Emerald the green stone

by Nalini Naik

History is full of instances when the emerald has been loved and treasured by the royalty of the ancient times. This gem was treasured in the form of jewelry as well as used as an object of worship. The emerald was also worn as a talisman for bringing good luck, especially by the Moguls in ancient India

EmeraldEmerald, the gemstone with a beautiful rich green color, has been a popular and much coveted gemstone from the ancient times. Even in the modern world of today, the emeralds popularity is unquestionable. This gemstone, which belongs to the family of Beryls, owes its brilliant green color to the presence of chromium and vanadium. The emerald, with a hardness rating of 7.5 to 8, has many inclusions and cracks. In fact, compared to other gemstones, emerald has the most inclusions and fissures. These fissures are clearly visible when viewed through a microscope.

The origin of the emerald dates back to almost 3000 B.C. The ancient Indians and Egyptians believed the rich green gemstone to be a symbol of eternal love and rebirth. Green, the elementary color in which nature abounds in, was worshipped in the bygone ages, as the color of life itself. Just as spring follows winter year after year, when the bare trees blossom with fresh green leaves, the color green was believed to symbolize the beginning of life and rebirth. Thus, the beautiful green emerald was loved and worshipped through the ages as a symbol of the eternal cycle of life. History is full of instances when the emerald has been loved and treasured by the royalty of the ancient times.

This gem was treasured in the form of jewelry as well as used as an object of worship. The emerald was also worn as a talisman for bringing good luck, especially by the Moguls in ancient India. One of the largest emeralds, dating back to the Mogul era, has sacred writings inscribed on it, and was auctioned by Christies for an enormous sum of money. The Romans, according to history, worshipped the emerald, believing it symbolized Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Emerald is also supposed to be Cleopatra's treasured gemstone. Ancient tribes like the Incas, worshipped the emerald, believing in its healing and supernatural properties. Even today, green is the holy color of Islam, hence the importance given to the green emerald.

The main characteristics of the emerald, apart from its green color, are its many inclusions and fissures. These are caused by the enormous pressure and intense heat the stone is subjected to, during the process of crystallization. Emeralds are therefore treated with oil or resin, to strengthen it and also to minimize the flaws. Even though the emerald has so many inclusions and cracks, it is quite a hard and durable gemstone. Color is the most important factor when determining the value of this gem. The more deep and saturated the color, the more valuable the gem is. The really dark green emerald may not have the brightness the lighter green colored emeralds have. This does not diminish the value of the emerald. The richness of the dark green color makes up for it.

A large emerald with a rich green color and clear transparency is very rare. Sometimes, these rare emeralds, inclusions and all, are more valuable than the best of diamonds. Also, a gem with a rich green color and many inclusions, has more value than a paler stone with less inclusions. In fact, the inclusions, known as the gardening effect, is what helps identify a genuine natural emerald from a fake one. Due to the many inclusions and cracks found in the emerald, it is a very difficult to cut.

The brittle nature of this gem with its many cracks, makes the process of cutting, setting and polishing, very problematic indeed. To overcome this problem, the cutters developed a special cut for the emerald and named it the emerald cut. This cut is either square or rectangular. The beveled edges in this cut not only protect the gem but also enhance its beauty. Of course the emerald is also cut in many other classical shapes too. There is the round diamond cut, oval Trillion cut, the princess and marquise cut. Then the rounded pearl cut which is so popular especially in India. Emeralds are mostly cut in Jaipur in India and Tel Aviv in Israel.

Emerald is a hard gemstone and this protects it from being scratched. The gem is treated with oil or resin or wax in order to nullify the effects of the inclusions, but this treatment is not permanent. So, never clean the gems using ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, or with harsh detergents and other chemicals, as it dissolves the oil and hence weakens the stone. Emeralds are found in many countries like Columbia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, etc, but it is Brazil which produces more emeralds than any other country. Jewelry crafted with emeralds in the form of rings, pendants, earrings, necklaces, bracelets etc are very beautiful and loved by one and all the world over.

Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May, hence it is considered a lucky charm for Geminis. Taureans and Cancerians also benefit from this gem. It is an anniversary gem for the 20th, 35th, and 55th year of marriage, perhaps symbolizing enduring and eternal love. Many wear this gem as a treatment for certain physical and mental ailments. Emerald is also supposed to sharpen the memory and intelligence of the person wearing it. Popularly known as the spring gemstone, emerald is one of the high value gemstones.

 
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