Luxurious Emeralds and Sapphires
Unique Turquoise, Agates and Amber
The word Emerald is almost synonymous with the color green. Who can forget theEmerald City in the Wizard of Oz? Emeralds are a precious stone that have long been highly valued because of their crisp, bright green color and luster. As the primary birthstone for the month of May, according to the American National Association for Jewelers, the emerald is a wonderful symbol of a verdant green spring. Historically, the emerald is also thought to symbolize fertility and joy. Wearing an emerald is thought to help you tell the future and sharpen your mind.
While the Emerald is the primary birthstone for the month of May, there are also a variety of alternative birthstones that appear on traditional, modern, zodiac and ancient birthstone lists. Women may sometimes want to enjoy one of the alternate birthstones for May. Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry has compiled a list that combines all the different alternatives. For May, their list includes turquoise, agates, sapphires and amber.
What is an Emerald?
Scientifically speaking, an emerald is simply the mineral beryl that has taken on a green tone because of trace amounts of chromium and, sometimes, vanadium. They are not considered an especially hard stone, like the diamond. They rank about 7.5 to 8 on the hardness scale. (Personally, I have worn an emerald ring for the past 40 years, and it has a couple of tiny nicks in it from times when I have been careless. I have learned to never wear my emerald when doing yardwork!)
In order for an emerald to be considered a high quality stone, it not only must be green, but it also must be transparent. The color must be a deep or dark green. If it is light green, it is simply called green beryl, and is not as valuable as a true emerald stone. Most emeralds are treated with oil, usually cedar oil, to increase their clarity. Emeralds may be used alone in jewelry. However, I have frequently seem them combined with diamonds, since these clear, bright stones seem to enhance the deep green of the emeralds.
It is also possible to purchase synthetic emeralds. These are often marketed as created emeralds, under different brand names. Synthetic emeralds are often of very high quality, and they can be an attractive alternative for the woman who wishes to own emerald birthstone jewelry, but cannot quite afford the price of natural emeralds. The earrings shown above, like the other jewelry shown in this article, can be purchased through Amazon.com.
What is Turquoise?
Like the emerald, turquoise is also green, or green-blue color in color. However, turquoise is opaque rather than translucent. For thousands of years it has been mined around the world and was prized as a gemstone and used for ornamental purposes. However, it has become somewhat devalued with the increased use of imitation and synthetic turquoise. Genuine turquoise is fragile and sensitive to solvents. Perfume and similar cosmetics will damage the finish and could cause the color to change. As a result, some women may actually prefer to own the more durable synthetic stones.
Turquoise was among the first gemstones ever to be mined, and can be found inIran, the Sinai Peninsula,China and in the Southwestern United States. It is often associated with Native American cultures, since they used it for decorative purposes going back to pre-Columbian times.
What are Agates
Agates are a type of crystalline silica that is often found with volcanic rocks. Pieces of agates have been found on ancientCrete. One interesting feature of an agate is the interesting bands or stripes that can be enhanced by using the correct technique of transverse cutting. Because agates are often found in a wide range of sizes, agates can be turned into anything from a small vase to an item of tine jewelry.
What are Sapphires?
Sapphires are gemstones that are most frequently available in a deep, dark shade of blue. Many people do not realize that sapphires can also be found that are pink, yellow, purple, green, white or orange. For example, the earrings shown above are actually a combination of blue and white sapphires. Even though sapphires come in other colors, when choosing an item of jewelry for someone who has asked for a sapphire, they are undoubtedly expecting to receive the traditional dark blue stone.
Sapphires are ideal for use in jewelry because they are quite hard. In fact, although they are often found within other rock formations and sediment deposits, they survive the erosion from these other stones quite well.
With modern day technology, sapphires can also be manufactured. Manufactured sapphires may be used in jewelry, but they can also be used for infrared optical components, watch crystals and electronics.
What is Amber?
Amber is simply fossilized tree resin. Many people who remember the movie “JurassicPark,” may recall that DNA was theoretically used to recreate the dinosaurs in the movie by recovering it from amber. Although it is highly unlikely that this could actually be done, the idea presented itself because amber starts out as a soft and stick tree resin that frequently contains animal and plant material that becomes inclusions in the fossilized stone. With or without an insect inside, the stone is quite beautiful and can be turned into dramatic jewelry. Amber also comes in a wide range of colors, usually in shades of yellow, orange or brown. However, it is also possible to find red, green and blue amber, as well.
Choosing the Best Birthstone for Your Loved One
If you are buying an item of birthstone jewelry for someone as a gift, it is probably safest to stick with emerald jewelry if they were born in the month of May. However, if they are interested in trying something a bit more exotic as a reminder of their birth, you may want to take them shopping for jewelry made from turquoise, agates, sapphires or amber.
Where to Buy Birthstone Jewelry
Jewelry made from emeralds and sapphires can generally be found in any fine jewelry stores. Jewelry made from turquoise is extremely popular in theSouthwestern United States, and you can frequently find a nice selection of items in that region. For jewelry made from agates or amber, your selection is likely to be more limited. You may want to search online.
Buying Jewelry Online
When purchasing jewelry online, remember that real stones are unique. Although emeralds and sapphires are more likely to be consistent in color and clarity, jewelry made from turquoise, agates and amber are more likely to look different in real life than they do on a website. This is because each stone is so unique in these varieties of gemstones. Be prepared to expect a very individual piece of jewelry if you order it online, and don’t expect it to be a carbon copy of the picture used in the photograph.
Source for alternate birthstone selections: bernardine.com/birthstone
Source for information about specific stones: wikipedia.com
Source for meaning of birthstones: zales.com
Source for photos of finished birthstone jewelry: amazon.com
A Beautiful Emerald and Diamond Heart Pendant
Amazon Price: $129.99 $35.14 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 29, 2015)
A Popular Sapphire Heart-Shaped Pendant
Amazon Price: $199.99 $79.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 29, 2015)
Stunning Turquoise Earrings
Amazon Price: $34.99 $19.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 29, 2015)