I recently ran across a fabulous CNN article on emeralds and I wanted to share it with you.
Emerald is the Modern and Traditional birthstone for May. According to the author of the article, the value of emeralds is the result of their scarcity. Emeralds are over 20 times rarer than diamonds — a consequence of the extraordinary conditions required to create them.
Beginning 500 million years ago, magma and hydrothermal fluids—rich in aluminum, beryllium, silicon and vanadium—cooled amid a delicate balance of heat and pressure, forming the precious gems. Emerald is the name given the green variety of beryl. Emeralds range between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs hardness scale.
“Emerald” is derived from the French “esmeraude” meaning ‘green gemstone’. Today emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia, and then sent to Jaipur, the emerald capital of the world, where artisans cut and polish them. Long before you encounter an emerald, it has been on a long and magnificent journey.
Much of the wonder and awe relates to the gem’s color. In normal lighting conditions, the human eye responds most strongly to yellowish-green light. Natural light, including sunlight and candlelight, also happens to be at its most intense at this point of the visible spectrum. Some people in the ancient Middle East thought the color might protect them from snake bites.