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Emerald: A green colored Gemstone

Updated on April 18, 2016

Emerald diamond earrings

 Earrings with natural emerald, diamond and white gold
Earrings with natural emerald, diamond and white gold | Source

History of Emeralds

Emeralds are very fascinating gemstones. The lively luminosity of its colour makes the emerald a unique gemstone. Fine quality emeralds are some times costlier than diamonds.

Emerald gemstones are beloved because of its pleasant green color. Green color is considered as symbol of germination. Ancient and medieval Indian gemologists compared emerald color with green leafs of Margosa. Green is the color of peace, love and harmony. Color of Venus (goddess of love in Roman culture) is green. Green is regarded as the most natural and the most elemental of the liturgical colours The Catholic Church. It is the auspicious color of Islam and it is represented in National flags of many Islamic countries. Tri-color Indian National flag also have green that represents creativity.

We can find traces (of emeralds) in the history as old as in the Vedic and Jain texts of India. A Jain text in Prakrit language describes color of two Jain Teerthankaras as “Maragaya ghanasanniham” where “Maragaya” means emerald. Original source of the word emerald is the Prakrita word Maragaya. Prakrita Maragaya becomes Marakata in sanskrit. Sanskrit word, marakata, (meaning emerald) travelled to semetic izmargad. The word "emerald" in English is derived from Latin smaragdus via Greek smaragdos.

Thakkur Feru, Court Jewelers to Badshah Ala-ut-din-Khiljee (14th Century) has described about quality, sources and value of emeralds in his book “Ratna Pariksha” where the word ratna Pariksha means identification of gemstones. The book is written in Apabhransha, a medieval Indian language.

Emerald cut

Good quality emerald octagon from Zambian mines.
Good quality emerald octagon from Zambian mines.

Chemical and physical properties

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl [Be3Al2(SiO3]6. The mineral is a compound of Beryllium, Aluminium, Silicon and Oxygen. The beautiful green color is due to presence of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5 - 8 on the 10 point Mohs scale. Presence of inclusions makes the stone crisp.

Emeralds are graded using five basic parameters, the five Cs of Connoisseurship; Color, Crystal, Cut, Clarity and Carat weight. Crystal is used as a synonym for transparency. Normally, in the grading of emerald transparency is the most important criterion and color is considered a close second. Both transparency and vivid green color are necessary conditions for an emerald to be considered as fine.

Emerald Pears

Expensive pair of fine quality Emerald pears from Zambian mines
Expensive pair of fine quality Emerald pears from Zambian mines

Cuts of emerald

Emerald tends to have numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures. 10 X magnification is the standard for grading clarity in diamonds but emerald is graded by naked eye.

Clean diamonds are generally called eye glass clean but eye clean is the word for emeralds.These are considered as flawless. Eye glass clean emeralds are extremely rare. Most of the emeralds are treated with oil or oil like substances. Due to high level of inclusions most of the emeralds are cut into cabochons and beads. Only few are faceted into cut quality.

Instead of hardness of Emerald its brittleness and its many fissures make it prone to scratches and cracks. Cutting and polishing of emeralds are rather difficult. Cutting, shaping and faceting emeralds present a special challenge even for a skilled gem cutter because of the frequent inclusions.

Gem cutters have developed a special cut just for this gem “the emerald cut”. This rectangular or square cut with its beveled corners protects this beautiful gemstone from mechanical strain. Trained artisans cut emeralds in many other shapes i.e. oval, round, pear, heart and marquise.

If the rough contains much inclusions it is cut into a cabochon or beads. Cabochons are also cut in different shapes e.g. octagon, oval, round, pear, heart, sugar-loaf and marquise. Some other shapes are also developed in recent times for emerald cabochons.

Assorting rough Emeralds at Vardhaman Gems

Emerald cutting and polishing centers

Idar-Oberstein in Germany, New York in the US, Israel and Bogota in Colombia are some of the emerald cutting and polishing centers. The cutters in these regions normally cut fine quality emeralds with no or less inclusions. They can not cut inclusive emeralds. Cutting and polishing of inclusive emeralds are extremely difficult and needs special skills.

However, Jaipur, the color stone hub in India cuts the maximum quantity of emeralds in the world. Jaipur can cut emeralds with higher level of inclusions. Traditional skills of Jaipur gemstone dealers and artisans enable them to shape and cut highly inclusive emerald rough stones whereas most of the cutters in other regions reject these highly inclusive pieces.

Some of the emerald mining countries have also started cutting the gemstone in African continent recently.

Step by step Gem cutting - Emerald

Origins of emeralds

There are emerald mines in different parts of the world. Colombian emeralds are generally considered as the best because of their transparency and fire. Sandawana emeralds from Zimbabwe are very rich in color and fetches high price. Good quality Sandawana emeralds are rare nowadays.

Main sources of emeralds at present are Zambia and Brazil. Though Zambian emeralds are rich both in color and transparency these stones generally have a blue tint. Russian emeralds are transparent but generally have light color.

