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May’s Precious Birthstone, Emerald

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There is no other colored Gemstone in the world that compares to an Emerald’s green color, and that is precisely what makes it so sought after by collectors and jewelry lovers. Emerald makes up what is considered the Big Three of precious Gemstones, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire. “The precious categorization is a reference to value: a really fine ruby, emerald or sapphire can be priced higher per carat than a diamond. Sapphires are extremely hard and durable, so they will last forever in a piece of jewelry, and rubies and emeralds are extremely rare.”

It’s also no secret that emerald’s lush rich green has inspired mankind and captured our imagination since antiquity. One of the earliest known Emerald mines was in Egypt and dated from at least 330bc. Naturally Cleopatra loved emerald with a passion and used it in her royal adornments.

Colombia arguably produces the finest Emeralds in the world, but Brazil, and Zambia produce top quality color emeralds too. Typically, Brazilian Emeralds tend to be darker in tone and more heavily included and Zambian Emeralds tend to have more of a bluish “cast” than other locations.

Clearly then, an Emerald’s value is largely determined by color with the saturation and hue of its green affecting its price significantly. The most sought after color is a slightly “bluish green in a medium dark tone with a strong to vivid saturation.” Unlike other precious gemstones, inclusions are tolerated more and while clarity is important, it’s all about color with Emerald. Incidentally  “a fine ruby, sapphire or emerald will hold its value and command more respect and a higher price than other gemstones. That is the reason Art Deco jewelry – heavy on the big three – is usually prized over other period jewelry.”

By far Emeralds are one of our favorite stones to come across in vintage and antique jewelry. To see a well preserved Emerald come across our desk is a true delight. Luckily we are able to procure any cut and quality of Emerald for your needs since we have many contacts with the finest Emerald dealers in the world and work with a number of “Mine to Market” mines. To learn more about how we can help, please contact us to set up a consultation, we look forward to working with you.

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