Nuttalls of Chester - Emerald the Birthstone for May

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The "Green Fire" of Emerald Rings, Emerald Earrings, Emerald Pendants and all other Emerald Jewellery, has been treasured as a symbol of eternal spring and immortality since ancient times. They are ornaments of power and politics. Emeralds are thought to soothe the soul and sharpen wit. They are supposed to bring wisdom, growth, patience and healing powers, and are believed to change colour upon infidelity!

Emeralds are the birthstone for May, the Zodiac gem for Cancer and represents 35th Anniversaries.

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History, Legend and Lore

Emerald occurs most often in mica schists of metamorphic-hydrothermal origin wherein the schists and other associated host rocks formed by chemical interaction between granitic rocks or pegmatites and the enclosing basic (silica-deficient) rocks. The chemical ingredients necessary for the formation of beryl frequently migrate from the granitic material into the adjoining basic rocks where the beryl crystallizes, changing the original basic rock composition through the process known as 'exometamorphism'. If the basic rocks contain the elements chromium or vanadium, small amounts of these elements may be incorporated into the beryl structure thereby giving the intense green colour characteristic of the gem beryl variety 'Emerald'

Some of the world's most famous Emerald deposits in Columbia are of hydrothermal origin where heated mineral bearing waters or gases from deep igneous cooled and crystallized along fractures in carbonate rocks. Associated minerals in these deposits are dolomite, pyrite, calcite, quartz and albite.

Because of Emerald's relatively high hardness and specific gravity, it is sometimes found in eluvial and alluvial deposits.

Emerald is usually recognized by its colour, form, hardness and specific gravity.

They have graced Crown jewels and embellished the thrones of some of the oldest dynasties in history. As a symbol of wealth and power they are unsurpassed. With their sparkling green lustre they are considered to be more precious than diamonds And, carat for carat, they are the most expensive gems in the world. They are emeralds, the most precious of all gems.

If you were fortunate enough to possess an Emerald that would fit into the palm of your hand, it could, depending on it’s quality, be worth over one million dollars. Why such a high price? A large part of the reason is that emeralds are rare gems. Emeralds are a type of beryl crystal. They are formed from a combination of the common elements aluminium and silicon with the rare element beryllium.
Small amounts of trace elements, either chromium or vanadium, give the emerald its distinctive green tint.

The world’s source of Emerald supplies has traditionally been Egypt. For thousands of years the famous Cleopatra mines, to be found some 440 miles southeast of Cairo, were worked by the Egyptians and then the Romans and the Turks. Working long hours under the blistering heat of the Sun, and the darkness, heat and dust of the underground mines must have been a real ordeal for those ancient
laborers. Yet the mines were worked continually from about 330 B.C.E right through until 1237 C.E.

In ancient times emeralds held a real fascination for the people. In addition to their exquisite beauty, they were coveted for their supposed magical and healing powers. Emeralds were, in fact, considered to be a cure for many diseases. They were also believed to be able to heighten fertility and sexual desire in females. As a result of such claims, Emeralds were greatly sought after and a profitable trade was established between Egypt and nations as far away as India.

The Egyptian monopoly on the world supply of Emeralds lasted right up until the Sixteenth Century, C.E. It was then that the Spanish Conquistadores arrived in South America. In 1558 the Spaniards located a mine at Muzo, near Columbia. There they discovered emeralds of breathtaking size and beauty. The Spaniards wasted no time in capitalizing on this find. They promptly seized the mine and enslaved the local population. These slaves were then forced to do the back breaking work of extracting the gems from the mine. Soon a vast supply of large, fine emeralds were being shipped to Europe. These jewels soon found their way into the hands of many of the ruling Empires around Europe and the Middle East. The Ottoman Turks, the Persian Shahs and even the royalty of India were featuring delicately sculpted emeralds as the showpieces of their jewel collections.

One of the ironies of the modern jewel trade is that the people who labor so hard to mine the gems are barely able to afford the food to keep themselves alive, yet alone to be able to buy an emerald. Not surprisingly, then, there is an overwhelming temptation for emerald workers to hide and smuggle gems out of the mines. This has led to an unprecedented level of security wherein security guards armed with machine guns monitor every move that the workers make. Despite this, however, there is a roaring trade in black market emerald smuggling. In fact, according to an article in National Geographic magazine, “Most emeralds move off the record, untaxed, unseen, buried in aw world market that the trade calls black. Almost every high quality emerald is smuggled at some time in it’s history.”

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Giving a peice of jewellery containing a Birthstone Gem will offer the wearer good luck and protection. Monthly Birthstones symbolize the month of birth according to the Gregorian Calender.

visit NuttallsOfChester.co.uk for all your Quality Emerald Jewellery

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