Emerald is the most valuable member of the beryl family of gemstones. Its color can range from a rich, deep green, to bluish green. The green color comes from traces of chromium and vanadium and, sometimes, minute traces of iron. There are green beryl stones that do not exhibit the typical emerald color of chemical composition.
The history of emeralds dates back literally thousands of years. The name emerald comes from an ancient Greek word “smaragdus”, which means green.
From about 2000 B.C., the famed Cleopatra mines in Egypt were the world’s only source of emeralds until someone in the 1700s when the mines became so depleted that they finally closed.
At about that same time, large deposits were discovered in Colombia which remains the most important source of emeralds today.
The three largest sources for emeralds are Columbia, Brazil and Zambia. Zambian Emeralds have been an increasingly popular choice as of late. Many people have asked Antony Jewelers experts to explain the difference between Colombian and Zambian Emeralds. Colombian emeralds still have the pedigree, color, and the mystique. Zambian emeralds seem to have fewer visible inclusions. To put it simply, Colombian emeralds get their color predominantly from chromium, so the color appears to be deeper, truer green.
Zambian emeralds have a higher concentration of the trace element vanadium, so they appear to be more than make up for in clarity over their Colombian counterparts.
As discussed in the earlier chapter on clarity, every emerald has inclusions that make it unique much like a human finger print. The gemstone business is much more forgiving of these inclusions in an emerald that with any other gemstone. A relatively large number of inclusions is acceptable in an emerald and would not have much of a detrimental effect on its value.
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