member of the beryl family of minerals, it contains chromium which
gives the emerald its green color (all green stone have chromium,
that is what gives them their green color). All, but the
very expensive, emeralds have inclusions in them.
Symbols of love and rebirth, emeralds, with their vibrant green
color, celebrate springtime romance. Emeralds also speak
of enduring emotions and commitment, making them the gemstone
of 20th anniversaries. For thousands of years, emeralds
have ranked as one of the most precious of all gems. Rare,
transparent emeralds may be even more valuable than diamonds.
Moguls and pharaohs coveted emeralds. Cortez, conqueror
of Mexico, lost (in a shipwreck) an Aztec emerald the size of
a man's palm. Most emeralds contain, like diamonds, inclusions
of bubbles, cracks and foreign crystals.
It is NOT recommended to clean emeralds in the ultrasonic or steam
are very brittle. They break and chip easily. Extreme care must
is one of the worlds most popular stones. Colors range from a
deep grass green to yellow green and blue-tinges mixed with deep
shades of green, quality emeralds can run up to three or four
thousand a carat, the word emerald comes from the Greek word smaragdos,
are not found in alluvial rivers or in streams, as many gems are.
They are found in conjunction with layers of mica schist. They
are found in pegmatite dikes. Small pockets of emeralds are found
by digging with pick and shovel through the dikes and schist.
Very small crystals of lower qualities is 90% of what is found.
Emerald mining is very labor intensive and the amount of time
spent looking and digging is why emeralds are so expensive.
are found in South America, Egypt, Brazil, Russia, South Africa,
India, Pakistan and Rhodesia.
In ancient Egypt, emeralds were mined close to the Red Sea. This
tranquil green gem was highly prized by the wealthy and the priest
craft. The high cost made it far beyond the average Egyptian's
said that Isis wore a green emerald—all who looked upon it were
guaranteed a safe trip through the land of the dead.
prized her emeralds more than any other gem. She may have dropped
her pearls in her wine for Mark Anthony but she kept her emeralds
for herself! The ancient emerald mines of Cleopatra, long a mystery,
were discovered again a hundred years ago near the Red Sea. Some
tools found in the mine were dated at 1650 B.C. but no quality
emeralds were found: the mines were exhausted thousands of years
ago. Mummies in ancient Egypt were often buried with an emerald
on their necks carved with the symbol for verdure, flourishing
greenness, to symbolize eternal youth.
Romans also loved emeralds because, as ancient scholar Pliny said,
"nothing greens greener." Pliny said that emerald was
the only gem which delighted the eye without fatiguing it. He
said his eyes were restored when gazing at emerald.
in ancient Rome were highly prized and valued for their calming
and soothing effects. Nero watched the Roman games in the coliseum
through a set of highly prized emerald glasses. With the conquest
of South America by the Spaniards in the 16th century, emeralds
became more plentiful in Europe.
emeralds were from mines in Egypt and perhaps what is now Afghanistan.
But Spaniards arriving on the continent of South America were
stunned to see emeralds finer and larger than any ever seen before.
The Spaniards spent years searching for the source of the fantastic
green stones favored by the Incas. They found it finally in what
is today Colombia: Chivor, also known as Somondoco or "God
of the green gems," then later Muzo and Cosquez, the richest
emerald mines in the planet and still the source of the finest
Cortes, the conqueror of Mexico, was carrying carved emeralds
taken from the Aztecs in the shapes of fish and flowers and a
carved emerald bell, and an emerald the size of a man's palm when
he was shipwrecked. Many of the finest stones were lost forever.
The Incas had an emerald goddess, a fabulous emerald the size
of an ostrich egg. In tribute they sacrificed her children: smaller
emeralds which were presented to the goddess. Treasure hunters
seeking wrecks of Spanish galleons are occasionally rewarded with
the ultimate treasure: emeralds lost by the conquistadors long
and Cortez subdued the Inca and Mayan civilizations and took over
the existing emerald and gold mines and began shipping these captured
fortunes of gold and gems back to Spain, who in turn shipped them
to India, Philippine trading ports where they found their way
to China, Mongolia, and Delhi. These early thefts allowed Spain
to become one of the leading world powers at the time.
the rich green color of emerald is the color of spring, the ancients
prized it as the gemstone symbolizing love and rebirth. Treasured
for at least 4,000 years by different cultures all around the
world, emerald is said to quicken the intelligence as well as
the heart. Legend gives its owner the gift of eloquence.
legend says that Satan lost the emerald from his crown when he
fell. The emerald was shaped into a bowl which the Queen of Sheba
sent to Nicodemus. Christ used the bowl at the last supper and
Joseph of Arimathea used the bowl to catch blood from the cross,
founding the order of the Holy Grail.
Moguls of India, including Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj
Mahal, loved emeralds so much they inscribed them with sacred
text and wore them as talismans. Some of these sacred stones,
called Mogul emeralds, can still be seen in museums and collections
is the source of the timeless appeal of emerald? Today scientists
tell us that the human eye is more sensitive to the color green
than to any other. Perhaps that is why green is so soothing to
the eye, and why the color green seems to complement every other
color: think of the beauty of a garden.
can also be seen in the network of inclusions in the depth of
the emerald that the French call the "jardin," or "garden,"
because it resembles foliage. The inclusions are like a fingerprint,
giving each emerald a distinct personality. The extreme rarity
of transparent emerald is why emeralds can be more valuable than
is a beryl, a mineral that is normally colorless. Emerald's rich
green color is caused by minute traces of chromium. Chromium is
the rare Midas element of gemstones: its presence also gives rubies
their firey redness. Crystals of emerald grew long before human
history in metamorphic rocks, which usually restricts the size
of emerald crystals, making them even rarer in large sizes. Other
beryls, emerald's cousins, like blue aquamarine, pink morganite,
golden heliodor and pale green beryl, grow in pegmatites which
allow larger crystals to form. There is even a bright red beryl
found in Utah in the United States.