Emerald - Fantastic green valuable gemstones!
The emerald is a gemstone that has been favored for many centuries, and it is said that the dead in Egypt were mummified with an emerald placed on their necks; the emeralds were carved in as a symbol that shows eternal youth, due to the vivid green color of the stone. Actually, the brilliant and rich green color of emeralds is the reason why they are said to symbolize spring; this means that it is a stone of love and rebirth, and is also associated with Venus. Some cultures use it to symbolize fertility.
It is an oddity that the emeralds which were mined by ancient civilizations, mainly from the mines of Egypt and the area that is now referred to as Afghanistan, were not as brilliant as those which are mined today; maybe the reason may have been because they would not be polished, but this is not an established fact. 5 centuries ago, when the Spanish arrived in what was called the New World, they came across the beautiful green stones. The Inca in this new world had a goddess who was embodied in an emerald stone the size of an ostrich egg. Montezuma, also presented Cortes with an emerald which is said to be the largest ever seen.
People who are familiar with the valuation of emeralds will attest that the color of the emerald is the most important factor. One of the most valuable, the Gemvara emeralds have a rich and vivid green color. One would not believe it, but emeralds also bear birthmarks, which are called the “Jardin”. Emerald lovers know that the gemstones will most likely have these imperfections, but they do not affect the overall value, as much as they do in other gemstones. The Jardin are just small fissures, and if one does not want them to be seen, they are simply filled with oil or resin. Emeralds are also said to be the rarest of all gemstones.
The history of Emeralds
The name emerald traces its history to the Greek name “Smaragdos”, which was later translated in the Old French term “Esmeralde”. Which loosely means “Green gemstone”. There have been fantastic stories which have been weaved around this wonderful gemstone. The emerald was regarded as a holy stone by the Incas and Aztecs of South America, a region where some of the finest emeralds have been found. It is said that the oldest evidence of emeralds were seen around the Red Sea in Egypt. The Egyptian mines, which were later called “Cleopatra’s Mines” were being exploited by the Pharaohs of Egypt between the years of 3000 and 1500 BC, and they were exhausted long before the green gemstones were rediscovered in the 19th Century.
The holy scriptures of the Indians, the Vedas, was written many centuries ago, and it mentions the healing power of the precious green gemstone. It says that the emerald brings about good luck and that it improves the wellbeing of an individual. That is the reason why the Maharanis and Maharajas of India always had emeralds in the treasure troves. In 1865, one of the largest emeralds was found, and it is known as the Mogul Emerald; the stone weighs 217.8 carats, and has a height of 10cm. On one side of the stone, you will see prayers texts and the other side bears some beautiful floral engravings. On September 28th 2001, Christie’s of London auctioned this magnificent emerald for the price of 2.2 million dollars.
Since emeralds have been given high esteem since the ancient times, some of the most valuable stones can only be found in collections and museums. For example, the New York Museum of Natural History keeps a cup that was crafted from pure emerald and used to belong to Emperor Jahangir. This cup is kept right next to the Patricia, which is one of the largest emerald crystals to be found in Columbia. The Patricia has a carat weight of 632.
The Bank of Bogota is the custodian of five great emerald crystals which weigh between 220 and 1796 carats. The Iranian National Treasury also holds fantastic emeralds, some of which adorn the diadem of the empress Farah. Since Turkish sultans also treasured the emerald, they had writing tools, daggers and jewelry which were abundantly set with emeralds and other gemstones and these can be seen at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace.
Why the emerald is revered so much
As the seasons go, spring is the time when life comes back from the desolation of winter, and it is reborn; the emerald is therefore regarded, in many cultures, as the stone of life and springtime. Apart from this, it has also been considered to be the stone of love in some cultures. In Rome, the color green is associated with the goddess Venus, who is the deity of love and beauty. In many contemporary religious and cultural beliefs, the emerald also hold high standing due to its color; in Islam, the color green is said to be holy. If you take note, you will find the many countries in the Arab League have got green on their flags, which serves as a symbol of the unity of their Islamic faith. In the Catholic Church, the color green is also held in high esteem since it is said to be the color of nature and it is also the basic liturgical color.
