The name ‘Emerald’ comes from the Greek 'smaragdos' via the Old French 'esmeralde', and just means 'green gemstone'. The Incas and Aztecs of South America, where the best emeralds are still found today, regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone.One of the world's largest emeralds is the so-called 'Mogul Emerald'. It dates from 1695, weighs 217.80 carats, and is some 10cm tall. One side of it is inscribed with prayer texts, and there are magnificent floral engravings on the other side.
Tradition states that emerald aids fertility, improves eyesight and gives the wearer psychic powers. It is also believed to lift depression and relieve insomnia. Promotes self-knowledge, peaceful dreams and encourages balance and patience.
Emerald is the green variety of the mineral Beryl and measures 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. Created in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, the Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly. Ranging from talc which measures 1 on the Mohs scale, up to diamond, the hardest, which measures 10.
Emeralds are known for their inclusions (small internal imperfections) which are very common but these still add to their beauty and also confirm that they are genuine. While inclusion free emeralds do exist they are very rare.
Colombia continues to be at the top of the list in terms of the countries in which fine emeralds are found. Although other countries, such as Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Russia all produce fine emeralds too.
Even more so than other coloured gems, emerald's colour determines its value with a deep green being the desired colour. The green of the emerald is the colour of life and of the springtime, which comes round again and again. But it has also, for centuries, been the colour of beauty and of constant love.
The ‘Emerald cut’ is a special cut developed by cutters just for this gem. The clear design of this rectangular or square cut with its bevelled corners brings out the beauty of this valuable gemstone to the full, at the same time protecting it from mechanical strain. Emeralds are also cut into a variety of other traditional shapes such as pear, oval and round.
Like other coloured gemstones, emeralds do not really begin to show that beautiful glow below a certain size.
How large your emerald ends up will depend on your personal taste, and on your budget. Really large specimens of top quality are rare.