Birthstone month: May
Moh's Hardness: 7.5-8
Transparency: Semi-translucent to transparent
Emerald is a semi-translucent to transparent variety of beryl that is distinguished by it's vibrant, blue-green hue. If the color leans too far towards blue or yellow, it's no longer recognized as emerald, but simply as beryl. Milky inclusions and fissures visible to the naked eye are fairly standard in emeralds, and are one of their most recognizable attributes.
Are all emeralds "emerald cut"? No, but many are! The emerald cut, which refers to an octagon shaped gemstone with long, step-cut facets, was originally designed specifically for emeralds. Because they are somewhat soft, often included, and can be prone to chips on sharp corners, emeralds are often cut into the octagon shape which reduces the likelihood of a corner chip.
Most natural emeralds have traditionally been mined in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia, but in recent years there's been talk of emeralds from Ethiopia that are cleaner and require less treatment, and could therefore be less expensive.
Emerald is the traditional birthstone for May, and is also the gemstone of twentieth and thirty-fifth anniversaries.
Emerald Gemstone | Emerald Stone - GIA, www.gia.edu/emerald