Emeralds are regarded as gemstones that signify the love of nature, elemental joie de vivre and harmony simply because of their green color. According to Pliny, he color green is enticing to the eye, and it never tires it. Green is never seen as a monotonous color, but as a vivid ad fresh one. This is a color that changes in tones when seen in the bright light of day, and even in artificial light; the emerald keeps this lively potency in all its different tinges.
The geological tracing of nature through the emerald
The emerald is a unique gemstone due to the sparkling luminosity of the stone. It is very rare that you find a fine emerald, because of the numerous inclusions that are found in most of them; this is fairly good evidence about the rough formation which the gemstone went through. Despite these inclusions, the value of the emerald is not diminished but actually increased. When compared to other gemstones, this is quite odd but the answer lies in the fact that the inclusions give the emerald a deep but lively green color, as opposed to the deep pale color of an emerald that does not have any inclusions.
The lovely Jardin of the emerald
Specialists lovingly and expressively call the inclusions fissures or cracks which are typically associated with the Jardin. The soft tiny little plants are found in the emerald garden and they are regarded as a symbol of a naturally grown emerald stone. How are these fissures formed in the gemstone? The answer to this question can only be found by looking at the way emeralds were formed many centuries ago. Some of the oldest emeralds in the world are those found in Zimbabwe, and they are said to have been grown over 2600 million years ago, as compared to some stones which come from Pakistan, and have been dated to only 9 million years ago. Chemically and from a mineralogy aspect, emeralds can be termed as beryllium-aluminum-silicates, which have a hardness value of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale; they can be likened, chemically, as being similar to the light blue aquamarine, the golden heliodor, the pink Morganite, and the pale green beryl. Pure beryl is white and only the presence of trace minerals are responsible for the colors that they acquire. The fascinating green color of the emerald is due to the presence of chromium and vanadium traces. It is a fact that these trace elements are usually found bound to beryllium in many places in the world, and the emerald would not have existed at all. However, the intensive tectonic processes of the earth’s crust, such as metamorphism, erosion, emergences and oogenesis, made it possible for the contrasting elements to crystalize and form the magnificent emerald crystals. It is due to the tension produced by these geological processes that brought about the major and minor flaws that you find in the emerald.
When the inclusions are looked at through the microscope, or even a strong magnifying glass, one can see the story of how this fantastic gem was formed. One can see the small fissures, the small bubbles, and many other types of shapes. It is as the crystals were forming that these inclusions had a chance to heal, and this brought about the rough three-phase inclusions that are common to emeralds from Colombia. The cavities have fluids which more often than not have a small gaseous bubble, and some small crystals within.
Such as rough formation as the emerald went through hampers the formation of large, and flawless crystals, and this is why you rarely find a large emerald that has pure color and transparency; this is why fine emeralds are so valuable. The emerald, despite having such a turbulent formation, is allowed to show it flawed nature, and still be held in high esteem in the gemstone world; it is only when the fine Jardin are seen that this exception is allowed, and not when the stone is so filled with inclusions that the color and transparency are spoilt.
The locations of the finest emeralds in the world
The top place where fine emeralds are found, in the whole world, is Columbia. There are 150 deposits found in the country but not all of them are commercially exploited. The best emeralds are found in Chivor and Muzo, and these are the regions where the ancient Incas used to get them from. Commercially, the most productive mine can be found in Coscuez, and there are 60 faces being mined today. These are the mines which produce over 75% of all emeralds from Columbia. The reason why Columbian emeralds stand out from those mined in other parts of the world is the fact that they have a wonderful green color, which is nor marred by the presence of any blue tints, as is seen in most emeralds. The colors are slightly different from one deposit to the other; the fine inclusions that may be found in these emeralds are accepted in the international emerald trade because they, the emeralds, have a very fine green color. The full potential of Columbia as an emerald source is yet to be fully seen, since at times, a rare and magnificent stone is found, the rare Trapiche emeralds are examples of these rarities, since they have 6 rays that seem to come from the center of the stone, making it look like it has the spokes typical to a millwheel.
