Emerald is one of the four recognized precious gemstones along with sapphire, ruby and diamond. The name of this unparalleled gem comes from the old French word “esmeralde” which means “green stone”.
Emeralds are one of the most valuable gemstones available today, though most of them are very heavily included. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), emerald is Type III clarity gemstone, meaning that even good quality emeralds used in fine jewellery today are in I2 to I3 clarity range.
The most famous source of deep green emeralds is Colombia, though emerald deposits are mined from many locations around the world. Brazil and Zambia are among the leading producers of fine emeralds today. Brazilian emeralds are valued for their high clarity and slightly yellowish-green colour, while Zambian emeralds are desired for their slightly bluish-green colour.
Colour is the chief determinant of value when talking about emeralds. There are many shades of emeralds from medium to dark green, blue-green and sometimes slightly yellowish or bluish-green. The most popular and valuable colour for emerald is slightly bluish-green in a medium-dark tone with strong or vivid saturation.
Clarity is important for emeralds but inclusions are tolerated more than in any other gem. In general, emeralds often contain inclusions and flaws. These imperfections are not looked upon as negative attributes as they would be for other gemstones. In opposite, these flaws are considered part of the character of emeralds.
Unlike diamond, emerald clarity is graded by eye. If an emerald has no inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, it’s considered flawless.
The emerald cut is a special cut originally designed just for this gem. In short, the emerald cut is a step cut featuring a rectangular or square shape. This style was designed to maximize the beauty and colour of the stone.
Emeralds are also cut into many other traditional shapes such as pear, oval and round. Lower-grade stones are often cut into a cabochon shape. Yet the most popular is the traditional emerald cut.
This magnificent gem is covered with innumerable fantastic stories. The Incas and Aztecs of South America considered emeralds to be holy gemstones. The Vedas, the holy scriptures of the Hindus, say that emeralds promise good luck and enhance the well-being. Emerald is the official birthstone of May and the official anniversary gemstone for 20th and 35th year of marriage.