Emeralds' lush green has soothed souls and excited imaginations since antiquity.
Emerald is the traditional birthstone for May. First mined in Egypt at least 2,300 years ago, its name is derived from ancient Greek and means simply “green gem.” Emeralds have been mined in India, Europe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and across much of South America and Africa. Today, emeralds from Colombia are considered the most valuable, and are renowned for their rich green hue and crisp transparency. Emeralds from Brazil and parts of Africa are similar in appearance, and have been known to garner coveted top prices.
Emeralds are most desired when they have a full and even color—and not heavily included. However, their growth patterns and the fact that they tend to pick up other minerals as they grow tend to obscure their appearance. This appearance, showing the internal characteristics, is called the “jardin” (French for “garden”). Emeralds are also relatively soft, and usually have breaks within them that reach the surface. To improve their beauty and durability, almost all natural emeralds will be enhanced with an oil or synthetic liquid that is injected under vacuum conditions.
Emeralds also tend to differ in color due to wide variation in trace elements, including iron, chromium, and vanadium—resulting in emeralds with hues that range from rich green to blue-green to yellow-green. This great variety of color and differences in transparency mean that emeralds are difficult to match in jewelry. For this reason, many chain stores no longer carry natural emeralds, and have chosen to offer synthetic, lab-created emeralds. At Fortunoff Jewelry, we offer only natural emeralds.
Shop our Emerald jewelry collection here.