Fun Facts About Emerald: Did You Know?
The emerald is one of the most coveted stones in the world, and this attraction undoubtedly comes from its extraordinary color. Despite its relative fragility (to shocks, but with good scratch resistance) and the frequent presence of inclusions, “emerald green” is so sought after that it has become a color name in itself.
The emerald, resulting from an extraordinary coincidence of terrestrial movements...
Why should we marvel at the color of emerald? Because it comes from the improbable meeting of chromium and beryllium which are normally located in places far from each other in the earth's crust. It took very significant tectonic movements for them to meet: it is the crystallization of volcanic or hydrothermal flows in metamorphic rocks that allows this meeting and the birth of this gem... So appreciate each emerald at its fair value: a astonishing result of the movements of the earth in the palm of your hands!
An incomparable color: emerald or green beryl?
It is not so much its brilliance (refractive index of 1,565 to 1,602) as its color that defines the value of an emerald. It offers shades of green, from yellow green to bluish green. The brighter and more intense the green, the more prized the emerald. Depending on the region of the world, green with a bluish tint is more appreciated, or green tending towards yellow.
Finally, why will you sometimes read green beryl and not emerald in the description of a stone, when emerald is a green colored beryl? Because green beryl will precisely not have this intensity of green and is not chromiferous. The color of a green beryl is generally lighter, you will easily distinguish it.
Emerald, cousin of aquamarine and morganite!
Emerald actually belongs to the beryl family (aluminum and beryllium silicate). Its color comes from the presence of chromium and vanadium within its crystalline structure.
Two other gemstones in this family are well known to jewelers: aquamarine, which is a soft blue, morganite, discovered more recently than the previous ones, which is pale pink, or heliodore d a beautiful yellow. The other beryls (red, colorless, etc.) are less used in jewelery or too rare to be widely distributed.
The poetry of inclusions : the emerald gardens, what is it?
It is therefore very rare to find a crystal combining volume, transparency, color and purity. Pure emeralds are extremely rare and in this case, the gemologist will also seek to verify that it is indeed a natural stone. Indeed, the synthesis of the emerald was carried out by scientists towards the end of the 40th century, then industrialized in the XNUMXs thanks in particular to the chemist Caroll Chatham.
Because of the tensions involved on the crystal during its growth, the natural emerald often presents gaseous or liquid inclusions, cracks, inclusions of other crystals. They are called the “emerald gardens”. Always this reminder of the green of nature... This poetic way of describing inclusions which, for other gems are generally devaluing, underlines the consideration given to emeralds.
An originality among these inclusions? In the emeralds of Colombia and Afghanistan exist the characteristic inclusions known as "3 phases": in a cavity a small crystal, liquid and a bubble of gas. A curiosity much appreciated by gemologists!
Emerald History and World Tour
Its name comes from the Greek "smaragdos", "esmeralde" means green gem or heart of stone, already sums up the reason for the interest that has been shown in it since ancient times. The emerald is the source of many legends. The Incas also held it to be a sacred stone. The oldest stones are said to have been found near the Red Sea in Egypt and mined from 3000 to 1500 BC by the pharaohs. From ancient Egypt, to the court of the Ottoman Empire, to the court of the Mughal kings in India or even in the Aztec Empire, the emerald has always been associated with royalty and the powerful.
Today, the main mines are located in Brazil, Colombia (the most beautiful and largest, the mines of Muzo, Chivor, Coscuez…) and also in Russia, Afghanistan, Zambia, Madagascar and Zimbabwe…
The Emerald Road...
“By applying a new process for authenticating emeralds to ancient jewels, a team bringing together the IRD and the CNRS Petrographic and Geochemical Research Center in Nancy has reconstructed the route of emeralds over time. This research reveals in particular that some of these stones come from mines supposed to have been discovered only in the 28th century (Science, January 2000, XNUMX).
It thus appears that alongside the gems of Egypt or Habachtal, certain emeralds marketed during Antiquity could have come from the rich kingdoms occupying present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan and that they took the Silk Road through the valleys of Peshawar, Swat and Kabul…” (ref article by Elsa Vanier Gallery, with all our thanks).
You will find emeralds in all their forms and characteristics among the selection emerald jewelry.