Emeralds are found in Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia. Colombia, with its 150 known but not entirely exploited deposits, occupies a significant position on the list of countries with sources of fine emeralds, particularly the ones found in Muzo and Chivor where emeralds were mined by the Incas in pre-Colombian times.
Colombian emeralds have an especially fine and shiny emerald green unimpaired by bluish tint. The later exploited Trapiche emeralds are highly esteemed in the international emerald trade due to their unique six rays, emanating from the center resembling the spokes of a millwheel.
Zambia also has excellent emerald crystals in a deep green color and with exceptional transparency, and Brazil supplies rare emerald cat’s eyes and extremely rare emeralds with a six-spoke star. Emeralds of smaller sizes and vivacious green color originate from Zimbabwe’s famous ‘Sandawana’ mines and often exhibit a delicate yellowish-green nuance.
Held in high esteem since ancient times, emerald is amongst the most fascinating gemstones on earth. Deriving its name from the Greek word ‘esmaragdos’, this magnificent gemstone of intense, radiant color and great luminosity was regarded by Incas and Aztecs of South America as a ‘sacred stone endowing its wearer with good luck and well being’.
In other cultures, this vivacious gemstone has for centuries been considered as the color of beauty and endowing constant love, conveying harmony and elemental ‘joie de vivre’. Emeralds belong to the mineral family of beryl bearing good hardness graded 7 to 8 on Mohs’ scale of hardness, owing their intense green color to the elements of chromium and vanadium.
Mined in Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, the most valuable emeralds originate from Colombia, known for their fine quality and distinction by virtue of their especially fine, shining ‘emerald-green’ color unimpaired by any bluish tint.
The clear design of the rectangular or square ‘emerald cut’ with beveled corners is considered by experts as the ideal cut for emeralds as it fully reveals the real beauty and luminosity of this valuable gemstone although in spite of their good hardness, the brittleness of emeralds makes their cutting and setting a veritable challenge!