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May birthdays fall right in the heart of autumn, and the emerald is the perfect gem to symbolise and celebrate this month.

Prized for its brilliant and beautiful green colour, the emerald is often favoured by the rich and famous to wear as statement pieces for big events. But this beautiful gem is just at home in an unassuming pendant as it is in an ornate tiara.

Emerald's name is derived from the Greek word smaragdus, meaning “green gem.”

Like aquamarine, emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral that grows with six sides and up to a foot in length. Emerald colour can range from light green (though there is some argument whether these very light beryls are truly emeralds) to a deep, rich green. Emeralds are also like aquamarine in that the way the colour presents itself in jewellery depends on a good cut by a skilled gemologist.

The deeper or more green an emerald is, the more valuable it is. The rarest emerald gemstones will appear to be an intense green-blue colour.

Emerald gems are found all over the world, including Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia. The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly.

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