Due to the fact that emeralds bear, in general, more fractures than most other coloured gemstones, a typically seen treatment is the filling of surface reaching fissures with transparent substances such as oil or resin. The oiling of gemstones to enhance their clarity goes back to the times of the roman period. Today, probably over 90 per cent of available emeralds in the market are clarity enhanced.
From the Latin ‘smaragdus’, transliterated directly from the ancient Greek ‘σμαραγδος’, meaning ‘green stone’, the word emerald comes to us. The emerald is mentioned in sagas, poetry and history. It stands for fertility, immortality and eternal springtime.
Representing youth, life and rebirth to the ancient Egyptians, valued for their curative and empowering properties as an aide to childbirth by the Romans, emeralds play a major role in the creation legends of several cultures. Their fascinating inclusions are typical for emeralds. They are known as “Jardin” and give each emerald its own unique personality. Gübelin's wonderful Ancient Path jewellery line has been inspired by the mysterious inner world of a precious emerald.
The emerald is a member of the beryl family, its chemical composition being beryllium aluminium silicate. They grow in the form of hexagonal prisms. The emerald owes its green colour to traces of chromium and/or vanadium found throughout the mineral. The higher the amount of chromium in an emerald, the more intense is its green colour.
Coveted for their classic deep bluish-green ranging to an almost velvety, grassy yellowish-green colour, Colombian emeralds are the most famous. Two of the most renowned Colombian emerald mines, known for high transparency and exquisite colour are the Muzo and Chivor mines.
Until the late Middle Ages, emeralds were first mined in Egypt and also known in Pakistan and the Habach Valley in Austria. Today's major commercial emerald sources can be found in countries such as Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Russia, Tanzania and Madagascar.
The Rockefeller Emerald
In 2017, a Colombian emerald named the Rockefeller emerald, broke all records when it was sold for 5.5 million $ in New York at Christie’s. The emerald which was analysed by the Gübelin Gem Lab had no indications of treatment and was auctioned for an incredible amount of 305’000 $ per carat, a new price per carat record for an emerald.
The fascinating emerald is mentioned in sagas, poetry and history and stands for fertility, immortality and eternal springtime. Let yourself be carried away by the vibrant emerald and the mysterious shapes and patterns found inside the gemstone in our third episode of our video series Gem Session.