Warm and flamboyant, the green of emerald is renowned. A member of the beryl family, this precious stone is one of the most highly prized in jewelry. It takes its characteristic color from the vanadium and chromium that it contains. Moreover, this tone is its main quality criterion. The more intense the green, the higher the quality.
Emerald is more fragile than sapphire or ruby, because it contains “gardens” or “milky spots.” These crystal inclusions or liquid gas bubbles do not mar its quality if they are minor. However, they make it more difficult for the jeweler to set the stone.
From a historical point of view, emeralds have always been used in jewelry ornamentation. In Ancient Egypt, 3,000 years BCE, it was enclosed in funerary halls and tombs. It was subsequently one of the favorite stones of maharajahs and the great European courts.
Famous sets of jewels or objects adorned with emeralds can nowadays be seen in museums. The Louvre holds the set of jewels given by Napoleon to the Empress Marie-Louise on their marriage: a diadem, a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a comb. The Topkapi Palace Museum (Turkey) is home to the famous dagger decorated with the precious stone.
Emeralds are sourced from deposits in Colombia, Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Zambia, Pakistan, and more rarely Siberia. It presents a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale.