The most classic gift for a 55th anniversary are items that include emeralds. Both traditional and modern themes are associated with this beautiful green gemstone. It was first discovered by ancient Egyptians and its elegance and charm has made it a very sought after symbol of beauty and status. Not only is it the theme for a fifty fifth anniversary but it’s also the birthstone for May. Emeralds are one of the most expensive precious stones, so serve equally well as an investment. The most obvious choice of a 55th anniversary gift is an item of jewellery. But in order to made a sound decision you need to know as much as you can about the emeralds you’re buying. For that reason we’ve decided to give you all the information so you can make an informed decision regarding your choice of 55th wedding anniversary gifts.
What are emeralds?
Along with other popular gemstones such as aquamarine and morganite, emeralds belong to the beryl mineral family. Their green colour comes from a mix of chromium, vanadium and iron. How much of each element in the emerald will determine its colour, saturation, and tone. Emeralds are very expensive so man has discovered a way to simulate the creation process, allowing buyers to choose from natural or man-made emeralds when making a purchase.
Where do natural emeralds come from?
All over the world natural emeralds are mined, but the biggest supply comes from Zambia, Brazil, and Colombia. The finest examples of natural emeralds are mined in Colombia, and as such many have a premium price tag. Second to Colombian emeralds are those mined in Zambia. While Brazil leads the world in the exporting of emeralds. However, more are exported they are of a lower quality and usually used to make emerald beads rather than top quality jewellery.
Chemical processes come into play during the formation of this gemstone which means that natural emeralds are highly included. A wide variety of colour variations can be seen in its clarity. The fact that there are so many inclusions affecting the surface and strength of an emerald mean it is fairly hard but not all that durable.
Synthetic emeralds – an affordable alternative for your 55th anniversary gifts
A number of manufacturers have developed a process whereby synthetic emeralds are created in a lab. The process means that the number of inclusions can be reduced but they can’t be eliminated completely. Compared with other synthetic gemstones, emeralds are not as low in price as others, because the process is very slow and painstaking.
The characteristics of an emerald
A number of characteristics have been created by gem specialists to evaluate all kinds of gemstones. They determine how a gem can be used, cut and valued.
Mohs scale of hardness
French mineralogist Friedrich Mohs developed a scale of hardness in order to have a common gauge of how hard a mineral is. On a scale of one to ten diamonds rate the hardest. A gem’s hardness directly relates to how much effort is involved in cutting it, and will increase the gem’s final price. 7.5 to 8 is the rating for an emerald, which is relatively high but its toughness is only poor to good. Both qualities make the emerald very hard to work with, thereby increasing its cost.
How to judge the quality of an emerald
Just like diamonds, emerald quality is referred to as the four C’s – clarity, colour, cut and carat. However, which of these are most important differs to diamonds. For emeralds, colour is the most important characteristic, while for diamonds it’s clarity.
The darker green, the more valuable
Dark green emeralds are more valuable than those of a lighter colour. The most attractive of all are those with a dark blue-green colour. However in order to retain their value they need to keep their translucence and brilliance. Stones that are opaque are very inexpensive, even if they’ve got the right bluish-green hue.
There are three basic aspects to the colour of an emerald: tone, saturation and hue. The hue of this gemstone relates to the colours yellow, red and blue, which are next to green on the colour wheel and are considered as the secondary hues found within this precious stone. Blue is the most highly prized hue, closely followed by a red hue.
The best level of clarity
The level of clarity expected in emeralds varies. Unlike diamonds, which are expected to have no inclusions, emeralds have plenty. This means that a large proportion of the stone’s weight, typically 80 to 90%, has to be cut away to leave a gemstone. The high amount of waste is another reason why emeralds are so expensive.
Emeralds have appealed to man for thousands of years. They are a very valuable gemstone because of certain specific characteristics, namely colour and rarity. For your 55th wedding anniversary gifts you can’t go wrong if you buy emeralds.