Emerald is a gemstone variety of the common semi precious mineral known as beryl. It is colored green because of trace elements of other minerals. The word “Emerald” comes from Latin: Esmaralda/Esmaraldus which roughly translates to “green gem.” Emerald gemstone pendants, rings, and broaches are very popular and this precious gemstone has long been a staple of luxury jewelry dealers.
Where Emeralds Come From
Colombia is the largest producer of emeralds by number in the world, constituting from 60-90 percent of world production. The percentage varies by year based on several factors but Columbia is consistently on the top of the list most years. Zambia is the world’s second biggest producer coming with between 20 and 25 percent of the world’s emeralds. In the first half of 2011 these Zambia mines produced almost 4 tons of emeralds. Emeralds are found all over the world in countries such as Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Madagascar, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, United States, and Zimbabwe. In the US, emeralds have been found in Connecticut, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and even the Yukon.
The Four Cs of Emerald Value
Emeralds are very similar to all colored gemstones in that they are graded based on Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat. Normally when it comes to grading colored semi precious and precious emerald gemstone pieces for jewelry, color is the most important criterion. However, when it comes to grading emeralds, the hardness and composition of the crystal is also just as important. A luxury emerald has a pure dark green hue and also has a high degree of transparency to help improve light refraction and shine.
Color Value in Emerald Jewelry
In gemology, color intensity is divided into three components: hue, saturation and tone. Emeralds come in hues ranging from yellow-green to blue-green, with of course the dominant saturation intensity needing to be that traditional green. Only gemstones that are medium to dark in their coloration tone are named emerald and considered to be actual emeralds. The light-toned gems are typically named green beryl. The finest emeralds have around a 75% tone on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0% tone is colorless and 100% tone is solid black. Gray is the normal saturation modifier or mask found in emerald which makes it appear darker in tone and hue. These fine gemstones make ideal emerald jewelry and are what you will find in luxury jewelry shops.