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Article: Emerald


Emerald Characteristics and Grading

  • The word 'emerald' is derived from the Latin word 'smaragdus', which came from the Ancient Greek word 'smáragdos' meaning 'green gem'.
  • Emeralds are graded based on color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
  • Color is the most important criterion in grading emeralds.
  • Clarity is considered a close second in the grading of emeralds.
  • Emeralds occur in hues ranging from yellow-green to blue-green, with the primary hue being green.
  • Only medium to dark-toned emeralds are considered true emeralds.
  • Emeralds tend to have numerous inclusions and surface-breaking fissures.
  • Emeralds are graded by eye, and if they have no visible inclusions, they are considered flawless.
  • Inclusions and fissures within an emerald are sometimes referred to as 'jardin' due to their mossy appearance.
  • Eye-clean emeralds with a vivid primary green hue and minimal secondary hues command the highest prices.

Emerald Treatments and Enhancements

  • Most emeralds are oiled as part of the post-lapidary process to fill in surface-reaching cracks and improve clarity and stability.
  • Cedar oil and other liquids with similar refractive indexes are commonly used for treating emeralds.
  • Epoxy resins are used for filling emeralds with many fractures.
  • Treatments are typically applied in a vacuum chamber under mild heat to enhance absorption.
  • The use of oil is accepted in the gem trade, but treated emeralds are worth less than untreated ones.

Emerald Mining

  • Colombia is known for its emerald deposits.
  • Emerald mining in Colombia has been studied extensively.
  • The Eastern Cordillera of Colombia is a significant emerald mining region.
  • The Kagem emerald mine in Zambia is a notable mining area.
  • Zambia is known for producing high-quality emeralds.
  • Brazil has a long history of emerald mining.

Famous Emeralds

  • Chipembele, a 7,525-carat emerald from Zambia.
  • Gachalá Emerald, one of the largest gem emeralds at 858 carats.
  • Large, di-hexagonal prismatic crystal of 1,390 carats housed at the Mim Museum in Beirut.
  • Empress Amélie of Brazil wore an emerald parure.
  • Various Colombian emeralds of significant size and quality.
  • The Patricia Emerald housed in the American Museum of Natural History.
  • The St. Louis Emerald, also known as the 'Emeraude de Saint Louis.'
  • The Gachala Emerald displayed at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • The Hope Emerald featured at the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Notable emeralds auctioned by Christies, including the Rockefeller Emerald and the Chalk Emerald.

History and Cultural Significance of Emeralds

  • Emeralds have been prized and used in jewelry for thousands of years.
  • Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans valued emeralds for their beauty and symbolism.
  • Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian queen, was known for her love of emeralds.
  • The Spanish conquistadors discovered large emerald deposits in South America during the 16th century.
  • Emeralds have been associated with various legends and myths throughout history.
  • Emerald is the traditional birthstone for May and gemstone for the astrological sign of Cancer.
  • Emerald City is a prominent location in 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'.
  • Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, India, has an idol made of emerald.

Emerald Mentions

Emerald Data Sources

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