Slightly fragile to tough
A variety of sizes
Brazil, Colombia and Zambia
Emerald cuts, ovals & cushions
The mining of Emeralds dates back more than 3,000 years, during the time of the Ancient Egyptian Empire. In 1557, the Spanish Conquistadors discovered the spectacular Muzo and Chivor mines in present day Colombia after a bloody campaign in search of the "green fire".
Today, Brazil and Zambia produce large quantities of fine Emeralds; however, many still consider Colombian Emeralds to be the highest quality. Small quantities of very fine Emeralds are also produced in Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
The base mineral of Emeralds is Beryl but it is the minute presence of chromium and vanadium that gives them the "green fire". Colombian Emeralds are known for their vivid green color, while Brazilian Emeralds are known for their variety, ranging from light green to fine medium dark green.
Emeralds of fine quality over one carat in size are quite rare. Large Emeralds often contain eye-visible inclusions, known as "jardin" or the "garden".
Clarity and transparency are the most important characteristics when evaluating Emeralds. In very fine quality Emeralds the back facet should be visible from a face up position. The brightness of the gemstone, which is determined by the cutting and the number of inclusions, is also an important evaluation factor. Intense medium green Emeralds command the highest value. The purity of the green color is crucial to the beauty of the stone, with blue or yellow overtones diminishing its value.