Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 1993, Vol. 29, No. 2

Emeralds and Green Beryls of Upper Egypt

Egypt is the most ancient of sources for emerald. More than 2,000 years ago, emerald deposits in upper Egypt were supplying gems throughout the Graeco-Roman Empire. A recent visit to this emerald province revealed that the emeralds occur within a northwest-southeast trending belt of schistose rocks in the Red Sea Hills, near the port town of Marsa Alam. At the time of the visit, there was no official commercial mining of emerald in the region, although there was evidence of sporadic activity by Bedouin tribespeople. Gemological examination of 14 cut emeralds and green beryls revealed properties consistent with those of material from similar geologic environments.