What is an Emerald? How Does It Get its Color?
They are said to be rarer than diamonds.
In fact, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are the only colored gemstones to be considered “precious.”
(Hint: It also makes a great last-minute Mother’s Day gift!)
Emeralds develop in hydrothermal veins deep under the Earth’s crust. Fluids containing specific minerals escape from these veins, cool down and start to form into emeralds. The emerald is part of the beryl family of minerals, and it gets its brilliant color from a combination of traces of vanadium and chromium which bond together during its development process. This combination does not occur often in nature, hence the rarity of the resulting emerald.
Where Are They Mined?
The largest deposits of emeralds are found in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia, but they are also mined in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Australia and to a lesser extent in the United States. The highest quality emeralds, including those with a rare, deep blueish tint come from Colombia.
The emerald has been admired, adored, prized and fought over since ancient times. If you look back in history at the most priceless jewels owned by the rich and the royal through the ages, you will find many that featured emeralds.
Emeralds were mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC. The Egyptians thought emeralds had magic powers and they buried their dead surrounded by the gemstones, hoping to ensure them everlasting youth in the afterlife. They also considered the emerald to be ‘the lovers’ stone’ and believed it strengthened the relationship between couples. Cleopatra adored emeralds and she owned many extravagant pieces featuring them.
The Romans linked emeralds with Venus, the Goddess of Love and Beauty and they wore them to supposedly enhance their love life.
- Edwardian (1901-1910) — Edwardian pieces incorporate platinum along with rose-cut diamonds, emerald, and rubies in elaborate filigree settings that were considered “romantic” for their delicate use of curves and forms. This period is still a source of inspiration for many modern ring designers, and pieces are coveted by collectors of brilliantly crafted jewelry.
Appearance and Durability
Emeralds more natural flaws and inclusions than other types of gemstones. The French call these inclusions ‘jardins’ which means ‘gardens’ – aptly named for a gemstone with a glorious rich green color. In fact, if you see an emerald with no flaws, it is probably fake. Totally flawless emeralds are rare, extremely valuable and usually only found in small carat weights. Most emeralds have been fracture-filled with colorless cedar oil to fill in the stone’s inclusions and enhance their appearance.
Emeralds are more brittle than diamonds, so they are not recommended for everyday wear. They rank 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs Hardness scale, compared with diamonds which rate a 10. However, with proper care they will last a lifetime.
Whether you have a loved one with a birthday in May, or you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift, or you are looking for that special 20th and 35th marriage anniversary present, emeralds are the perfect gift.
Let us inspire you with some great suggestions at different price points:
- Searching for a May birthday gift for him? Search no more – he’ll love these Pasha-style cufflinks.
- Spoil her this Mother’s Day! This vintage Hammerman Brothers gold, emerald and diamond flower pin is as unique as she is.
- Here’s another gift your mother will adore. It’s a retro-style diamond, emerald, sapphire and ruby bracelet set in 14k gold.
- We’re in love with this JROCA emerald and diamond unisex bracelet. Perfect for him or for her.
- The love of your life deserves these exquisite Art Deco-inspired emerald and diamond earrings
- If you are looking to go all out for her birthday this month, this vintage Tiffany cocktail ring has it all – elegance, sparkle and, of course, the Tiffany name.
- As special as she is, we saved the best for last… from a private estate collection in Palm Beach, this quintessential french diamond and emerald platinum bracelet.
We invite you to check out our collection of emerald jewelry, as many of the pieces are on sale right now in celebration of May Birthdays and the Cleopatras they adorn!.