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A round cut emerald gemstone featured in a solitaire pendant

Emerald Guide

Emeralds are well known for their vibrant green appearance, which is the result of the combination of unique elements and natural occurrences that form them. A favorite across the globe, emeralds are all about their dazzling color — the intensity of green in the finest emeralds are unmatched by anything else in nature.

What is an emerald?

Emeralds are the bluish-green to pure-green variant of the mineral beryl, which also forms aquamarine and morganite. If the color of the stone is more on the yellow or blue side of green, it’s probably not an emerald, but another beryl variety. Chromium, vanadium and iron are the trace elements responsible for the emerald’s vivid green hue. These beautiful stones are relatively rare and only found in a few locations worldwide, including Colombia, Zambia, Madagascar, Canada and Russia.
3 oval cut emerald gemstones mix with diamonds in a white gold ring
Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons / Cropped from original 

Mineral: Beryl 

Origins: Colombia, Zambia, Madagascar, Canada, Russia 

Symbols: Peace, Balance 

Properties: Openness, Relaxation, Acceptance 

Durability: 7.5


Infused to improve clarity and/or color 


Special Gemstone Care: Do not use ultrasonic cleaning. Avoid sudden 
temperature changes, chemicals, perfume, cosmetics, and hairspray. 



Green Tourmaline

An emerald gemstone in unpolished crystal form

What to Look for in Emeralds

Emeralds are 20 times more rare than a diamond, and sometimes they even command a higher price. Almost all emeralds have inclusions, so if you find one that’s completely clear, it may be synthetic. Emeralds range wildly in price, but more important than cost and value is what you like and how special it makes you feel when you’re wearing it.


Gemstone color is often the most important aspect of a gemstone. The telling green color range of an emerald range varies in saturation intensity. Emeralds with a brilliant, bluish-green or pure-green hue are generally the rarest, most desirable and most expensive of these stones.

An Illustration of 3 differently colored gemstones from the side


The cut of a gemstone highlights its special features. Emeralds are more brittle than other gemstones, so special care is taken when cutting emerald crystals. Our high quality emeralds are cut to minimize their natural fractures and protect against damage. Although emeralds come in a variety of cuts, the most common is its namesake—the emerald cut—which is a rectangular, stepped cut that maximizes color and saturation and makes a statement any time you wear this striking gemstone. 

An Illustration of a well-cut gemstone from the side


All natural gemstones contain inclusions, which are visible (and sometimes invisible) “flaws” resulting from materials like gas bubbles, liquid or other minerals that were trapped in the stone as it was being formed. When it comes to gemstone clarity, emeralds tend to have more inclusions than other gemstones, making eye-clean emeralds especially valuable. Inclusions in emeralds often appear mossy, and these are called “jardin,” which is French for “garden.” Many emerald lovers prefer jardin for their lush, textural beauty.

An Illustration of a gemstone with very few inclusions from the side


Since gemstone size ranges in weight and density, their size is not generally measured in carats, but rather by diameter in millimeters. But more than the size of the stone, emeralds are typically valued more for their color, cut and clarity. Most emeralds weigh less than 1.5 carats, with larger stones being more rare. 

An illustration of a gemstone from the side with a ruler over the gem's table


Most emeralds sold on the market today, like most gemstones, are enhanced, which means they’re treated with heat or infusion to improve color and clarity. Our emeralds undergo rigorous internal inspections and are of the highest quality. 

An illustration of a gemstone being treated with oiling enhancement method


Emeralds earn a 7.5 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, which means an emerald is fairly durable, but you should take your lifestyle into consideration when choosing emerald jewelry. While emeralds aren’t too easily scratched, they may be particularly susceptible to chipping, especially when inclusions are close to the surface. When it comes to selecting an emerald, consider your budget, lifestyle and the type of jewelry you — or whoever you’re going to surprise! — like best.
The Moh's hardness scale showing opal at 5, emerald at 7.5, topaz at 8, ruby at 9, and diamond at 10

Choosing the Right Emerald Jewelry

For everyday wear, choose emerald jewelry that won’t be subject to a lot of wear and tear, such as earrings or a pendant. If you choose an emerald ring, take it off before you engage in activities like tackling home renovations or gardening. With care, your emerald jewelry will last a lifetime.

Famous Emerald Gemstones

The emerald is May’s birthstone, representing fertility and rebirth in Egyptian lore. Cleopatra wore emeralds, which is why Richard Burton gifted Cleopatra star Elizabeth Taylor a diamond-and-emerald brooch that Taylor wore at their 1964 wedding. In 2011, that piece set a world auction record, fetching more than $6.5 million. Many consider the emerald a good luck gemstone, and in some circles, it’s a symbol of truth and love—which may explain its status as the traditional gift for 20th and 55th wedding anniversaries.

How to Care for Your Emerald Jewelry

Keep your emerald jewelry sparkling with regular cleaning. Soak the jewelry in warm, soapy water for a few minutes, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub it. For more information, read our guide on caring for your gemstone jewelry.

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