Emerald Buying Guide

Oval Emerald and Round Diamond Dome Ring at Angara.comAs with all gemstones, we need to consider their color, cut clarity and carat weight (commonly referred to as the 4 C’s). From these factors, when considering an emerald gemstone, color is extremely important. More specifically, color can be further divided into three parts. First we have hue, the basic color of the stone, including any tints other than green. Next, we have tone, which is the depth of the color, and ranges from light to dark. Finally, we have saturation, the purity of green and the mixture of other hues. The more luscious and vibrant the green color, the higher the value of the emerald.
Most emeralds will have multiple inclusions in them. The inclusions in an emerald show their natural beauty. Even the best colored emeralds may have multiple inclusions. The types inclusions range from internal cracks and fissures. The flaws could have been produced because of the tension involved in creating the necessary geological conditions, conducive to their formation. In spite of these inclusions, emeralds rank among the top four gemstones in the world, which are diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire. Because of their exclusivity, top-quality emeralds can have a more premium price than diamonds of the same specifications.
Fissures or internal cracks are the most common inclusion in emeralds. Try to avoid any inclusions that are too deep, as they are more susceptible to further growth, given an emerald’s fragility. Given Angara’s high quality control standards, our collection of emeralds consist of only fine emeralds, which are not brittle in nature. It is better to go for higher quality emeralds because emerald inclusions are more noticeable than most gemstones.

The Origin of Emerald

In ancient times, emeralds were mined in Egypt, Austria and present-day Afghanistan. The finest emeralds have traditionally come from Colombia. In fact, both the Incas and Aztecs mined rich emerald deposits in the rugged Andes Mountains. Russia's Ural Mountains were also an important source of emeralds. Brazil is by far the world's largest producer of emeralds with their wide range of quality. Other sources for the stone include Australia, India, Pakistan, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Today, Colombia has become one of the most popular sources of mining fine emeralds.
Colombian emeralds are praised for their vivid green color. The rare Trapiche emeralds, which have six rays emanating from the center, are sourced from Colombia as well. Zambian emeralds are renowned for their beauty, deep green color and transparency. In tones, these are darker than Colombian emeralds, and can often carry a blue undertone. The emeralds from Zimbabwe have an intense green color with a delicate yellowish green hue. Brazilian emeralds have their own beauty, including the cat's eyes emerald and star emeralds with a six ‘spoke star’.

Emerald Jewelry

Because of their characteristic inclusions and fragility, cutting an emerald is a challenge for most, if not all, craftsmen. The Emerald Cut is rectangular with cut corners. This type of cut is a step cut as opposed to a brilliant cut. The facets are broad with flat planes resembling the steps of a stair. Clear design of this rectangular (or square) cut with smooth corners brings out the beauty of this valuable gemstone. Some of the best known emerald jewelry worldwide features the Emerald Cut.

Notable Emerald Cut Engagement Rings

  • Camilla Bowle's Emerald Diamond Ring
  • Paris Hilton's Emerald Ring
  • Melania Trump's Emerald Cut Engagement Ring
  • Nicole Richie's Engagement Ring

Emerald Treatment and Enhancement

Like most gemstones today, emeralds are typically treated in some way or another to remove surface flaws and enhance color. The industry practice for treatment (and that which is considered standard by AGTA) is "oiling". This term refers to the practice of immersing emeralds in colorless oil. Often this is done using a vacuum chamber to assist penetration. Non-standard treatments go beyond by using green colored oils and hardened, epoxy-like resins. The oil hardens and strengthens the stone, and simultaneously improves their green color. These treatments dramatically improve the appearance of the gemstones, but require special care in cleaning and setting.

Emerald Care

As mentioned, most emeralds are oiled. Steam cleaners, solvents and ultrasonic can remove the oils, showing inclusions that were once hardly noticeable, stand out. Fortunately, we can have emeralds re-oiled. Never use harsh detergents and or any cleaning solutions that contain petroleum distillates. Avoid soaking your emerald gemstone jewelry in water for long, and only use an old soft brush. A warm moist cloth may also be used to clean emerald jewelry. Beryl’s, the class to which emeralds belong are popular jewelry stones. They contain a hardness of up to 8 on Mohs' scale. Because of their inclusions, emeralds are generally more fragile than other beryl’s and must be treated more precautious.

Emerald in History

Depending on which part of the world you are located, emeralds have different names. For examples, emeralds are known as emeraud in French, Smaragd in German and esmerelda in Portuguese. Cleopatra's enchantment with emeralds is one of the most celebrated gemstone love stories. The color of this gemstone is so intensely vivid that an emerald is one of the few gemstones to have a color named after - Emerald Green. Pliny the Elder (AD 29-73) described the emerald in just 3 words, "Nothing greens greener".
More recent history begins in South America in 1568, when the Spanish Conquistadors began mining emeralds in the Muzo mine (still known as the world's largest known deposit). It took many years for the Conquistadors to try and force the Incas to reveal the location of their hidden tunnels. Finally the Spanish found them on their own and began mining and producing emeralds for the Spanish crown.
As with diamonds, few famous large emeralds around the world are known by their names. The two most famous are the Devonshire Emerald and the Patricia Emerald. The Devonshire Emerald was given to the sixth Duke of Devonshire by Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil in 1831. The Patricia Emerald, found at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, weighs 630 carats. A Russian emerald in the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History weighs 1,965 carats.
The largest collection of emeralds is with the crown jewels of Iran with pieces in the belt, the Pahlavi Crown, the necklaces and the Nadir Throne, consisting of 1500-2000 carat emeralds. The Crown of the Andes is the most famous single piece of emerald jewelry with 453 stones (1,521 carats), including the Atahualpa Emerald (45 carats). The Crown, Fashioned from a solid block of gold, was made in 1593 for the Madonna statue in Colombia. Briefly captured by English pirates in 1650, it was recovered and became the victorious prize from the revolutionary war’s independence from Spain lead by Simon Bolivar in 1812. Although theories exist, it’s present location is unknown.
In scriptures of the Hindu religion, these precious gems are mentioned for their mental and physical healing properties. In Islamic religion, green is the holy color. One of the world famous emeralds is the mogul emerald, which has holy text inscribed. Evidence confirms it weighs over 200 carats. According to the Catholic Church, green is the most intrinsic of liturgical colors.
Emerald is the birthstone for those born in May and the zodiac sign Taurus. Emerald is traditionally the anniversary gift for 20th and the 35th wedding anniversaries.

Lab Created Emeralds

Lab created, (as the name suggests) is a process in which the gemstone is created through man-made processes. The deep earth conditions are simulated in a laboratory with certain elements, and it results in these sparkling gems. In keeping up with FTC guidelines, Angara discloses all lab created gemstones.
Some of the first lab created emeralds on the market did not turn out successful, because they were too clean. Fortunately, there are signs regarding the types of inclusions in a gemstone, which conclusively verify natural versus lab creation. Within the last fifty years, two major processes have been developed to produce lab created emeralds. If you see man-made emeralds you might wonder why they are so costly compared to CZs or some lab created sapphires. Both the flux and the hydrothermal methods of production require costly equipment and are energy intensive.

Buying Guide for More Stones

Author : Ankit Daga