As Spring continues to awaken around us, we’re starting to see green everywhere--new buds on trees, flourishing leaves in the garden, lush green lawns. Right in keeping with all this green is May’s birthstone, Emerald! Emeralds are the highly prized blush-green form of the mineral Beryl, and the story of where they come from and how they’re classified is pretty interesting.
First off, it’s important to understand that colored gemstones are evaluated a bit differently from diamonds. Fittingly, in the world of colored gemstones, color is the most important characteristic of the mineral specimen in question (whereas in diamonds, clarity is considered more important). The familiar names of colored gemstones are specific to the particular color or range of colors of that mineral specimen. The reason for this is to differentiate among colored gemstones that are formed from the same mineral, but with varying small amounts of elements that affect the color.
Emerald is a variety of the mineral Beryl. Beryl that is of a pure chemical composition is actually colorless because it is free of elements other than those forming its mineral structure (clear, colorless Beryl is known as Goshenite). When trace amounts of elements like Chromium, Vanadium, and Iron are present, and depending on the oxidation state of those elements, Beryl displays a greenish color. When the particular hue of that green falls within a range of bluish-green to yellowish-green, the green Beryl is classified as Emerald. It’s only this particular range of blue-green to yellow-ish green that allows Beryl to be classified as Emerald.
The quality of the Emerald is assessed by the saturation or intensity of color as well as the clarity of the specimen. The internal characteristics of the stone, or inclusions, are often visible to the naked eye in Emeralds. While stones of particular color and color intensity are highly valued even when they have inclusions, those with a high degree of color and clarity are even more rare and highly prized. Gem-quality Emeralds are found in only a handful of locations around the world, mostly in South America and Africa. Small deposits have been found in Afghanistan, Russia, and even Canada and parts of the United States.
Beryl comes in a wide variety of colors.
The Emeralds featured in our jewelry range in color and clarity, but they all exhibit the characteristics we’ve come to love from Emerald. Their sparkling internal structure as well as their variance of color, saturation, and clarity can be seen in these unique jewelry pieces. It’s worth noting that, although Emeralds are very hard and resistant to scratching, their crystal structure makes them prone to brittleness.
While all of the Emeralds in this collection are set in protective bezel settings, we recommend reserving your Emerald rings for special occasions only, as rings worn daily encounter a lot of wear and tear. Additionally, Emeralds should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner or with abrasives. Instead, a soft microfiber cloth and warm water will remove dirt and oils from your Emerald jewelry.