Swat in Pakistan-Afghanistan border produces very high quality emeralds with rich color and transparency but due to huge cracks these can be cut only into small pieces. Bigger sized pieces from Swat are extremely rare. Panchsheer is also a source for good quality emeralds. Some other sources are India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Madagascar.

Billion Dollar secret Emerald mines in Afghanistan

Astrological and medicinal uses of emeralds

Emeralds are considered among Navaratna and one among nine precious stone in India. Indian astrologers prescribe emerald for planet Mercury. The gemstone also represents two Zodiacs Gemini and Virgo. Emerald is believed to be the gemstone for intelligence and agility.

Western astrology believe emerald as a birth stone for the month May. Emerald gemstone has medical properties too.

Learn more clicking the links below in link capsule.

Healing with astrological gemstone Emerald

Emeralds from which mines do you like the best?

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    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 2 years ago from Jaipur

      Thanks Mamta for your comment and appreciation.

    • profile image

      Mamta 2 years ago

      Excellent article describing the beautiful stone emerald in details and in an easy way understandable to laymen and women.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 3 years ago from Jaipur

      Thanks for commenting, Blackspaniel.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 3 years ago

      Much to learn here. Thanks for addressing such things as the possible cuts.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 3 years ago from Jaipur

      Sabah sachet,

      No email provided.

    • profile image

      Sabah Sachet 4 years ago

      Dear Sir /mam :

      i have customer have Emerald Green stone weigh 8 1/2KGM eight and half kilogram for sale if you interested.

      hope you contact me on my email.

      Thank you

    • profile image

      ganeswar rao 6 years ago

      emerald shows the beauty of the world .

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 6 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Kamal,

      There is no link to advice you. You can contact me at or call me at 9983314422.


    • profile image

      Kamal 6 years ago

      Dear Jyoti Ji,

      My astrologer suggest Emerald and ruby for me (for sun & Mercury), would you pls advise from where to buy and what is the cost for 7.25 ratti.



    • profile image

      prakash 7 years ago

      what is astrological efect period of a emerld

    • profile image

      Munguya Westone 7 years ago

      m an entrepreneur and property developer in Zambia and I've just decided to direct part of my investment machine into emeralds. By the way m near the mines and have this birth right. I found your hub very educative and m making my 1st trip to the fields this weekend.


      Munguya Westone

    • profile image

      Sudhanshu balduwa 7 years ago

      Hi I think this is best way to get knowledge about emeralds. And we are doing this business from very long time. Thanks to joyti ji

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Indian lady,

      I am too from Jaipur and in Gems and Jewelry business. Emerald is one of the favorite gemstone of my business.


      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Indian lady 8 years ago from India

      This describes emeralds very well. I live in Jaipur that is also known as emerald city. Large number of Jewelers work here in Emerald trade.

      Thanks for a good hub. Thumbs up!

      Indian lady

    • profile image

      Suraj 8 years ago

      Really nice description. You have command on Gemstones. I have read many of your Gems and Jewelry hubs including this hub about emeralds.this green colored stone fascinates me.


    • profile image

      Sunil Jain 8 years ago

      Dear Jyoti Bhai,

      This is a very good one about emeralds. We are in Gems and Jewellery business in Jaipur and have got some information which even we do not know.

      Very very nice article about gemstone emerald.

    • profile image

      Manish khandelwal 8 years ago

      hi... jyoti sir.its good knowledge about emereld.

      i have also a collection of emereld. if u want to buy

      contact me..

    • profile image

      Anjali Kapadia 8 years ago

      Hi Jyoti,

      Again a fantastic hub about gemstones. Your expertise in this field is....... . Lot of info that is useful for both laymen and experts.

      Thumbs up.



    • profile image

      kevinscorps 8 years ago


      will u tell me do u know any website where i get good zambian emeralds my astrologer tell me to wear emerald



    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Dear Kevin,

      It is a very light color stone and price expensive. You can get more colorful Zambian stone in this price.


      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Vikas Bachhawat (chennai) 8 years ago

      Pranam Jyoti Bhai,

      Very Good Article on Emeralds liked it very much my memory was refreshed and come to know some new facts also your student we had preveledge to learn so much from you and now you have this medium where you share your knowledge with the world its Great thing .

      Thank you good work keep it up



    • profile image

      N. Mittal 8 years ago

      Emeralds are really lovely stones. Some of my relatives in Jaipur are in Emerald manufacturing business. I learned a lot from them about emeralds. However, your hub has great information about emerald.

      Even my relatives told me that they are not aware of many things before reading this hub.

      Thanks for sharing your expertise about emeralds.

      Thumbs up.

      Mittal N

    • profile image

      Anil Totuka 8 years ago

      Jyoti Ji,

      We have nice collection in emeralds in various origins. Your descriptions are very good. It is useful for general people and it is also for traders.

      Thanks for a good article.

      Anil Totuka

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Thanks Mr.Ashok for commenting on this hub.

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Ashok Choraria 8 years ago

      Hi Jyoti,

      We are into emerald business in Jaipur since long time. You have added good technical definitions. This will be useful for laymen and jewellers both. Good attempt.

      Ashok choraria, Jaipur