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Green Emeralds | Gemstone Education

Emeralds are among the most precious of natural gemstones, alongside rubies, sapphires and diamonds. Emerald is a type of the mineral beryl. Its green color is a result of small amounts chromium and sometimes vanadium within the stone. Emeralds are by far the most stunning and popular of the green color gemstones. For centuries, they have been among the most sought after and valuable gemstones.

Emeralds symbolize love and rebirth. The stones' rich green color is reminiscent of spring time—growth and new beginnings. Emeralds are the gem of Venus and according to myth aid to fertility. In ancient Egypt mummies were buried with emeralds on their necks as a sign of eternal youth. Cleopatra too loved emeralds and wore the green stone to compliment her world renowned beauty. Emeralds are believed to have to power to provide clarity, deter evil spirits and aid in seeing the future. Nero, the emperor of Rome, was said to have watched the games at the colosseum through an emerald, to soothe his eyes. Emerald is the birthstone for May and the gem of the 20th and 35th anniversary.

Emeralds are graded according to the four Cs (of natural gemstones): Color, Cut, Clarity and Crystal. The last C, crystal, refers to transparency or diaphaneity. Similar to rubies, color is the most important factor when pricing emeralds. Color is broken down into three components: hue, saturation and tone. Emeralds are found in hues ranging from yellow-green to blue-green, with the primary hue being green. Secondary hues found in emeralds are usually yellow and blue. Only gems that are medium to dark in tone are considered to be emeralds. An ideal emerald is a well saturated and bright. Most commonly, gray is the saturation modifier or mask found in emeralds.

Emeralds have several inclusions (also referred to as jardin) and fissures. If an emerald has no visible inclusions to the eye it is considered flawless. Stones that lack surface breaking fissures are extremely rare and therefore almost all emeralds are treated to enhance clarity. The most expensive emeralds are eye-clean stones of an intense primary green hue (with no more than 15% of any secondary hue or combination of a medium-dark tone. Emeralds are typically cut into cabochons, as opposed to faceted shapes as they are not as uniform as other precious gemstones.

While emeralds are hard gems, they should not be worn when working with your hands or exercising intensely. Do not clean emeralds with hot soapy water, steam, or in an ultrasonic cleaner. Instead, clean emeralds with mild dish soap, using a toothbrush to scrub the stone all over.

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