The emerald is one of the most prized of precious stones. The best emeralds have a pure green hue and are highly transparent. When set against gold, the green of emerald truly shines and confers exotic good looks for the wearer. Some also consider emeralds to have other benefits as you will read later on. Meanwhile, let us start with emeralds, what they are and other information.


What is an emerald ? Know about it and buy with care
A true emerald is a naturally occurring precious gemstone mined from various places in the world. They belong to the beryl family and are found in metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous rocks. Pure beryl has chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6 which indicates it is an aluminum silicate of beryl but this is colorless. Impurities of vanadium and chiefly chromium are responsible for the characteristic green color. If there is trace of iron the green is tinged with yellow or blue. Lighter green colored stones are known as green beryl. Greenish blue stones are termed aquamarine and greenish yellow stones are called heliodor but true emeralds are bright, pure, sparkling green and are mined.

These days one can get vanadium beryl green stones that are passed off as emeralds at a much lower price. Synthetic emeralds are also in production by companies like Seiko, Kyocera, Regency and others, often passed off as genuine by unscrupulous jewellers. Tairus is one of the biggest producers of synthetic emeralds with its products known as Colombian created emeralds.

In fact, synthetic emeralds look better and have more clarity than genuine mined emeralds. However, natural emeralds have higher refractive index which means more sparkle in comparison to synthetic emeralds. Then there are imitation emeralds comprised of green glass, synthetic green cubic zirconia, green yttrium and aluminum garnet. It is best to buy genuine emeralds from a trusted jeweller. One way to distinguish between synthetic and natural emeralds is to use ultra-violet light. Natural emeralds are opaque to ultraviolet light.

When you buy emeralds, make sure you have a genuine one. One way to test is to carry out energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopic tests and another is the Mohs hardness test in which genuine stones have a hardness of 7.5 to 8. As such it is not as hard as a diamond and it is easily scratched and broken off if subject to hard knocks.

Emeralds can have some defects such as fractures and inclusions that lower its sparkle and its value, which factors you should look for when you buy emeralds to set in a necklace or a ring. The defects also affect the price.

The best emeralds originate in Brazil, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Colombia. Ethiopia is also a leading source of emeralds of exceptional quality. Colombia is the largest producer with Zambia a close second. Emeralds in smaller quantities are also mined in Canada, China, India, Pakistan, Russia and other countries.

Some of the best known emeralds in the world
Just like diamonds and sapphires have a few that are world renowned so you can find emeralds that are world renowned. Some of these are the Bahia emerald from Brazil weighing 180000 carats, the Duke of Devonshire emerald weighing 1383.93 carats, the Mogul Mughal Emerald weighing 217.80 carats and the Carolina Emperor weighing 310 carats and others. It is believed that the idol of goddess Meenakshi in the Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai is made of genuine emerald.

Properties that determine value
Emeralds are classified in much the same way that diamonds are with color, clarity, cut and carat being the chief determinants. Color comes first followed by clarity. Emeralds that are medium to dark green pure tone are the best. The best pure emeralds rate 75% tone on a scale and are richly saturated with a bright and vivid hue. Duller stones are not highly valued as clear sparkling stones are.

An emerald must have least amount of inclusions and fissures to rate high on clarity scale. Higher clarity means more expensive. If there are defects then emeralds are cut with various facets to bring out the best and hide imperfections at the same time. Quality emeralds will have not more than 15% of inclusion or color variation.

Jewellers may oil the stone to fill surface cracks and improve clarity and stones so treated must be mentioned as having undergone treatment. Such oiled emeralds command a lower price.

Most people who buy emeralds are not aware of all that goes on in the background and may end up paying more for a low quality emerald or even get a vanadium beryl or synthetic or fake emerald. This is why, when one buys precious gemstones one must always do so from a reputed jeweller and examine the stone before it is set into a ring or a pendant in a necklace. The jeweller will give a certificate and it will also show origin of the emerald and its properties as well as grade.


If a jeweller states that it is a Colombian emerald, beware, because, in that case, it is most likely that what he offers is vanadium emerald or synthetic emerald and not a genuinely mined emerald.


Emeralds in fashion
Emeralds, with their green color, can add a touch of glamour. Emeralds go well with pure 24 carat gold that has a yellow color or 18 carat cold that has a more orange-yellow tint. It can also go well with silver or platinum and with black-gray metals like niobium. As for dress styles, one can truthfully say that emerald studded necklace is best for weddings and is proving to be quite popular these days. One can opt to have many small clustered emeralds in a neck choker or a plain necklace with a large single emerald pendant to go with rich wedding dresses or dresses for party wear. On the other hand, emeralds look good in rings too and are good for everyday wear. One has to be careful to not let the emerald be scratched.

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