Is it expensive jewelry or some Kryptonite? Emeralds have long held the world’s fascination as one of the most beautiful gemstones to exist, and it’s easy to see why. It has a lovely green hue that is truly unique in a sea of diamonds. So whether you’re drawn to it as a jewelry lover or find a fascination in its mineral composition, here are 10 facts about emeralds that are sure to pique your interest.
Facts About Emeralds
1. The Ancient Egyptians first mined Emeralds
Source: Green Leafs Jewelry
No wonder Empress Cleopatra was always portrayed with emeralds — it was during her time that these gems were first used. Of course, emeralds have existed for much longer than this ancient empire (nearly 3 billion years ago, in fact) but the first record of them being mined was in 1500 BC.
Apart from living royalty, mummies were also often buried with emeralds. However, while Ancient Egypt was responsible for putting emeralds on the map, their mined stones are now considered lower quality than other parts of the world and today’s standards.
2. Emeralds are of royal status
Source: Padis Gems
Gemstones are classified according to their value, taking into consideration the quality, rarity, and provenance. Stones that are considered precious are those that are the most expensive and sought-after, and the emerald is one of them.
There are only three other precious gemstones: rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. So if you’ve ever been gifted with a true emerald, consider yourself quite lucky to have a precious gemstone in your hands!
3. Nearly half of the world’s emeralds come from South America
Most of the emerald mining on our earth happens in South America. While emeralds can be found in many other countries, almost 50% of emerald production occurs in Colombia.
In fact, in 1967, one of the most valuable and famous emeralds in the world was mined in the Vega de San Juan mine in Gachalá, Colombia. It is estimated at 858 carats and can currently be found in the Smithsonian Institution.
4. Emeralds have a long history of lore
Source: Jewels for Me
Precious metals, stones, and other materials are often used as symbols and attributed with healing properties. Emeralds are, of course, no exception. In some cultures, placing an emerald under one’s tongue was believed to help one see into the future.
They are also thought to protect one’s memory, enhance intuition, and bring out the truth in a lover. The gemstone’s green hue also helped with relaxation after extended periods of concentration, and today, it is used in a similar way to relieve eye strain.
5. Actress Elizabeth Taylor’s emeralds sold for a great sum
Source: Gem Me Couture
Sometimes it’s not about the gemstone itself but the person wearing it. For example, the beautiful actress Elizabeth Taylor had an emerald pendant necklace that significantly increased since her golden days in Hollywood. In 2011, the necklace sold for $6.5 million, estimated at a whopping $280,000 per carat!
6. Flaws are still valuable in emeralds
Source: Cloud Front
When looking for the most valuable gemstones, jewelers will typically seek stones with no flaws or inclusions. However, emeralds can still be valuable despite these. Every stone is made unique by its “jardin” or garden, making it more appealing for collectors.
Highly saturated emeralds with inclusions are usually more highly valued than low saturated emeralds with no inclusions. Flawless emeralds are still highly prized, but they are so rare that finding one might be worth even more than a high-quality diamond of the same weight!
7. Gems are assessed differently
Source: Beyond 4Cs
Since an emerald gemstone’s properties are different from a diamond’s, gemologists assess it differently. For example, the clarity of diamonds is famously judged using a 10x loupe, but emeralds’ clarity levels are assessed using the trained, naked eye.
8. Emerald is made from the mineral beryl
The base mineral that forms many gemstones is beryl, which is colorless in its purest form. However, when beryl comes into contact with chromium and vanadium, it gives the mineral a distinctive green shade, forming the emerald gemstone.
9. They are softer than diamonds
Emeralds are considered soft gemstones since they rank only 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness. If you’re considering getting this gemstone in a piece of jewelry, handle them with extra care as they are susceptible to cracking and chipping!
10. The Emerald Cut
The emerald is the only gemstone that the diamond uses to describe a specific stone cut: the famous Emerald Cut!
Hope you liked these facts about emeralds. For more fun facts about jewelry and other topics, stay tuned for our other articles.