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Emerald Jewelry

An emerald consists of beryllium aluminum silicates, making the emerald a member of the beryl family. Because pure beryl has no color, the emerald gets its color just like the ruby and sapphire do- through tiny particles of chromium and vanadium giving it a green hue. The shade depends on the amount of particles and the location of the mine. Sometimes the stone displays a bluish tint, meaning, there are also traces of iron found in the emerald.

Because of the way in which they formed, inclusions are common even in the finest emeralds. In fact, it is difficult to find a natural emerald of large size without visible inclusions. These "flaws" lend to the beauty and also the delicacy of the stone. Fissures of different sizes, bubbles and even microscopic crystals that seemed to grow inside the emerald are all common inclusions. As a result, the clarity scale is modified for emeralds because there is no such thing as a perfect inclusion-free stone. So don't fret if you are searching for just the right pair of emerald earrings. Find a shade you like and accept the inclusions as not only proof that they are real emeralds but also that they are one of a kind.

Why are Emeralds Treated?

Again, emeralds contain varied amounts of inclusions. Oiling is the practice of soaking the stones in clear oil. Typically, this is done in a vacuum so that more oil is soaked up. What this does is reduce the appearance of the inclusions. This method is an accepted under gemological standards and nearly 90% of emeralds are treated. But, other methods sometimes use a green dye to also improve the overall color as well as the inclusions. Dying the stones is not accepted as a treatment and hinders the true rating of the stone.

How to Care for Your Emeralds

Emeralds are not as hard as the other precious stones. Rubies and sapphires rank 9 and the diamond is a 10, the hardest. The emerald ranks an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. While it is not necessarily fragile, the presence of inclusions weakens it and should be worn with caution.

Another consideration when cleaning is the oiling treatment most stones have undergone. Do not drop off your emerald pendant or emerald tennis bracelet for a cleaning at the jewelers. An ultrasonic cleaner and a steamer could remove the oiling process. Agitation in the ultrasonic could also compromise the integrity of the stone because of the inclusions. Simply soak your emeralds in warm soapy water and gently wipe with a cloth. Never wear your emeralds when handling cleaning solutions as they might also damage the oiling finish. You will be able to see inclusions in your emerald earrings that you never saw before.

Where are Emeralds Found?

Brazil and Columbia are responsible for most of the world's emeralds. Second to South America is Africa with mines in Zambia, Nigeria, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. Each area produces its own distinct color and clarity of stone. For example, the Colombian emerald is known because of its moderately dark blue tinted stones. This color is probably the most desired of the emeralds. If you find a Columbian emerald pendant, take good care of it.

From 3000 to 1500 B.C., emeralds were mined in Egypt near the Red Sea. They were a favorite of the beautiful Cleopatra as well the other pharaohs. She loved to be draped in emeralds and well, the Queen had good taste. Instead of an emerald cuff like she might wear, go for a simple emerald tennis bracelet . Her mines are the oldest but the Egyptian royals depleted the supply long, long ago.

Emperors, empresses, sultans and maharajas all revered the emerald. It was believed in Indian culture that emeralds brought good luck and good health. So wear an emerald pendant if you want to feel like royalty and if it brings good luck, even better.

The Birthstone for May

Spring is in full force and summer is on the way. Everything is green and alive with new beginnings- the lovely month of May. Emerald ring gifts are common because the emerald happens to be the birthstone for May.

While emeralds make a great gift anytime, it is also the official stone for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. An emerald and diamond necklace makes a great gift to commemorate the special day. Later, you can get the emerald earrings to match (and you don't have to wait another fifteen years).

It doesn't matter if you were born in May or just love the color green, emeralds should be worn anytime. An emerald and diamond necklace with an evening gown or a simple emerald pendant with blue jeans and a tee- it doesn't matter because you'll still feel like Cleopatra. No matter how they are cut, though the rectangle emerald cut is classic, the emerald is rich and beautiful.