7 Surprising Facts About Emerald

It was the Irish poet, William Drennan, who is credited with first coining the term ‘Emerald Isle’ in his poem “When Erin first rose.” Ever since, Emerald has been synonymous with Ireland.

For those interested in learning more about the beautiful birthstone for May or considering investing in a piece for a 20th or 35th anniversary gift, below are a few facts that we bet you didn’t know about Emerald:

1. Emeralds are not always ‘emerald green’

It might sound a little odd given their name, but Emeralds can vary quite a bit in color! The ‘Forty shades of green’ in the famous Johnny Cash song is actually a little closer to reality.  Emeralds range in color from deep green to pale green hues. The deep green gems are the most prized and expensive emeralds. The lovely variety of color is due to the exact amount of trace elements, Chromium, Vanadium and Iron, in the stone.

Beautiful emeralds from columbia

2. For emerald the cut is the key

The color we see in jewelry also depends on the cut. A skilled gemologist can give a paler stone a darker appearance with a deep cut and fewer facets (flat surfaces on the stone). Or a darker stone can be made to appear lighter with a shallow cut and more facets. Given all that, it is not so surprising that this gem has a specific cut named after it, “the emerald cut.” Many fine emeralds are prepared in this iconic style.

A stunning “emerald cut” stone set in a lovely white gold trinity knot band

3. Emeralds are rarer and often more expensive than diamonds

When many people think of rare or expensive gemstones their first thought is of diamonds. But it is emerald that are among the rarest of all gemstones and so often have a price tag to match. They are part of a family of gems called beryl and are mined all over the world including Central and South America and Africa. But even in established emerald mines the availability of high-quality or large gems is limited.

4. Emeralds are the go to gem for the Royal Set

Perhaps it is this rarity that has lead not just the Irish to prize beautiful emerald. Cleopatra, reportedly loved this stone and to guarantee herself high quality gems, reportedly took ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt! The British Crown jewels are also adorned with spectacular emeralds. And of course Elizabeth Taylor, queen of the silver screen, famously cherished beautiful emerald jewelry. Her stunning emerald pendant sold for an eye-watering $6.5 million in 2011.

Elizabeth Taylor wearing stunning emerald earrings and brooch given to her by Richard Burton

5. Emeralds may give you more bang for your buck than diamond

Despite their rarity, if you are looking to maximise the size of a stone for your budget then emeralds could be an option to explore. The carat of a gemstone is calculated using its weight. Carat for carat, emerald comes out on top when compared to diamond. A 1 carat emerald will be a larger stone than a 1 carat diamond as diamond is more dense than emerald. Very large emeralds like those in the British crown jewels can be hundreds of carats. More typical and affordable sizes for jewelry range from 1 mm to 5 mm for stones used in decoration (0.02 to 0.50 carat). Larger emeralds of 1 to 5 carats are typically reserved for centre stones in marquee pieces of jewelry.

6. Unlike diamond, emeralds are not all about clarity

For diamond, clarity is a big driver in price of an individual stone. But inclusions in emerald are often viewed as desirable features. They can form lovely patterns, referred to in the trade as the emerald’s jardin, or garden. They are so unique that they can actually increase value. Inclusions in emerald can also be assessed with the naked eye rather than under magnification like diamond, so no specialist equipment is required to assess a stone.

A stunning Emerald and Diamond Claddagh Ring. This emerald has a beautiful “jardin” - an array of inclusions unique to this stone.

7. Emeralds have a long history

Perhaps it comes back to their stunning green color but emeralds have been mined for over 4000 years and are associated with an impressive list of mystical powers and uses! They were considered a symbol of eternal youth by the ancient Egyptians who liked to be buried with them! Romans thought gazing into them was useful to relieve stress and eye strain. And green was also the color for Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Ancient legends also claim that placing an emerald under the tongue would reveal truth, allow a person to foresee the future and protect against evil spells! We wouldn’t recommend this particular practice!

Our beautiful Tree of Life Pendant symbolising long life and health set with emerald symbolising new beginnings and growth.

Emerald jewelry from the Emerald Isle

More recently emerald has become synonymous with loyalty, new beginnings, and serenity, making it a meaningful stone for a gift as well as a beautiful gem to adorn lovely pieces of jewelry!

We are proud to offer our customers a beautiful selection of emerald jewelry designed and made here in the “Emerald Isle.” If you are thinking that an emerald piece might be for you, have a look at our selection.

Alternatively, get in touch and we would be delighted to answer any questions you might have about our beautiful emerald jewelry.

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