If you didn't already know, the Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May and we wanted to take the time to honor it in all its beauty. As the gem of Spring, we would be remiss not to honor the Emerald, since we are in the heart of Spring. The Emerald is a symbol of rebirth and is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth.
The distinct vibrant green color of Emeralds is opulent and screams elegance. While the color of Emeralds range from light green to dark green, the dark green shade is the ideal color for an Emerald, and in many cases the light green ones are not even considered as Emeralds, especially in the UK and other parts of Europe.
It a variety of the mineral, Beryl, a mineral that grows six sides and up to a foot in length. Most Emeralds are highly included, meaning there is material trapped in the gem, so their toughness is classified as generally poor. Although their color determines the value of the Emerald, their value is also calculated using the 4 C's, cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.
The first known Emerald mines were in Egypt and were worked as early as 3500 BC. The oldest Emeralds were found 2.97 billion years ago. Cleopatra is the most famous historical figure to have a love for Emeralds. She even claimed ownership of all the Emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. The Egyptians used Emeralds both in jewelry, and in their elaborate burials, often burying Emeralds with monarchs as symbols of protection. On the other side of the world in Columbia, the Muzo Indians had well hidden Emerald mines. These mines were so hidden that it took Spanish conquistadors 20 years to find them!
The emerald was believed to have many mystical powers. There were those who thought the emerald could cure stomach problems, control epilepsy and stop bleeding. Perhaps due to its soothing green color, it was also thought to be able to keep the wearer relaxed and serene.
Today, the Emerald is a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace and security, making it a beautiful stone to wear. It is still widely prized by the rich and famous, with Elizabeth Taylor’s famous emerald pendant selling for $6.5 million in 2011.
Today, Emeralds are mined all over the world including Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia, but the main area they are mined is in Colombia. Colombia is by far the world's largest producer of Emeralds, constituting 50-95% of the world production. Emerald production in Colombia has increased drastically in the last decade, increasing by 78% from 2000 to 2010.
Treatments and Synthetics
Many Emeralds are treated with oil in order to fill in surface-reaching cracks so that clarity and stability are improved. These treatments are typically applied in a vacuum chamber under mild heat, to open the pores of the stone and allow the fracture-filling agent to be absorbed more effectively. When buying an Emerald, you can ask your jewelers if the gem has been treated because the U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires the disclosure of any treatment when an oil treated Emerald is sold. The use of oil to treat gems is generally accepted in the jewelry world, but it significantly decreases the value of the stone.
Additionally, Emeralds can be made synthetically rather than naturally. A synthetic Emerald has essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties, but are grown in man made laboratories.
Emeralds Available in Our Store