Coveted Gemstones: Emeralds
Emeralds have been widely sought after for thousands of years. The oldest ones were discovered in South Africa, estimated to be nearly 3 billion years old. Few people know that wars were fought over these stones – in fact, entire empires were forged over emeralds. Cleopatra famously expressed her love for the captivating green stone, which is still in high demand to this day. Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant hammered for a staggering $6,578,500 at auction in 2011. These important and surprising facts show how significant the emerald is to human history, culture, gemology, and fashion.
The Big Three
The emerald is regarded a superior jewel with great merit and benefit and maintains its high status as one of “The Big Three”: sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. These stones are often included in the pieces of high jewelry houses like Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., and Bvlgari.
It’s All in the Hue
While jewelry experts’ opinions vary regarding the hue and saturation of green that makes an emerald more or less expensive than another, the popularity of the stone in bracelets, earrings, rings and earrings has increased over time. Emeralds have long been sought after for their rich, deep, bluish-green to green hue. Technically speaking, “Emerald” describes a specific hue of the mineral species Beryl, which is composed of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate. Like Corundum, Beryl comes in many colors. The best-known varieties of Beryl are Aquamarine (light blue), Heliodor (yellow), and Emerald (deep vivid green). Most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers will call a stone “green beryl” if the hue is lighter than that of the typical bold hue classically associated with emeralds, though their chemical makeup is essentially identical. Despite these differences, the emerald is the most famous variety of Beryl. Emeralds have long been recognized as the jewel of kings, viewed as a talisman and antidote for many cultures. Some cultures even believed that Emeralds held the power to predict the future.
What Makes Emeralds Valuable?
The deep, vivid green color found in most emeralds is due to the presence of the chemical elements chromium and vanadium, while the secondary bluish color is caused by the presence of iron. The stone is often faceted into a step cut style with a rectangular table and faceted corners, known as the “emerald cut,” which is also a common shape for diamonds. Emeralds are softer and more fragile than rubies and sapphires. Jewelers must take special care when working with emeralds, since they’re more susceptible to damage during cutting and mounting. Most emeralds have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, including fractures and liquid inclusions. Unlike most gemstones, these inclusions are to be expected. The most common inclusions seen in emeralds are known as “jardin,” or “garden” in French, due to the mossy appearance they create. These inclusions are often fractures, which are usually filled with oil or resin to improve the stone’s color and overall appearance. It is very common for emerald producers to treat inclusions and fractures with these processes, which are also known as fracture filling. In addition to improving the color, clarity, and overall appearance of the stone, fracture filling also increases the stability and durability of emeralds. Even the majority of Colombian emeralds, the most coveted in the world, are so included when they come out of the ground that they have to be fracture filled to ensure stability. Untreated, stable, fracture-free emeralds with desirable hues are extremely rare. As you might imagine, prices for untreated emeralds are dramatically higher, depending on the color, clarity, and carat weight. If you are looking to purchase an untreated emerald, make sure that the stone comes with a laboratory report from a reputable lab, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), American Gemological Laboratories (AGL), or Grubelin. A lab report proving that your emerald is natural and untreated is proof of the stone’s inherent value. These laboratories can also analyze the mineral content to determine the origin of an emerald. The most valuable emeralds come from the fabled Muzo mine in Colombia, which is no longer producing stones.
Emerald as Collateral
With its rarity and beauty, the emerald remains a favorite stone on the jewelry market, both at the retail level and at auction. Beverly Loan Company is a premier collateral lender in the heart of Beverly Hills, on the third floor of the Beverly Hills Bank of America Building at the corner of Beverly Drive and Little Santa Monica Boulevard. Should you wish to pawn or sell your emerald jewelry, please call us at 310-275-2555 or submit an inquiry online. We also sell fine jewelry and watches at dealer prices to the public from our showcase. We look forward to working with you!