It is by far & away the most expensive green gemstone and has been highly valued for over 5000 years. Whilst it is a hard stone (7.5/8 on MOHS scale) thus making it suitable for cutting and fashioning into jewellery, it is incredibly rare to find a flawless emerald and has a tendency to be brittle.
Experts are often highly suspicious of apparently flawless stones as they are likely to have been enhanced or synthesised (man-made). It’s an accepted part of post lapidary work to treat emeralds with oil, which strengthens them and lessens the naturally occurring, surface reaching cracks or inclusions.
Emeralds are gem quality specimens of the beryl mineral family and it is trace amounts of chromium that give it its green colouration. Some beryl contains vanadium which also gives a green colour but vanadium based green beryl is not recognised in the UK as proper emerald.
Like diamonds, emeralds are graded by the 4 C’s: colour, clarity, cut and carat. Colour is considered the most important factor closely followed by clarity. The most highly prized gems are a pure verdant green and have a high degree of transparency. However, unlike diamonds, which are valued by 10 x magnification, emeralds are valued by eye.
<Random factoid time> The most expensive emerald ever is known as the ‘Bahia‘, valued at over £230 million!
Due to the high cost of emeralds, many are laboratory made. These synthetic stones are composed of similar chemical components to mined stones, contain fewer inclusions and have better clarity than naturally occurring stones. They can be purchased at a fraction of the cost, which make them very attractive.
Here at eclectica we sell Siberian emerald jewellery, so named as the process of cultivating the gemstones was said to have been developed in Siberia. The gemstones in our emeralds are cultured, which means they are true gemstones which have been cultivated in a gemstone laboratory.
The process was developed in the late 1800’s so the gemstones could be used in industrial processes. Since then the process has been developed further to ensure that the gemstones have a more superior quality than the natural stones, making them perfect for use in faceted jewellery.
All of our pieces are set in Sterling Silver and finished with a fine plate of Rhodium (sometimes called white gold) which means your pieces will stay beautifully sparkly!
Emerald is perfect as May’s birthstone, being the rich green colour of Spring and having long been associated with re-birth. The emerald is the sacred stone of the goddess Venus and was thought to preserve love, and the stone has reportedly been used by healers to help heal the heart.
It has also long been the symbol of hope. It is considered by many to be the stone of prophecy and for some the emerald acts as a tranquilliser for a troubled mind. The power of the Emerald is highest at the full moon.
Some cultures thought emerald would heal any disease of the eye; the emerald would be placed in a container of water overnight and the water would be poured on the eyes the next day….probably not something we suggest you try at home!