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Emeralds are the birthstone for May and the green symbolizes spring. Emerald derives its name from the Greek Smaragdos, which in turn came from perhaps the Persian. It means “green stone” and in ancient times it referred to all green stones- not just emeralds. How do emeralds differ from other gemstones? They are typically included with the exception of some rare emeralds such as the one photographed which fetched over $100,000/carat at auction back in May 2017. Emeralds are from the species beryl and the color comes from chrome, sometimes vanadium. Emeralds are often clouded with inclusions such as a liquid, or gas bubble, healing cracks and foreign crystals. These inclusions help us identify where the emerald possibly originated from and with a professional laboratory report using high tech equipment, they can fetch a higher price if determined the origin is Colombia. Colombian emeralds typically display three phase inclusions which are a solid, liquid and a gas. This does not mean that other locals can not have the same inclusions but with the older material it’s a strong indicator. Other deposits are from Brazil and Zambia. Zambian emeralds are a beautiful green and can hold it’s own to the Colombian in beauty however in the second hand market they do not fetch the same level of interest. For thousands of years emeralds have also been oiled or doctored with a natural balsamic green oil to deflect the inclusions (like repairing a windshield that has a crack or rock damage. This is a normal and acceptable process and the oil can dry or seep out after age and sometimes it must be oiled again. With lab reports such as the AGL (American Gemological Laboratory) - they will determine the level of the oiling or treatment (whether traditional or modern) and the level (insignificant or minor is preferable). It’s a good idea to have a professional laboratory report from a lab such as the AGL, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), Gubelin or SSEF prepared because your emerald may be worth or less than you think. These labs will not place a value on the emerald, they will prepare a report regarding the treatments, synthetic or natural and the Origin of the material (for an additional fee. These reports can range from an $85 gem identification to a more sophisticated report on important gemstones that can cost over $1,000. However they are of the utmost in importance and can be included in your insurance appraisal document.

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Showtime! Prepping for the Miami Beach Antiques Show and Tucson's AGTA GemFair

January and February bring cold weather up north—but they also bring two jewelry shows that will take me down south! First up is the Miami Beach Antique Show. I will be there when it opens, Friday, January 30th, so look for the latest from me on what's at the show.

And next week, I will head from Florida to Arizona, to attend the gem shows in Tucson, including the AGTA GemFair. It is one of my favorite trips, as there is always something new to find, from important colored stones (like a Burmese sapphire I found a few years ago) to the endless displays of raw stones at the roadside shows (last year, we found some beautiful rose quartz even a marble coffee table!). While in Tucson, my husband Joseph DuMouchelle and I host the GIA's Party at the Gem Mine, a charity auction for its alumni association. I'll be sure to update you with photos from the event, along with my latest finds. Stay tuned!