Medium Green to Dark Green variety of the mineral Beryl is termed as“Emerald”. Light Green Beryl is not emerald; it is classified as Green Beryl. The name emerald comes from the Greek word ‘smaragdos’ as well as the Old French word ‘esmeralde’, which means ‘green gemstone’.The name emerald was first translated from Sanskrit as “marakata” meaning “the green of growing things.”

The green color of emerald represents the color of life and springtime. Emerald is regarded as the traditional birthstone for May. It is one of the Navagraha stones representing Mercury as per the Hindu rituals.

Emeralds are graded using the 4Cs (Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat). Emeralds with a very high degree of transparency and pure green hues are considered to be a priceless gem.



Emerald Chemical Composition:

  • Beryl                          : Beryllium Aluminum Silicate (Be3Al2SiO6)

* Pure Beryl is colorless in nature

Beryl Varieties

  • Emerald                    : Green
  • Green Beryl              : Light Green
  • Aquamarine             : Greenish Blue
  • Heliodor                    : Yellow
  • Goshenite                 : Colorless
  • Morganite                : Pink
  • Bixbite (Rare)           : Red

* There are market terms for certain varieties of Beryl which is not mentioned in the list above.


Most Emeralds are found in mines which have hydrothermal (hot water or steam) deposits. Emeralds are also found in eluvia and alluvial deposits.

The finest quality Emeralds are found today in the Muzo and Chivor mines of Columbia. However, many other locations also have fine quality emeralds being found in modern times.


Emeralds are found in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, Russia, India, Pakistan, Siberia, South Africa, Madagascar, Australia, and Zimbabwe.


Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale. Most emeralds generally range from good to poor in their toughness i.e. resistance to breakage if they are highly included and can get easily chipped. However, breakage and chipping can be prevented to a certain extent through appropriate jewelry settings and proper care.

Common Treatments:

The vast majority of emeralds are treated to improve their clarity. The surface-reaching fissures are filled with organic a filler. The traditional treatment for emerald is oiling with cedar oil as it has a refractive index that is similar to that. With this process the visibility of surface-reaching fissures reduces. Resin treatment is usually more stable and improves the stability of the stone. In this case, though the refractive index is the same but under magnification and careful examination the fractures or fissures show colored flashes of light. At times to improve the color of the emerald it may dyed.

Gems are graded for treatments on a four step scale:

  • None
  • Minor
  • Moderate
  • Highly enhanced

It is always recommended to have your gemstone graded and identified by a reputed gemological laboratory.



Quality Factors:

As emeralds have many inclusions clearer the stone better the clarity and higher the value. The desirable green hues can range from pure green to medium or medium dark green. The purer the hue higher the value.

A combination of the hue (body color) and clarity determines the value of the emerald.

Care and Caution:

Emeralds generally require care hence it is advisable to set them in secure settings.

The recommended setting for ring and bangle or bangle bracelet is bezel setting. Other settings can be used if the emerald is worn either as a pendant or earring which are less vulnerable to everyday wear and tear.

Emerald can fracture easily. Since emerald has good to poor toughness and it is advised to remove your emerald jewelry whilst doing heavy work. Emerald should be protected from harsh chemicals and acids. Avoid cleaning emeralds in an ultrasonic cleaning machine as well as a steam cleaner.

For cleaning emeralds, one should use mild soap and a lint-free cloth. Do not soak or scrub hard.

About the author

Co-founder & President at Gemological Science International (GSI) | +12122074140 | Website | + posts

Debbie Azar is an experienced executive with extensive knowledge of the jewelry and gem lab industries. Her entrepreneurial skills and clarity of vision have helped GSI achieve rapid and continuous growth worldwide.

She began her industry career by starting her own successful costume jewelry business. She then expanded her knowledge of the industry with sales, marketing and business development roles at several companies. In 2005, she joined Mark Gershburg to establish GSI. Ms. Azar is an active member of myriad industry organizations and charities; she currently serves as a Board Member of Jewelers for Children. She is also a Forbes Business Council member.

Her strengths include working directly with retail chains and stores to help build their business and brands. She is widely known in the industry for her commitment to meeting customer needs.

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2 Comments. Leave new

June 17, 2016 10:45 am

Really very informative post.

June 21, 2016 9:36 am

Beautiful jewellery.

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GSI is headquartered in New York, NY. It has 13 laboratories on four continents and in a number of countries: the United States, India, Dubai, Israel, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Botswana. This makes GSI one of the largest independent gemological organizations in the world.

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All GSI laboratories grade using the same methods and adhere to the same standards. Every laboratory is staffed with highly trained professionals who have years of grading experience and an extensive gemological background.

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The phrases “GSI Certificate” and “GSI Certified” are industry shorthand for GSI grading or identification reports. What this means to you is that expert gemologists and trained professionals meticulously evaluated the item. When your diamond, jewelry or gemstone is accompanied by a GSI grading report, you can be completely confident in the accuracy and objectivity of the evaluation.

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What are the 4Cs

A beautiful diamond is one of nature’s most mesmerizing creations. But how do you objectively judge the quality of the gem? The 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight – are the universal standard for doing this.

Is there anything beyond the 4Cs?

The 4Cs are an essential and important description of a diamond’s characteristics. But there is a considerable amount of detailed information behind each “C” along with other qualities of a diamond that affect its beauty, such as fluorescence, light performance and more.

How much do you need to know? That’s up to you, but knowing the 4Cs is almost essential.

What does a GSI diamond grading report look like?

GSI offers a number of grading reports (often referred to as “GSI Certificates”). You can see samples of them by browsing the Grading Reports page on our website.

What does a GSI colored diamond grading report look like?

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What does a GSI Colored stone report look like?

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How does a GSI grading report compare to other laboratories that issue grading reports?

It is our policy not to comment on other laboratories. However, know that GSI adheres to the highest ethical standards. We do this in a number of ways:

  • Rotating gemologists to our different labs
  • Continuously upgrading our proprietary grading software to ensure full compliance with international grading standards
  • Having our gemological research department constantly investigate new developments in the industry, which informs the grading process

What’s the difference between a “GSI Certificate” and a “GSI Diamond Grading Report”?

GSI issues a variety of grading and identification reports. Consumers and industry professionals often call these reports “GSI Certificates”.

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