Emerald is a member of the Beryl family of minerals. It is significantly more valuable than all other beryl varieties and is among the most treasured of gemstones. Emerald is the birthstone of May. Click here to view our selection of Emerald engagement rings.

Emerald History

The name Emerald is derived from the French word ‘esmeralde’ via the Latin ‘smaragdus’ meaning ‘green gem’. The ancient Egyptians mined emeralds over 3000 years ago, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra was said to be an avid collector. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers found large Emeralds in the possession of the Aztecs and Incas. This lead them to discover the now-famous Cosquez, Chivor and Muzo mines in Colombia.

Green emerald

How To Choose an Emerald

When choosing an Emerald look for the strength of colour. Emeralds are typically heavily included, the correct term for these inclusions is ‘Jardin’ which is French for garden. Unfortunately, these inclusions indicate structural weakness within the crystal. As a consequence, Emeralds need to be worn with care.

At 7.5-8 on Moh’s scale of hardness, Emeralds are fragile gems. We recommend that Emerald jewellery be designed to protect the gemstone from knocks as these can damage the brittle gemstone. 

Improving the quality of gemstones by treating them is common practice. Some common treatments include glass filling and oil filling which are techniques used to fill cracks, chips, and fissures. Filling these makes the Emeralds appear greener and clearer. These treatments, as with all treatments of gemstones, must be always declared by the seller.

Emerald Symbolism and Meaning

An Emerald is said to symbolise rebirth and youth and is believed by many to empower the owner with foresight into the future. An Emerald is regarded as an amulet for good fortune and success.

Green emerald

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