Emerald is one of what industry insiders call the “Big Three,” referring to the three most expensive and sought after precious colored gems: emerald, ruby, and sapphire. It has been worn in jewelry for more than four thousand years and is believed to bring its wearer the benefits of wisdom, persuasive speech, and the power to see into the future.
The birthstone of May and the color of springtime, emeralds range on the green spectrum from yellowish to bluish and can vary from a delicate mint to deep forest hues. Some emeralds appear sharp and brilliant, while others look soft and “sleepy.” Pliny the Elder, a Roman statesman who lived in the first century A.D., said that emerald was the one gem that delighted the eye without fatiguing it. Early gem engravers kept emeralds on their work tables to gaze upon from time to time to rest their tired eyes. 20th century color psychologists agree with Pliny; they say that green is the most restful color for the human eye.
Columbia is the most famous source for fine emeralds, with the Muzo mine producing the most stunning jewels in terms of both color and clarity. Brazil produces stones that are typically a little darker in tone. Emeralds of very fine color can be found in parts of Africa, but typically only occur in small sizes.
Most emeralds contain eye-visible clarity characteristics called “inclusions” because of the way they form in the earth; they give each gemstone its individual personality. They are part of the stone’s character, and an everlasting witness to the natural history of the gem. When a single stone contains a wide variety of inclusions, gemologists call it the “jardín” effect, which is French for “garden,” because they can resemble flowers and foliage. Because of their inclusions, emeralds are delicate despite their relative hardness. Never put emeralds into an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, and avoid steam cleaning. Ring sizings or re-tipping of prongs should only be performed by an accomplished jeweler.
Here at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, we have wide variety of luscious emeralds to fit every budget and master jewelers on staff to ensure that your precious jewels last a lifetime and beyond.