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What Is An Emerald?

The rich and colourful history of emeralds is almost like no other stone, it is believed that they were mined in Egypt as early as 330BC for the infamous Queen Cleopatra who had a infinite passion for emeralds. Also in the Boyaca region in Colombia the natives started mining these precious stones as early as 1000BC.


Hardness: 7.5-8 Mohs

Enhancement Code: Oiling/Resin Infusion

Quality Information:

A: Medium colour; slightly included; good cut; good polish

AA: Medium dark to dark colour; slightly included; high brilliance; good cut; good polish

Care: Rated “fair to good” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Major Sources: Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

The source of many legends and mysteries, the emerald was gathered in Cleopatra’s Mines near the Red Sea, worshipped by the Incas and Aztecs, and treasured by the Maharajas of India. Its rich green colour makes it a fitting birthstone for the month of May. Emerald also celebrates the 20th, 35th and 55th wedding anniversaries.


The conquistadors brought emeralds of astonishing size to Europe from their explorations of South America. The Bank of Bogotá in Colombia still houses impressive specimens of up to 1,796 carats. Perhaps the most astonishing emerald artwork is found in Vienna: a vase carved from a single gemstone of over 2,200 carats.



From the mineral family Beryl, a species that also includes stones like aquamarine, morganite, green beryl, yellow beryl and red beryl (the rarest form). Emeralds are reasonably strong at 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale however is prone to fractures and inclusions which reduces the durability. The inclusions in emeralds have been informally nicknamed ‘jardin’- the french word for garden. This is because some inclusions can look quite mossy or garden-like. To counteract the appearance of inclusions it has become standard practice in recent years that emeralds can be soaked in resin or oil which has a more similar RI to emerald. Over time these substances can get old and might either seep out or get a crackled like appearance. But don’t fear emeralds can be re=oiled and with some TLC be back to their former glory.

To learn more about emeralds and how best to set them in your ideal ring feel free to get in touch with one of our gemstone experts.

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