Emeralds – Second to None, Well, Except to Diamonds

To keep our feature on gemstones, we will discuss one of the most fascinating gemstones – the emerald. It exudes a color that makes it beautiful and extreme. Sometimes, fine emeralds are much more valuable than some diamonds. If you’re fortunate enough to have it could be valued well at more than a thousand dollars, of course depending on the quality and its color. Emeralds are from the crystal family. They are formed from a combination of aluminum and the common elements aluminum with the rare element beryllium. Small quantities of trace elements, either vanadium or chromium, gives its green tint.


The term emerald derives its name from the Old French word “Esmerelda” or the Greek word “smaragdos,” both plain and simple meaning green rock. It’s regarded as the birthstone for May in addition to the gemstone for the astrological signs of Taurus, Cancer, and Gemini. The first known discovery of emeralds was created near the Red Sea of Egypt, some 440 miles southeast of Cairo. Between 3000 – 1500 B.C., these mines, later to be known as the Cleopatra mines, were manipulated by Egyptian pharaohs. Working long hours under the heat оf thе Ѕun, аnd thе dаrknеss, hеаt, аnd dust оf thе undеrgrоund mіnеs must hаvе bееn а rеаl оrdеаl fоr thоsе аncient laborers. These mines were rediscovered during the 19th century but were found to have been exhausted. Among the largest and most famous emeralds is the “Mogul Emerald.” It was discovered in 1695 throughout the Mogul Dynasty, also weighed roughly 217.8 karats. This emerald was auctioned off at Christie’s London auction for close to $2.3 million dollars. Another famous emerald that’s displayed in the New York National Museums is the “Patricia” and is stated to weigh 632 karats. This emerald belonged to Mughal Indian Emperor Jehangir.

The 4C’s of Emerald

You have to consider the four C’s of the emerald: color, cut, clarity, and karat. Unlike diamonds which are primary characteristic emeralds are more concerned with color.


When considering emeralds according to the color of the emerald is the most significant of all characteristics. This is created by small amounts of chromium and vanadium. There are four colors of an emerald. See below for details: Too Dark: This shade of emerald comes in a dark green color. These emeralds are inexpensive, and all are the least valuable emeralds. Too Blue: These types of emeralds aren’t considered ‘real emeralds’ due to the lack of light and green color. Too Yellow: These emeralds may come close to the emerald green and have a tint of yellow. Emerald Green: This color green has the amount combination of blue and yellow hue. This shade emerald is the most valuable of all emeralds.


As stated, unlike the diamond that the emerald is dependent on its clarity. Inclusions are common in the emerald that it does not affect its beauty. Natural inclusions which are also called “garden inclusions” are what give emeralds the natural emerald green color. Since emeralds are highly included, a high proportion of emeralds must be cut to create a gemstone. Additionally, unlike the diamond, you do not need a loupe. Sight can grade emerald, and when it doesn’t have any inclusions, it is stated that the emerald is flawless.


The emerald will be given a greater sparkle by A well-cut emerald and glow to its greatest ability. The cut is not as important to the emerald before the color is what makes the emerald more valuable, since as stated. The shape, width, and depth of the emerald make up the cut.

The perfect cut emerald will be symmetrical and have facets that provide for color and brilliance. If thе сut іs tоо shаllоw, thе lіght wіll bе lоst іn thе bоttоm оf thе stоnе, аnd thе еmеrаld wіll nоt hаvе mахіmum brіllіаnсе. Іf thе сut іs tоо dеер, thе lіght wіll еsсаpe from the sides, and the emerald will look dark.

Bear in mind, because weight and expensive sell emeralds, the cutter is pre-disposed to attempt and conserve as much weight as possible. Additionally, the shape of the course will likely pre-determine the shape of the cut emerald. Round emeralds are least common because you must waste more substance to cut around and the rectangular step cut called the “emerald” cut is believed to complement the result for emeralds.


For emeralds weight and the carat, size is the least deciding factor when finding the value of an emerald. Just because a certain emerald is large doesn’t mean it is expensive and because the emerald is small does not make the emerald. Of course, a 10-carat emerald would be appreciated more than a two-karat emerald if supposing they both had the same quality (color, cut, and clarity). Therefore, clarity, cut and color are characteristics that are considered more prior than carat weight.


For the last hundred years, gemstone enthusiasts have discovered and pioneered techniques to improve gemstones. This practice is referred to as an oil treatment procedure. This was done to cover the presence of fissures, flaws, and impurities. This process requires the emerald usually washed out by acid to be cleaned and treated with cedar oil or some synthetic oil and polymers. The US Federal Trade Commission requires the disclosure of treated emeralds when sold. Practices like using green oil aren’t acceptable although this use of oil is accepted in the stone trade.

Emeralds could be prone to cracking and breaking after a year or two. This is due to the petroleum wearing off making the emerald more brittle. Jewelers are well-advised.

Synthetic Emeralds

Since emeralds are such a valuable and rare gemstones, there has been much incentive to create gemstones. There are two ways create emeralds, these are flux hydrothermal and development processes. Flux growth is a process that synthesizes compounds with higher melting points by using flux and accelerate the crystallization process. The process is a process of synthesis of single crystals using water.

It is hard to distinguish between emeralds and ones that are artificial. Normal digital and thermal gem testers wouldn’t be able to distinguish between these. One way is by employing the Chelsea color filter.

Chelsea Filter

Aside from using the Chelsea Dichromatic Filter, there are significant differences that gemologists can distinguish between artificial and real emerald. These differences are:

  • The specific gravity of the synthetic emerald is 2.66, and the natural emerald is 2.70-2.78.
  • Refractive Index of synthetic emerald is 1.565 and for natural emerald is 1.576-1.582
  • Synthetic Emeralds shines off in red color in ultraviolet light, which you don’t get in a natural emerald.
  • Natural Emeralds gives. Synthetic emeralds cannot do this shine.

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