March Gem of the Month: Emerald

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In the spirit of St.Patricks Day the Emerald is our Gem of the month!

This gemstone is a variety of the mineral beryl. Colored green by trace amounts of chromium and occasionally vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale. Most emeralds are highly included, so their toughness (resistance to breakage) is classified as generally poor. It is a cyclosilicate.

In the 1960s, the American jewelry industry changed the definition of “emerald” to include the green vanadium-bearing beryl as emerald. The word “Emerald” is derived via Old French: Esmeraude and Middle English: Emeraude.

Emerald has numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures.  It is graded by eye, unlike the diamond. In antiquity Emeralds have been mined in Egypt since 1500 BCE, and India, and Austria since at least the 14th century CE.