The Basics

At 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, Emeralds aren’t as tough as sapphires or rubies, but they have an almost magical quality — very much associated with celebration, rejuvenation, and new beginnings.

The birthstone for the month of May, Emerald is also associated with royalty.

Colombia, Brazil and Zambia are the main source of the world’s emeralds today.


Due to their softer characteristics, it’s very rare to find a natural emerald gemstone without any flaws. The stones are often reinforced using the traditional practice of filling in cracks with resin or cedarwood oil.

The jeweller and emerald gemstone supplier usually work from an understanding of three different shades, and three levels of clarity.

Inconveniently, there is no universally recognised colour grading system for emeralds. Emeralds are prone to wear over the years, so look out for a long octagon cutting, as this can help to improve a stone’s durability.

"Colouring is the most important aspect to consider when making a purchase, as this will have a great influence on the stone’s price and resale value."

Michael Isaac - Head Gemologist

Historical Background

Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder remarked about the intense green colour of emeralds all the way back in the first century AD. In the many generations since, nobility regarded emeralds as a source of wisdom and as a way of protecting themselves from disease. According to legend, Cleopatra was very fond of this gem as a royal adornment.

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