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Emerald is the bluish green to green variety of beryl, a mineral species that includes aquamarine.

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Highly saturated green colour defines high quality emerald.

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Bevelled corners

Emerald cuts have concentric parallel rows of facets and bevelled corners.

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“jardin,” or garden.

Eye visible inclusions create an internal scene referred to as “jardin,” or garden.

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Emerald crystals are commonly six-sided.

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The tops of emerald crystals are typically rather flat.

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Colour direction

The best colour is usually perpendicular to the top of the crystal.

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About Emerald


Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Most gemmologists, gemmological laboratories and coloured stone dealers call a stone green beryl when its colour is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald. Even among that group, however, there’s a difference of opinion about what’s considered “too light”.

Emerald Description

Emerald History and Lore

Emerald Journey

Birthstones & Anniversaries

As the gem of spring, emerald is the perfect choice as the birthstone for the month of May. It’s also the gem of the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.

2.97 Billion Years

Age of the oldest emeralds, from South Africa.


Pharaoh known for her passion for emeralds.

$6,578,500 (£5,054,580)

2011 sales price for Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant - that's $280,000 (£215,000) per carat.


  • Mineral: Beryl
  • Chemistry: Be3Al2Si6O18
  • Colour: Vibrant green
  • Refractive Index: 1.577 to 1.583
  • Birefringence: 0.005 to 0.009
  • Specific Gravity: 2.72
  • Mohs Hardness: 7.5 to 8


There are a number of processes used to alter the colour or apparent clarity, or to improve the durability of gems.

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Some gemstones have synthetic counterparts that have essentially the same chemical, physical and optical properties, but are grown by man in a laboratory.

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Any gem can be imitated – sometimes by man-made materials or by natural materials chosen by man to impersonate a particular gem.

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gem love

Why We Love This Gemstone

Three-Phase Inclusions

Three-phase inclusions in Colombian emeralds contain tiny crystals of rock salt, liquid and a bubble of gas.

Hexagonal Crystals

The best emerald crystals are gorgeous flat-topped green hexagonal columns that are as beautiful as faceted stones.

Ancient Egypt

The first known emerald mines were in Egypt. It is believed that these mines were worked as early as 3500BC.

Quality Factors

Emerald has been the standard for green coloured stones for millennia.


quality factors

The most desirable emerald colours are bluish green to pure green, with vivid colour saturation.


quality factors

In Emerald expect to see inclusions that dealers like to call an internal “jardin”, or garden.


quality factors

Due to the crystal shape emeralds are commonly cut as rectangular step cuts called emerald cuts.

Carat Weight

quality factors

Because its density is lower, a one-carat emerald will appear larger in size than a one-carat diamond.

Emerald Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide


Explore sources, gemmological research and the role of gems in history.

Suite of untreated Ethiopian emeralds

A New Discovery of Emeralds from Ethiopia

Nathan Renfro, Ziyin Sun, Michael Nemeth, Wim Vertriest, Victoria Raynaud, and Vararut Weeramonkhonlert , May 8, 2017 Read more in English

GIA Field Gemmologists Visit Zambia’s Emerald Mines

GIA Staff , Oct 16, 2015 Read Article
El Pulpito, the landmark overlooking the Chivor mine

In Rainier’s Footsteps: Journey to the Chivor Emerald Mine

Robert Weldon, Jose Guillermo Ortiz, and Terri Ottaway , Aug 3, 2016 Read more in English

New Production of Brazilian Emerald from Minas Gerais

Duncan Pay , Apr 30, 2015 Read more in English