22 Essentials on Emerald

1.Emerald is the birthstone for May and symbolic of the 20th and 35th anniversaries.

2. It belongs to the group of minerals known collectively as Beryl, the same family that includes aquamarine and morganite. They are very closely related to the lighter coloured and lesser valued green beryl, the only difference being the addition of chromium in emerald’s composition.

3. The depth of green in emerald is determined by the presence of chromium, vanadium and iron. Green beryl is coloured by vanadium and the lack of chromium in its mix gives it a paler appearance. Iron can also intensify the bluish tones, but too much blue isn’t considered desirable either.

4. American gemologists make no distinction, however. Here, green beryl has been accepted as emerald since the 1960’s, whilst in the UK and Europe they are considered distinct stones and valued accordingly. Values in the US are set according to colour alone.

Oval emerald necklace with halo of diamonds 9ct White gold necklace with oval emerald and diamond halo

5. The most sought-after emeralds are deeply saturated and vivid bluish-green with colour and tone often (though not always) being affected by geographic origin.

6. Colombian emeralds tend toward a warmer, more intense pure green, while Zambian stones are frequently a cooler, more bluish-green. Brazilian emeralds are often a slightly yellow-green and although yellow-green is less highly-valued than bluish-green, Brazilian stones are prized for their excellent clarity, which is rare for this gem.

7. ‘Eye-clean’ examples (i.e. without inclusions that are visible to the naked eye) are extremely valuable because they are so rare. It is expected and accepted that in general, an emerald will have some inclusions. So long as they don’t negatively impact on clarity by causing opacity then the stone’s worth shouldn’t be lowered.

18ct White gold, emerald and diamond ring

8. Did you know that emeralds come complete with their own garden? The moss-like inclusions contained within a stone are referred to as its ‘jardin’ - the French word for garden.

9. Brazilian emeralds might be noted for their clarity but Brazil is also home to rare ‘cat’s eye’ emeralds and the even rarer six-ray star emeralds. Cat’s eyes are thought to be caused by tubes within the crystalline structure and stars seem to be formed by dark impurities, though no-one is quite sure exactly how they are formed.

10. Spanish collectors called star emeralds ‘trapiche’ or sugar mill emeralds due to their resemblance to spoked grinding wheels.

11. They give their name to the ‘emerald cut’ which was developed specially to complement its colour and structure. The emerald cut comprises of a series of stepped square or oblong cuts with snipped corners and is now often used on diamonds, sapphires, aquamarines and many other gems.

diamond and emerald pear drop pendant 18ct White gold, diamond and pear drop emerald pendant

12. Emeralds are notoriously tricky to cut with the combination of their inclusions, fissures and fractures teamed with their inherent brittleness. A cutter has to take great care not to damage or splinter the stone during the cutting and polishing processing, as well as paying the usual attention to enhancing a gem’s colour and brilliance.

13. A good cutter can deepen an emerald’s tone using deeper cuts and fewer facets, or lighten a dark emerald using shallower cuts and more facets. Highly saturated specimens maybe most desirable but too dark stones are not.

14. Emeralds come in all sizes, naturally, from hundreds of carats and lbs in weight to tiny seed-like grains. The Bahia Emerald was discovered in 2001 in Bahia Mine, Brazil and is reported to contain approximately an incredible 180,000 carats of emerald.

18ct White gold, emerald and diamond ring

15. The name is derived from the old French word ‘esmeralde’, which in turn was derived from the Greek ‘smaragdos’, meaning ‘green stone’.

16. The Jewel of Kings, it has made its way into the collections of royalty since time immemorial; adored by rulers down the ages from Cleopatra to the Moghul Emperors and up to the present day can be found in state coffers.

17. Cleopatra’s Mines near the Red Sea in Egypt are the source of emeralds dating back over 3000 B.C., however, the deposits there had been completely cleared by the time of their discovery by early 19th century explorers.

18. Emeralds were considered sacred by early South American civilizations like the Aztec and Inca, and mines in this part of the world still produce some of the best deposits.

18ct Yellow gold earrings with oval emeralds and diamond halos

19. Ancient myths and legends of India tell of temples or palaces made entirely of emerald and perhaps these tales inspired The Emerald City of Frank L Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz? As far as we know Baum never journeyed to India but he is said to have much admired and Rudyard Kipling’s stories of that far distant and fascinating exotic land, clearly borrowing from Kipling’s descriptions in his earlier works.

20. In western mythology, emerald is associated with the goddess of love, as green is the colour of heart energy. This may be why is it said to support successful love.

21. Bringer of riches, wellbeing and unconditional love, emerald is thought to attract abundance in all good things and to promote peace, tolerance and genuine affection.

22. Finally, it’s worth being aware that the value of emeralds has increased by more than 1,900% over recent years, so if you have any stashed away then it might be worth breaking them out of storage and bringing them to us for re-vamp!

You can view our fresh collection of lively emeralds by clicking here or for more details on jewellery services including cleaning and re-design, please click here.