Emerald is the bright, incomparable green variety of mineral beryl. The finest emeralds in the world today are mined in Colombia. Colombian emeralds differ from emeralds from other deposits in that they have an especially fine, shining emerald green unimpaired by any kind of bluish tint. This beautiful color is so highly esteemed in the international emerald trade that even obvious inclusions are regarded as acceptable. Fine emeralds are also found in other countries, such as Brazil, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The Meaning of Inclusions
Emeralds are often clouded by inclusions, which are not necessarily considered flaws but may be evidence of genuineness. These inclusions are referred to as jardin from the French word for "garden". Even with inclusions, an emerald in a deep, lively green still has a much higher value than an almost flawless emerald whose color is paler. Fine, top quality emeralds are even more valuable than diamonds.
Durability & Enhancements
While its hardness protects the emerald from scratches, its brittleness and its many tiny fissures can make cutting, setting, and cleaning rather difficult. Today many emeralds are enhanced with colorless oils or resins. This is a general trade practice, which means that emeralds are sensitive to inappropriate treatment.
Caring for Emerald
Emeralds cannot be cleaned in ultrasonic cleaners. The oils and resins that may have been applied to an emerald, seal fine pores in its surface and makes it shiny. Emeralds should never be submerged in hot water or cleansing agents.
The oldest known emerald mines, known as Cleopatra's Mines, found near the Red Sea in Egypt, were already exploited by Egyptian pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 BC.
In Pre-Columbian times, the Incas and the Aztecs mined fine emeralds, and indeed, these South American mines still produce the world's finest emeralds.
The Mogul Emerald
The treasure chests of Indian Maharajas and Maharanis contained many emeralds. One of the world's largest emeralds is the Mogul Emerald, which weighs more than 217 carats. The Mogul Emerald belonged to the last Mogul Emperor of India, Aurangzeb, who reigned between 1658 and 1707. A symbol of great cultural achievement, the Mogul Emerald was inscribed the names of 12 great Imams, dating back to Imam Ali Ibn Abu Ta'lib, son-in-law of the prophet Muhammed.
In 2001 this legendary emerald was auctioned by Christie's of London to an unidentified buyer for 2.2 million US Dollars.
The green of the emerald conveys harmony, love of nature, and love of life. Ancient Greek naturalist Pliny the Elder commented that its green gladdened the eye without tiring it.
Written many centuries ago, the Vedas, the holy scriptures of the Hindus, say that emeralds promise good luck and enhanced well-being.
In Pre-Columbian times, the Incas and Aztecs of Central America regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone.
Dreaming of Emerald
In Victorian times dreaming of emerald foretold of promising future events.
Hour: 2:00 pm
Day: Tuesday and Friday
Birthstone, modern: May
Wedding anniversary, traditional: 20th and 35th
Angels: Sammael, Anneal and Muriel
Apostles: James and John the Evangelist
Star: Spica Virginis 17º of Libra
Planets: Mercury and Venus
Countries: Peru and Spain