Welcome to Emerald Month: Celebrating May’s birthstone

The emerald, May’s birthstone

As trees and grass begin to turn green, we enter the month of May—and celebrate the month’s birthdays with the glorious emerald. From the Greek, meaning “green,” emeralds have long been associated with wealth and royalty. Emeralds are also symbols for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. The stone has a long, long history; the first known emeralds were mined in Egypt around 1500 BC. In fact, folklore has it that the emerald was Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone.

Meet your emerald

Like the aquamarine, emeralds are a form of beryl. Their color can range from light green to a deep, vibrant hue. A good cut by a gemologist can further enhance the play of light to make a stone sparkle. They’re fairly hard, registering a 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale. And while they are fairly resilient to knocks, they can be chipped or scratched.

Most emeralds are heat treated to enhance the saturation of their color. The deeper the green, the more valuable the stone. Color saturation is really at the heart of valuing an emerald. Saturation is the term that describes a stone’s intensity and strength, and it can mean the difference between a stone looking dull or possessing a vivid depth that takes your breath away.

Tips for buying an emerald           

Just as the 4 C’s can help you choose a diamond, they can also help you when looking for an emerald.

  • Color, color, color. The GIA states, “Color should be evenly distributed and not too dark. Rare emeralds will appear as a deep green-blue, while lighter colored gems are more common (and therefore, often more reasonably priced).”
  • Clarity: Unlike diamonds, most emeralds have some visible inclusions. As long as they don’t distract from the color and the saturation, this is not a serious issue. (And if you don’t see any inclusions, make sure that the emerald is natural!)
  • Cut: Understandably, stones are often cut into an “emerald” shape, which helps them sparkle.
  • Carats: The larger the stone, the more expensive. But you might want to consider buying a smaller stone if it has more brilliance and color saturation.

Happy birthday, May babies. Enjoy your majestic emeralds that will remind you of spring, even on the darkest winter day. And if you want to know the real value of your emerald, diamond, silver, or other jewelry, I can help.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee


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