Apart from Columbia, there are many other places in the world where fine emeralds can be found. Some of these include Afghanistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Zambia, India, Pakistan and Madagascar. In the international emerald trade, those from Zimbabwe, Brazil and Zambia are held in high esteem, as being fine emeralds. Zambia is known to produce fantastic emeralds which have a fine green color, and have great transparency. The emeralds from Zambia are said to have a green that is even darker than that of emeralds coming from Columbia; they also have a fine bluish tinge which is fascinating.
The Sandawana Mine in Zimbabwe is known for having vivacious emeralds which have an intense green color, which has a yellowish hint. The famous Columbian mines are right next to one of their stiffest competitors; the Nova Era Mines in Brazil. These mines produce emeralds that have beautiful green nuances and they are only slightly less attractive than those that come from Columbia. The Brazilian mines are home to some of the rarest emeralds known as the cat’s eyes; these emeralds have a 6-spoked star. To the delight of emerald aficionados, there is a huge supply of emeralds in the world, thanks to these find, located in Brazil and Africa.
The unique nature of the emerald gemstone
The emerald is protected from scratches by the good hardness value that it has. However, the gemstone is very brittle, and the fissure within make it very challenging for a cutter to make a clean cut gemstone; even the most skilled cutter must exercise great caution because the crystals have a high value and any loss is expensive, and also because of the frequent inclusions. However, those who love cutting this stone, came up with a special cut to counter these challenges; the lovely emerald cut. The cut has an easy rectangular or square shape, and all the corners are beveled. This cut helps to bring out the true beauty of the emerald, without having to put the crystal under too much mechanical stress. Emeralds can also be cut in many other designs, but if the raw crystal is found to have too many inclusions, then the best cut is the cabochon. Others are cut into emerald beads, which are very popular in India.
Today, in order to counter the effects of these inclusions, many emeralds are enhanced using oils and resins, which fill out the fissures so they are not seen. This is a common practice, but it has a downside in that the emeralds sometimes react sensitively to any inappropriate treatment by the wearer. For example, emeralds that have been treated in this manner cannot be cleaned using an ultrasonic bath. The resins and oils that are used by the cutters in order to seal the fissures and protect the stone, can be washed off by such a bath, and the result would be a matt appearance on the surface of the stone, since the fine pores will have been exposed. This is another reason why anyone with an emerald ring that has been thus treated should remove it before putting the hands in any water with a cleaning agent.
Protect yourself from fake emeralds
As with any wonderful and priceless thing in the world, the emerald, being one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world, is prone to imitations; there are several synthetically created tones which may be passed off as natural stones, and you have to be wary about this. So how does one tell a real emerald from a fake one? The first thing that you should do is vet the jeweler that you are buying from; you have to make sure that the jeweler is one of fine standing and only sells natural stones. For people who want to buy large emerald, a reputable gemological institution, should be the best place to look for one, or have it appraised before you part with any money.
Thanks to modern ways of examining gemstones, a gemological institution has the ability to tell you if any large emerald is the genuine thing or a fake. You will also be able to known whether the stone is a natural one, but has been treated in order to enhance its appearance. Although diamonds are able to sparkle with radiance in sizes that are below 1 carat, when you are buying emeralds and other colored gemstones, you should go for larger stones. Although there are many other colored gemstones which still show their fire when they are in small sizes, the emerald does not begin to show its true brilliance unless it is of a certain size and weight. Depending on your personal taste, you can decide on how large a stone you would like, and also how much you are willing to spend. It is very rare that you will find large emeralds in a fine color, and such an emerald may even fetch a higher price than a diamond of the same weight.
The emerald gemstone is a fairly hard gem, but they should not be worn when doing any manual work, or when doing exercises. One should avoid any cleaning with steam, ultrasound, or soap. It is best to clean the emerald using mild dishwashing soap, and use a fine toothbrush to remove any duct that may be lodged in the setting of the stone.
The emerald is truly a beautiful and scintillating gemstone, with a beauty that is mesmerizing. They have a radiant in deep green color, which one cannot imagine that such a color can even exist in nature. Although inclusions are acceptable fie emeralds have been known to be more precious than diamonds.
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