Emeralds

Emeralds are ancient gemstones.
According to the oldest book in the world, the Papyrus Prisse, “But good words are more difficult to find than the emerald, for it is by slaves that it is discovered among the rocks.” This book is 4500 years old and but the passage was written 1000 years earlier. This is probably referring to the Egyptian mines that no longer yield gem quality emeralds.

Emeralds were highly prized by the Incas and Aztecs when discovered in Colombia. Spanish conquistadors looted the mines taking thousands of emeralds from the Colombian mines. This did put South America on the gemstone map, Everyone looked to South America for their emeralds to adorn themselves in. Emeralds have long been associated with royalty and status. I for one would not argue this point, emeralds are special and the most significant and the most gorgeous of the green gemstones.

Color and clarity will determine the value of an emerald. All Emeralds have inclusions. This is characteristic of the Emerald and its formation. If the inclusions detract visibly from the Emerald, this for sure diminishes the value of an emerald. The most valuable emerald color is always highly debated as to the best “color” found in the emerald. The more intense the green the more valuable the emerald.

The hydrothermal method Chatham uses to create Emeralds is the closest one will come to the natural stone. The color is intense and the stones have a lot of clarity. And they are not cheap. They can go in excess of $1000 per carat.

Emerald is the birthstone for May. Emerald is in the mineral family, Beryl, as is Morganite, Aquamarine, Goshenite, Bixbite, Heliodor, and yellow beryl.

The three major sources where emeralds are mined are Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia, that is not to say they are not found elsewhere, in fact, emeralds from Ethiopia rival the Colombian emeralds in color and clarity. This is because they receive their green color from chromium as does the Colombian emerald.

Mining for emeralds is delicate work. They are usually found in less valuable rocks. The best quality emeralds are usually found close to the earth’s surface so it is usually a good idea to dig by hand as blasting could destroy precious gems. Emeralds are found in mica and you have to go through that to get to the emerald.

In the United States emeralds are found in the state of North Carolina, and people have found some beautiful stones at the Emerald Hollow Mine about an hour from Winston-Salem NC. So if you have a mind to dig for emeralds, head for North Carolina.