Introduction: Emerald belongs to the beryl family, which is a crystal structure composed of aluminum and beryllium. Emerald is the birthstone of the month of May. It has long since been regarded as the quintessential green in nature and the beauty of intense green has always been referred to as “emerald green.”
Color: The name emerald is derived from the Latin word for green, “smaragdus.” Its typical color is a beautiful, distinctive hue known, in fact, as emerald green. But emerald can also be light or dark green with either a bright green color or leaf green.
Clarity: Inclusions are common among Emeralds, so these stones typically have eye visible inclusions. Emeralds with no visible inclusions are very rare and expensive. Emeralds are also brittle and can split if exposed to sharp impact.
Cut: The most common cut among Emeralds is a cut known as the Emerald Cut and its most common shapes is a rectangular shape. Emeralds also come in other shapes such as Ovals, Rounds, Pears, and Cabochon.
Moh’s hardness: 7.5 – 8
Specific Gravity: 2.72
Refractive Index: 1.567 – 1.582
Countries of Origin: Emeralds can be found in Zambia, Colombia, Brazil and Zimbabwe. The world finest Emeralds come from Colombia.
History, Literature and Lore: The earliest emeralds date from the Ptolemaic era (320-30 B.C.), but there have been discoveries of mining tools going back to Ramses II (1300 B.C.) or even before. By the 16th Century, however, Colombia became the most celebrated Emerald producer, with the stones being traded throughout South America. The Colombian emeralds were larger and of finer quality than any seen before. To the Romans, emeralds were dedicated to Venus, “the Goddess of Beauty,” and symbolized the reproductive forces of nature. In the Fourth Century B.C., Theophrastus believed it had the power to soothe the eyes. In the 11th Century, Marbode wrote that emeralds improve memory, enhance the owner’s powers of persuasion, and brings joy.
How To Choose: Emerald is the “jewel in the crown,” so to speak, of the Beryl family of minerals, which include aquamarine, morganite and heliodor. There are very few large emerald crystals displayed anywhere, as the gem is so valuable that people invariably want to cut them. Emerald is very brittle and may break or chip easily. Great care must be taken when setting. Also, sudden changes in temperature may shatter the stone. Ultrasonic or steam cleaning are not recommended. The best quality emeralds are those with a rich, uniform green color and a minimum of flaws. We at INTA Gems will be more than happy to help you choose the best quality emerald stone for you!