Emeralds – Know what You Have!

emeraldrings1Emerald has rapidly moved back into 3rd place as a gemstone in jewelry. It is positioned as one of the “big three” gemstones, just behind sapphire (1st) and ruby (2nd) by jewelry designers and buyers.
Increased production has helped generate the new buzz for emeralds, with many beautiful gemstones coming from Zambia and with Muzo in Colombia now back in production, both mining and selling are in full swing.emeralds-rough

Know what you have by getting a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report or Consultation.

Many Colombian emeralds (and other colored gemstones) may be undervalued, since their rarity and beauty still catch the attention of investors.  But over priced on-line sources are all too common.

Quality Emeralds from Colombia are superior when compared to Brazilian and African gemstones.  The emeralds from Colombia are considered to have the finest color, and are used as the yardstick by which all other emeralds are judged.

Determining if what you have is a Columbian Emerald is done using a Chelsea filter, which is basically a blue filter, which will reveal hidden secrets in the different wavelengths of a stone.  The Chelsea filter was originally devised to separate green glass (or any green tone)
from emeralds. If the stone under the Chelsea filter looks pink or red, it is a Colombian Emerald (Brazilian and African emeralds remain green due to iron content).  This is because of the unique light spectrum of emeralds, which has a double peak, one in the red zone and one in the blue zone which alternatively cancel their peaks out and accentuate the light spectrum our eyes detect as “emerald green,” a color unmatched by any other gemstone.  The Chelsea filter takes advantage of this by blocking the blue part of the spectrum and only allowing the red or pink to come through in a Colombian Emerald.  If the stone still looks green with a Chelsea filter, it is something other than a Colombian emerald (tourmaline or green glass, etc.).

As a consumer, you will regularly encounter marketplace gemstones that have been treated to change their appearance.  Because these treatments are not always apparent to the unpracticed eye, and are sometimes difficult to distinguish even by experts, it is necessary and legally required for anyone selling a gemstone (including consumer to consumer trade) to disclose all treatment procedures it may have received.

emerald1Inclusions are a part of the natural beauty of an emerald.  Emerald is harder than quartz or tourmaline and resists most scratching and wear.  It is less hard than diamond and Sapphire, and like all gemstones, it may be damaged if dropped or bumped hard.  Also, small microscopic fissures are common to emerald due to their crystal nature and current mining methods.  After cutting and polishing, emerald fissures that reach the surface (if any) are masked with a colorless oil (usually Cedarwood Oil) or resin to reduce the visibility of those fissures.  This simple and low-tech process is accepted as normal by the gem industry and is called clarity enhancement which may be minor, moderate or significant.  The Emerald color is unaltered by this treatment and remains natural.

Emeralds set in jewelry have lasted for centuries, and with the proper care, your emeralds will do the same.  Since the great majority of natural emeralds are fracture filled, it is dangerous to clean them ultrasonically or with steam.  Ultrasonic vibrations can weaken already-fractured stones, and hot steam can cause oil or unhardened resin to come out of the fractures.

Clean by using warm, soapy water coupled with a soft toothbrush and gentle scrubbing. This is the safest way to clean emeralds.

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