Monday, May 5, 2008

Emeralds and birthdays

Emeralds are the birthstone for May. According to some legends they're also the symbol of truth and honesty. My daughter didn't like emeralds for a long time but I think that's mainly because the only ones she'd seen were the created emeralds in the less expensive jewellery shops. Since I gave her an emerald pendant for her 21st birthday she's been in love with them.

My daughter's 25th birthday is in a few weeks. Apart from the fact that I can't believe it's been 25 years, it's a significant time. Deserving of a special present. In October I went to see my former employer and asked him to source some emeralds for earrings. That's when the problems began. Emeralds aren't easy to match at the best of times but trying to get two exactly the same size to match in colour and quality to the pendant was almost impossible. Everything was either too light or too heavily included. Emeralds usually have a lot of inclusions. If you see a cloudy emerald, it's because of the inclusions. The one in the pendant has only one inclusion that is almost completely hidden by the setting. That made matching the stone even more difficult.
I was working in a jewellery shop at the time and the owner sourced the most gorgeous Columbian emerald for me. Emeralds are often set in yellow gold because the yellow warms the green of the stone. I was amazed at the clear green that came through when set in white gold (it's actually a little deeper green than shows in the photo).

We finally had some success last week. I'm not sure if he managed to source them from Columbia (my preference as they're the best colour) or from somewhere else but the colour is the closest we've been able to get with the clarity. It looks paler than the pendant now, but once it's set it'll be very close to the same. Yes I know it's a slightly different tone of green - emeralds are so hard to match you just can't be that fussy.

Because we've had such trouble my former boss got in a larger stone as well as the two I wanted for earrings. It makes sense to buy the one for a ring now (for my daughter's 30th birthday) while I can get it, even if it didn't come anywhere near the budget! So that's what I've done. The earrings are currently being made up but I have the stone for the ring. Unusually there's a slight band of lighter colour across it - that doesn't happen often with emeralds - but I like it. It's yet another aspect that proves it's a natural stone.

I love looking at gems and designing jewellery. I have five years now to design a ring for my daughter. The last one I had made for her was designed because of the shape of the stone. Very few variations presented themselves to me - at least ones that would suit her and that she would wear. This one is oval so there are many more possibilities. I just have to make it complement the simple setting of the pendant and earrings. I'm sure she'll forgive me if I add a couple of diamonds though.


Jim Harris said...

Doesn't Lois read your blog? She'll know what her presents are going to be until she's 30.

What are you going to get for her 50th birthday, a emerald necklace?


glediar said...

She knows she's getting the earrings and that I've bought the stone for the ring. She requested them - in her lovely way of expressing a desire but not actually expecting anything. She lets me make my own decisions but isn't shy of saying exactly what she wants. She'd be just as happy with a David Attenborough wildlife dvd.

She likes being organised and planning ahead, and likes to know she'll be getting something she actually wants and not something she'll have to pretend to like. I prefer that too.

We don't always discuss birthday or Christmas presents in such detail, but this is a significant expense and I didn't want to spend that sort of money if she didn't want it.

I don't know what I'll give her for her 50th yet. I think I'll be all 'emeralded out'. I might be getting rubies for her by then. Or a gold watch - which is what I've told her I want for my 50th. Or we could just go away somewhere for a weekend and spend time together. It depends what's happening in our lives then and what we're focused on.

Of course none of it really matters. They're just shiny things that are pretty to look at and are fun to plan for and get. It's the everyday joys that mean the most.

Lois came over for lunch yesterday and stayed five hours. It's that sort of time together that means more than anything else.