The emerald is one of the most beautiful, popular and highly prized gemstones in the world. These fascinating radiant green stones are used in top of the line jewellery. Some of the finest emeralds can even cost more than diamonds.

For many mystics and energy healers, emerald stones are believed to help heal relationships and good for the heart and one’s health. The beautiful green colour is said to bring about harmony, love and joy of life. It is also the birthstone for the month of May.

Emeralds have been used both as gemstone and mystical stone since the ancient times. Early emerald mines existed in Egypt in 2000 BC. In fact, the most famous of the ancient emerald mine is that of The Mines of Cleopatra, The Queen of Egypt. The word “Emerald” means “green” in Sanskrit. It also means “smaragdos” in Greek and “esmeralde” in Old French.

Emerald is as beautiful as it is delicate. Emeralds are highly included which means that they have other materials trapped in the stone. This makes the stones have little resistance to breakage. This also poses a great challenge even to skilled gem cutters because many fissures in the stone make setting, cutting and cleaning rather difficult.

Many emeralds are cut for jewellery into rectangular and square shapes with beveled corners to bring out the beauty to the full. There are other cuts as well but if the raw emerald contains delicate inclusions, it is commonly cut into round shape.

Many of today’s emeralds are enhanced with colourless oils or resins to give them more luster. This can be a delicate process as emeralds are sensitive stones. They should not be cleaned with ultrasonic bath like other gemstones. In fact, it is strongly advised that a wearer first removes the stone before putting his or her hand in water that has cleansing agent.

Because emeralds are rare and expensive stones, there are companies developing synthetic emeralds for many to afford. Carroll Chhatham first successfully developed a method to produce synthetic emeralds. Other producers of synthetic emeralds include Pierre Gilson Sr. which has been marketing since 1964 and IG Farben, Nacken and Tairus who are pioneers in hydrothermal synthetic emeralds.

Despite strict restrictions from the Federal Trade Commission which insists that gems should exhibit natural properties, synthetic emeralds continue to gain popularity due to its affordability.

To determine whether an emerald is natural or synthetic, luminescence in ultraviolet light is used.

Today’s top quality emeralds come mostly come from Colombia where emeralds have the best transparency and fire. The Trapiche, a very rare kind of emerald which shows a star pattern, is found in the country. The rarest emeralds in the world can be found in Muzo, Coscuez, and Chivor. Other countries with fine emeralds include Brazil, Madagascar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zambia.

The most famous emeralds in the world are the Gachala Emerald, Nidvin Emerald, Chalk Emerald, Duke of Devonshire Emerald from Colombia and the Mackay Emerald, Greenshorkire Emerald and the Edward the Confessor Emerald in the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain.

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