With the advent of spring, the lush green is visible all around. Reminds us of one of the most coveted greens – the Emerald green. The color green in Emerald embodies respect that you have for life and for creation.
Emeralds in antiquity were mined in Egypt since 1500 BCE, and India, and Austria since at least the 14th century CE. The Egyptian mines were exploited on an industrial scale by the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and later by Islamic conquerors. Mining ceased with the discovery of the Columbian deposits, today only ruins remain. Colombia is by far the world’s largest producer of emeralds, constituting 50–95% of the world production while Zambia comes as a close second at 20% of the world’s production of gem-quality stones.
Emerald is a beryllium aluminum silicate with its characteristic green color coming from the chromium impurities in the structure of the stone. They tend to have numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures, where 10 x magnifications are used to grade them. Emeralds are graded by the eye. So if there are no visible inclusions, it is considered flawless. They also tend to be easily fractured. In spite of this flaw, emeralds continue to be one of the most coveted gemstones. Oval cut cabochons or faceted cut emeralds are commonly found as is the signature emerald cut which is a rectangular cut with facets around the top edge.
Another singularity in this stone is that of being oiled. Most emeralds are oiled as part of the post-lapidary process, in order to fill in surface-reaching cracks so that clarity and stability are improved.
Colombian emeralds are very well known. The Chalk Emerald ranks among one of the world’s finest Colombian emeralds. This 37.8-carat emerald exhibits the velvety deep green color that is highly prized and on display at the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. The famous Srirangapatnam jewels presently on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London are the spoils of war and from the treasury of Tipu Sultan during the siege of Srirangapatnam.
The trend for gemstone engagement rings may seem new, but it actually dates back to decades ago when celebrities and other high profile women received engagement rings with gemstones such as emeralds. The late US president John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline with a 2.84-carat emerald and 2.88-carat diamond engagement ring.
The late Duchess of Windsor – a commoner and a divorcee, had a magnificent 19.77-carat Cartier emerald and platinum engagement ring that was gifted by King Edward VIII who abdicated the throne of England to marry her.
Emerald engagement rings are quite unique and many are catching on to the gemstone trend. The green stone provides a great deal of color and life to an engagement ring in contrast to the colorless diamond. We will surely see more of this fabulous stone in the future.