Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May, and used for commemorating the 25th and 30th wedding anniversaries. Emerald is the most precious stone from the beryl group. The name Emerald comes from the Greek word smaragdos via the Old French esmeralde, and means ‘green gemstone.’ Emerald has adorned many crowns and royal artifacts including ancient Egyptian pieces. The Incas used emeralds as offerings to their gods. They protected the source of the gemstone from the Spanish conquistadors and gave their lives rather than reveal the source. The Spanish eventually found the source and introduced the South American emeralds to the Europe market.

Emerald is a variety of the beryl species which also includes aquamarine, morganite, heliodor and other varieties. To be considered Emerald, the beryl must meet a certain standard in hue/saturation otherwise it is considered green beryl when too light in color. Emerald gets its color from the element chromium being present. Some emeralds may also contain vanadium, but this is less abundant.

The most desirable colors of emerald are bluish green to green with strong to vivid saturation and a medium to medium-dark tone. If an emerald has a very desired color, often times it will still be valuable even with inclusions.


Emeralds can be found in Columbia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Russia, Afghanistan, Australia (New South Wales, Western Australia), Ghana, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, Zambia and the United States (North Carolina).

Properties, Treatments & Lab Created

Emerald is rated a 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale.

It is common that emeralds go through an oil treatment, where they are immersed into colorless oil. This process enhances the appearance of the gem by covering inclusions, but it does require careful and special care when setting and cleaning the stone. Green colored oils are sometimes used as well as hard epoxy-like resins.

Lab created emeralds are available that are identical to the natural in composition. There are also simulants made from glass and other materials that resemble the rich color of natural emeralds, but they are not the same in chemical composition.

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