About Emeralds

Emerald is one of the four modern day precious gemstones along with diamond, ruby, and sapphire. All other gemstones are classified as semi precious gems.

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Whats is an Emerald?

Emeralds are in the Beryl (beryllium) class of gemstones made mainly of aluminum silicate. They contain traces of Chromium, Iron and sometimes Vandium, which all add to the spectacularly beautiful green color that makes it so sought after. It has a hardness on the Moh’s scale of 7.5 – 8, even though they are relatively hard gems they can be fractured easily in some circumstances due to internal flaws and inclusions. They need to be handled with great care when being cut polished and set into a jewelry designers piece of fine jewelry. The emerald first appears in history in Egypt between 3000 and 1500bc. These mines were exhausted by the 1700’s yet their influence on the gem and jewelry industry is still felt in modern times. Cleopatra was said to adorn herself with emeralds from her own mines in the belief that these precious gems would give her insight to the future and make her a good speaker.

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Where do Emeralds come from?

Columbia is the main source of the worlds finest quality Emeralds, but they are also mined in Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Russia. They are found in small amounts in a few other places but not in significant amounts that would affect the gem and jewelry markets.

Can Emeralds be synthesized?

Many gems have been synthesized since the 1800’s in modern times, Emeralds are made in laboratories by synthetic processes using a hydrothermal method. Which is a high pressure and temperature process that can produce consistent color and quality man made gemstones, although they are chemical identical to emeralds found in mines they are not considered to be genuine emeralds in the jewelry. Jewelers and gemstone traders that use or trade in these beautiful made made creations are required to disclose the origin as synthetic, laboratory grown or man made gems. These organizations have developed standards on this subject, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), and the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) they have developed jewelry industry specific guidelines for the jewelry industry for the ethical disclosure of synthetic gems at the time of sale.

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Are Emeralds sometimes treated or enhanced?

Most Emeralds have enhancements and treatments, but not all the very highest quality stones need only cut and polish enhancement. Yes most emeralds for use in the jewelry industry are treated with oil, polymers, or resins to fill in surface cracks. These enhancements are generally acceptable in the gem trade and jewelry worlds and must be disclosed by traders and jewelers, but some treatments such as green tinted oils are not accepted by the industry and should be avoided when choosing an emerald for your jewelry designs.

Also read about Diamonds, Sapphire, and Ruby

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