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Gem School

Mineral: Beryl
Colour: Vibrant green
Moh's Hardness: 7.5 - 8
Birthstone: May
Anniversary: 20th & 35th

The emerald is a gemstone much prized for it’s brilliant green colour. Its long history goes back to ancient Egypt where emerald mines were being explored as early as 3500 BC. It is known as a symbol of rebirth and has been said to grant its owner foresight, good fortune and youth. While emeralds are found all over the world, including Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia, the supply of high quality gem grade emerald is very limited and commands high prices.


Geologically speaking, the oldest emeralds are aged at 2.97 billion years old. The colour of an emerald is one of its most respected characteristics, and generally the deeper the colour, the higher its value. In terms of clarity, most emeralds have visible inclusions which are accepted as a natural characteristic of the gem. The more transparent the emerald and the larger its size, the more rare and valuable the stone will be.


Emerald is 7.5 to 8 on the Moh's scale and has fair to good toughness, but it is a stone that requires more care in wearing than ruby, sapphire or diamond. Even so, emeralds are suitable stones for all types of jewellery and with proper care will last for generations. It is important to note that since around 90% of emeralds are enhanced by filling their fractures with polymers and oils, it’s risky to clean them with ultrasonics or steam. Instead, use warm soapy water and gently scrub with a soft toothbrush or use a soft cloth.

Emerald Pieces