THE HEALING GEM

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Whether May’s mesmerizing green birthstone actually has the power to heal maladies or improve vision as some ancient peoples believed, few can resist its universal beauty of emerald. Regarded as one of the precious gemstones in the world, a green emerald set into a ring or pendant is sure to bring years of pleasure to the lucky owner.

Since approximately 2000 B.C., emeralds have been prized by connoisseurs and sought after by the rich and powerful. They were mined near the Red Sea during the time of Cleopatra, who wore her emeralds lavishly. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers in South America were amazed to find magnificent emeralds in the possession of the Aztecs and Incas.

The source for many of these stones was Colombia, whose emeralds were regarded by experts as the ultimate in quality and color. In fact, the world's largest emerald crystal, at 7,052 carats, was discovered in 1969 in the Cruces Mines in Gachala, Colombia. Although this country remains the world's largest supplier of the fascinating green gem, many exceptional emeralds on the market today come from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Brazil.

When buying an emerald, the most important factor is color. You'll find that the more vivid the green, the more valuable the stone. Don't be put off by a few fissures, or inclusions, in your emerald. It is common to find an emerald with these natural birthmarks, and they do not detract from the stone's beauty or value as they might with another type of stone.

However, these fissures do affect an emerald's care. Emeralds will remain beautiful and durable for years if taken care of properly. Do what Chalmers Jewelers’ experts advise:

  • avoid abrupt temperature changes
  • avoid contact with rough or sharp surfaces, including those of other gemstones
  • store your emeralds in a fabric-lined jewelry box or wrap them in a soft cloth or tissue

Whether the emerald actually has the power to heal maladies or improve vision as some ancient peoples believed, few can resist its universal beauty. Regarded as one of the most rare and most precious gemstones in the world, a verdant green emerald set into a ring or pendant can bring years of pleasure to the lucky owner.