Colour: Dark green to slightly yellow green
Pleochroism: Blue green to yellow green
Moh’s Hardness: 7 ½ – 8
Refractive Index: 1.565 – 1.602
The name ‘emerald’ derives from the Greek word smaragdos, meaning ‘green stone’. This term used to apply to a variety of green gemstones, however stuck with the emerald we know and love today due to its characteristic vibrant green tone. It is by far the most precious of all the gemstones under the beryl family, due to its unique colourisation caused by the colouring agent of chrome. Due to the stones high value within the Moh’s scale of hardness and its stability against heat and light, emeralds are great to work with when making jewellery – its no wonder it has such a popularity!
These beautiful stones are often clouded by inclusions, which are thought of not as faults but in fact authentication of their natural formations as opposed to their synthetic counterparts which have 100% clarity. In fact, these inclusions are so essential to the beauty of this stone that the French gave them the term ‘jardin’, translating in English to ‘garden’, due to their branching growths and decoration within the body of the gem.
Depending on their source, emeralds can vary in their physical properties such as density and refraction. Formed by hydrothermal deposits associated with igneous and metamorphic processes, the deposits are found within beds of rock such as biotite mica schists, clay shales, limestones, and pegmatites. They are harvested from host rocks containing mineral veins or cavities in which these emerald stones can precipitate upon the walls.
Significant deposits are found in Muzo, Colombia, just north of Bogota where our wholly owned subsidiary resides, London DE SAS. Here we can work closely with our emerald and gold mines to provide the finest quality materials and stones at a low price you wont find elsewhere within the luxury market. We also utilize stones mined within our Chivor mine in Colombia, also known for the quality of its emerald deposits. Only a third of Colombian emeralds are able to be cut and economically worthy to be put into the market, which is what makes the stones which do make it so sought after and treasured.
History and Lore
Gifted at 20th, 35th, and 55th wedding anniversaries due to their links with love and cherishment, these stones hold a lot more to them than meets the eye. Cleopatra was famed for adorning emeralds on her outfits and jewellery, and when the time came for ancient Egyptians to mummify and bury their people they did so alongside emeralds engraved with the symbol of verdure – this was believed to pass on the gift of eternal youth through the afterlife.
Many who follow the spirituality of crystals believe emeralds hold many powers, from relieving eye strain just by looking into the body of the stone, to future foreseeing when the stone is placed under the tongue. They also believe the stone can reveal truths, guard against memory loss, enhance intuition and protect against evil spirits. Some even believe it is powerful enough to fight against diseases such as cholera and malaria.
Purchase and Styling
Before you buy an emerald, it is important you know what to look for to get your money’s worth.
First and foremost – always make sure your gemstone has been authenticated and certified!
Due to emeralds being so sensitive to knocks, you will frequently find loose emeralds in a step cut (such as the ‘emerald cut’) due to the design optimizing the strength and colour of these stones. This cut also enhances the refraction of light through this gem, creating the much desired scintillation effect. Therefore, as this is a premium cut for this specific stone, step cut emeralds are found at a higher price within the market compared to other cuts. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy emeralds in other designs as its is all down to personal preference and what you want your stone for, however this cut can provide you with potentially the longest life for your purchase.
The colour of emeralds affects the price of these stones within the market. Those stones which have a blue-ish green hue sell for much greater than that of other emeralds due to the colour being the rarest and most desired. The gems which present this colour are mined from Muzo and Chivor in Colombia (The stones which we sell!). That being said, yellow toned emeralds are also gorgeous in their own right and more affordable; it all comes down to what you’re looking for in your purchase. In general, it is best to stay away from emeralds which have been colour enhanced by resins, dyes, and oils. These colour enhancers infill the inclusions within the stone and may appear to be bright and vibrant at first purchase, but over the years these can deteriorate and actually diminish the colour and sheen quality of the stone, and therefore its face value.
Don’t be put off by emeralds with a mass of inclusions! These stones are filled with inclusions which provide them with their colour and characteristic, and provide authentication of its natural creation. It is impossible to find a natural emerald on the market with no inclusions and 100% clarity, only the synthetic-created counterparts of emeralds are free of inclusions.
It is a misconception that the number of carats of a gemstone equals its size, and this size equals its price. Carat is calculated from the density of a gemstone. The greater the density, the higher the carat, and thus also the price. You may have a brilliant cut emerald and a brilliant cut diamond side by side, both of precise equal size. Due to the emerald being 30% less dense than that of the diamond, it will naturally have a lower carat and price. This being said, a number of factors come under the pricing of a gemstone – not just the carat weight. This emerald may have a blue undertone and a high quality clarity, making it a rare specimen and therefore more expensive than the diamond – so each stone price will be individual!
Emeralds are beautiful, enchanting stones which are worn gracefully and with an air of elegance. When it comes to picking a metal in which to display your stone, its best to choose one which matches best with the hue of the stone. Blue-ish green emeralds are often paired with yellow gold due to their warmth, and yellow-ish green emeralds are often paired with platinum or white gold due to their coolness. The temperature rule also works when picking the right stone with your skin tone and eye colour; its best to match cool tones with cool tones, and warm with warm. On the other hand, when it comes to buying a stone you want, pick that which appeals to you the most!