The Passion of
An amulet believed to protect against evil spells.
Emerald has enthralled the elites of civilizations with
its stunning beauty and symbolic power for over
6,000 years. The name comes from the old French
“esmeralde” through Latin “smaragdus” through Greek
“smargdos.” One of the world’s first emerald mines in
Egypt was named “Cleopatra’s emerald mine” for her
lifetime love affair with the stone. Emeralds from
what is now Colombia were part of the plunder when
16th century Spanish explorers invaded the New World.
The Spanish, who treasured gold and silver far more
than gems, traded emeralds for precious metals. Their
trades opened the eyes of European and Asian royalty
to emerald’s majesty.
Emerald is the green to bluish green variety of the
mineral beryl colored by trace elements of chromium
and vanadium. The most desirable emerald colors are
bluish green to pure green with strong to vivid color
saturation and medium to medium-dark tone. An
emerald’s hue, tone and saturation determine its value.
If the hue is too yellowish or bluish, the stone is not
Emeralds are inherently more included than most
other gemstones. Eye-clean stones are very rare. Unlike
most other stones, visible inclusions are acceptable in
emeralds unless they are so numerous as to affect the
transparency of the stone. The most prized emeralds
are highly transparent with even color distribution and
no eye-visible color zoning.
Colombia, Brazil, Zambia and Zimbabwe supply the
majority of emeralds on the international market. Colombia
produces what many consider to be the highest quality
and volume of emeralds. The Colombian emerald has been
widely accepted as the world’s most desirable pedigree
and its mines remain a prized locality to this day.
Filling surface-reaching fractures or fissures with oil can
make them less noticeable, which increases transparency
and improves the apparent color of an emerald. Since oil
can leak or dry after a period of time, the use of paraffin
or resins are sometimes used as a more stable filler.
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