Emerald gemstones have been beloved throughout human history, evoking rebirth, renewal and spring. The word “emerald” comes from the Greek word “smaragdos,” which means green stone. Variations of its rich color suggest soothing, lush green gardens. The Roman Emperor Nero is said to have used slices of emerald placed before his eyes to view gladiator fights.
- Emerald is a variety of the beryl species and is related to aquamarine and green beryl.
- The first known emerald mines were in Egypt.
- Colombia has been a leading source for emerald for centuries. Other sources are Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Russia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- Emerald gemstones have also been found in North America in Hidden, North Carolina, and the Yukon Territories in Canada among other locations.
- Emerald has a hardness of 7.5-8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
- Emerald is the only stone with a cut named after it.
- Fractures often occur in emeralds and some treatments have been developed to diminish the appearance of these fractures, improve the color and increase the transparency of the gem. These treatments include filling fractures with oil, paraffin, resins or polymers. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.
- Emerald can also be man-made, meaning it is manufactured in a lab rather than mined, and this should be understood by the seller and clearly disclosed to the buyer.
Emerald Care & Cleaning
- To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
- Emerald jewelry should not be exposed to heat or pressure, which could affect the fillings.
- Emerald jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
- Take all your fine jewelry to Gary’s Gem Garden at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
- See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.
Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA