A treasured precious gem and the birthstone for May, Emerald is a variety of beryl. The deeper and more brilliant the green, the more desirable and precious the Emerald. In fact, the lightest-‐ colored Emeralds are often referred to as “green beryl” to distance them from the sought-after deeper-green stones. Most often mined in Zambia and Columbia, Emeralds are known for their flaws, so a flawless Emerald is rare and very expensive. Although incredibly hard, Emeralds are relatively brittle and can crack internally when subjected to physical trauma or extreme temperature fluctuations. The “Emerald cut” was designed to minimize the risk to this stone and to emphasize its deep verdant hue.