Emeralds are one of the most valued gemstones bearing a stunning green color. That it is rare and elegant is what makes the stone more valuable and beautiful. It is among the six most precious gems on Earth, including diamonds, sapphires, rubies, pearls, and opals. If you are an enthusiast who loves collecting gemstones or studying their uniqueness, here is an article full of facts about emeralds. You can learn some of the most fascinating facts that are hard to believe about this stunning green gem!
Here Are Some Fascinating Facts about Emeralds
1. Emeralds Belong to the Mineral Beryl Family
The Beryl mineral family has many stones with colors like a red beryl, orange beryl, golden beryl, etc. Emeralds and Aquamarines are part of this gemstone family, where emeralds are the green shade of beryl. When beryl connects with chromium or vanadium, it forms emerald gems. They are also the most common Beryl mineral that exists in nature. Pure beryl is colorless, but people use it as a base for many gemstones, including emeralds. That’s the reason it has a greenish hue.
2. Ancient Egyptians Were the First to Mine Emeralds
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that ancient Egyptians knew how to spot and cherish beauty! According to some historical findings, the oldest emeralds are from 2.97 billion years ago. But Egyptians are the first known civilization to mine them successfully. Emerald gemstones were mined as early as 1500 BC. Many Egyptians valued precious jewels, and Cleopatra is the most famous Egyptian to cherish emeralds. It’s also said that she claimed all the Emerald mines of Egypt during her reign!
3. The Spanish Discovered the Emeralds in the 16th Century
While emeralds have existed on Earth for millions of years, it’s only been five centuries since the Spanish discovered them in South America. In the 16th century, the Spanish found the emeralds but didn’t mine them. They used the gemstones for trade in exchange for precious metals. This started a profitable trading business around the world for emerald suppliers. In North America, emeralds were discovered in 1997 in the Yukon Territory. Mostly South America has this rare gem, and it’s almost impossible to find emerald deposits in the US.
4. Colombia Has More Than Half of the Emeralds on Earth
Given the uniqueness and rarity of gemstones on Earth, many people are interested in acquiring as many gems as they can find. However, it’s not that easy to mine a gemstone, especially if it’s the emeralds. Although emeralds may be spread all over the planet, they aren’t produced globally. Colombia has more than 50% of emerald production in the world. In fact, the most precious emerald, Gachalá Emerald, was mined in Gachalá, Colombia’s Vega de San Juan mine in 1967.
5. Emerald Flaws and Inclusions Make Them Exclusive
Polished gemstones are valuable, but when a gem has flaws or inclusions, it makes them more exclusive and precious to the buyer. The reason is their unrefined nature! Only the naturally occurring gemstones have flaws and inclusions, making such emeralds more costly. Another reason is their uniqueness. No two emeralds with flaws look the same, making each piece one of a kind! It appeals to many jewel collectors who value high-quality emeralds over refined gemstones. There’s also speculation that a natural unflawed emerald would be worth more than a top-quality diamond if they weigh the same.
6. Four Factors Decide the Value of Emeralds
Precious gems are invaluable when found in their natural setting, but to turn them into valuable, unique pieces for the collection, they are categorized to assign value. Emerald gemstones have four factors that decide how much worth a particular gem has. Color, cut, carat, and clarity are the main factors, but color is the most important. The most valuable emeralds are bluish-green or vivid green with no color zoning.
7. ‘Emerald’ Comes from the Greek Work ‘Smaragdus’
As unique as the gem itself, the history of the ’emerald’ word is equally fascinating. We’ll have to track it back from one language to another until we reach the Greek originator word, ‘Smaragdus.’ It’s a masculine given name from Ancient Greek that means ‘green gem.’ It’s also a word that varies in the Latin language. ‘Smaragdus’ inspired the vulgar Latin word ‘esmaraldus’ or ‘esmaralda,’ which inspired the French term ‘esmeraude.’ And that is where the etymology of ‘emerald’ ends!
