The hottest color making a splash this season is emerald green, which also happens to be the birth stone for May as well as the accepted gemstone gift for the twentieth, thirty fifth and fifty fifth wedding anniversary. The color of spring, emeralds traditionally signify new growth, hope, and eternal life. According to legend, emeralds are believed to cure eye disease (including improving poor eyesight or tired eyes). Among some of its other powers, it was thought to cure low I.Q., infertility, and to ward off epilepsy in children. Emeralds were also believed to enable the wearer to predict the future especially in affairs of the heart and to strengthen the owner’s memory. Wow, we could all benefit from the powers of May’s magical, mystical emeralds!
While inclusions in other gemstones may be looked down upon, it is an excepted fact that natural emeralds are typically heavily included. Emeralds are often characterized by a garden of included crystal trapped within and these inclusions are called "jardin". Under magnification, the inclusions in emeralds resemble foliage; lacy leaves and branches. Most emeralds are treated to insure stability. Most common is immersion in colorless oil and/or resin to fill minute voids. This is considered standard practice. Emeralds are considered somewhat fragile and care should be taken in wear and storage to protect them from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals and extreme temperature change.
Color is the most important factor in determining value of this gemstone. Ideal color is a unique rare vivid green typically with bluish undertones. There is absolutely nothing to compare with the beauty of a genuine emerald, which may help explain why emeralds have been highly valued throughout the ages. Not only are emeralds rich in color and beauty, they are also rich in history.
In the early sixteenth century, during the conquest of the Incas of Peru, the Spanish Conquistadors searched long and hard for the Inca emerald mines. The Incas refused to reveal the paths that lead to their mines as these treasures were an integral part of their religious rites and celebrations. Their riches were briefly safe due to the overgrown jungles that hid the mine’s location, but the site was discovered eventually and mining commenced. Today, important sources for mining emeralds are in Columbia and Brazil, as well as in the African countries of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
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Williamsburg, VA 23188