Emerald is one of the most famous coloured gems. Their amazing, vibrant green hue and interesting, somewhat chequered history makes them one of the most desirable gemstones of all. First discovered in Colombia by the Incas and Aztecs, Emerald was highly prized all the while, but when the Spanish conquistadors looted thousands of Emeralds from the mines in South America, 16th century violence became part of their history, and also put South America firmly on the worldwide gemstone map, with European royalty looking to the region for the rich green treasures. Historically, Emerald is thought of as a Colombian gemstone, but there are sources today producing gem quality stones in Zambia, Colombia, India, Afghanistan and Brazil amongst others.
Emerald is one of the few gemstones that are regularly treated, and the vast majority of Emerald in the market today is treated by being ‘filled’ with Cedar oil which makes them visually less apparent, though still visible. This is because Emerald inherently contains many inclusions, or more poetically termed ‘Jardin’, French for garden. Due to the rarity and demand for Emeralds, inclusions in Emerald are more acceptable than in other gems. Sizeable Emeralds that are untreated and totally free of inclusions are so rare as to be impossibly costly for most to acquire.
Emeralds are one of the more brittle gemstones despite having a rating of 7.5-8 on the Moh’s scale because of their Jardin. So while they are suitable for daily wear, care must be taken and Emeralds should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.