Happy Birthday, Emerald!

Did you know that emeralds were greatly favoured by Cleopatra? After many years of working with this mesmerising gem, I see why!


This magnificent jewel is know as one of the "Big Three" gemstones, along with rubies and sapphires. A high quality emerald can even be worth much more than a diamond.


In 2011, an emerald and diamond necklace that once belonged to Elizabeth Taylor (who also played Cleopatra) sold for $6.1 million.


Good news, you do not have to be a celebrity to own this wonderful green gem!


Elizabeth Taylor wearing emerald and diamond necklace


Curious to find out more?


Let's begin with some fun facts:

  • Emerald is a part of the beryl family (along with aquamarine and morganite)

  • Its colour ranges from yellowish green to bluish green in light and dark shades (vivid, bluish green and green emeralds are considered most desirable)

  • 1 carat emerald looks larger than a 1 carat diamond because of its lower density

  • Most of the emeralds on the market are visibly included

  • Emeralds that have no visible inclusions are typically more expensive


emerald rough crystal in a host rock on a grey background


  • Emerald is one of the most sought after gems (along with rubies, sapphires and diamonds)

  • Emerald crystal structure is elongated, which is why it is typically cut into elongated shapes, such as emerald cuts and ovals

  • Emerald is a traditional gift for a 35th wedding anniversary. The stunning pair of emerald and diamond earrings below was created for that specific celebration. My dad made an amazing choice when selecting these unique pear shape emeralds, and my mum was over the moon to receive them! (It also happens to be his birth stone).


a pair of pear shape emerald and diamond white gold drop earrings on a light blue background

To find out more about why certain gemstones are only cut into certain shapes, visit my previous post: Let's get in shape!


Source

Although some believe that the first emerald mine was located in the European Alps around 500 BC to 400 AD, it was a mine in Egypt that was the major known source until the 16th century. Spanish explorers then learned of emerald mines in Colombia, South America, which is still considered a major source today.


Although columbian mines produce emeralds of different qualities, the term

"columbian emeralds" is often used to describe gemstones of high quality.


Other sources now include Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Russia.


small loose emeralds and small loose sapphires on a gemstone cloth next to a pair of black tweezers and black jeweller's loupe

Availability


Emeralds are fairly abundant and can be found in a wide range of sizes and qualities.


As I mentioned before, they are generally cut into elongated shapes like emerald cut an oval, but they can also be found in round shapes.


As cutting gemstones into round shapes causes too much material loss, it is difficult to find large round emeralds. The cutters typically try to save as much emerald rough as possible. Although there is a wide variety of round emeralds available up to around

1 carat in weight, if you are looking for a stone larger than 1.5 carat, I highly recommend concentrating your search on an oval or an emerald cut.


lady's hand wearing a large oval emerald and diamond cocktail ring engagement ring vintage inspired white gold ring with split shank

Treatments


Some gemstones are more likely to be included than others. For example the majority of emeralds are fairly included, showing significant fractures within the stone that can be seen without magnification. Therefore finding an emerald without inclusions is almost impossible.


As emeralds are typically fractured inside, a common treatment known as oiling is used and is an industry standard. The process involves filling of surface-reaching breaks with various oils and resins. With roughly 90% of all emeralds undergoing this treatment, finding an untreated emerald is virtually impossible and will be reflected in the significantly higher price. Take a look at this before and after example.


2 loose emeralds side by side showing presence and absence of oiling before and after oiling comparison


Interestingly, Morganite and Aquamarine that are also a part of the same family show virtually no inclusions, even under magnification.

To find out more about why some gemstones have more inclusions than others, check out my previous blog post: Let’s get some clarity on gemstone inclusions


lady's hand wearing an emerald cut emerald and diamond engagement ring cocktail ring vintage inspired white gold ring with split shank white nail polish on a beige background


May Birthstone


Emerald is also known for the following traits:

  • creates positive actions and outcomes

  • calms upset emotions and brings peace

  • brings clarity to thoughts

  • gives the strength to overcome any problems

  • magical reputation, associated with the ability to see in to the future

Do you know what powers and qualities your birthstone holds?

Visit my previous post titled Beauty and Power to find out!


selection of loose oval and emerald cut emeralds on a white sorting tray

Durability


In terms of hardness, emerald scores a 7.5 - 8 out of 10 on Moh's scale.

With sapphires and rubies at 9 and diamonds at 10, these can scratch your emerald if not stored properly or if they rub against each other.


Although I would not recommend emeralds for an engagement ring, it makes a great option for cocktail rings, right hand rings and other jewellery such as pendants and earrings.

a pair of vintage inspired oval emerald and diamond halo earrings in white gold on a white background

For a safe and easy way to clean your emerald jewellery, simply use a soft toothbrush and soapy water.

For more tips visit my previous post:

10 easy tips to keep your jewellery Clean and Damage-Free


pear shape morganite necklace in rose gold next to rose gold diamond stacking ring next to jewellery cleaning tools, toothbrush a bawl of soapy water lint free gem cloth on a beige background

Synthetic emeralds

Synthetic (man-made) emeralds have the same crystal structure and chemical composition as their natural counterparts and can be developed by scientists in labs. They may look similar but can be identified as synthetic with the use of certain equipment by a certified gemologist.


Although synthetic emeralds are available for purchase at certain jewellery stores at a fraction of a price of a natural emerald, the two should not be confused as their value is completely different.


When purchasing natural coloured gemstones from Tsarina Gems, you will receive an independent, third party appraisal for your piece of mind. I take pride in working with companies who supply responsibly sourced, natural gemstones.




Is emerald on your wish list? I will be delighted to hear about it!

Contact me via Tsarina Gems Homepage


Looking for jewellery and gemstone inspiration?

Visit Tsarina Gems Instagram page for more stunning jewellery ideas