Emeralds are fascinating gemstones with the most beautiful, intense colour of green that can be imagined. They are a variety of the mineral beryl coloured green by trace amounts of chromium. The name Emerald comes from the Greek "smargados" via the Old French "esmeralde" and really just means "green gemstone".
Rated 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, good quality emeralds are fairly rare with inclusions often marring the evenness of the colour. Fine inclusions however do not diminish the high regard in which Emeralds are held. On the contrary, even with inclusions, an emerald in a deep, lively colour still has a much higher value than an almost flawless emerald whose colour is paler.
Probably the oldest known finds of Emeralds were made near the Red Sea in Egypt, however, these mines, exploited by Egyptian Pharaohs between 300 and 1500BC and once known as Cleopatra's mines, had already been exhausted by the time they were rediscovered in the early 19th century. Today Columbia is known as the major source for the world's emeralds although emeralds are also mined in other countries, such as Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and India.
The Incas and Aztecs of South America regarded the Emerald as a holy stone, while the Holy Scriptures of the Indians, the Vedas, states "Emeralds promise good luck.." and "the emerald enhances the well being..". The emerald is also the sacred stone of the goddess Venus and is thought to preserve love. It is also considered a symbol of hope.
Here is a piece that I have made using some gorgeous emeralds - my Emerald and Silver Coil Necklace
Here are some more examples of emerald jewellery from some members of the JET team: