A Matter of Brilliance is a professional jewelry appraisal company based in Newton, MA, founded by Aimee Berrent, Graduate Gemologist. Our appraisals can be used to:
In May, nature turns green— how fitting that this month’s birthstone is the emerald, the queen of green gems. It’s also the gemstone for 20th and 35th anniversaries.
One of jewelry’s “big three”
The emerald is a variety of beryl, which includes other gemstones like aquamarine. And while there are other green gems, it’s the emerald that epitomizes the richest green. Together with rubies and sapphires, it forms the “big three” of colored gemstones.
What differentiates the more common green beryl from the expensive emerald? Generally, it’s based on the intensity of the stone’s green color. Too light, and it’s classified as beryl. The GIA uses graded comparison stones to determine whether “the green color is dark enough and saturated enough to be called emerald.”
Beyond what the eye sees
Emeralds rate on the Mohs scale at 7.5-8, which should make it a relatively hard stone. However, most emeralds have inclusions. These give them their unique coloring, but also can make them more susceptible to breakage. For this reason, an emerald may do better in earrings or pendants than in a ring or a bracelet. And try to find settings that protect the stone.
Today there are synthetic emeralds, which are also referred to as lab-created emeralds. While they have beautiful clarity and may be more uniform than natural emeralds, they are priced lower.
Bewitching people throughout history
The emerald has fascinated royalty since Roman times. It was a favorite of Cleopatra’s. And, according to the GIA, the Incas used emeralds in their jewelry for 500 years. A legend surrounding the emerald is that the wearer can determine whether their lover is telling the truth!
So, May birthday girls and boys, follow your hearts to the Emerald City and enjoy your lush green birthstone, the emerald. And if I can help you with your emeralds, rubies, sapphires, or any other valuable, let me know!