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May is when the flowers start to bloom and spring offers up its delights to behold. Emerald is the birthstone of May, a symbol of rebirth and one of the most easily recognizable of precious stones. Find out about this gemstone and how to make it your own.

The gemstone emerald is a form of the mineral beryl. It gets its distinct green coloring from chromium or vanadium. It has a hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale. The stone’s clarity is graded by eye instead of a loupe standard as with diamonds. Almost all emeralds are “oiled” to strengthen the stone against inherent fissures. Eye-clean stones of a strong, medium-toned green hue are most valuable, although all are strikingly beautiful gemstones.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe word “emerald” is originally derived from the Greek smaragdus, meaning green. As early as 300 B.C., it was mined in Egypt. Quantities are limited. Many current emeralds are mined in Columbia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. Columbia produces 50 to 95 percent of today’s emeralds. Zambia produces another 20 percent. Many emeralds on the market are specially treated to improve the clarity of the gemstone.

One famous emerald is the Chalk emerald ring, which is displayed at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History. This 37-carat top-quality ring continues to inspire admiration. Another famous emerald is the Bahia emerald, which contains the largest single shard on record. It weighs approximately 840 pounds and originated from Bahia, Brazil. Its ownership is unclear.
Emeralds are considered to be one of the four most precious stones. Their brilliant color and their translucence makes them ideal for open settings. Here are a few suggestions for wearing emeralds with style:

  • A ring with a large central emerald will draw attention. Go with an emerald cut or oval cut to keep stones in prime condition. The hard but brittle stone can chip with pointed facets
  • A pair of earrings in a simple setting will be elegant. Light can easily pass through, and the lighter to more saturated shades offer options from spring into the holiday season
  • A good use for gemstones of a slightly lower quality is in beaded necklaces and bracelets. Use the color and natural flaws as an accent piece in a wardrobe

Snow’s Jewelers has the expertise to offer a fair appraisal of your gemstones. Find out if your gemstones have been created or enhanced and determine their insurance value. Select high-quality items from the display to add to a connoisseur’s collection.