May Birthstone Emerald


emeralds-roughEmerald is the May Birthstone, as well as, the 20th and 35th Anniversary Gemstone.

When the Spanish came to the Americas, Europeans saw how beautiful emeralds were as Colombian emeralds were brought back to Europe by the conquistadors.

Today Emerald has moved back into its position as one of the “big three” gemstones, with  Sapphire (1st) and ruby (2nd).  New mines and increased production brings many beautiful gemstones from Zambia and Muzo in Colombia is now back in production. Both mining and selling will increase the availability of emerald in the market place.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double CheckKnow what you have by getting a Jewelry Judge Consultation.

It is common knowledge that Colombian emeralds (and other colored gemstones) are undervalued, since their rarity and beauty still catch the attention of investors. But over priced on-line sources are way too common. Like the diamond and other gemstones,  emeralds can be judged according to the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity and carat weight. These gems are highly prized and intensely colored ones can be quite rare, so make sure that you get a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report or Consultation.

Most gemologists agree that it comes down to color, clarity and transparency when purchasing an emerald. Color should be evenly distributed and not too dark.

Determining if you have a Columbian Emerald is done using a Chelsea filter, which is basically a blue filter, that reveals hidden secrets in the different wavelengths of a gemstone. If the stone under the Chelsea filter looks pink or red, it is a Colombian emerald (Brazilian and African emeralds remain green due to iron content in the gem).

If the stone looks green, it is something other than Colombian emerald (tourmaline or green glass, etc.). This is because emeralds have a double peak spectrum, one in the red zone and one in the blue zone which cancel each other out and produce what our eyes detect as (Emerald Green).  The Chelsea filter takes advantage of this spectrum by blocking the blue part of the spectrum and only allowing the red or pink to come through.

emerald1Inclusions are a natural part of an emerald. Emerald is harder than quartz or tourmaline and resists most scratching and wear. It is not as hard as diamond and sapphire, and may be damaged if dropped or bumped hard. Small microscopic fissures are common to emerald due to the crystal structure.

The normal processing that takes place after cutting and polishing an emerald, includes the treatment of  fissures that reach the surface (if any), which are (Treated) masked with a colorless oil (usually Cedarwood Oil) or resin to reduce the visibility of those fissures. This simple and low-tech process is accepted as normal by the gem industry and is called clarity enhancement which may be minor, moderate or significant.

Emerald color is unaltered by this treatment and remains natural. Oiling does not detract too much from the overall value of the stone when inclusions are present. But it’s all about the color, hue and saturation of the gemstone!

Emerald2

Be Careful: Emeralds set in jewelry may last for centuries with the proper care. Since the many natural emeralds contain filled fractures, it’s risky to clean them in an ultrasound or with steam. Ultrasonic vibrations can weaken already-fractured stones, and hot steam can cause oil or unhardened resin to come out of fractures. Leaving you with an ugly looking gemstone. Because of this we do not recommend Emerald as a “Daily Wear” item such as an engagement ring, but rather as a social or event piece that you can show off on an occasional basis.

Cleaning: Use warm, soapy water coupled with a soft toothbrush and gentle scrubbing for the safest way to clean emeralds.

Trust has been the hallmark of our appraisal business, it is the reason our clients continue to bring their precious jewelry to us.

Mr. Gordon is an advocate for consumer awareness and demonstrates his community commitment by regularly delivering talks to educate and protect the public.

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