GEM TALK ON EMERALDS - BIRTHSTONE FOR MAY
When shopping for Emeralds, the factors you must consider are:
- COLOR – when we talk of colour we refer to the Hue, Tone & Saturation. The Hue is the type of green colour the emerald has – be it yellowish green or bluish green. The most desired hue is bluish green to pure green. Tone is how light or dark, however in emeralds the tone & saturation go hand in hand. Saturation is what gives the intensity & strength to the colour. The ideal colour would be a dark hued emerald with even tone & high saturation – this would command a high price. One may find a light emerald with even tone & high saturation, which would be of a better value than a dark emerald with low saturation
- CLARITY – 99% of emeralds have inclusions which is called the ‘jardin’ or garden, if you are offered an emerald with no inclusion you must definitely get it tested as it maybe synthetic. The better the clarity the higher the price & inclusions are classified as slight, moderate, heavy or severe and those that have heavy or severe inclusions would be of a lower value as this would affect the brilliance of the stone. However stay away from inclusions that look like bubbles, big blotches or are arranged in a specific order. Emerald inclusions must be deep under the surface & not on top as that would cause the emerald to fracture when being set. Today many emeralds are treated, some even oiled – cedar oils are used to enhance its clarity. Most gemologists accept the oiling of emeralds however this or any treatments used must be declared.
- CUT – due to their inclusions, rough emeralds when cut tend to yield a smaller stone with a higher price tag – which is due to the amount of wastage from the rough gem. The emerald cut which is rectangular or square step cut is the ideal shape as it maximizes the shape of the rough. Rounds, Ovals, Pears – all shapes tend to be more expensive as more of the rough stone is wasted to get these shapes.
- CARAT – As opposed to diamonds, with emeralds it is not necessarily bigger the better. The colour is the most important factor followed by clarity & cut, and finally the carat weight.
Emeralds belong to the Beryl family and rank 7.5 to 8.0 on the Mohs scale which means it has a fair to good toughness, making it a stone that requires more care while wearing compared to sapphires, rubies & diamonds. They are brittle and do not take pressure well from the precious stones.
- Store your emerald jewelry separately in a soft cloth & away from other jewellery. Emeralds are soft so you must be careful while wearing them.
- As with most jewelry avoid spraying hair spray or lotions on your emeralds esp if they are set with pearls
- They are best cleaned with lukewarm water with mild soap or detergent. Just light brush it with a soft toothbrush, rinse and wipe. I recommend doing this at the table as your jewelry can slip from your hands over the sink.
- Most emeralds are fractured filled; it is best to not use steam or ultrasonic cleaners as these can damage the emeralds or cause them to fracture