Gemstones Tools


Emerald octagon cut

Emerald is the most valuable type of beryl. It is colored by minute traces of chromium and vanadium.

The history of the emerald is as fascinating as it is voluminous.
The name emerald is a derivative of an ancient Persian word, coming to us through the corruption of the Latin « Smaragdus ».

The ancients prized it as the symbol of love, rebirth and eternal youth. Because the rich green color of emerald reminds of spring, it has been treasured for at least the past 4,000 years by different cultures all around the world.

The first emerald mines recorded in history are the famous « Cleopatra » mines rediscovered in 1818 in Northern Egypt. These ancient mines were exhausted long ago.
The emerald mines in Colombia have a history somewhat similar to those in Egypt. When the Spaniards conquered the Incas, they saw emeralds in their possession, but even under torture, these never revealed their source. Years later, one mine in the Chivor area in Colombia was discovered quite by accident

Pliny wrote, «nothing is more intense than the green of emerald» and «sight is refreshed and restored by gazing upon this stone». Following his advise, Roman emperor Nero wore emerald sunglasses to watch the gladiators.

Emerald is said to give a supernatural ability to foretell future events.
A surprising variety of virtues have been ascribed to emerald. Among these, emerald was thought to improve its owner’s memory and eloquence, and was also said to quicken intelligence. In a particular instance of emerald’s use, as a measure against ills, women wearing the stone were believed to be immune from epilepsy.

The Moguls of India loved emeralds so much that they inscribed them with sacred texts and wore them as talismans. This led to the flourishing Jaipur cutting industry.

Although many people consider Colombia to be the source of the best emeralds, the country of origin is never a guarantee of quality. Brazil , Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Russia are also producers of fine quality stones.

The extreme rarity of transparent emerald is why inclusions in emeralds are tolerated.
These inclusions are like a fingerprint, giving each emerald a distinct personality. They are called garden from the French « jardin ».

Fissures and fractures that are characteristic of emerald are traditionally filled with oil to minimize their visual impact. Cleaning emerald with an ultrasonic cleaner can remove or damage the oil, thus making the fissures more visible.

Emerald is the birthstone for May.


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