There are other green gems, like tourmaline and peridot, but emerald is the one that’s always associated with the lushest landscapes and the richest greens. Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle for its rich green rolling landscapes. The name emerald comes from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus.” Emeralds are a variety of beryl, a mineral species that also includes aquamarine as well as beryls in other colors. It has a Mohs hardness between 7.5 to 8 making it versatile for many jewelry uses. Many experts differ on what color green constitutes an emerald, but most agree if the color is too light they call them green beryl.
The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC into the 1700s. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emeralds and used them in her royal adornments. Legends endowed the wearer with the ability to foresee the future when emeralds were placed under the tongue, as well as to reveal the truth and be protected against evil spells. Emerald was once also believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. Wearing an emerald was believed to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath as well as make one an eloquent speaker. It’s also the gemstone for the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
Called the “Stone of Successful Love,” Emerald opens and nurtures the heart and the Heart Chakra. Its soothing energy provides healing to all levels of the being, bringing freshness and vitality to the spirit. A stone of inspiration and infinite patience, it embodies unity, compassion and unconditional love. Emerald promotes friendship, balance between partners, and is particularly known for providing domestic bliss, contentment and loyalty. It was dedicated in the ancient world to the goddess Venus for its ability to insure security in love.
There are many different treatments for emeralds. Emerald with surface-reaching fractures in are sometimes filled with essential oils, other oils, waxes, and “artificial resins” epoxy prepolymers, other prepolymers (including UV-setting adhesives), and polymers to reduce the visibility of the fractures and improve the apparent clarity. These substances have varying degrees of stability in treated emeralds, and the volume of filler material present can range from insignificant to major amounts. Cleaning emeralds should be done carefully as steam and ultrasonic cleaning can remove oils and other fracture-filling treatments. A light wash in warm water with mild soap is safer for cleaning and should be done only when needed.