2.97 billion years – the age of the oldest Emeralds! A favorite of Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor.
Why we love them
The name Emerald comes via the Old French ‘esmeralde’ meaning ‘green gemstone’. Ancient Egyptians mined Emeralds in 3000 and 1500 B.C.E. Known now as Cleopatra’s Mines. The ancient Vedas characterize Emeralds as givers of good luck and well being. No wonder Indian maharajas favored this green gem. Turkish sultans favored Emeralds using them to decorate writing implements and daggers.
The emerald is the most prized of the gems that belong to the Beryl family. Pure Beryl is colorless but many impurities cause the many color varieties. The green in the emerald is caused by the element chromium. Only the deep green variety of Beryl is called an Emerald. Light green Beryl is simply Green Beryl. Beryl usually crystalizes in perfect six-sided hexagons.
Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers call a stone green beryl when its color is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald. Even among that group, however, there’s a difference of opinion about what’s considered “too light.” – GIA
The finest Emeralds come from Colombia, Brazil, and Russia. The inclusions in Emeralds make them challenging to cut. Partly why the Emerald cut was created for this special gem. Emeralds are cut in other more classical shapes but if there are many inclusions then it will be cut in a rounded cabochon or bead.
Warm, soapy water with gentle scrubbing is recommended.