Emeralds are one of the most famous coloured gemstones in today’s jewellery market. The “green” colour they come in has continued to intrigue people all over the world. Emeralds are a composition of the mineral “beryl”, which is where the “green” colour originates.
This charming green gem is the birthstone of May and has been referenced on countless pieces of literature. Anyone that has seen “Wizard of Oz” will certainly know the shimmering green metropolis “Emerald City” and what clearly was its influence.
Emeralds have the hardness of 7.5 on the Moh scale. They may not be as hard as “rubies” or “diamonds”, but they have their merits.
The preparation of an emerald is a very precise craft. It goes through a process known as “oiling”. The stone is dipped into a resin within a vacuum chamber. After this, ultrasonic devices and steam cleaners gently remove the oil which makes the emerald look very polished with the external inclusions appearing absent.
The word “emerald” comes from the French word “esmaralde” that loosely translates into “green gemstone”. During ancient times, this “green gem” was originally found in Pakistan, Egypt, and Austria. The emerald is not necessarily a “gem” (in the traditional sense), but rather part of a larger “host rock” of different variations.
The oldest emerald mine ever uncovered was near the Red Sea sometime between 1500 and 3,000 B.C. by the Egyptians. Naturally, the Pharaohs took all these gems for themselves because of their overwhelming allure and deemed these mines as “Cleopatra’s Mines”. On the same note, the ancient Aztecs and Incas saw the emerald as some relic and were known as a “holy gemstone” among their people. An emerald is usually found within the cracks, veins, crevices, and small openings that larger rocks produce.
Despite being discovered within certain parts of the world, Colombia is now the leading location for mining emeralds. More specifically, the “Muzo Mine” (located Northwest of Bogotá) is the prime area for finding these gems. A secondary location that is used for mining emeralds is the “Chivor Mine” (Northeast of Bogotá.) The emeralds found in Columbia are the highest qualities when compared to others that are found in Africa, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and the United States. In fact, some of the world’s most famous stones were found in Colombia including The Chalk Emerald, Duke of Devonshire Emerald, Gachala Emerald, and Mogul Mughal Emerald. Brazil holds the Bahia Emerald, which also gained its fame due to its size, cut, and colour.
There is much to discover about this special stone. Emeralds will always be cherished for their mystique history and seductive qualities.