Emerald Mineralogy 101

April 14, 2015
Stewart Kuper

Emeralds are a species under the genus of the mineral beryl. The green actually comes from traces of chromium and vanadium. It ranks an 8 on MOHS hardness scale, and tends to fragment easily. Color is an important quality for assessing the value of emeralds. Emerald hue ranges from yellow-green to blue-green. The highest quality emeralds rank 75 % on the standard tone scale, with 0% being white and 100% being black. Additionally, a perfect emerald ought to be vivid, and beaming.
Emerald: The Stone of Spring
The Emerald traditionally symbolizes spring, rebirth, and eternal youth. It was said in Pliny’s Lives that looking at an emerald refreshed the sight, and allowed the beholder to more accurately see the truth, which meant beholding the world through the lens of a child. Nero, the worst emperor in the history of Rome, fashioned glasses from emeralds based on the advice of Pliny. He walked around Rome with these glasses convinced he was gaining a vision of eternal youth for Rome. However, he must have looked like an idiot, not the supreme ruler of the Popula Romana.
Emeralds in Amorica Minora
90% of the world’s emerald supply is mined in Columbia. When Cortez first landed in the Americas he was captivated by the brilliance of the Emerald. Eventually he was able to locate the source. On his first trip back to England he brought back as his crown jewel, an emerald with the inscription, inter natos mulierum non surexit mayor—among those born of woman there has not arisen greater.