Emeralds are the birthstone for May and a traditional gift for 20th, 35th and 55th wedding anniversaries. Our jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI currently has emerald inventory on sale, and this would be an excellent opportunity to enjoy these green gems. Before you buy, here are six fascinating facts about emeralds:
- Colombia is a big producer: The most common source for emeralds is Colombia. Our latest inventory features Colombian emeralds, and that makes sense when you know that over 50 percent of emeralds sold worldwide are from that country.
- Ancient gem: Emeralds are among the four precious gemstones; the other three are diamonds, sapphires and rubies. The oldest emeralds are estimated to be 2.97 billion years old and were first mined in Egypt around 1500. Incas enjoyed them, too. However, the Spanish did not discover emeralds until the 16th century, when they first arrived in South America.
- They are difficult to create in labs: A demand for synthetic gems started in the 20th Many of them match in quality to their natural counterparts and make fine jewelry more accessible to more people. Sapphires and rubies were first created in the lab, but emeralds took a little while longer. In 1935, American chemist Carroll Chatham created a one-carat emerald that is now on display in the Smithsonian.
- Unexpectedly fragile: Emeralds rate 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This is a durable rating, but emeralds lack the density of diamonds and other gems. A one-carat emerald looks larger than a one-carat diamond because of this characteristic. Jewelers must be extra cautious when mounting emeralds into settings because they are susceptible to chipping and cracking. Many jewelers treat emeralds by filling their cracks with oil to reduce the chance of chipping or cracking. Once purchased, you can maintain your emeralds by coating them with baby oil as an extra precaution.
- High value: The highest quality emeralds are worth more than diamonds. All emeralds have imperfections, but that is accepted as their character standard. The most important element of an emerald is its color; the highest-valued ones are vivid or blueish green and largely transparent. If they are too light, they are not considered emeralds by most gemologists. An emerald pendant belonging to Elizabeth Taylor sold for $6.5 million in 2011, which averaged about $280,000 paid per carat. So, if you choose wisely, your emerald jewelry will be more than an accessory—it will be a good investment.
- Folklore abounds: Emeralds are surrounded with mystic properties. Ancient tales claim that placing an emerald under your tongue helps you see into the future. Wearing emeralds was thought to support intuition and limit memory loss. If you believe your spouse or partner fails to tell the truth, emeralds are said to act as a truth potion, so you can determine whether your gut feeling is correct. Once, early lapidaries used emeralds to reduce eyestrain after long periods of concentration. Of all these myths, that one remains true—it is often thought emeralds help with eyestrain after long computer use.
Howard’s Fine Jewelry offers jewelry for a variety of occasions, including those May birthdays and anniversaries on your list. Visit our jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI today to see our collection of Colombian emeralds!