May is an envious month, gorgeous green Emeralds! I love all stones but the green of an emerald can not be beaten!
Cartier London Carved Emerald Gold Ring, courtesy British Museum
LESSER KNOWN FACTS
Emerald is the grass-green variety of the mineral beryl – other varieties include aquamarine, morganite, goshenite and heliodor.
The name originates from the Greek word maragdos, which was given to several other green stones. The emerald green colour results from presence of chromium and vanadium. To the Egyptians, emerald was a symbol of fertility and life, while the Aztecs called them quetzalitzli after a bird of paradise and a symbol of seasonal renewal.
The 'Emerald Cut' (used for many gemstones) is a step cut that has had the corners removed. This cut produces the optimum size of gem from well-formed crystals and, as Emerald is a brittle stone, reduces the risk of damage during setting and wearing.
HISTORY IN A NUTSHELL
Emeralds were being mined as early as 1300BC in Egypt, in mines later to be known as 'Cleopatra's Mines' and which can still be found on either side of Mount Smaragdus, but it wasn't until after the discovery of the New World that they arrived in quantity in Europe.
It has been recorded that the Emperor Nero watched the gladiator games through flat emerald crystals, the first recorded example of sunglasses.
LEGEND HAS IT
Steeped in superstition and lore, emeralds symbolise immortality and faith, although their changing colour was said to reveal the inconsistency of lovers.
WHERE IN THE WORLD
7.5 - 8
My own emerald cabochon set in 22ct gold