Emeralds are one of nature’s most exquisite gems. These stunning green stones have been worn by famous figures and adorned items of jewellery for thousands of years.
However, how much do you know about these gems? Let's take a closer look at these beautiful stones...
What are emeralds?
Considered a symbol of fertility by the Romans and even rumoured to be decorating the Holy Grail, emeralds have been mined and used for thousands of years. Famed for their distinctive green hue, they are a gem-quality stone that is part of the Beryl mineral family.
Where do emeralds come from?
Emeralds were initially mined in Austria, India and Egypt, however, nowadays, these gorgeous stones are primarily mined in Columbia, Brazil, and Zambia. Emeralds are not exclusive to these regions, though, they have also been found across the globe, including in Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.
Why are emeralds green?
Emeralds are green due to the minerals that are found in them. The primary mineral, Beryl, is colourless when it is pure. However, when there are trace amounts of chromium or vanadium found in the mineral, it gives the stone that iconic green tint. Sometimes, if there are trace amounts of iron, then the emerald will also have hints of a blueish or yellowish-green.
What makes an excellent emerald?
Emeralds vary in terms of quality, and when grading an emerald, the experts will review several key areas, including:
- Colour - The first thing to consider is the colour of the stone. The best emeralds will be a pure or blueish-green, with a vivid tone that is not too dark. The colour should also be distributed evenly throughout the gem, with no visible zoning.
- Clarity - In terms of clarity, most emeralds will contain visible inclusions, and this is an accepted aspect of the stone. However, it is possible to have a completely clean emerald, but these are exceptionally rare and very expensive.
- Cut - The cut will be dependent on the colour, inclusions and durability of the stone, and the final decision will be designed to maximise the colour tone, hue, and saturation of the gem.
More facts about emeralds
- The very first emeralds were mined by the ancient Egyptians, and were the preferred choice for Cleopatra.
- Nowadays, over 50% of emeralds are mined in Colombia.
- Birthstone for the month of May.
- They are also the gem for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
- In 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant sold for $6.5 million - that’s $280,000 per carat.
- The oldest emeralds are nearly three billion years old.
- At 1,383 carats, the Duke of Devonshire Emerald is one of the largest uncut emeralds in the world.
- Emeralds appear larger than a diamond of the same carat due to their lower density.
- Most emeralds will have some form of inclusion or imperfection, and it is very rare to find one without any.
How to care for emeralds
To keep your emerald jewellery in the very best condition, it is important that you care for them correctly. Most emeralds are treated with a special oil that helps to fill in any cracks or blemishes, helping to protect the gemstone from cracking or chipping. However, heat can cause the oils and polymers in the emerald to alter, which will change the appearance of the stone and lower its durability. That is why you should keep your jewellery away from long periods in high heat.
Equally, when cleaning your gem, you should not use any steam, cleaning solutions that contain solvents, or ultrasonic methods. These methods can weaken the stone and cause it to crack. Instead, you should use warm and soapy water and gently scrub the stone before drying it carefully.
Are you looking for bespoke emerald jewellery?
Emerald jewellery has been enjoyed for thousands of years, and the gorgeous green colours can beautifully finish any outfit. Here at Ryder Diamonds, our brand was born from a true passion for jewellery making, and every day our artisan jewellers are inspired to provide our customers with the very highest quality jewellery possible.
Our collections are designed to make women feel beautiful and help them to stand out from the crowd. If you would like to find more about our range of jewellery, you can view the entire bespoke collection here.