Emeralds are among the most ancient treasures dating back to 1500BC when they were first mined in Egypt. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emeralds and held emeralds amongst her royal treasures. Originally, it was believed that emeralds stood for love and fertility given the rich green colour of the emerald. Mummies in ancient Egypt were often buried with an emerald to symbolize eternal youth whilst Incas and Aztecs worshipped emeralds as gods. The first to trade the gemstone were the Spanish in the 16th century, which launched the emerald trade to the rest of the world.
Emeralds are globally recognised as ‘precious’ alongside diamonds, sapphires and rubies. They are only ever green as a variety of the mineral beryl, but their colour ranges from a more yellow-green to a darker blue-green emerald. As a surprise to many, emeralds are roughly 20 times rarer than diamonds.
The emerald is the birthstone for the month of May as it is associated with the renewal of spring. Today, the colour of the emerald is known to relieve stress and eye strain as well as remaining the traditional gemstone to celebrate 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
Emeralds are also said to have astrological significance. The green emerald gemstone is known for its calming aura and strong healing powers. Regarded as the ‘stone of prosperity’, this gemstone represents growth, intelligence, creativity, and matrimonial harmony. It is also believed to bring better income opportunities and financial growth. For this reason, many recommend emeralds to those working in banking or finance. In astrology, emerald wearing is suggested to counteract negative effects of planet Mercury.
The colour is the most important factor when determining an emerald’s value. The most desirable colours of emerald range from blue-green to a more pure green with a vibrant saturation
The majority of emeralds have inclusions or imperfections that are visible to the naked eye. Emerald without either are extremely rare. Instead, emerald inclusions are referred to as an internal garden or forest by many enthusiasts.
Green beryl that is too light in its colour may not be considered an emerald by gemologists.
The common crystal shapes within emeralds lead to emeralds often being cut with rectangular step cuts
With a lower density than diamond, a one-carat emerald will appear to be larger than a one-carat diamond
The most valued emeralds are very transparent where their colour is evenly distributed with no zoning visible to the naked eye