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May 04, 2016
Each month of the year is traditionally associated with a gemstone. For those born in May, your birthstone was said to be emerald - the favourite gemstone of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.
The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC into the 1700s. Legend tells of Cleopatra's mines as some of the earliest emerald mines recorded in history. Today small amounts of emeralds can still be found in these mines, however they are only very low quality and not suitable for jewellery.
Above: A photo taken at our London workshop. Doesn't Yasmin's 9ct Solid Gold Scarab Beetle ring look stunning next to these emeralds? Very Cleopatra!
There are a number of anniversaries associated with Emerald, which include the 20th, 35th and 55th wedding anniversary.
Legend tells of emeralds being used to treat eye diseases, predict the future and reveal the truth or falsity of a lovers oath. Ancient Egyptians associated the greenness of emerald with fertility and rebirth, which is why the dead were often buried with emeralds to symbolise eternal youth. Emerald is often associated with Spring due to it's radiance and characteristic vivid green colour which often resembles new spring growth.
Above: An Italian ring dating from the 16th century which shows a lion with a ruby mouth and two emerald eyes. Perhaps this ring was worn to help it's wearer see better? Image Credit: V&A Archives.
Above: Joy Everley's 9ct Yellow Gold Cicada Ear Studs with Emerald Eyes - £395. Currently only available in-store!
Emeralds are one of the four internationally recognised precious stones alongside Ruby, Sapphire and Diamonds. Only the finest quality of emeralds are transparent. Often they are clouded with inclusions , however these are not necessarily considered faults, but are evidence to the genuineness of the stone when compared to synthetic or imitation stones.
Above Left - An uncut emerald. Above Right - A polished and faceted emerald-cut emerald. Image credit: www.GIA.edu
Transparent emeralds are so rare that the highest quality emerald can often be more expensive than a diamond of the highest quality, when compared directly by weight in carats.
Today the most important emerald deposits are found in Columbia. One of the most historical emerald mines in Columbia is the Muzo Mine. Mined by the Incas, the Muzo deposit was abandoned and rediscovered in the 17th century. Emerald-bearing soft broken rock is loosened with sticks and the emeralds are picked out by hand.
Emeralds in a calcite and shale matrix from the Coscuez Mine, Muzo, Colombia. Image Credit: Arkenstone / iRocks.com.
One of the most famous pieces of emerald jewellery is Elizabeth Taylor's Emerald and Diamond Necklace, Earrings, Ring and Bracelet Set. It was gifted to her by Richard Burton and historically sold for a total of $24,799,000at Christies Auction House in New York, 2011.
Image Credit: Forbes
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