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Emerald

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

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Color

Highly saturated green color defines high quality emerald.

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Beveled corners

Emerald cuts have concentric parallel rows of facets and beveled 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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Six-sided

Emerald crystals are commonly six-sided.

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Flat-top

The tops of emerald crystals are typically rather flat.

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Color direction

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

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Tools

Overview

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 gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers call a stone green beryl when its color 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.


Cleopatra

Pharaoh known for her passion for emeralds.


$6,578,500

2011 sales price for Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant -  a record $280,000 per carat.


Facts

  • Mineral: Beryl
  • Chemistry: Be3Al2Si6O18
  • Color: 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

Where It's Found

map

Treatments

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

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Synthetics

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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Imitations

Any gem can be imitated—sometimes by manmade materials or by natural materials chosen by man to impersonate a particular gem.

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gem love

Why We Love This Gemstone

1
Three-Phase Inclusions

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

2
Hexagonal Crystals

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

3
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 colored stones for millennia.

Color

quality factors

The most desirable emerald colors are bluish green to pure green, with vivid color saturation.

Clarity

quality factors

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

Cut

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

Research

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

Open-pit mining

Brazil’s Emerald Industry

Andy Lucas , Mar 30, 2012 Read Article
Colombian Emeralds

Classifying Emerald Clarity Enhancement at the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory

Shane F. McClure, Thomas M. Moses and Maha Tannous, John I. Koivula , Dec 1, 1999 Read Article

Emerald and Gold Treasures of the Spanish Galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha

Robert E. Kane, et. al , Dec 1, 1989 Read Article

Emeralds of Colombia

Peter C. Keller , Jun 1, 1981 Read Article