Happy birthday to our May readers and customers! Do you want to learn more about your specific birthstone? Let us share some interesting facts with you about May’s exquisite gem – the emerald. If you are new to birthstones and you want to learn all about their history and meaning, read “Do you know your birthstone and its meaning?”
Birthstones are very popular to wear as jewelry and most date back to ancient times when civilizations believed that gemstones had incredible powers such as health, luck and prosperity. And the fun of birthstones is you can enjoy them whether it’s your birthstone month or not!
Our customers often bring in gemstone jewelry to our four Albert’s Pawn stores. We also sell jewelry on our online store. Make sure you visit us regularly because our inventory changes daily in all of our stores. You don’t want to miss finding a bargain gemstone that is just waiting for you!
The beautiful green of an emerald is the perfect choice for the spring month of May. There is a long held belief in an emerald’s rebirth symbolism that pairs perfectly with the new growth sprouting up all around us in May. Emeralds are also thought to endow the wearer with good fortune and foresight. Ancient civilizations even thought emeralds could cure diseases and improve the wearer’s ability to give speeches!
The famous Egyptian Queen Cleopatra is remembered for her special fondness for emeralds, wearing them frequently and even giving them as gifts to visiting dignitaries which helped make them very coveted in ancient Rome. Most of these ancient emeralds were worn in their original shape or sometimes polished into beads.
Egypt’s mines have long since dried up for emeralds. Today, Columbia is the producer of the finest emeralds but they are also found in Brazil, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
When buying an emerald, the value is often tied to the quality of the color with the most expensive color being a bluish green, the deeper the color the better. So common is it to find inclusions in emeralds they even refer to them as “jardin,” French for garden. That is why the surface often has tiny cracks that require fillers.
Emeralds are part of the gems known as beryl, another popular beryl being aquamarine. Emeralds are called hard on the Mohs scale at an 8 (diamonds are the hardest at 10) but because they often have imperfect inclusions they can also be very brittle so it is best to handle them gently.
When buying an emerald, be aware that practically all are treated in some way to enhance its beauty. In fact emeralds have been enhanced with these techniques as far back as 3,000 years ago. Sometimes it is only rubbed with oil or wax but other times artificial resin is used to fill in the rough spots. Some emeralds are dyed to enhance the color. A natural emerald will have some inclusions, even the top quality stones. Manmade emeralds appear more perfectly green and have no inclusions.
Avoid drastic heat, hot water and air pressure changes (like flying) with your emerald jewelry. Never use harsh chemicals or an ultrasound cleaning machine on your emeralds.
The best way to clean your precious emerald, like most gemstones, is a soft brush using simply warm, soapy water. For more information about cleaning jewelry, read our blog How To Clean Your Jewelry Like A Pro.
Stop by one of Albert’s four locations to find the perfect birthstone that you are looking for! Albert’s has been family owned and operated since 1927. No matter what part of the Tri-Cities you’re in, we have a location to serve you. With four Albert’s Pawn locations (Downtown Johnson City, North Johnson City, Bristol, and Kingsport) and online, getting top dollar for your items for pawn loans and finding that item you’ve been looking for at an unbeatable price has never been easier. Stop by and see why Albert’s Pawn is the premier pawnshop in the area.