r-1720.jpg

A Brief History of May’s Birthstone: Emeralds

Known around the world for its green color, the emerald is a precious gemstone. This gemstone gets its famous green coloring from the mineral element chromium. Like other gemstones, the emerald is highly sought after for making fine jewelry. One of the reasons is that emeralds rate between 7.5 and 8 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. In addition to its rich coloring and desirable hardness, emeralds also have an ancient history with romantic roots. Seeing as the emerald is May’s birthstone, we have put together a brief history of this gem.

The Ancient Roots of the Emerald

Today, emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia. Colombia harvests more than half of the world’s emeralds, including up to 95% depending on the year. However, ancient cultures mined for emerald gems as early as 1500 BC in both India and Egypt. Egyptian rulers wore jewelry adorned with emeralds, perhaps none more famous than Cleopatra. Additionally, both Greeks and Romans believed the emerald possessed great powers. In fact, the ancient Romans associated the emerald with the goddess Venus. This connection to romance is part of the widely held belief that emeralds bring both passion and unconditional love.

emeralds
Cut and polished emeralds

Grading Emeralds

Just like diamonds, emeralds are grading on the four C’s: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. However, emeralds are often highly included. This means the clarity of May’s birthstone is not graded under 10x magnification; instead, emeralds are graded by the naked eye. Although inclusions can greatly affect how light passes through the gemstone, emeralds that appear to not have any inclusions to the naked eye are considered flawless. In addition to interior inclusions, many emeralds often have surface cracks known as fissures. To maximize the value of emeralds with inclusions, they are often treated with cedar oil. Just like diamonds, the inclusions of an emerald are helpful in identifying each stone as these inclusions are unique.

Emeralds and Jewelry

Although the diamond is the most common gemstone used for fine jewelry, emeralds are a popular choice as well. Emeralds can be used to make earrings, pendants, and even engagement rings. However, because of their inclusions, emeralds are not often cut with facets. Instead, emeralds are more frequently shaped and polished. Nevertheless, when emeralds are cut, there is a signature cut that is used. Known as the emerald cut, it is a rectangular cut with facets around the top edge.

Emeralds are beautiful gemstones, and they make for great pieces of jewelry for that special someone born during the month of May. Check out the Adiamor glossary to learn more about emeralds today, or contact us today to have all your gemstone questions answered!

r-1720.jpg

Is the Delhi Purple Sapphire Really Cursed? Part 4 Haunted Diamonds Series

While not a diamond, the infamous cursed gemstone known as the Delhi Purple Sapphire has a history of misfortune and tragedy for those

The Delhi Purple Sapphire
The Delhi Purple Sapphire

who have been unfortunate enough to have owned it. Mistakenly thought to be a sapphire, the colorful but otherwise unremarkable oval shaped amethyst is mounted in a blackened silver setting, covered with astrological and alchemical symbols along with two carved scarab beetle gemstones.

The origin of this haunted gemstone starts in India, where it was said to have been looted from the Temple of Indra during the murderous Indian Mutiny of 1857 by a Bengal calvaryman named Colonel W. Ferris. Ironically, the temple honored the Hindu deity of war and weather. Ferris stole the

The Temple of Indra
The Temple of Indra

amethyst from the temple, and took it home with him to England, where he and his son, who inherited the gemstone after Ferris’ death, were afflicted with many difficulties, including health and financial ruin. A family friend who took possession of it committed suicide while the gemstone was in his possession. In a macabre twist, the friend willed the gemstone back to Ferris’ son.

The amethyst was later acquired by the unwitting Edward Heron-Allen in 1890. A celebrated author, scientist, scholar and friend to Oscar Wilde, he was perhaps the least likely of owners of the Delhi Purple Sapphire to succumb to the curse. Immediately after acquiring the amethyst, he was beset by misfortune after misfortune. He tried to get rid of the stone several times, by giving it away to two of his friends. One was a singer who lost her voice, the other similarly beset with misfortune.  Both immediately gave the amethyst back to him as quickly as they could to relieve themselves of the cursed stone. In his fear, Heron-Allen threw it into the dark and

Edward Heron-Allen
Edward Heron-Allen

dirty waters of Regent’s Canal to rid himself of it. A mere three months later, a dredger discovered the amethyst who then sold it to a jeweler. The jeweler recognized the gem and returned the amethyst to Heron-Allen, whose belief in the curse only intensified.

He had the gemstone locked away in seven different boxes, sealed with protective charms and sent it to his banker with instructions to never open the box. After his death, his family bestowed the gem to the London Natural History Museum. Heron-Allen had included a note in the boxes which read “This stone is trebly accursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonor of everyone who has ever owned it.” 

 “Whoever shall then open it, shall first read out this warning, and then do as he pleases with the jewel. My advice to him or her is to cast it into the sea.”  

The curse apparently did not end with the museum’s ownership. John Whittaker, who was Dark_stormin charge of transporting the gem to the first symposium of the Heron-Allen society, experienced several problems when traveling with the stone. First he was stuck while driving in an incredibly violent thunderstorm. “the sky turned black and were overtaken by the most horrific thunderstorm I’ve ever experienced…we considered abandoning the car and my wife was shouting ‘Why did you bring that damned thing??” On the eve of the second annual symposium he was incapacitated by a violent case stomach flu, and he was unable to attend the third symposium due to kidney stones.

Undeterred by the curse, the Natural History Museum of  London decided to display the amethyst as part of their precious gemstone collection at the Vault in 2007.

The Delhi Sapphire on Display
The Delhi Sapphire on Display

To this day, none of Heron-Allen’s descendants will touch the gemstone.

r-1720.jpg

What to Pair with Diamonds

You love your diamond jewelry, but sometimes you wonder if dripping in ice might not be a little over the top. Besides that, you have a lot of other matching jewelry sets, but when you try to pair them with your diamond pieces, you feel like they just don’t go together. While accessorizing can certainly be difficult, it’s certainly not brain surgery. Mixing and matching different pieces of jewelry can be easy if you know what you’re doing. So here are a few ways to figure out what to pair up with your favorite diamonds.

1. More diamonds! Obviously, you can never have too many diamonds. However, you can go over the top. So if you are wearing one large or loud piece, you may want to pair it with smaller, simpler, understated diamonds. For example, don’t ever wear the tiara with dangly drops. Opt for studs instead.

2. Pearls. The classic standby, pearls will go with anything, and diamonds are no exception. Just be careful that you wear them with a modern twist or you’ll risk looking like you raided Grandma’s jewelry cabinet.

3. Other gemstones. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to avoid wearing colored gemstones in concert with diamonds. The only caveat is that you want the diamonds to be the center of attention, so make sure your colored pieces accent a larger, central diamond.

4. Precious metals. Who says you need to adorn diamonds with other stones? Sometimes intricately worked precious metals can be a good stand-in for stones. If you’re wearing a diamond necklace and a ring, pair it with a white gold bracelet. Or choose a small, gold, chain necklace with large diamond earrings. This will look a lot more sophisticated than a ton of glaring jewels.

5. Nothing at all. Nude necks are in, so if you have a fabulous earring and bracelet combo, skip the extra adornments and keep it simple. Show off your flawless skin instead.