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The approaching month of May sees our attention turn to the Emerald, the birthstone of the month.

For those sharing birthdays with the likes of Adele, George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Megan Fox and Brooke Shields, May provides the perfect opportunity to be lavished with the precious green stone.

The first known emeralds were mined in Egypt around 1500 BC. One of Cleopatra's favourite stones was emerald, and her passion for the stone was well documented. Elizabeth Taylor also had a passion for emeralds, and she had acquired some of these legendary stones while filming Cleopatra in Rome.

Emeralds were believed to bring passion, bliss and unconditional love. Legend has it that wearing emeralds gives you the ability to foresee the future and see the truth. It has also been believed that emerald has the potential to cure disease and protect against evil eye.

Zambian emeralds get their beautiful intense green colour from the presence of Chromium, Iron and Beryllium and they are often lacking in Vanadium, which is instead predominant in Colombian emeralds. The difference in Vanadium is what gives the two origins a distinctive difference in their shade of green: The most prominent colours of Zambian emeralds range from light to dark green and slightly bluish to bluish-green. Their crystal displays lively reflections from within and it is often eye clean, perfect for use in bridal collections, engagement or cocktail rings alike.

Things to look for when purchasing an emerald, according to Joanna Hardy, Author & Jewellery specialist, are colour and cut.

“What you are looking for is an evenness of colour with good saturation, tilt the stone in all directions as sometimes the colour can look vacant along some angles, also if possible view the stone in daylight so you don’t get a surprise when you take the stone away from the shop light source.”

“The cut of the stone is also important for this will also make the gemstone come alive. Coloured gemstones often have inclusions (natural features) within the stone and these are part of its DNA. Basically, rarity means value: the clearer the stone along with good colour the more rare the stone will be, but do not worry about the inclusions as these are what make your emerald unique as you will never get two stones looking the same.”

“If it is a significant gemstone you are purchasing, then there must be transparency on treatments of any kind, so it must be accompanied by a certificate from a recognized, independent gemmological laboratory.”

Emerald, by Joanna Hardy, was published in December 2013 by Thames & Hudson in association with Violette Publications.


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