Emeralds are mesmerizing, whether or not you love the color green. It is one of the top four most precious gems, standing beside diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. This gem’s known history dates back to around 4,000 years ago, and was admired by the Aztecs, ancient Greeks, and Cleopatra herself. Today, emerald is just as loved. (AND obsessed over if we're being honest!) It’s often referred to as “The Stone of Successful Love,” and is believed to open the heart and keep relationships in balance.
First, The Science
Emerald is a beryl, a hexagonal crystal composed of beryllium, aluminum, and silicate. When this combination is pure, it produces the mineral Goshenite, a clear gem named for where it was discovered in Goshen, Massachusetts. However, when chromium or vanadium is present in this mix, the mineral turns green, giving us our beloved emerald. Other gems in the beryl family include Aquamarine and Morganite.
Emerald is a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale, which is pretty hard (diamond is the hardest at 10). Yet since emeralds grow in confined places between other minerals and pure crystals are rare, they are often filled with inclusions that make them weaker.
Gemologists call these inclusions jardin, or garden in French.
Because of these inclusions, especially fissures along the emerald’s surface, 99% of emeralds on the market are filled with glass, oil, or wax by a process called fissure or fracture filling. By filling the surface cracks, the stone's clarity improves.
Fissure filling is not an entirely new method created from our modern technology, either. Even the ancient Greeks oiled their emeralds.
Cleaning & Care
Since such a high number of emeralds are filled, it’s not recommended to get them wet, especially with hot water. Doing so can wash away the filling and decrease an emerald’s appearance. So, don't forget to remove your emerald before bathing, swimming, or exercising.
If an emerald needs cleaning, please do not use an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s better to lightly scrub it with a soft brush and gentle dish soap. Then wash off the excess with lukewarm water and pat it dry.
Also, if you feel your emerald has lost its luster, many jewelers can re-oil it for you.
Where do Emeralds come from?
Due to the confined way they form, emeralds are rare. The earliest known emerald mines were found in Egypt, dating back to 330 BC. They supplied Cleopatra with her supposed obsession with the gem, and adorned the ancient Romans, but these mines have long since run dry. Today, the world’s primary sources of emerald are Colombia, Zambia, and Brazil, with Colombia producing the highest amount.
Colombian emeralds are typically lighter in color due to the presence of chromium and light-colored inclusions. Brazilian and Zambian emeralds contain vanadium and are therefore darker. However, Zambian emeralds are unique as they are more blue or gray than their South American cousins.
Other sources of emerald are Afghanistan, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States.
Emerald Properties and Meanings
Emerald has long been associated with renewal and regrowth due to its spring-like color. A Roman writer and philosopher, Pliny the Elder, described emeralds as a way to restore the eyes and remove weariness. Today, in color psychology, green is believed to promote relaxation, safety, and encouragement.
Emerald for the Heart Chakra
Emerald is associated with the heart Chakra, which is located just below the breastbone. It’s thought to open the heart and encourage one to live and act from the heart so they can follow their path. It offers aid in heartbreak and past traumas by removing negative emotions and helping its bearer see things in a more positive light. Emerald is also said to revive passion, whether it’s for a career, romance, or a hobby.
Emerald for Prosperity
Emerald is often a good choice for those in business, as the color green is associated with money. It is considered a great gem for people with financing or banking backgrounds, or for those looking to increase their success. By wearing this gemstone, some believe it attracts opportunities in their professional, business, or creative lives.
Emerald for Re-building Relationships
This crystal encourages loyalty and unity, all while opening the heart. Therefore, it's thought to aid those struggling in marriages and relationships. Its green energy promotes a positive balance and understanding between couples, while encouraging compassion.
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