How Were Old World And New World Same During Columbian.Exchange Emerald – The Rich Green Beryl Gem

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Emerald – The Rich Green Beryl Gem

Man has appreciated the beautiful green hues of the emerald gemstone since the earliest days of history, in fact the emerald is one of the most precious of all gems. The name comes from the Greek “smaragdos” which means green stone. Emerald has been valued for at least 4,000 years by various cultures around the world.

Cleopatra prized her emeralds more than any other gem. She may have dropped her pearls in the summer for Mark Anthony, but she kept her emeralds to herself! The ancient emerald mines of Cleopatra, long a mystery, were rediscovered a hundred years ago near the Red Sea. Some tools found in the mine were dated to 1650 BC, but no quality emeralds were found: the mines had been exhausted thousands of years ago. The Romans also loved emeralds because, as the ancient scholar Pliny said, “nothing is greener.” Pliny said that the emerald was the only gem that pleased the eye without tiring it. He said his eyes came back when he looked at the emerald. The Mughals of India, including Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal, loved emeralds so much that they inscribed them with sacred text and wore them as talismans. Some of these sacred stones, called Mughal emeralds, can still be seen today in museums and collections. Emerald is the birthstone for May, the month of spring romance, and the anniversary gemstone for the twentieth year of marriage, the perfect emblem of enduring love.

Emeralds are often characterized by a garden of inclusions of tiny bubbles and other types of minerals trapped within the stone. Under magnification, you’ll see all kinds of beautiful patterns that resemble foliage in a garden. Inclusions are like a fingerprint, giving each emerald a distinct personality. The extreme rarity of the transparent emerald is why the best quality emerald can be more valuable than a diamond. The rich green color of emerald is caused by small traces of chromium or vanadium. Chromium is the rare Midas element of gemstones: its presence also gives rubies their fiery red. Emerald crystals grew long before human history in metamorphic rocks, which usually limits the size of emerald crystals, making them very rare in large sizes.

Ancient emeralds were mined in Egypt, Austria and possibly in what is now Afghanistan. When the Spanish arrived on the South American continent, they were amazed to see emeralds smaller and larger than any they had seen before. The Spanish spent years searching for the source of the fantastic green stones favored by the Incas. They finally found it in what is today Colombia: Chivor, also known as Somondoco or “Lord of the Green Stones”, later Muzo and Cosquez, the richest emerald mines on the planet and still the source of the stones better today.

Today, emeralds from Colombia are easier to get: they are as close as the nearest jewelry store. They are valued for a vibrant green saturated like a lawn with new grass after a rain. This color is so precious that visible inclusions are accepted in these emeralds in exchange for the unmatched color.

When choosing an emerald, the most important value factors to consider are color and clarity. The more vivid the green, the more valuable the emerald. There are also attractive bright stones with a lighter green color that often make a spectacular piece of jewelry. Darker green emeralds can also make up in rich color what they lose in brilliance.

Because emeralds are so rare without inclusions, some inclusions are expected. However, care must be taken to ensure that cracks and inclusions do not go too far into the stone so that it is weakened enough to break if accidentally struck. Cracks and fractures that are characteristic of emeralds are traditionally filled with oil to minimize their impact. You should avoid cleaning emeralds with hot soapy water or steam, and never clean an emerald in an ultrasonic cleaner because this oil can be removed or damaged, making the cracks more visible.

A pure and perfect emerald is very rare and usually only found in small sizes. Small and medium-sized stones are often set in the “step” or emerald cut. The gem is also beautiful when cut into a cabochon or cube shape. Sometimes emeralds are also engraved. Emerald is the accepted birthstone for the month of May. It is also the anniversary gemstone for 20th and 35th years of marriage. As part of the normal cutting and polishing process, most emeralds are dipped in colorless oil to fill the voids, but jewelers are required to disclose this to any buyer. Care should be taken to protect emeralds from scratches, sharp impacts, household chemicals and extreme temperature changes. Do not clean emeralds in ultrasonic cleaning machines at home, as there is a possibility of damage.

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