8. 1935 Marks the Year of the First Synthetic Emerald
Many gemstones had been synthesized and replicated for decades, but emerald wasn’t until 1935. Creating a near-natural perfection like emerald proved challenging for scientists, but eventually, Carroll Chatham, an American chemist, solved the mystery. He synthesized emerald by creating a 1-carat Chatham Emerald in 1935, which is proudly displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. However, the synthetic emeralds do not have the same value as the natural ones, despite sharing many of the same characteristics.
9. The Largest Uncut Example of Emeralds Is Currently in “The Vault”
Many natural emeralds are carved with a larger frame, but the Duke of Devonshire Emerald is the largest uncut gemstone of this category to date. It’s kept in the London’s Natural History Museum’s “The Vault.” The gemstone was mined in the 19th century in Colombia, weighing 1383.93 carats. The Sixth Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, acquired the gemstone around 1831 from Emperor Don Pedro I of Brazil. It is speculated that the emperor gifted the emerald or the duke purchased it from him.
10. Emeralds and Clairvoyance Go Hand in Hand
Gemstones are supposed to have natural abilities for extrasensory perception (ESP), and emerald is among the most famous gemstones for psychic abilities, especially clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the ability of an individual to learn unknown information about a person, object or location using ESP. For decades people have thought that emeralds can enhance the power of prophecy for their owners. Some people also believe that keeping an emerald stone under the tongue helps them see the future. At the same time, others believe that emeralds work great as a truth potion!
11. The ‘Emerald Buddha’ In Thailand Is Not Made of Emerald
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is in Wat Phra Kaew, in Bangkok’s Grand Palace. The statue is of a meditating buddha made of unique jewels like jasper and jade. The statue’s color is stunning, closer to the actual emerald green shade, which is why the name is ‘Emerald Buddha.’ Contrary to popular belief, the buddha is not made of genuine emerald gemstones, but the statue has never been examined to check for the origin or material of the stone.
12. Emerald Gems Can Relieve Eye Strain
The early works of Pliny mention that emerald stone is the best at relaxing and restoring eyes. It’s the effect of the green color that reminds us of the natural colors of trees and grass. Emeralds have a soft and calming color, making it easier for early lapidaries to rest their eyes after an extended period of work. Some people still use emerald stones to relieve eye strain and relax after a tiring day.
13. Angelina Jolie Wore the Most Famous Emerald Earrings
Taking a break from emeralds’ extraordinary properties and history, let’s talk a bit about celebrities and their obsession with jewels. Well, most of them do not have an exact obsession, but when it comes to emeralds, more than one celeb has tried to make their red-carpet appearance a memorable one. Elizabeth Taylor once wore emeralds to the red carpets, but her pieces were not as famous as Angelina Jolie’s Lorraine Schwartz emerald earrings. The 2009 Oscars’ red-carpet event saw the beauty with pear-shaped drop earrings carved from 115-carat Colombian emerald. The earrings were valued at $2.5 million!
What Should You Know About Emeralds: Learn About Emeralds and What Makes Them Unique-In Detail (2020)?
What is a natural emerald? While Emeralds are one of the most recognized and prized gems globally, very few understand what sets them apart or even the basic distinctions. We will discuss the common things to know and look for and talk about the more unique and interesting aspects of Emeralds.
Emeralds have been among the most valuable and desirable gemstones for more than 5000 years. Civilizations since the Ancient Egyptians have recognized the value of this gemstone and used it to make high-quality jewelry. People have been collecting uncut emeralds for centuries as they wish to collect the most beautiful gemstones in the world. And indeed, the best way to cherish an emerald is to collect the best uncut natural pieces that are worth millions!
Along with ruby and sapphire, emeralds make the top three best colored gemstones in the entire world. Their combined economic value is more than any other type of gemstone. No wonder wealthy people are obsessed with acquiring the best natural emeralds they can find! Would you spend money on precious emerald stones if you had enough to spare?
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!