AT A GLANCE
7.5 - 8 Mohs Scale
LEGEND & MYTH
Of all gems, the emerald is the most legendary. Cleopatra adorned herself in emerald jewellery, the Romans revered them as symbols of fertility and love.According to South American lore, the ancient Incas worshipped a giant emerald, claimed to be the size of a man's head.
Even the Holy Grail is said to be decorated with emeralds and gold.
In the last two centuries, emeralds have become an emblem of wealth, style and beauty.
Many iconic women including Queen Elizabeth II, Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor have admitted to falling in love with emerald jewellery.
At the 2009 Oscars, Angelina Jolie-Pitt wore a pair of emerald earrings worth a staggering two million US dollars.
Emeralds are made from the mineral beryl.Its green colour comes from chromium or vanadium.
It registers 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, similar to hardened steel. However, emeralds contain natural inclusions and can be quite brittle.
The word "emerald" comes from the Greek smaragdus meaning "green".
WHERE ON EARTH?
We choose to buy our emeralds from Colombia.
Although emeralds are also mined in Zambia, Afghanistan and other countries, Colombia is famed for the high quality and rich green colour of its gems, as well as the expertise of its emerald cutters.
They are also the largest exporter of ethical emeralds and the main mining companies return profits to local communities.
BIRTHSTONE & ANNIVERSARY
Emerald is the birthstone for May and symbolises love, springtime and new beginnings in life. It is also the traditional gem for celebrating 55th "Emerald" anniversaries.
Emerald jewellery – such as birthstone pendants or eternity rings – are also popular for May engagements and weddings, or to commemorate the birth of a baby.
The enormous emerald drops in Queen Elizabeth II's Vladimir Tiara tell a fascinating story. It is rumoured that the queen's great-great-grandmother, Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, won them in a charity lottery!
They originally belonged to an Indian royal.
The tiara is reportedly the Queen's favourite.
EMERALD STYLE TIPS
Green emeralds combine well with other gems that have blue, yellow, pink or brown hues. Vividly green emerald jewellery also adds colour to black and white clothing, like tailored suits or little black dresses.
Red lipstick combined with emerald earrings will always cause a sensation!
How to assess
quality and value?
Our gemmologist evaluates emeralds in a similar way to diamonds – by clarity, colour, cut and carat weight.
Experienced gem dealers like ours, with good industry contacts and robust buying power, get the best emeralds at the best prices.
They know how to look for emeralds with minimal inclusions, intense green colour and an expert cut.
These qualities reveal an emerald's sought after "inner glint".
Glass-like, entirely clear emeralds are very rare. If one is found, only wealthy collectors can afford them. Very slight natural inclusions are therefore accepted in commercial grade jewellery. To get best value for your money, our gem expert recommends buying emeralds with hardly noticeable natural inclusions.
A skilled emerald cutter knows how to coax a perfect gemstone out of a rough emerald. A superlative cut disguises inclusions and shows off the gem's desired inner glimmer.
One carat always equals 0.20 grams. However, the bigger the emerald gets, the more its carat price will rise. This is because large emeralds with good clarity and colour are much rarer than small emeralds of the same quality.
Emerald colour varies from yellowy-green to bluish green. But the primary colour, or hue, is green. The "greenness" of an emerald may vary greatly from light to dark – the key is to look for vividness of colour, rather than a specific tone.