Knowledge & EducationEmeralds have been believed to symbolize fidelity and goodness.



This illustrious and most esteemed member of the beryl family has long been regarded as one of the most precious of all gemstones, surpassed only by ruby. Emeralds are known for their beautiful green color, its grass green primary hue is usually modified by slight bluish or yellowish undertones. A vivid, slightly yellowish green is the most desirable color.

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Old Mine

The term “old mine” is used in the trade to describe emeralds which are considered antique, typically of considerable size, and cut in an antique manner. As Indian Maharajahs and Emperors of the Mughal dynasty adorned themselves with such stones, old mine emeralds are considered valuable not only for their beauty and quality, but also for their pedigree. Old Mine emeralds are thought to be brought to Europe by the Spanish, and further to the trade routes to Asia. These emeralds are of exceptioal quality, having a superb clarity and brilliancy for an emerald as well as a coveted yellowish green hue which seems to glow from withing the stone.

Emeralds are usally quite included. The vast majority of emeralds have been treated to improve their clarity and appearance, a practice that has been widely accepted for centuries. A natual and colorless oil with refractive index similar to emerald, is the most common and accepted method of treatment.


Until the late Middle Ages there were only two known emerald deposits; Jebel Sikai in Egypt and the Habach Valley in Austria. It was only when the Spanish landed in South America in the 16th century that further deposits were discovered. The most significant discovery was the fabled Muzo mine in Colombia. Even today the mine remains the source of the most exquisite emeralds. Known for their rich green color and beautiful luster, the most sought after emealds come from Colombia.


Emeralds were first discovered in Zambia in the 1950s but large scale mining of the stones did not happen until the early 1970s. Although Colombian emeralds still are considered to be the best in the world and are the most expensive ones, Zambian emeralds can be just as good or even better. The top quality Zambian emeralds have excellent clarity and brilliancy and come in a beautiful yellowish green hue which sometimes can be similar to those of old-mine emeralds.

Other Emerald Souces Include: Afghanistan, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania, United States, and Zimbabwe (Sandawana).


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