One of the four precious gemstones – alongside diamond, sapphire and ruby – the emerald has long been prized for its iconic green color. Comprised of a mineral called beryl, this distinctive gem has been worn for thousands of years.
The emerald's name originates in the Greek for green gem – and while its color is its defining characteristic, it is related to morganite and aquamarine in mineral composition. Today, most natural emeralds are mined in the Colombian regions of Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor. However, they can be found in many areas – including Zambia, Australia, Italy, Russia, and the United States.
The Colors Of Emerald
Emeralds appear green due to the presence of elements called chromium and vanadium. While the primary hue of all emeralds is green, many will have secondary hues of blue, yellow, or gray. Gemstones classified as emeralds will typically have a medium to dark green tone; those with lighter greens are generally considered green beryl. A rich, bright green is often favored for precious emerald jewelry but opting for lighter shades, if these are a personal preference, can save a significant amount of money.
While sapphires, rubies and diamonds are naturally available in a spectrum of colors, emeralds are green by definition. Blue beryl at a gemstone grading is considered aquamarine, while pink beryl is called morganite. Yellow beryl is known as heliodor – that, unlike emerald – is known for its high clarity. Emerald is the birthstone for May, and traditionally gifted to celebrate 35th wedding anniversaries.
Whereas diamonds are graded under 10x magnification, emeralds are assessed by the unaided eye. This is because emeralds typically have many more inclusions than diamonds. If no inclusions are eye-visible, an emerald is therefore considered flawless. The most desirable and rare emeralds are eye-clean, with a rich, bright green with minimal secondary hues.
The majority of gem-quality stones, however, are treated with oil so as to protect them from surface fissures. Cedar oil is used to fill in surface cracks, improving the durability and clarity of the emeralds. While this treatment does not compromise the value of a stone, those that have been treated will be more affordable than stones that look similar and yet have not needed treatment. These untreated stones are incredibly rare, as a result of the typical non-uniformity of emerald crystal structures. All Ritani emeralds are hand-selected with an eye for quality and stunning color.
At 7.5-8.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, emeralds are harder than many other gemstones but less durable than diamonds, sapphires and rubies. They are an excellent choice for jewelry that will last through the years, provided they are taken care of.
The most popular metals for emerald jewelry are platinum and yellow gold. The durability of platinum protects the green gemstone, while yellow gold emphasizes its rich hue. Emerald is a very versatile gem, popular in classic, contemporary and vintage jewelry designs. It is also a stunning choice for engagement rings.
Choosing Your Emerald
Every emerald offered by Ritani is of the finest quality, hand-selected for its beautiful color. For the best value, we recommend opting for those with medium-light to medium-dark tones, and light to moderate inclusions. These criteria will ensure that your gemstone does not have noticeable blemishes that distract from its stunning hue.
Ritani stands by the quality of each of its gemstones, offering free 30-day returns for all orders. Our certified gemologists are available to help you make the right choice.
Caring For Your Emerald
Because emeralds are relatively hard, they are suitable for everyday wear. This does not mean, however, that they cannot be chipped or scratched – even if they have been oil-treated. Care should be taken when storing your emerald jewelry. Separate it from other jewels to avoid scratches, in its own bag or box.
As the majority of emeralds will have been fracture-filled with oil, we do not recommend cleaning them with ultrasonic steam cleaners. The vibrations can weaken the stones' structures, and hot steam can affect the oils. Use warm, soapy water to gently clean your emeralds regularly.
Shop For Emerald
Ritani's emerald selection is curated to offer you timeless pieces that will last through the generations. Each piece is crafted by hand, with the utmost respect for the natural gemstones and precious materials. Ritani and our partner designers strive to retain the organic beauty of each emerald stone, setting them in the metals and designs that will complement them best.
If you would like assistance selecting a piece of emerald jewelry, contact our customer service team at 1.888.9RITANI (1.888.974.8264) or chat now.