Emerald is the birthstone for May, the name comes from the old French word “esmeralde” which is derived from the Greek word ‘smaragdos’ meaning ‘green stone.’
It is a member of the beryl group of minerals, colored by trace amounts of chromium or sometimes vanadium that produce the green color. The most desirable color for an emerald is a bluish green to pure green, and unlike some of the other gemstones that are available in different colors, emerald is always green. Most emeralds have imperfections visible to the naked eye, and this is an easy way to differentiate the genuine gemstones from lab created or synthetic ones.
It is the most valuable stone in the beryl group, and is classified as one of the four precious gemstones with diamond, ruby, and sapphire. Emeralds are mined in many countries, but the most famous mines are in Colombia. Other high producing countries are Zambia, Afghanistan, and Brazil.
Emeralds have a hardness of 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, they are the softest and most fragile of the precious gemstones. A hardness of 7.5 – 8 is normally a descent hardness for jewelry, but most emeralds have many inclusions and fractures that can reach the surface, which can weaken the gemstone and cause it to be brittle, and this can cause breakage. If your emerald is set in a ring or bracelet, be careful, rings and bracelets get more wear and tear than any other piece of jewelry since they are worn on the hand and wrist.
Proper care is important for emeralds since not only are they fragile, but most emeralds are treated with oil and some with a resin to enhance their beauty, masking surface imperfections and enhancing the color. Clean them by just rinsing them in warm water and drying them with a soft cloth. Never use chemicals, heat, or an ultrasonic cleaner. Harsh cleaning agents can strip the oil from an emerald, however if needed, some jewelers can reapply the oil.
Emerald jewelry repair or even a simple ring sizing requires special handling since this gemstone is fragile. MyJewelryRepair.com has a team of master jewelers that can perform all the care and maintenance as well as any repair work needed to keep your emerald jewelry looking like new. Just visit our website for more information or to create a repair order.