Fit for the ancient Egyptians or Elizabeth Taylor, we just love emeralds and believe they are a girl’s best friend. This beautiful stone that was first known to be mined in Egypt around 1500 BC and the desired colour and clarity are hard to come by and are super dooper expensive (that’s a technical term).
Beryl is classified as allochromatic, meaning it is colourless in its purest state and owes its varying colours to trace elements rather than an element of its basic chemical composition. Emerald is the rich green variety of beryl and the most desired. Gems can be pale green, pure grass green and deep rich bluish green. Sibling to morganite (pink), Aquamarine (blue), heliodore (golden yellow), goshenite (colourless), maxixe beryl (deep blue) and red beryl. There is also ‘green beryl’, not to be confused with emerald. There is one important factor that separates the two: in order to be classified as emerald the green colouration must be a result of chromium and/or vanadium, if iron alone is responsible for colour then it is referred to as green beryl. The vivid and almost electric green of a true emerald Is breathtaking, even for the non-obsessed, and cannot be compared to any old green beryl.
Emerald crystals are typically hexaogonal prisms terminated with basal pinacoids (flat faces). With a MOH’s hardness ranking of 7.5-8 emerald is suitable for rings although should be treated with care as they are brittle and prone to chipping. Due to this delicate nature and natural crystal shape, gemstones are often fashioned into emerald cuts, a rectangular step cut with truncated corners to help preserve the precious stone’s edges and retain the greatest carat weight.
Known for their internal garden on inclusions. It is accepted and understood that eye-clean emeralds are exceptionally rare and so stones are celebrated for their colour more so than their clarity. It is also accepted by the industry that the majority of emeralds have been treated with colourless oil. The natural oil is forced into the stones surface reaching fractures to improve clarity and colour.
Many countries around the world produce commercial quantities of emerald. Made In Earth focuses on just two, India and Colombia. Colombia has been a shining beacon of emerald mining for hundreds of years, producing some of the world’s most exquisite stones. With this quality comes a price tag to match. Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made In Earth, discusses his choices for gem locations.
“We get asked for emeralds a lot and it seems surprising to some that you don’t get much for your money when it comes to a high-grade emerald. Lab created and imitation stones have spoiled the low to mid-range jewellery markets and so we do our best to satisfy our clients budget whilst still showcasing natural and beautiful gems.
“We use India as our main emerald supplier. The stones show nice rich colour and fair clarity in small sized stones. We try and keep our price point under a particular threshold so when it comes to our Colombian emeralds we use interesting cuts in lower grade stones. This collection features hexagonal slices from natural prismatic crystals, pale minty green and slightly translucent, these stones are appreciated for their uniqueness and metaphysical properties rather than typical emerald qualities of colour and clarity.”
A stone that has been adored for centuries we think that emeralds will never go out of style!