Emerald / Beryl
Emerald’s lush green has soothed souls and excited imaginations since antiquity. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus.” Rome’s Pliny and Elder described emerald in his Natural History, published in the first century AD: “…nothing greens greener” was his verdict. He described the use of emerald by early lapidaries, who “have no better method of restoring their eyes than by looking at the emerald, its soft, green color comforting and removing their weariness and lassitude.” Even today, the color green is known to relieve stress and eye strain. The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC into 1700s. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments. Emeralds from what is now Columbia were part of the plunder when sixteenth-century Spanish explorers invaded the New World. The Indians had already been using emeralds in their jewelry and religious ceremonies for 500 years. The Spanish, who treasured gold and silver far more than gems, traded emeralds for precious metals. Their trades opened the eyes of European and Asian royalty to emerald’s majesty. Emerald is often mined and sold under peril the natural resource Colombians cherish is also coveted by underworld drug traders. The availability of fine quality emerald is limited, and emerald was plagued in the late 1990s by negative publicity about treatments commonly used to improve its clarity. Emerald is the most famous member of the Beryl family. Legends gave it the power to make its wearer more intelligent and quick-witted. It was once also believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. Its color reflects new spring growth, which makes it the perfect choice of birthstone for the month of May. It’s also the gemstone for twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
One of the largest commercial producers of all kind of emeralds but the Fine Colombian emeralds are highly regarded for their excellent color, and so the name Colombian often used for emeralds of excellent color with any origin.
A major commercial source: The name Zambian used for emeralds that tent to have good clarity.
Has the mine Sandawana Valley that is a famous source.
Hardness & Toughness
Hardness 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale
Toughness Fair to good toughness
Making it a stone that requires more care in wearing than ruby or sapphire. Even so, emeralds are beautiful stones for all types of jewelry and with proper care will last for generations.
Environmental Factor & Reaction
Heat: Heat can damage emeralds, especially by extending existing fractures.
Light: Fracture fillings may dry out or alter under intense light.
Chemicals: Fractured Fillings may affected by any type of chemical, emerald itself is resistant to all acids except hydrofluoric.
(Light and chemicals can cause the oils, resins, and polymers used to fill surface-reaching fractures to alter in appearance or deteriorate.)
Care & Cleaning
Some estimates state that 90 percent or more of emeralds are fracture-filled. Since the great majority of fashioned natural emeralds contain filled fractures, it’s risky to clean them ultrasonically or with steam. Ultrasonic vibrations can weaken already-fractured stones, and hot steam can cause oil or unhardened resin to sweat out of fractures. Using warm, soapy water coupled with gentle scrubbing is the safest way to clean emeralds.
Species and Variety
In Gemology natural gem minerals divided into gem species. A gem species is a broad on chemical composition and crystal structure. The mineral species Beryl is made up of a regular, repeating structure of beryllium, aluminum, oxygen and silicon atoms. Those atoms in the proper arrangement and relative quantities always define that mineral species. Variety is a subcategory of species, based on color, transparency, or phenomenon (is a special optical effect). In the beryl species aquamarine is the widely known blue variety, but emerald is the highly prized green variety.
Source: GIA's Library