Storefront on Jeweler's Row in Philadelphia

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gemstone of the Month: Emerald

Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May.  Not only is emerald one of the "big three" precious gemstones not called diamond (ruby and sapphire are the other two), but "Emerald Green" was the color of the year for 2013!  

Emerald is a green to blueish green gemstone in the "beryl" family of minerals.  Other gems in the beryl group include aquamarine, morganite, and various other colored stones.  The main coloring agent in Emerald is chromium, in fact, beryl which derives it green hue from another element such as vanadium is not considered to be true emerald and is often referred to as "green beryl".

Though treasured throughout history for its rich green hue, Emerald is usually visually imperfect to the naked eye.  Dark mineral inclusions are so common that almost all emerald in existence has been "oiled" to improve its appearance.  This process makes the eye-visible inclusions in emerald less noticeable.  Emerald is also relatively low on the Mohs hardness scale, leaving the stone vulnerable to breaking.

Columbia is most famous for its emeralds, and most of the finest quality material is still mined there today.  However, large deposits of good quality material have been found in Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Russia.  Many famous artifacts from the Incan empire of Peru, which comprised much of modern day Colombia are carved from solid slabs or Emerald.  Below is a famous Emerald carving known as the "Mogul Emerald"

Today the Emerald trade is still going strong.  It is a popular gemstone from simple birthstone jewelry to impressive red carpet pieces.

You can shop for emerald jewelry on or by clicking the link below:

1 comment:

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