Going Green: Understanding The Emerald

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Green. It's more than a nod to environmentally-conscious living. This color soothes, refreshes, and enlivens. Precisely the reason why this gem, a member of the beryl family, captivates and allures. Though prolific mines have been found throughout Zambia, Pakistan, and Egypt, today, most hail from Colombia, the premier exporter of emeralds.

While many everyday jewelry buyers are at least familiar with pricing scales and standards of quality vis-à-vis the diamond market, colored gemstones each present their own set of rules and standards of quality and value. The characteristics of a diamond that determine quality and value are not the same in the case of the emerald.

In diamonds, jewelers and consumers seek flawlessness. The more colorless the diamond is, the more valuable. Inclusions and other fissures in the surface downgrade the diamond and decrease its value. But the characteristics which are normally seen as flaws or liabilities in a diamond, become the emerald's greatest assets. "Colorless-ness" or flawlessness, in this gem, results in a very pale, dull green stone - hardly the extraordinary, rich color that typically comes to mind.

It is the tiny fissures that give this stone her hue. The inclusions help to refract the traces of chromium and vanadium that are responsible for turning the beryl stone (naturally colorless) into a glorious gem whose depth of color will earn it the distinction of 'emerald.' When evaluating the stone and determining its clarity, gemologists simply look for inclusions or fissures that are visible to the naked eye.

While a diamond, the hardest gemstone, registers a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, our featured green gem rates between 7.5 and 8. However, this number refers to a flawless stone, which are rarely seen in commercial jewelry, given their bland hue. A deeper green color is the product of imperfections, which can challenge the hardness of the stone and make cutting and shaping difficult. Thus, a special cut was developed especially for this gem to highlight the individuality of the stone without compromising durability or submitting the stone to undue stress during cutting. Hence, the "emerald" cut, a rectangular or square shape with beveled edges.

The stone is popular and adaptable for all varieties of fashion jewelry. Because inclusions are not only tolerated, but appreciated, this is a stone in which affordable price doesn't have to mean decreased quality or beauty. The emerald is a piece of luxury that's easy to grasp, but no less remarkable or appealing.

And many a bride has fallen in love with this stone as the gem that will crown her engagement ring. Though the colorless diamond is still the most popular choice in the United States, many brides are stepping out for the colored gemstone. An emerald ring is not only striking, bold, and attractive in appearance, it also offers superior value, allowing for a larger, more dramatic stone at a more affordable price.

This season, the emerald is the stone to watch. "Going green" can mean more than trying to reduce your carbon footprint. Jewelry featuring this stone gives your summer look that extra sparkle, shine, and fresh vibrance.
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