From yellowish green to blue-green, including the famous ‘grass green' of the Columbian emeralds
OriginThe deposits of Carnaiba in Brazil are the oldest known to date. The Colombian deposits, meanwhile, are more recent. In addition to Brazil and Colombia, there are deposits in Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania ...
VirtuesEmerald is considered beneficial for couples, but beware! If the stone changes colour, and the grassy green reveals a brown shade, this means that the subject of your heart is no longer faithful! Besides revealing faithfulness among lovers, emeralds are said to promote good health and bring luck. It is the birthstone for May and is traditionally given to celebrate the 20th wedding anniversary.
SpecificationsEmerald belongs to the family of beryls, commonly referred to as the "mother of gemstones", because it includes a large number of highly valued varieties. The emerald owes its color to the presence of traces of chromium, vanadium and iron; their respective concentrations produce an extraordinary color palette, from pastel green to intense green, with various shades of blue, brown, gray and yellow.
Emeralds are very rare gems because their formation has required very specific geological conditions, of several natures and at times very distant from each other. Thus, in the Carnaiba (Brazil) deposits, a granitic magma bubble rising from the depths came into contact with the more superficial rocks. Their contact has resulted in different chemical reactions and the migration of certain minerals, according to a process called metasomatosis. The crystals formed at that time, bordering the contact zone, about two billion years ago. The Colombian deposits, on the other hand, are more recent: they developed in geodes between 32 and 65 million years ago, and the proportion of pure and flawless crystals is much greater.
HistoryExisted perhaps as early as 3500 BC, the emerald mines of Egypt were located in the desert region of the east of the country and were rediscovered in 1816 by Frédéric Cailliaud, mineralogist and French explorer. Despite the heat, scorpions and snakes, Greek miners were already extracting emeralds from these sites in the time of Alexander the Great.
Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt, had a weakness for emeralds. She wore sumptuous emerald jewelry and offered emerald dignitaries to the dignitaries of the kingdom on which her portrait was engraved. For Egyptians, emeralds were more than "pretty stones": they had an important symbolic meaning, incarnation of national pride.
Emerald deposits in Egypt have long been exhausted, and since the 16th century it has been the emerald of Colombia - the booty of the famous Conquistadors Hernán Cortés (who fought the Aztecs from 1519) and Francisco Pizarro (who, he fought the Incas from 1526) who succeeded him.
The second largest emerald deposit in the world was discovered in Zambia in 1931. The stones from these mines are known for their quality. There are deposits of emeralds in other countries: Afghanistan, Brazil, Pakistan, Russia (in the Urals) and Zimbabwe.