Emeralds have been valued since ancient times for their rich green color, and history records show them prized around the world, from Egyptian pharaohs to the Incas and Aztecs of South America. Emeralds are beryllium-aluminum-silicates, or a variety of the mineral beryl. It has a hardness of 7.5 to 8. Most of the world’s finest emeralds come from Colombia, particularly from the Coscuez Mine. They are also found in Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe, among other places. It’s green color makes emerald the gem of spring and the birthstone for the month of May. It is also the gem of the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
The most valuable emeralds are bluish green to pure green, with a vivid color saturation.
Emeralds present a challenge even for experienced gem cutters, because of its brittleness and frequency of inclusions. It is in part for this reason that a special cut bearing its name exists. The clean design of this rectangular or square cut with a flat table and beveled corners brings out the full beauty of this stone.
Emeralds are less dense than diamonds, and therefore a 1-carat emerald will be a larger size than a 1-carat diamond.
Emeralds are very rare, and inclusion-free emeralds are even rarer. In fact, because a flawless emerald is so rare, a top-quality natural emerald can often be worth more than a top-quality diamond of the same carat weight. The most valuable ones have a vivid color saturation and evenly distributed color that does not include traces of other shades.
In 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant sold for $6,578,500, a record $280,000 per carat. The 632-carat Patricia Emerald crystal from Chivor, Colombia, has an unusual 12-sided form. This famous emerald is in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. The 1,383.93-carat Devonshire Emerald is from the Muzo mine in Colombia. It is currently held in the Collection of the Natural History Museum in London. The 300-year-old Spanish Inquisition Necklace, or Maharaja of Indore, has 15 emerald beads, including a 45-carat piece of exceptional clarity, and more than 360 diamonds. The emeralds are from Colombia, while the diamonds were sourced from India. It was bequeathed to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in 1972.