The Emerald

Emerald is a beryl that gets its green color from chromium. Mineralogically, two varieties can be highlighted: the common beryl with a cloudy and poorly colored appearance and the noble beryl, transparent and with beautiful colors, to which the emerald belongs.

Until the 16th century the only known emeralds were found in Egypt. Later, with the conquest of America, the Spanish unveiled the precious emeralds that are produced in South America.

Physical properties:

  • Hardness: 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale
  • Specific gravity: 2.67 – 2.80
  • Conchoid fracture

Optical properties:

  • Green color
  • Vitreous shine Variable transparency, and possible presence of inclusions that give a milky appearance.


Emerald producing countries

First of all, a clarification, since you have to differentiate between origin and provenance.

Origin means the country where the mine is located and origin is where it is marketed and handled. Thus, for example we can have an emerald whose origin is a mine in Colombia and its origin is India because it is here where it has been carved and commercialized.

The most important deposits in the world are in Colombia, where 55% of the commercialized emeralds are produced and also the best quality specimens emerge. The sites of Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor stand out.

The second producer would be Brazil with its Canaiba and Socotó mines, followed by Zambia and Pakistan.


Value an emerald

Emeralds are valued based on their color, purity, size, and size.

  • Colour: The tone of the emerald can vary from yellow to blue (secondary colors). For most gemologists, the emeralds that have the greatest value and beauty are those of green color that have a blue reflection (Muzo and Chivor mines in Colombia). To determine the price, you must consider the amount of chromium in the gem, since this defines the intensity of the green. If there is little the color is pale, and if there is too much it results in a deep green with less play of light. It must be taken into account that a very frequent practice to improve the color of the emerald consists of introducing the emerald in a liquid with a close IR (cedar and olive oil) and heating it gently so that it enters the cracks in the stone and disguises them . “Fried emeralds” are very common on the market and the treatment is so widespread that it is not considered fraudulent.
  • Purity: Almost all emeralds tend to have inclusions and cracks on their surface, and they are accompanied by small fractures. Emeralds without inclusions are called “oil drops” and are extremely valuable.
  • Size: The emerald cut par excellence is the rectangular cut, also known as the emerald cut, and its most important carving center is in Jaipur (India). Colombian emeralds are almost always cut rectangular and African emeralds are oval.
  • Weight: Emeralds are more expensive than sapphires and rubies in small sizes. From 6 or 8 carats the price begins to increase more slowly.


Famous emeralds

Fura and Tena:

They were two emeralds found in 1999 in the Muzo deposit (Colombia). Its name responds to a legend of the Muisca indigenous people. According to this the children of two chiefs of enemy tribes fall in love against the will of the families, and after the death of Tena the lovers become rivers and mountains of emeralds. The Fura emerald has a weight of 11,000 carats and the Tena emerald of 2,000 carats, although the latter is more valuable since they have a more beautiful color.

The Emilia:

It was extracted in the Las Cruces mine (Colombia) by a woman named Emilia, it had a weight of no less than 6,900 carats.