Across our great, ancient civilizations, emerald was the most prized among gemstones, as it was believed to bring about calm, protection, and fidelity.
The earliest archeological evidence of emerald mines exists in Egypt around 500 BC. With the Spanish conquest in the 1520s, an abundant source of higher quality emeralds became accessible to the wider world in present-day Colombia.
Aristotle suggested it could “comfort and soothe the eyes” (and improve one’s status). Cleopatra famously loved emeralds, as did royal families from India to Iran to Russia. It was a sacred stone to Mesoamerican tribes such as the Olmec, Inca, Aztec, and Maya. Emeralds were an offering to their gods and have been excavated in burials.
Whatever they may symbolize for you today, we’ve outlined points to help you understand value and what to ask to make an informed decision on the emerald you will LOVE!
There are so many reasons to be “charmed” by Loren Nicole’s luscious cabochon charms! In this case, the object of affection is a one-of-a-kind carved Gemfields emerald leaf charm from Zambia.
The wonders of the ancient world inspire Loren's designs. Her career as an archeologist and conservator led her to study and create jewelry using the same techniques and materials that were used in antiquity.
An array of significant, rare, and attainable emeralds that are uniquely beautiful in their own ways. These incredible gemstones are courtesy of Nash James for the purpose of education.
The “ideal” emerald in terms of what the market values most has a deep green to bluish-green hue, with few inclusions. Emerald material naturally has inclusions (material that is trapped within a mineral such as liquid, gas bubbles, or fractures) and treatment with oil or filler is a common, acceptable practice.
Emerald is of the beryl family, alongside aquamarine, morganite and heliodor (golden beryl). While the market prefers to classify “emerald” as exhibiting rich, dark greens to bluish-greens, light green can be incredibly enchanting.
The topic of inclusions is one of my favorites because I believe they are what makes a stone uniquely beautiful - just like each of us. With emerald, inclusions are known as “jardin” (french for garden) and always worthy of celebrating!
Emerald can be found throughout the world - the most prized of which are from Colombia. That said, Zambian emeralds are turning heads!
COLOMBIA: Fine emeralds from Colombia have the established history and reputation in the market. They are revered for their vivid, leafy green color and clarity. Because of the way the color is distributed in the material, expertise and precision is required during the cutting process - making it more labor intensive. Worthy of note is a progressive mining company called Fura Gems, whose aim is to establish best practices that are sustainable, community-centered, and protect and preserve the local landscape. AND they are hiring female miners, as well as setting up a gem washing plant run entirely by women.
ZAMBIA: Zambian emeralds caused a sensation in 1976. Because of their high iron content, they exhibit a desirable vivid bluish-green color. Another mining company of note is Gemfields, who specializes in responsibly-sourced colored gemstones and sustainable mining practices. They are creating a positive impact in the Zambian community (and other countries) and championing transparency across the industry.
OTHER COUNTRIES: Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, United States, Russia, and beyond.
This is what an uncut emerald crystal looks like - a very exceptional one! The Gachala Emerald from the Vega de San Juan mine in Colombia is 858 carats. It is also unusual for its incredibly rich hue. Such stones are rarely preserved in their uncut form, and it can be seen at the wonderful @SmithsonianNHM!