What are Emeralds

Emerald belong to the large family of gemstones knows as beryls. In the same family are aquamarines for example. Emeralds can be seen as the green member of the family the colour being created by chromium or vanadium. Emeralds are almost any colour of green, mostly the grassy green but can be almost a colourless pale blue and could be mistaken for aquamarine.


emeraldringIn its natural form an emerald ‘grows’s as a hexagonal crystal and can be several thousands of carats each in weight. One of the largest ever found was the Devonshire Emerald, now in the Natural History Museum weighing also 1400 carats. However this was not mined in Devon, but owned by the Duke of Devonshire in 1931 as there are no emerald deposits in the UK. Most sources are in Zambia, Zimbabwe and India, but the best are found in South America, being Columbia and Brazil.



One thing about emeralds is their imperfections. Its the one stone where these are perfectly acceptable and the ‘curtaining’ of ribbons of light within the stone is more than usual. Too find a perfectly clean stone is very rare. The inclusions in an emerald are often known as the ‘garden’ of the stone, as this being the french word for garden shows that there is often that foliage look to the stone. These are natural features found in the stone. As these features are within the stone it does make it difficult to cut, and that is why the ‘emerald’ cut was so called as this is easier than a facetted stone to actually cut, and indeed many other gemstones are cut in the emerald cut way, especially diamonds. This rectangular form with truncated corners prevented the stone from getting damaged or chipped during setting. Many of the natural features within the stone does help a trained gemologist narrow down the locality source of the stone.


However emeralds that are totally clean should be viewed with some suspicion. emeraldringOiling a stone is quite common as this does help to cover surface fractures making them less visible. However, this does not de-value a stone but enhances the colour. However there are practices whereby a stone interior can be affected by certain methods and this could make a stone look ‘cleaner’ than it should be. We have heard cases where in Nigeria traffic light glass (green of course) has been cut to make an ‘emerald’, so buyers should always be very aware of purchasing from reliable sources.


Legend has said that the emerald is a curer of disease, and can soothe tired or sore eyes just by looking at it! It is the birthstone for May and used for both 20th and 35th anniversaries. One final bit of information, the substance Chromium,
it creates green in emerald, yet red in rubies, thats nature for you.


We have many beautiful emerald rings instore and online at our online store Vintage Tom