Emerald is a precious stone of the beryl family with an attractive green color. Its name comes from Greek smaragdos.
In Europe, the emerald appeared in 1535, following the discovery of South America by the conquistadors. The old emeralds probably came from the Indo-Iranian region now Afghanistan.
From a chemical-mineralogical point of view the emerald is a silicate of beryllium and aluminum. Its hardness reached a suitable level: 7.5 to 8. Like aquamarine, pale pink morganite, golden heliodor and the pale green beryl, emerald is also a member of the beryl family. Emerald is the most valuable type of beryl. It is colored by minute traces of chromium and vanadium.
Although many people consider Colombia to be the source of the best emeralds, the country of origin is never a guarantee of quality. Brazil , Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Russia are also producers of fine quality stones.
The extreme rarity of transparent emerald is why inclusions in emeralds are tolerated. These inclusions are like a fingerprint, giving each emerald a distinct personality. They are called garden from the French « jardin ».
Fissures and fractures that are characteristic of emerald are traditionally filled with oil to minimize their visual impact. Cleaning emerald with an ultrasonic cleaner can remove or damage the oil, thus making the fissures more visible.
Colombia was the source of the famous Inca’s emeralds and today, the area of Chivor, with its famous mines Cosquez and Muzo, still produces the finest emeralds in the world.
Zambian emeralds, with their deep color and sometime blue tinge have less inclusions. The famous Sandawana mines in Zimbabwe produce some exceptional quality emeralds but very few exceed one carat in size. Brazil became the main producer of medium to high quality stones with some very fine specimens coming from the Nova Era mining area.
Other potentially important producers of emerald are Afghanistan with its Panjshir mines, Madagascar, Pakistan, Nigeria and Russia.
This precious stone is one of the most difficult gemstone to cut because of the many inclusions and color zonings.
When choosing an emerald, the most important factor to consider is color. The more vivid the green, the more valuable the stone. Attractive bright stones with a lighter green color are in this moment in fashion. Darker green emeralds with a rich color may also produce very attractive pieces.
Oiling makes fissures less visible.
Nevertheless, always bare in mind that all stones are fragile! even the diamond ….
Emerald can be mounted in ring, earrings or pendant.