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Emerald Crystals in Matrix, Brazil£3.95
Emerald Specimens£1.25 – £9.95
Emeralds, faceted£1.50 – £15.00
Appearance, Uses and History
A green, gemstone, a variety of the mineral Beryl.
Most Emeralds have numerous inclusions, fractures, and cracks under the surface. The crystals often form in a hexagonal crystalline form.
Emeralds are pretty much exclusively used for jewellery usage. They are one of the few ‘precious’ gemstones where inclusions, cracks, and treatment may not significantly affect their value – the colour is more important than clarity.
Historically, Emeralds have been mined in Egypt since at least 1500BCE, and later by the Romans, Byzantines, and Islamic conquerors. The Egyptian mines were largely abandoned with the discovery of the large deposits in Colombia.
The largest producer of Emeralds in the world is Colombia, producing somewhere between 50 and 95% of the worlds supply! The second largest supply comes from Zambia.
Good specimens are also found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, the USA, and Zambia.
Cats Eye Emeralds: Emeralds with a cats eye effect, known as chatoyancy. Very rare – some sellers try to pass off chatoyant Tourmaline as Emerald.
Star Emeralds: Emeralds with an internal six pointed star, known as asterism. Sometimes Trapiche Emeralds are known as star Emeralds, too.
Trapiche Emeralds: Unusual Emeralds with black inclusions which form a six rayed star, as seen below. Only mined in Colombia!
One of the easiest methods to distinguish a synthetic gem from a genuine one is to look for fractures and flaws in the stone. A real Emerald will definitely have some.
The most reliable testing, however, involves some additional equipment – ideally a dichroscope, and a set of Chelsea and Emerald filters. However, this will require a long and detailed tutorial which is outside the scope of this page.
Photos of Emerald
Hazards and Warnings
Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.
When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.
Mandarin and Traditional Chinese: