Fun Facts About Emeralds



Emeralds are one of the most desirable gemstones in the world, but how much do you really know about emeralds? We've rounded up some fun facts about this beautiful gemstone.


  • Emerald is the birthstone of May and is the traditional gift for the 20th, 35th, and 55th wedding anniversary in the US.


  • Emerald crystals correspond to the astrological signs of Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer.


  • The word "emerald" comes from the Greek word "Smaragdus" meaning green gem.


  • Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl. Emerald is a transparent (usually), and semitransparent precious stone in the color green.


  • The mineral beryl is the base for many different gemstones, such as aquamarine, morganite, and heliodor.


  • Green beryl that is too light in color may not even be considered emerald by some gemologists.


  • Emerald mines are found in over 30 countries.


  • Most emeralds are found in areas where large quartz deposits are also located.


  • Emerald gems measure between 7.5 – and eight on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. The scale runs from 0 (softest) to 10 (hardest).


  • Though they are durable stones, emeralds are susceptible to chipping and cracking.


  • Emerald is one of the four members of the precious gemstone family. The other three from this circle are rubies, sapphire, and diamonds.


  • The “big three” generate more economic activity than all other colored stones combined.


  • An emerald's quality and value is determined by four basic parameters, like all colored gemstones, including carat weight, color, cut, and clarity.


  • Unlike diamonds, where the loupe standard, i.e., 10× magnification, is used to grade clarity, emeralds are graded by eye.


  • Emerald gets its green coloring from trace amounts of chromium, or vanadium.


  • The cut given to an emerald stone before it's set into jewelry largely determines its shade of green.


  • The most desirable color of emerald is vivid green or a blueish green with even saturation throughout and no color zoning.


  • Emerald gemstones usually range in color from green to bluish-green and rarely yellowish-green.


  • Today emerald, together with ruby and sapphire, form the "big three" of colored stones. The "big three" generate more economic activity than all other colored stones combined.


  • More than 50% of the world's emerald production comes from Colombia. The finest emeralds in the world are not from Africa but actually come from the rich soil of Colombia. Because of the rich black soil and abundance of rain, Colombia is able to grow deep green precious stones that are also perfectly clear. This is unlike African emeralds, which have more cloudy coloring.


  • The other two top countries for emerald production are Brazil and Zambia.


  • The highest-quality type of emerald is the Zambian, but only 10% of all emeralds mined are of top quality.


  • Natural emeralds have flaws, or inclusions, in the stone that are visible to the naked eye. These are sometimes called 'jardin' or garden. Each stone is distinct because of its own inclusions, adding to its appeal for many collectors. Due to this, a highly saturated emerald with inclusions is more valuable than a low saturated emerald with zero inclusions.


  • An unflawed natural emerald is so rare that one may be worth more than a top-quality diamond of the same weight.


  • Most emeralds are oiled as part of the post- lapidary process to fill in surface-reaching cracks to improve clarity and stability.


  • A 1-carat emerald appears larger than a 1-carat diamond because of its lower density.


  • Synthetic emeralds were first created in 1935 by American chemist Carroll Chatham. She successfully grew a one-carat emerald that is now on display in the Smithsonian Institute.


  • The oldest emeralds are about 2.97 billion years old.


  • The first known emeralds were mined in Egypt around 1500 BC. One of Cleopatra's favorite stones was emerald, and her passion for the stone was well documented.


  • Ancient Egyptians also believed that emeralds had healing powers. According to popular belief in ancient Egypt, emeralds could treat eye strain and short-sightedness.


  • The ancient Romans believed that emeralds could cure complications associated with birth and fertility.


  • Emeralds were also thought to protect against memory loss and enhance intuition.


  • According to ancient folklore, emerald gems were believed to act as a type of truth potion, helping decipher whether the lover's vows were true or false.


  • The Spanish found emeralds in South America in the 16th century. The Incas had been using them for a long time before they were discovered. The Spanish exchanged emeralds for precious metals across Europe and Asia, bringing the emerald trade to the rest of the world.


  • Some of the most famous emeralds include the Chalk Emerald, Duke of Devonshire Emerald, Gachala Emerald, Mogul Mughal Emerald, Patricia Emerald, Bahia Emerald, and the Emerald of Saint Louis.


  • The Duke of Devonshire Emerald is one of the largest emeralds (uncut), weighing 1,383.93 carats.


  • Weighing a massive 752 pounds, the Bahia Emerald is the largest single shard of rough emerald ever discovered. The Bahia Emerald is worth about $400 million.


  • Elizabeth Taylor once owned a 23-carat emerald necklace that sold in 2011 for $6.5 million.


  • Many famous women have professed falling in love with emerald jewelry, including Queen Elizabeth II, Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor.


  • Angelina Jolie-Pitt donned a pair of emerald earrings worth a whopping two million dollars at the 2009 Academy Awards.


  • Emerald jewels encourage growth, reflection, peace, and balance. They also represent healing and fertility.


  • Because it's difficult to tell the difference between a real and a synthetic emerald, it's a popularly faked gemstone. They even add fractures to the phony gems to make them appear more authentic.


  • Emeralds should not be cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners. Instead, you should rather clean them in warm water with your hands.