Emeralds are perhaps one of the most beautiful and captivating gemstones. The magnificent color has given the emerald its highly sought after value compared to other green gemstones such as paridot and alexandrite. In the beryl family of gemstones, emeralds are considered the “jewel in the crown” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryl).
For over 2,000 years, the captivation of emeralds has only grown. Kings and queens throughout the world, such as Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, and the builder of the Taj Mahal created intrigue surrounding emeralds because of the their beauty.
Country of Origin
While Emeralds can come from Russia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, Zambia and Columbia, Brazil has the the highest production of emeralds. Second in production is Zambia. Unfortunately, due to political tension over terrorist involvement, there is a proposed ban on Pakistan emeralds, which is similar to the on Burmese rubies and jade (http://www.jckonline.com/article/294265-Burmese_Ruby_Ban_Begins.php). The most highly prized are Colombian emeralds.
The first step to buying an emerald is to observe the color. Great color in an emerald is a vibrant green. Gemologically, this includes, a medium to medium-dark tone, a green hue, and strong to vivid saturation. Emeralds that are lighter or darker in color will generally cost less.
The next step is to examine the clarity. Because emeralds are Type 3 stone, they tend to be highly included; therefore, the less inclusions the more valued, as well as more costly the stone becomes. In addition, a highly included stone produces fragility. The number one treatment for emeralds is clarity enhancement. The most traditional methods are the use of oils, waxes, and resins. One of the newer methods is the use of polymers. While standard cedar oils or polymers are highly accepted, green oil treatments are not. About 99% of emeralds are oil treated and it is extremely rare to find one that has not been treated.
The hardness of emerald stones is much softer than many other stones. While diamonds are a ten and rubies and sapphires are a nine, emeralds are a 6.5-7 on the most scale of hardness. In other words, emeralds cannot take extreme heat or impact and therefore can be damaged more easily if not taken care of properly.
Other Special Characteristics
Another unique characteristic of emeralds is that they are the birthstone of May. In addition, they not only make great rings, but earrings, pendants, and other types of jewelry. Here at Inta Gems, we offer a wide selection of emerald jewelry as well as loose emerald stones (http://www.intagems.com/gemstones/search/ ).
In this video, Christina, Peter, and Steve discuss the unique qualities of Emeralds and how to pick a good one.