THE EMERALD, The Aztec Lightstone
Emerald is a variety of beryl that has the specificity of being colored by the contact of chromium or vanadium and sometimes of these two chemical elements mixed together. This green shade is absolutely unique. No stone in its natural state is indeed capable of presenting such an aestheticism. The emerald has always been an exceptional gem.
Stone of light among the Aztecs, the exploitation of the emerald has developed around the world and in many civilizations. The extractions identified as being the oldest are located in Egypt. Known as the “Cleopatra Mines” (the Queen of Egypt was particularly fond of precious stones with green shards), they date from 1,300 BCE. We also know that the emerald was used as a currency in Babylon in the second century BC.
Today, the main deposits are found in Brazil, China, Colombia and Zambia, but they are also found in Russia, Mexico and Australia. In its natural state, this gem is rarer than diamonds. Certain deposits, such as those from Colombia, are indeed exhausted. A rarity that gives the stone a powerful commercial value, much higher than that of gold. This beautiful gem known for its green color has the specificity of being “dichroic”: depending on the angle of view, its shades of color change from green to yellow or from green to blue.
Due to their generally tiny size, the largest emeralds can today be worth twenty times that of diamonds. The price of a single carat of particularly precious emerald is nowadays between 2,500 and 3,500 euros. Of course, such prices depend on the quality of the stone which can be very variable and it is possible to find emeralds at just a few tens of euros. The more opaque the stone, the less valuable it will be. The emerald is traditionally offered for the 20th and 40th wedding anniversary.
THE SAPPHIRE, The most beautiful thing
Straight from Asia, sapphire is one of the favorite gems of a myriad of jewelers around the world. It is the corundum which is at the origin of this exceptional gemstone. A mineral species discovered by explorer John Woodward during the 18th century, corundum can be exposed to various elements that influence its colors. So, when the stone is in contact with iron and titanium, it becomes blue: it is this form of corundum that is called sapphire, even if various colors, generally less common, also exist. Thus, the sapphire is available in pink, purple, yellow or even pink-orange. This last color is one of the most sought after. Such sapphires are indeed particularly rare in nature. Some are even colorless. Renowned for its curative and protective virtues, sapphire has always been particularly appreciated by men and women of power. The jewels adorned with blue sapphires are bloated but let us quote among the most illustrious: the adornment of the Countess Von Bismarck and her 99 carat stone or the crown of Queen Victoria and her splendid sapphire of Saint Edward.
Today, blue sapphire deposits are found mainly in Burma, Brazil, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, but the most popular stones come from Kashmir. Symbol of wisdom, the sapphire is the flagship gift of the 5th and 16th wedding anniversary, but is also the most popular gemstone for engagement rings. Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are not for nothing. On the setting side, the sapphire is worn on all types of jewelry and invariably goes with yellow gold, white gold and pink gold.
THE RUBY, The king of precious stones
Corundum is a hard stone. Exposed to natural traces of chromium, it is chemically transformed into a red stone: ruby. Because of this often deep red hue, the Greeks and Romans of Antiquity saw in this precious stone a remedy to counter poisons. Considered a kind of exceptional lucky charm, one wore the ruby to protect oneself from infidelity or even to give birth to the flame in the coveted person.
These gems generally undergo treatments to perfect their appearance. Thanks to heat treatments and ever more modern techniques, their imperfections are eliminated for a radiance and transparency clearly improved. The color of the ruby can vary from pale pink to deep red, passing by bright red. This last shade known as “pigeon blood” is the most sought after. Ruby forms 25-50 kilometers deep. Rubies are generally cut in oval and do not exceed 10 carats. If the Kingdom of Myanmar (Burma) is known worldwide for its ruby mines (90% of Asian production), deposits are also found in Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka (oldest mines and dating from the 8th century before our era), in Thailand or in East Africa.
With a score of 9 on the Mohs scale, ruby is, along with diamond, the hardest stone. In addition to jewelry, rubies are used in watchmaking mechanisms to limit friction between the different cogs. Renowned for banishing anger and balancing passions, ruby is the stone of the month for July. It is traditional to offer a ruby for the 15th and 35th wedding anniversary, but this precious stone can perfectly be offered for any occasion
(engagement, anniversary …).