The Persian Gulf has been a major source of natural pearls throughout history. Pearling was a significant industry in regions like Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. This dangerous profession was known for its risks but also for the potential rewards of finding valuable pearls. In the 19th century, the development of cultured pearls revolutionized the pearl industry. Kokichi Mikimoto of Japan is credited with perfecting the technique of culturing pearls, leading to increased accessibility and affordability. Pearls gained popularity in the early 20th century, particularly during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements.
Today cultured pearls are the most common type available in the market. These pearls are created by inserting a nucleus into an oyster or mussel, stimulating the formation of a pearl. Major sources of cultured pearls include Japan, China, Australia, and various countries in the South Pacific. Additionally, natural pearls, formed without human intervention, are still found but are extremely rare and valuable.
The birthstone for the month of May is the emerald, a green gemstone that is the green variety of the mineral beryl. Emeralds range in color from slightly yellowish green, to pure green, to slightly bluish green, with pure green emeralds being the most popular and valuable. Emeralds are mined in Colombia, and the May birthstone is often treated to improve its color or clarity. Common treatment methods include dyeing, where paler emeralds with multiple fractures may be dyed green to enhance their color.  In addition to being the birthstone for May, the emerald is also said to symbolize love and rebirth.
Sources: 1. Geology. "Birthstones by Month: Chart and Photos. <https://geology.com/gemstones/birthstones/>
Emeralds have been treasured for their lush green color for thousands of years, with the first known emerald mines located in Egypt where they were worked as early as 3500 BC  In ancient times, emeralds were believed to soothe souls and protect against possession by demons . Cleopatra, the famous queen of Egypt, was known for her passion for emeralds . Today, the most desirable emerald colors are bluish green to pure green with vivid color saturation and good clarity . Mining of emeralds became more regular during Cleopatra's reign . Colombia has now become the primary source of emeralds, but before the start of mining at the Colombian sources, most emeralds came out of Egypt .
Being wildly popular in France, the French cut can be traced back to the 1400’s but became more common in the 1700’s and making a third debut in the Art Deco era (1920’s). Evolving through time, with a wide variety of faceting combinations. This hand cut shape is most used for smaller accent gems. Making the French cut shape used on a variety of gems, like sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and semi-precious gemstones. The simplistic design of the French cut produces a spectacular light display lighting up the facets with ease. With a livelier appearance this cut was perfect in accenting the geometric designs of the Art Deco era, used in bracelets, accenting diamonds in engagement rings, and placed in eternity bands. The facets in this cut give the piece they are in a beautiful vibrance other accents are unable to achieve.
The crisscross pattern of the triangular facets of the square or rectangle French Cut gems encourages their brilliance. While giving gems an exquisite shape perfectly versatile, focal point or accent piece, the French cut was a steppingstone in creating today’s modern step and brilliant cuts.
The Old European or Old Euro cut is a round diamond cut most used in the Art Deco era, or between 1890 – 1930. The Old European cut is what inspired the Round Brilliant cut that is the most popular cut today. This shape diamond was cut by hand with candlelight in mind but was cut for carat weight. Unlike other cuts that focus on brilliance. Each antique cut diamond has a unique charm, each diamond cutter must rely on their hands rather than technology, making each diamond one of a kind. The diamond cuts in this era also had beautiful warm hues, relevant to the location that they were mined. Around the 1900’s diamonds began to be mined in South Africa; this is where about ninety percent of the diamonds are collected. With some still coming from Brazil and India. Antique diamond very in warmth for color due to where they are mined, hue is determined by minerals and resources available in the growth of the crystal. Old Euros were cut with carat weight in mind rather than brilliance.
Old European cuts have a large crown and a small table allowing most of the diamond weight to be at the head. And unlike the Old Mine cut diamonds the old Euros have a flat culet instead of a tip, this allows the culet to be seen through the table. The steep crown allows for more fire to be shown off in the Old European cut diamonds. This is complimented by the deep cuts of the facets encouraging lite to travel farther, encouraging light to be reflected to your eye. Although with pros come cons, with greater depth there comes more light leakage. Making these antique cuts not look as bright as todays modern cut diamonds. These old European cuts are more symmetrical than other antique cuts and are exceptional in antique engagement rings. Antique diamonds cut by hand, by candlelight are unique and beautiful, allowing their natural beauty shine.