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The rare and beautiful wonder of the emerald gem

The rare and beautiful wonder of the emerald gem


For longer than people have believed in God, people have loved this special gemstone: emerald is always a good choice. It radiates power in every piece of jewellery. From the Queen of Egypt to that stylish neighbour; we are always happy with emerald gemstone.

The berly family 

Emerald is a form of beryl mineral. Its chemical composition is officially called aluminium-beryllium-silicate. You may also know aquamarine (blue in colour). This is also a form of beryl mineral. Bixbite (red in colour), heliodore (yellow in colour) and morganite (pink in colour) are somewhat less well-known minerals from the same family. The beryl family is also called the mother of all gemstones, because a large variety of stones belong to this group. Most shades of green beryl are called emeralds. Emeralds are known to have inclusions/imperfections. This means that the stone has small cracks. With many other gemstones this would be seen as imperfection, with emeralds it's just the opposite. Inclusions make the stones unique and distinctive just like for example birthmarks make us unique.

There is of course a limit to the amount of inclusions; the stone has to be visibly smooth and bright to meet the requirements of high-quality gemstones. The most important factors for the determination of the value of an emerald are: purity of the colour, the transparency, the purity and the brilliance (or clarity). Synthetically formed emeralds often lack the inclusions. Such emeralds are actually too perfect and therefore relatively less appreciated. The inclusions of emerald are also called jardin (from the French translation: garden), because the inclusions remind of branches or crops in a garden.

Where does the name come from?

The name emerald comes from the Latin word smaragdus. In Greek, smaragdos means green gemstone. Smaragein translated from the Greek is thunder or storm. This would mean that the stone is lightning or a thunder stone. In Arabic, achmardi means greenish and in Hebrew bârekét means brilliant stone. Also these translations could be originals of the beautiful green gemstone.

Location of Emerald

Colombia is the main site. Emeralds have been mined here for centuries in the world-famous Muzo mine, just north of Colombia's capital Bogotá. Most emeralds from this mine are "muzo green". This colour is characteristic for the mine, hence the name. Other important deposits lie in Egypt and Russia, although most of the sources there are exhausted by now. Furthermore the emerald is won in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Madagascar, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Trapiche Emerald: A rare phenomenon

A very rare type of emerald is the trapiche emerald. And no, this is not a spelling error ;). Just Google it! The beryl mineral from which this special stone crystallizes has a hexagonal shape (six corners). When these angles are visible in the stone, we speak of the extremely rare sector zoning. This is almost never found in stones and certainly not in set jewellery, but if it does occur it is highly likely that these stones come from Colombia or Brazil. The inclusions that indicate these sectors can be black or white and make for a very special gemstone. Then there is the specific emerald cut. This is a special way of grinding whereby the emerald comes out best. The emerald cut is recognizable by the smooth rectangular cut with rounded corners. The shape symbolises a heart that is open. The emerald cut is often used for gemstones in crown jewels.


Cleopatra was in her time (she was born in the year 69 before Christ) already completely under the spell of the magical green gemstone. Cleopatra loved the beauty of the emerald so much that she claimed all the emerald mines in Egypt. In this way she didn't have to share the profits with anyone.

A few centuries later, the ancient Romans named emerald as the birthstone of their goddess Venus: the goddess of love and beauty. Also influential women of our time can appreciate emerald. Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and our own Queen Máxima have (had) small collections of jewels with the green gemstone in it. In 1845 Queen Victoria was given an emerald tiara by her husband Prince Albert. The tiara also included earrings, a brooch and a bracelet. Victoria had herself immortalised in paintings a number of times while wearing this jewellery. Later, her granddaughter Victoria wore the jewels and today the set can be admired in an exhibition at Kensington Palace. Lady Di used an emerald necklace to make a fashion statement. She did this by wearing the jewellery, which originally belonged to Queen Mary, not as a necklace, but as a diadem. The necklace belonged to Queen Elizabeth II, but she never wore it. She gave it to Diana as a wedding present and, after Diana, no one has ever worn it again. 

Queen Máxima is currently in possession of an emerald parure, consisting of a tiara, a necklace, earrings and a brooch. The emeralds once belonged to Wilhelmina of Prussia. Then Queen Emma gave the set as a gift to her daughter Wilhelmina. Nowadays, the set, often in combination with other emerald jewellery, is proudly worn by our queen.

Spiritual Emerald

For more than four thousand years, emerald has been worshipped for its beauty and the associated healing powers it possesses. The gemstone is a symbol for power and immortality. Also rejuvenation and eternal youth are symbolized. Because of this symbolism, the emerald is not only used in jewellery. In the past, emeralds were also used as a home accessory, to radiate status. The birthstone of May has a special connection with the constellations: Taurus, Cancer, Aquarius, Archer and Scorpio. Emerald also has a healing effect. The stone helps to reduce eye troubles, probably because the green stone is associated with clairvoyance. Furthermore, emerald helps with epileptic seizures and insomnia.

The emerald gemstone owes its special powers to its special green colour. With ruby for example, the colour is indicated by a comparison to an animal or a thing (pigeon red). The colour of emerald is so unique that the colour green can be indicated as "emerald green".

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