EmeraldEmerald is the birthstone of May & the anniversary gemstone for the 20th and 35th years of marriage.
Emerald - gem of eternal spring. We all are fascinated by the emerald's rich history, lore and tradition. Emeralds have been cherished for as long as there has been a written history. Archaeologists have traced the origins of the use of emerald to almost 3000 B.C. in both ancient Egypt and India.
Whatever your reasons, you may be feeling somewhat intimidated by the emerald's reputation as an expensive gemstone. Well, here's an interesting fact. You can buy an emerald for as little as $25 a carat. Sound surprising? Don't get us wrong.. emeralds can be very expensive; some even reach the lofty heights of $10,000 or $15,000 per carat. But a very respectable emerald can be purchased for a few hundred dollars per carat - thereby making emeralds affordable for practically every one's budget. And remember that though you can buy a $25 emerald, it probably won't look exceedingly good, either.
Why do prices vary so widely and what constitutes a good emerald? What we're talking about are differences in the quality of the emeralds. First, a small definition of emeralds: This King of greens is a variety of the mineral beryl. It must be primarily green, though it can be modified by small amounts of yellow or blue. Some definitions go further, demanding that beryls only be called emeralds if they are green and colored primarily by chromium. If they are not green enough, they are referred to as green beryls. If the beryls are blue, they are aquamarines.
For Clarity's Sake
The most desirable emeralds are bright green and as close as possible to being free from inclusions (internal growth characteristics of the gem often seen as crystals and/or whitish cloudy areas). These characteristics - color and clarity - can begin to give you a clue as to the vast differences in price. However, very very few emeralds are ever completely "clean." In fact, since most emeralds are included, these growth characteristics, which point as clues to a gem's origin, have been romanced as 'jardins" (or gardens). Most of history's most notable emeralds are laced with inclusions. The Size of the emerald also has an obvious bearing on price.
A few more factors go into determining price. Among them: is the stone proportionately and exactingly cut? This means that the gem has been faceted to return more light and color to the eye, that all of the facet junctions meet crisply, and that the overall outline is proportional and pleasing. Another question to ask: has the emerald been treated or enhanced? For example, emeralds have long been treated with color-less oils such as linseed or cedarwood oils to soften the visible effect of the inclusions. A practice that has not been accepted by the trade is that of treating emeralds with epoxy resins such as Opticon. In a process similar to oiling, an emerald's surface-reaching cracks and fissures are filled with epoxy resins. But while the oils tend to soften the effect of inclusions, epoxy properties are such that inclusions tend to be hidden. This practice is considered deceptive if it is not fully disclosed to you, the consumer, since you might think you're getting something better than the emerald actually is. Origin of the emerald has some effect on price, though this aspect should be down-played. You may have heard that emeralds from Colombia are the very best (and often they are), but equally fine emeralds have been mined from such locations as Zambia, Nigeria, Brazil, Russia or other localities.
|Emerald - Main Characteristics|
|Hardness (Mohs Scale)||Eight (8)|
|Crystal Shape||Hexagonal structure.|
|Atomic (Crystal )Structure||Hexagon.|
|Index of Refraction||1.79 - 1.83|
|Density (Relative)||2.7 - 2.8|
|Uses||Jewelry, rings, other|
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