Precious stones are indeed a beautiful sight. Another precious stone is the emerald. Emeralds are the birthstone of people born in the month of May. Emeralds got its name from the Sanskrit word “marakata”, meaning emerald or green. Its green color comes from the chrominum or vanadium found in the stone. The gemstone’s hardness measures 7.5 to 8 on Moh’s Scale of Mineral Hardness. Because of this its resistance to breakage is relatively poor.
In history, emeralds were mined in Egypt, Austria and Pakistan. Other find emeralds are found in countries such as Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, India, Afghanistan, and Russia. In the United States, emeralds can be found in North Carolina. In 1998, emeralds were also discovered in the Yukon Territory of Canada.
The rare type and most priced emeralds come from Columbia. The trapiche emerald is found in the mines in Columbia and has a star pattern. The name trapiche is a grinding wheel for processing sugarcane in the area. Columbian emeralds are highly priced due to their transparency.
Just like diamonds, you need to look at the 4 C’s of emeralds; color, carat, cut and clarity. Though the 4 C’s of diamonds and emeralds are the same the importance is quite different. For diamonds you are primarily after clarity while for emeralds color is of high importance. In general the deeper the green color of the stone, the more valuable it is. However, deep green emeralds may not always be valuable. You can distinguish fine emeralds since they are dark blue green in color and translucent at the same time.
As for clarity, emeralds have natural inclusions which are called “gardens” because of its green color. These inclusions are the cause of the spectacular emerald green color. Because of many inclusions, the rough emerald stone has to be cut away to create the gemstone. Unlike diamonds, there is no set scale to measure an emerald’s clarity and is then measured by a trained eye.
The faceting, shape, width and depth of the emerald make up the cut. The ideal cut emerald must be symmetrical and have uniform facets that provide for maximum color and brilliance. Usually the shape of the rough emerald stone will determine the final shape of the cut emerald.
Carat weight is not basis of an emerald’s value. Usually 1 carat stones are far better than stones weighing less than a carat. However, this is not an important factor when buying emeralds. The best emerald stones can be determined by the cut, clarity and color in this case, unlike diamonds.
Emeralds that you see in the shop are usually treated. The most common form of treatment is using oil to improve the clarity of the stone. Other liquids, synthetic oils and polymer are also used however in some countries you must include a disclosure stating the treatment applied on the emerald before it can be sold. Because majority of emeralds undergo treatments for enhancement, it is advisable to request for a treatment report from a renowned gemological laboratory.