HISTORY and LORE
- To the ancient Egyptians, emerald’s lush green color symbolized fertility and life. The Romans dedicated this gem to Venus, their goddess of love. Other cultures associated it with faith, harmony, and peace.
- Name comes from Greek smaragdos, which was once used for most green gems.
- According to one old legend, you can see the future if you hold an emerald under your tongue. Others say wearing an emerald brings riches and power, strengthens memory and intelligence, and reveals whether a lover’s words are true.
- In finest quality, emerald is among the world’s rarest and costliest gems.
- Birthstone for May. Gem for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
- Color: Light to dark green, often with a slight bluish tint.
- Clarity: Often visibly included. Unless clarity characteristics are unsightly or threatening, they’re usually considered acceptable.
- Cut: The step-cut style known as the emerald cut is a classic choice. It generally saves maximum weight from the crystal, and also shows the color at its best. Sometimes faceted in other shapes and styles, or cabochon cut.
- Carat Weight: Normally available in all jewelry sizes (up to 15 or 20 carats). However, fine quality emeralds over 10 carats are rare.
- Many emeralds are fracture-filled to improve clarity and color appearance. This has been a common practice since Roman times. Modern fillers include colorless oils and natural or synthetic resins.
- When an emerald is certified as untreated by a respected trade laboratory, it will usually command a premium price.
- A variety of the mineral species beryl. Aquamarine is another beryl variety. The be considered emerald, the color must be a reasonably intense green. Gems that are too pale or yellowish are properly classified as green beryl.
- Composed primarily of beryllium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen: chemical formula Be3Al2Si6O18. Color usually caused by trace amounts of chromium, but sometimes by vanadium or by both elements together.
Emerald generally needs gentle care and wear. Protective setting is recommended.
- Hardness: Moderate to high scratch resistance. Rates 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
- Toughness: Resistance to chipping and breaking can be good, but is usually fair to low (largely depending on the type and extent of clarity characteristics).
- Stability: If fracture-filled, the filling material – together with color and clarity appearance – may be affected by light, heat, and many household chemicals, including solvents, cleansers, and alcohol.
- Cleaning: Remove dust and smudges with a cotton swab or soft lint-free cloth. Detergent and water are safe for occasional cleaning, but no prolonged soaking or hard scrubbing. Liquid cleaner can damage some fracture fillings. NEVER USE AN ULTRASONIC.