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Emerald is the most famous member of the beryl family, it is the traditional birthstone for the month of May. It’s also the gem of the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
Experts differ on what makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Generally one would call a stone green beryl when its color is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald, but a difference of opinion exists on what’s considered “too light.” Most emeralds are highly included so their toughness is generally poor. A fine emerald must possess not only the perfect green hue as well as a high degree of transparency to be considered a top gem. Unlike diamonds, where magnification is used to grade clarity, emeralds are graded by eye. If an emerald has no visible inclusions to the eye it is considered flawless. Stones that lack inclusions are extremely rare and therefore almost all emeralds are treated to enhance the clarity. Most emeralds are oiled as part of the lapidary process, this fills in cracks improving clarity and stability. Liquids, including synthetic oils and polymers with refractive indexes close to that of emeralds, such as Opticon and Cedar oil are used. These treatments are typically applied in a vacuum chamber under mild heat, which allows the fracture-filling agent to be absorbed more effectively. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires the disclosure of this treatment when an oil treated emerald is sold. The use of oil is traditional and largely accepted by the gem trade, although oil treated emeralds are worth much less than un-treated emeralds of similar quality.
Historically, emerald was defined as a green beryl gemstone with the color coming from trace amounts of chromium. In the 1960s, the American jewelry industry changed the definition of emerald to include the green vanadium-bearing beryl. As a result, vanadium emeralds purchased as emeralds in the United States are not recognized as such in the UK and Europe. In America, the distinction between traditional emeralds and the new vanadium kind is through terms such as "Colombian emerald".
Rabbinic legend states that God gave King Solomon four gemstones that gave him the power to rule over all creation. One of these stones is believed to have been an emerald. The beryl gemstone mentioned in the first row of the High Priest's breastplate is most likely an emerald.
In 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant sold for $6,578,500 - a record $280,000 per carat!
Emeralds surrounded by diamonds create a stunning look in jewelry