The arrival of May brings with it a new birthstone — this month, the most alluring of coloured gemstones: emerald.
Bright, fresh and evocative of springtime, emerald is the perfect gem to celebrate this time of year. A stone adored by AENEA, it features across our collections, from the statement Candy rings to the vibrant accents of the Sarpa earrings.
To celebrate this precious gemstone we’ve chosen our top 10 facts about emerald — a stone renowned for its myths, magic and meaning
1. Emeralds are Found Around the World
In fact, emeralds have been mined in 30 countries, including Colombia - where half of emeralds are mined each year - to Zambia, Brazil, Spain, Afghanistan and China. It has even been found in the US, in states including Montana, Nevada and Connecticut.
2. When a Carat is not a Carat
Emeralds weighing 1ct will often appear larger than a 1ct diamond, because emerald is a denser stone. This means, side-by-side, an emerald may appear larger, though the carat weight in grams is the same.
3. It’s Part of a Family of Gems
Emeralds are part of a gemstone family known as beryl, making aquamarine, morganite and yellow heliodor its ‘sister’ gemstones. Each beryl is differentiated by the chemical composition that affects its colour. An emerald’s rich green hue is indicative of the presence of chromium or vanadium.
4. Emeralds Are Part of our History
The oldest emeralds date back almost 3 billion years, meaning they have appeared regularly through history. Some of the earliest emerald mining took place in Egypt around 1500 BC, with Cleopatra reported to have been an admirer of this captivating gem.
5. The Aztecs Also Celebrated Emerald
During the Aztec period of 1200-1500 AD, emerald was revered as the Stone of the Earth, and was associated with growth and fertility. Archaeologists have recovered Aztec statues that celebrated fertility, finding them filled with emeralds and fellow green gemstone, jade.
6. Emerald is a Stone of Positive Attributes
Positive meanings are given to all gemstones, but emerald is particularly storied. It is reported to bring the wearer tranquility and inner wisdom, and is connected with being resilient and attracting love. In historical times, people were known to put emeralds under their tongue to help them see into the future - giving rise to emerald as the ‘stone of truth’
7. It Has Set Auction Records
In December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s collection of high jewellery was auctioned at Christie’s New York. Among the exquisite jewels sold that day was a set known as the Bulgari Emerald Suite, which achieved a sale price of $24.7 million. Comprising a pendant brooch, which achieved a record price for an emerald jewels and per carat for emerald at auction, a pair of emerald earrings and flower brooch, the jewellery had been acquired over a number of years by Taylor and her husband Richard Burton from the Bulgari store on Rome’s Via Condotti.
8. Emeralds Contain Tiny Gardens
Well - sort of! Like diamonds and other gems, emeralds contain natural inclusions. However in emeralds they are sometimes known by the name ‘jardin’ - the French word for ‘garden’ - as a nod to the inclusions’ subtle moss-like appearance. Inclusions and tiny fractures are common in emeralds, and a standard practice of oiling emeralds helps to lessen the visual impact of these internal characteristics.
9. They also Feature Stars
A rare form of emerald, known as a trapiche, appears with a six-pointed star that blooms from its centre. Trapiche emeralds form as the beryl crystal grows, with black carbon filling the crystal junctions of the emerald, creating the radial, star-like pattern. They can often appear very large - sometimes weighing several grams.
10. Emeralds Signify Lasting Love
Not only are emeralds known worldwide as the birthstone for May, they are also associated with long and prosperous marriages. Emeralds are exchanged in celebration of the 55th wedding anniversaries, symbolising how rare and precious such a long partnership can be.
Want to know more about emeralds or sourcing your own piece of emerald jewellery? Contact AENEA’s Atelier for more information: [email protected]