Emeralds: Stones of Life

This green gemstone has been among the most beautiful and valued gemstones since ancient history. High quality emerald prices can be higher per carat than those of diamonds. Not only are emeralds expensive, it is a hard gemstone to cut as well. This makes top-quality emerald jewelry as expensive as it is beautiful.

A Brief History of EmeraldsEmeralds tiara

Emeralds have been mined and used as gemstones for millennia. The Egyptian pharaohs were exploiting mines as early as 3000 B.C.!

Many other cultures hold these precious stones in high regard as well. Including the Aztecs, Inca’s, Persia and Ancient Rome. Most of these cultures saw these green stones as the embodiment of nature, life and beauty.

In the 16th century Spanish explorers found the extremely rich mines of South America. Which still produce a large amount of high quality emeralds. Colombian emeralds in particular are highly sought after even today, because of their fine emerald green colours.

Emerald Properties

Emerald gemstones are a member of the Beryl family, which includes gemstones like the golden beryl and aquamarine. An emerald gains its green color due to trace amounts of chromium and at times vanadium.

Even though they are a highly resistant stone, scoring an 8 on Mohs hardness scale, they still crack easily. This is due to the high number of inclusions and other imperfections present in most emeralds.

Almost every emerald receives a gemstone treatment. Most by using oil to improve their clarity. This is generally accepted in the gem trade, as long as no colored oils are used in the process. The process of treating emeralds with oil does mean that you need to take proper care of an emerald. Otherwise this beautiful stone may lose its splendor and will require professional care to regain it.

3 Tips For Buying Emeralds

First you should look whether the emerald you want to buy is treated. Almost every emerald today is treated with oils, but make sure it was not treated by colored oils to enhance the color of your gem. Certain sellers use this to make it look far more valuable.

Secondly you want to find out whether you are buying a natural emerald or a synthetic emerald. A synthetic emerald is just as beautiful as a natural one, however it should be far cheaper. If you plan on buying a larger emerald I would get the stone tested by a gemological institute before purchasing.

This may seem expensive and unnecessary, but it could potentially save you thousands of dollars. It will enhance your emerald value as well to any prospective buyers. In case you ever want to part with your gemstone.

Lastly because emeralds usually are heavily included they don’t have a high brilliance, like for example diamonds. Keep this in mind when you’re going to buy an emerald. You may have to go for a slightly large emerald to see that emerald green glow.

For more general tips on buying emeralds or other gemstones you can take a look at the guide to buying gemstones online.

Gem Coach

1 Comment

  1. Patricia Griffin
    March 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm — Reply

    I am sitting looking at the most beautiful piece of green “glass” I’ve ever seen. It’s huge (just smaller than a basketball) and a beautiful shade of coca cola bottle green. I’m not sure what it is, but came to your sight to see if I could identify it. A geologist will be visiting tomorrow afternoon to identify this beautiful stone for me. It looks like glass, feels like glass, but you can see imperfections (I think grains of sand) inside it. I’m so excited because for the life of me, I can’t imagine how this beautiful rock was formed. This is a great sight and I’ll be back to check it out again. <3

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