With an unmistakable lush green color, May’s birthstone has long been one of the most coveted of all colored gemstones. Adored since ancient times, the emerald was thought to possess magical powers that warded off evil spirits and cure diseases. Today, the emerald still holds power, but of an entirely different sort – the power of desire. This dazzling green gemstones evokes a sense of elegant tranquility as the gem of the spring season.
With the gemstone market ever expanding, the choices for emeralds seem endless. These popular precious gemstones can be found today in a range of varying colors, sizes, and qualities. For the first-time buyer, this variety of stones and the accompanying terminology can seem daunting and difficult to decipher. When searching for the perfect emerald, it’s important to understand the makeup of your stone and its background, as various treatments and artificial enhancements are not always noticeable to the unpracticed eye. Oil/no oil, heat/no heat, treated/untreated – what does it all mean, anyway? Let’s take a closer look at the most common terms you might encounter when shopping for your next emerald.
Heat treatment is one of the most important considerations when it comes to an emerald’s color and chemical makeup. In the marketplace, you’ll regularly come across gemstones that have been heat treated to enhance and improve both their color and their clarity. For emeralds, this process is especially common. Due to the physical makeup of the emerald crystal, the green hue of emeralds often shows various inclusions and fissures that cause the gem to lose clarity and appear cloudy. With heat treatment, the emerald’s appearance can seem exponentially more beautiful, clear, and strong. However, by the power of nature, there exist emeralds that possess this clarity and color without heat treatment.
Oils and artificial resins, also known as fillers, oleoresin, or epoxy, are also used to improve an emerald’s appearance. This oil is used in emeralds to fill cracks in the stone that would otherwise mar its appearance. The process includes an oil that bonds to the host emerald, thus camouflaging the stone. Importantly, the volume of the oil used can range from nearly insignificant to substantial amounts; over time, this oil treatment must be repeated, as the filler will disassociate with the emerald. Because of this impermanency, emeralds that have not undergone oil treatment are more desirable, like these remarkable 6.02-carat emerald and diamond ring and emerald drop earrings.
Apart from the chemical makeup of each unique stone, the geographical origin of emeralds should also be considered. For instance, Colombia has been the prime location for the mining of the finest quality emeralds in the world. These stones possess a quality like no other as they are regarded as the finest in the world identifiable by their pure, dark green color and quality, seen in this Colombian emerald and diamond statement necklace.
Exciting imaginations since antiquity, the emerald’s association with the lushest landscapes and rebirth maintains its association with the renewal of the Spring season. Today, the demand for the emerald has skyrocketed as consumers desire emeralds that speak to the most pure color and origin. By understanding simple terminology behind the makeup of an emerald, anyone can detect what makes up the finest emeralds.