born in May or celebrating your 20th or 35th anniversary, emerald is the gem for you. High quality emeralds are extremely rare and can easily be of equal to or more valuable than diamonds. It is a variety of the mineral, beryl, and is a sibling to many gemstones such as aquamarine, golden beryl, and morganite. It has a bluish green to pure green color, with vivid color saturation and a tone that’s not too dark. 

Emeralds are hard gemstones at 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale (from 1-10). Unfortunately, they tend be brittle. The “toughness” of emeralds, which is based on the resistance of a gemstone breaking, is generally poor.  Care will need to always be taken when wearing these exceptionally rare stones. It is not recommended to put emeralds in an ultrasonic environment or to subject stones to heat from a torch, like during sizing or re-tipping.

Emeralds are known as a type 3 gemstone, which means that they most often form with inclusions. If you see a stone that is “emerald green” in color with no inclusions, there’s a strong chance it could be a synthetic emerald.  Synthetic emeralds were first successfully created in 1935 by Carroll Chatham. Very fine quality stones have fewer inclusions in general with little to no inclusions reaching the surface. Stones of significant size are also highly uncommon.

Emeralds can only be found in few places in the world naturally: Colombia, Brazil, United States (North Carolina), Pakistan, and Afghanistan. 

Also in Birthstone Articles

Imperial Topaz - Image courtesy of GIA
An Introduction to Topaz, November's Birthstone

November 07, 2019

Topaz is the birthstone for November and represents the 16th wedding anniversary alongside with peridot. This gemstone’s name comes from the ancient Greek name “Topazios” for Saint John’s Island in the Foul Bay of Egypt. 

Continue Reading

Bewitched By Opals, October's Birthstone
Bewitched By Opals, October's Birthstone

October 10, 2019

Opals are unique gemstones. Although geologists don’t really have a conclusive answer as to exactly how these stones form, one thing is for certain – water is involved.

Continue Reading

Fancy Sapphires - Photo Courtesy of GIA
Fancy Sapphires: A Rainbow of Colors

September 19, 2019

Aside from blue colored sapphires, there are many other important colors that are equally as brilliant and beautiful: orange, pink, yellow, green, and purple. There is no such thing as a red sapphire as those are simply classified as rubies.

Continue Reading