The name Emerald is derived from the Greek word ‘smaragdus’ meaning ‘green gem’. The ancient Egyptians mined Emeralds nearly 3000 years ago, and Cleopatra was said to be an avid emerald collector.
In the 16th century, Spanish explorers found large Emeralds in the possession of the Aztecs and Incas and went on to discover the now famous Chivor and Muzo mines of Columbia. An Emerald symbolises rebirth and youth, was believed to empower the owner with foresight into the future. An Emerald is regarded as an amulet for good fortune and success.
As the pre-eminent member of the Beryl family of minerals, Emerald is among the most treasured of gemstones. When choosing an emerald look for the strength of colour. Emeralds are fragile gems, and the design of the setting needs to protect the gemstone from everyday knocks and bumps, which can damage the stone. At 7.5 on the Moh’ scale of hardness, Emerald is the birthstone of May.
Improving the quality of gemstones by treating them is common practice. Some treatments are used in almost all cases and are therefore considered acceptable. Treatments of gemstones should be declared by the seller at all times.