All The Brilliants

The Skinny on Emerald

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 it 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!


 
The Skinny on Emerald
 

The Skinny on Emerald - What To Know
 

A special thank you to Nash James who shared this 3.85 carat natural Zambian emerald with me for the purpose of education.

 

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!


 

LOREN NICOLE

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.


Emerald Education - the ideal

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 Education - location location location

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!

 
Emerald Education - treatment

Because emerald material has light or heavy inclusions, the material is routinely treated with either oil or other fracture filling substances, such as waxes or resins. This diminishes the appearance of inclusions and can enhance or stabilize durability. Such treatment is detectable by gemologists and the degree of treatment would be noted on the gemological report from a credentialed lab.

Knowledge is power and while the above treatment is acceptable, it does impact market value. 


 
Shop Emerald Jewelry
 
Gemfields Emerald Leaf Charm
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Torpedo Emerald Earrings
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Emerald on the Mohs Scale of Hardness
 

Emerald Education - the Mohs Scale of Hardness

The Mohs scale of hardness is important to consider when choosing a particular stone for a particular kind of wear. Mohs scale is the degree of mineral “hardness”, measured by the resistance which a smooth surface offers to abrasion: 1 (soft) to 10 (hard). For example, an 8 will scratch a gemstone that is a 7 or below. Simply put, the softer the material, the more aware you need to be about wearing it in jewelry that may be exposed to more wear.

Emerald, while still in the hard range at 7.5 - 8, is a brittle crystal. Inclusions are common and completely acceptable in this material. Highly fractured stones, particularly those with fractures on the corners, are more susceptible to damage from everyday wear and accidental bumps. Choosing kinds of jewelry (i.e. cocktail rings, necklaces or earrings) that will encounter less contact with harder surfaces is a good option for emerald. As alluring as emerald is, it may not be ideal for an engagement ring.

Emerald Education - wear and care

A few jewelry care basics can keep your pieces looking their best, avoid damage and loss of gemstones.

WEAR: When dressing for day or night, jewelry should be the last thing on and the first thing off. Contact with chemicals such as fragrance, hairspray, nail polish remover, household cleaners and chlorine can harm jewelry. Especially emeralds, as these can damage any enhancements or oiling. Remove jewelry when cleaning, gardening, swimming or playing sports, as contact with hard surfaces can damage them or loosen stones in prongs.

CHECK SETTINGS AND STONES: Inspect jewelry before wearing it to check if stone is chipped, loose or rattles in settings.

CLEANING: All precious metals, gemstones and pearls should be cleaned regularly, but require different care. For example, ultrasonic cleaners can crack emeralds - and shatter pearls and opals. Because emeralds are often treated, such intense cleaning can cause the oil or filler to leach out and will diminish the original appearance of the stone.

For gemstones on the Mohs scale at 7 or above, a simple cleaning solution is warm water with mild soap and soft toothbrush. For those at 6 or below, replace the toothbrush with a soft cloth. Be sure the jewel is thoroughly rinsed and dry prior to storage. A soft polishing cloth will keep any precious metal looking its best. 

STORAGE: Keep jewelry individually stored in a pouch or box to avoid scratches and abrasions from other gemstones, as well as general tangles and dents. Chemicals, low humidity and excessive hot/cold conditions can damage emeralds.

INSURANCE: For any jewelry of significant value, be sure to have it appraised, file any provenance and gemstone certifications in a secure place and be sure to have it insured.


 

MEET LOREN NICOLE

 

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