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Emerald Information

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emerald

So popular as a gemstone has Emerald been (and for so long) that one of the standard gem stone cuts has even been named after the stone which looks its best when cut in that way.

The mining of Emeralds has been dated back to more than 3,000 years ago, during the time of the Ancient Egyptian Empire. Emerald bracelets, emerald earrings and emerald rings have all been worn and sought after since ancient times.


The "green fire" was so mesmerizing and highly valued in the courts of Europe that the Spanish Conquistadors went on a bloody campaign to find the location of the emerald mines in South America. In 1557, the campaign finally ended with the discovery of the spectacular Muzo and Chivor mines in present day Colombia - still the world's major source.

Today Brazil and Zambia produce large quantities of fine emeralds; however, many still consider Colombian emeralds to be of the highest quality. Very fine emeralds, though in small quantity, are also produced in Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Emeralds of Zimbabwean origin are sometimes called "Sandawana" emeralds, which refers to the region where the gemstones are mined.
Emeralds are made of the base mineral beryl, with minute traces of chromium and vanadium giving this gemstone the "green fire". Colombian emeralds are known for their vivid green color, while Brazilian emeralds are known for their variety of color, ranging from light green to fine medium dark green.

It is quite rare to find emeralds of fine quality over one carat in size, for large emeralds sometimes contain eye-visible inclusions, known as "jardin" or the "garden".

With hardness close to 8 on the Moh's scale, emeralds are quite durable. However, ultrasonic and steam cleaning could damage the stone, causing fractures. Therefore, only professional jewelers should clean emeralds.

Clarity and transparency are the most important characteristics when evaluating the value of emeralds. When evaluating from a face up position, very fine quality emeralds should enable the viewer to see the back facet. The brightness of the gemstone, which is determined by the cutting and the number of inclusions, is also an important evaluation factor. Intense medium green emeralds command the highest value. The purity of the green color is crucial to the value and the beauty of the stone, with blue or yellow overtones diminishing its value.

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