Learn About Emeralds

About Emeralds

Emeralds have the values of royalty, intrigue and romance associated with them. They are the most valuable of all green gemstones and range in color from bluish green to greenish blue with a depth of color that only a few precious stones pack. An emerald’s clarity can be graded with the naked eye, unlike a diamond’s, which require 10x magnification. Emeralds rate 8 on the Moh’s scale of hardness however they are not sought for their durability or hardness due to the presence of internal characteristics. Unlike diamonds, in which inclusions are a sign of degradation, there are some inclusions that are specially desired in emeralds. These inclusions form a pattern called jardin, French for garden.

An emerald having a jardin has a very high value.

To minimize the visual effects produced by these inclusions, oil is used to treat emeralds. The treatment has become an industry standard and involves submerging the stone in cedar oil until all the fractures have been filed. A material of similar optical properties is used to make sure that the emerald’s natural color is not interrupted or distorted.

Emeralds are brittle which is why they must be handled with greater care and delicacy. Cleaning techniques that involve high heat, chemicals or use of steam are not recommended as they can lead to greater fractures and leakage of oil. Care should also be taken when wearing jewelry set with emeralds as they have a tendency to fracture if treated bluntly.

There are some newer treatments in the industry as well that involve the use of glass, plastic and resins. These materials are melted into the gem and are used in cases where the emerald is too prone to breakage. This is not yet an industry standard and any emerald that has gone under such treatment should have clear disclosure.