For over 5,000 years, emeralds have been one of the most valuable gemstones. The stones were discovered independently on different continents. Since then, it has grown to become one of the most valuable coloured stones. Emeralds are specimens of the beryl mineral family that are gem-quality. They have a unique green colour and can be found in igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks throughout the world.
What is an Emerald?
Emerald is one of the many gemstones that are found in the earth's crust. It is a type of crystal of the beryl mineral. The beryl mineral forms in large crystals of granite and some metamorphic rocks. Emerald differs from other beryl crystals because of the impurity elements it contains. It is made up of the same material as rubies and sapphires. They are all made up of corundum, which is simply a compound of aluminium and oxygen (Al2O3); and the chemical formula of emerald is Be3Al2(SiO3)6.
The difference in colour is due to the impurities that are present in them. Emerald is green in colour because of the trace amount of chromium. Beryl crystals grow hexagonally. Some of these crystals can grow to be very large at the right temperatures. Today, lab-grown emerald like Biron Emeralds has continued to grow in popularity and everyone can afford to wear such beautiful green gemstone which has the same chemical and physical properties as natural emerald.
The History of the Emerald
Emeralds have been extremely valuable for thousands of years now. It has also been featured in several myths and legends. Evidence has come to show that emeralds were sold in Babylon around 4,000 years ago. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite received a giant emerald as a gift from Hermes. It was also recorded that one of the four precious stones that Solomon received included an emerald. The Ancient Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, owned the emerald mines that were in Egypt. Around 2,000 years ago, she owned one of the most famous collections of gems, which included emeralds. The Romans took over the mines after she died and continued to mine emeralds. The Egyptians believed that the green colour signified fertility and rebirth so they placed emeralds at the throat of a mummy for protection during the journey into the underworld. They also believed that it would give the deceased strength when they got to the afterlife. They tried using the gems to cure eye diseases as well.
How are Emeralds Formed?
Emerald crystals are formed like other gemstone crystals. Each molecule grows one after the other. Every one of the molecules is placed in the crystal matrix under the best possible conditions. It is important that sufficient time and enough space are provided for the crystal to grow so it is of gem quality.
Emeralds are formed from beryllium, aluminium, silicon, and oxygen. These elements are found deep in the earth's crust, flowing in veins filled with hot water. These veins are called hydrothermal veins. The veins cool down at optimum conditions, and then the formation of emerald crystals starts.
Asides from hydrothermal veins, emeralds can also form in magma. To get the correct structure, the correct temperature and pressure must be achieved. This is done by going deep into the earth's crust, where the temperature and pressure are extremely high.
Where are Emeralds Found?
By 1000 AD, emeralds gotten from the mines in Colombia were used by people from Peru, Mexico, and Chile. The Spanish took over many of the Colombian mines, including the biggest, Muzo, in the 1500s. By the middle of the 1600s, these emeralds had been spread across Europe and Asia. A commercial quantity of emeralds can be gotten from Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe. Small amounts can be found in an irregular manner in Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Canada, Russia, and Afghanistan.
From around 2015, high quality and transparent emeralds can be gotten from Ethiopia. It was also mentioned that Ethiopia's emeralds may be the world's greatest gemstones. Colombia has produced most of the emeralds that are used today, as well as the most desirable. There are three major mines that are found in Colombia, which are Muzo, Coscuez, and Chivor.
What Month is Emerald the Birthstone for?
Emeralds are generally known as the birthstone for the month of May. The idea of birthstones goes way back when the Indians and Babylonians linked birth months with gemstones. Around three centuries ago, a custom arose in Poland in which people started wearing gems as birthstones. Since then, the custom has spread wide and far and is believed to bring good luck.
Emerald is assigned to Taurus. It is believed to influence the characteristics and personality traits of those that are born under the Taurus astrological sign. Venus is the planet that rules the zodiac sign of Taurus. Venus rules over the Emerald and has unique properties in colour, crystalline properties, abilities and character. The emerald birthstone can conduct the energies of Venus, and wearing the gem will focus the energies through it.
The unique rich green colour of emerald makes them valuable even when added to a collection of other gemstones. Natural emeralds are rare, and this makes their value even higher. The majority of the emeralds are treated with heat and oil. If done right, these treatments will help to improve the appearance and colour of the stone.