This gemstone, with its rich green colour, is one of the long-used precious stones known to man. When talking of emeralds we are referring to only the green variety of the mineral beryl. The oldest known source is in Colombia but finds have also been made in also in Habachtal in Austria. Most of the richly green examples currently come from Zambia in Africa. The most sought-after emeralds are those with a deep, rich green colour and excellent clarity.
Few stones have been desired for a longer period than Emeralds, having been first described as gemstones in the year 1500 BC. Emerald belongs to the mineral group beryl; only the green variety is referred to as emerald, the other colours nearly all have their own names, such as aquamarine for the light blue variety, morganite for orange-brown, goshenite for colourless.
The green colour occurs because of the permeation of chromium and/or vanadium. Yes, you have read it correctly! Emeralds are also coloured by chromium, just as with rubies, but in emeralds chromium causes them to appear green, while rubies appear red. The reason is that the stones have different densities, which affects the colours they absorb and thus their appearance. Cuttable emerald is found in several areas around the world: in South America (Columbia and Brasil), in Russia, in Africa (Zambia, Ethiopia and Egypt); the only finds of cuttable emerald in Europe have been in Habachtal on Austria.
The larger and clearer an emerald, the mire valuable it is. Clear, deeply green stones with a weight above 5 ct are rare, irrespective of where they come from.
A special cut was developed for emeralds, the emerald cut. When viewed from above it is square with chamfered corners. The reason for this is that emerald is more porous and brittle than either ruby or sapphire. Chamfering the corners avoids the problem of them breaking off. Oval and cushion cuts are also acceptable, while round cuts command a higher price. All other cuts reduce the value of the stone.
What should be considered when purchasing an emerald? The stone should be lively: it should have a lustre to it and be scintillating to look at. The greener an emerald is (without becoming too black!) and the fewer inclusions it has, the more valuable it will be. Stones from Columbia command higher prices.
For believers of esotericism and the healing function of stones, emerald increases femininity and helps to earn money. It is associated with Venus and thus femininity.
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