Welcome, May, and your birthstone, the Emerald. Called "The Jewel of Kings," emeralds have a long and illustrious history. Egyptians mined them from 1500 BC and legend has it that Cleopatra decorated her body and her palace with the gemstone. They have been mined in Austria and India since the 1300's and, in 1535, were discovered by Spanish explorers in Columbia (which remains the largest source of emeralds to this day). Emeralds have been credited with increasing fertility, providing immortality, conferring riches, power and eloquence, strengthening memory, counter-acting poisoning or infection, and empowering its wearer to predict the future.
Emeralds are a variant of the gemstone Beryl and their green color is due to the chromium within the stone's structure. The best (most valuable) emeralds have a pure, saturated green color and are highly transparent. But emeralds are highly susceptible to "fissures" and other flaws; thus, emeralds are graded "by eye," without the use of magnification. If an emerald appears to be free of inclusions to the naked (trained) eye, they are considered flawless.
The Art Deco cufflinks above, alas, are not made of the gemstone emerald. They do, however, boast a beautiful Emerald Green enameling. I am confident that any May-born cufflink wearer would find them a satisfying suggestion of their most-handsome birthstone. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248
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