Thursday, May 9, 2013

May's Birthstone, Emerald

Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May. Emeralds are part of the Beryl family of minerals. It's green color is caused by the addition of chromium and iron to it's mineral structure during it's formation. How much or how little of these other two minerals will determine how deep green the emerald will be. And with emeralds, the deeper the green, the more valuable the stone.

Emeralds are known for having inclusions (flaws and veins of chemicals). This is a natural part of the stone and does not take away from the it's value. It is actually proof that the stone is genuine.

A green colored oil is often used to enhance the color of the emerald. The oil also fills in any cracks or fractures the gem may have. It is recommended that the emerald be cleaned with a soft, dry cloth. Do not use cleaners, chemicals, hot soapy water, or an ultrasonic cleaner on your gem. This can remove the oil and make the fractures more visible. The oil may also evaporate as the gem ages. In this case, use a high-grade mineral oil to enhance the stone.

Be very careful when wearing an emerald. They are one of the softest gemstones and dropping, banging it against a hard surface, and even extreme temperatures can create internal cracks within the stone.

The earliest findings of emerald mines were in Egypt around 2000 B.C. The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was known to have the most famous mines. She was known for wearing lots of large emerald jewelry and for giving the gem away to her important visitors. Emeralds have also been found in mines in Siberia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Zimbabwe, Columbia, and in North Carolina in the US.

According to legend, the emerald strengthens memory and intelligence. It is said to drive away evil spirits and aid in predicting the future. Healers believe the gem is useful in healing relationships, for over all health, and specifically for the heart.

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