With their vivid hue, emeralds are among the most eye-catching of gems and those lucky enough to be born in May can claim them for their birthstones. Named for their colour – Smaragdus means green in Greek – emeralds were believed to bestow foresight, good fortune and youth on their owners; qualities from which many of us would like to benefit. Unlike diamonds, inclusions in emeralds are expected – and are like fingerprints that can reveal the gem’s origin – although those with fewer inclusions are much rarer and more valuable. Notoriously hard to cut due to their brittle quality, emeralds remain one of the most popular stones and are currently very much in Vogue. Popular during the Art Deco period when coloured stones were particularly prized, emeralds were used extensively in the Cambridge emerald choker – originally made for Queen Mary and then famously worn by the late Princess Diana as a headband to a ball in Melbourne in 1985. One of Elizabeth Taylor’s most famous pieces was her Bulgari emerald necklace – purchased for her by Richard Burton while filming Cleopatra. “I’ve come to think of [his gifts] as my ‘It’s Tuesday, I love you’, jewellery”, said Taylor of the exquisite necklace that sold for more than US$6.1m in 2012.