Emerald

The name emerald derives from Greek "smaragdos" - green stone. It is the most precious stone in the beryl group. Its green is incomparable, and is therefore called "emerald green". Emerald is highly evaluated for its deep bright green colour, transparency and rather high hardness. It has maintained, along with diamond and ruby, the dominant position among gemstones since ancient times.

The crystals are usually small with average length of 2 - 5 cm and width of 1 - 1.5 cm. Larger crystals are usually semitransparent to opaque. Flawless faceted emeralds exceeding 5 carats are rather rare.

The emerald is often clouded by inclusions, they are not classified as faults but show the difference between natural and synthetic stone.

Emerald Gemstones by Colour

This table shows the variety of hues this gemstone can be found in. Click on a photo for more information.
 
 
 
 

Emerald Gemstones by Size

This table shows distribution of Emerald gemstone sizes that are listed on this site. This can give a good indication as to the general availability of this gemstone in different sizes.
Contributed photos
Lightest:0.10 cts
Heaviest:37.8 cts
Average:2.58 cts
Total photos:72
Do you have a larger Emerald? Why not upload a photo?
Significant stones
Mogul Emerald218 cts
Hooker emerald75 cts
0.10ct to 3.87ct3.87ct to 7.64ct7.64ct to 11.41ct11.41ct to 15.18ct15.18ct to 18.95ct18.95ct to 22.72ct22.72ct to 26.49ct26.49ct to 30.26ct30.26ct to 34.03ct34.03ct to 37.80ct
General Information
A variety or type of:Beryl
Chemical Formula
Al
 
2
Be
 
3
Si
 
6
O
 
18
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Significant stones
ImageNameWeightCountry of OriginCurrent Owner
Mogul Emerald217.80 ctsColombiaUnidentified Private Owner
Hooker emerald75.47 ctsColombia
Chalk Emerald37.80 ctsColombiaSmithsonian Institution
Duke of Devonshire EmeraldColombiaChatsworth House
Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Emerald Treatments
Beware of coated beryl: look for peeled coating (surface-reflecting light) - Blue Chart Gem Identification, Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, 2010, p 6

Impregnation of the crystal faces with oil is used to conceal minute fractures and improve transparency. Canada balsam, cedar resin, kerosene and other similar materials may be used instead of oil. A technology was developed in Israel, in which fractures were filled with a melt of bismuth and lead under vacuum at high temperature to strengthen raw emerald prior to cutting. - E.Ya. Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 75
Emerald Simulants
Glass with groups of gas bubbles creating "fingerprints" - Blue Chart Gem Identification, Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, 2010, p 6
Synthetic Emerald
Synthetic emerald (flux grown) - Colour - green; transparent; Hardness 7.5 - 8; RI 1.553 - 1.580; Birefringence 0.003 - 0.008; Hexagonal; Uniaxial/+; SG 2.63 - 2.69; Inclusions: flux residues, wisp-like flux "feathers" and "veils", phenakite.
Synthetic emerald - Colour - green; RI 1.563 - 1.585; Birefringence 0.004 - 0.008; SG 2.66 - 2.72; Inclusions: inhomogeneous growth structure (swirl-like or chevron pattern), phenakite crystals, phenakite nails, iron oxide residues.
Synthetic emerald (hydrothermal synthetic emerald overgrowth on colourless beryl) - Colour - green; RI 1.565 - 1.620; Birefringence 0.005 - 0.010; SG 2.66 - 2.71; Inclusions: characteristic pattern of cracks, patchy colour zoning (lighter and darker facets) - Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables German Gemmological Association, 2004, p 10
Physical Properties of Emerald
Mohs Hardness7.5 to 8
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
More from other references
Specific Gravity2.67 to 2.78
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) 2.68-Colombia; 2.67-Brazil; 2.68-Zambia/Zimbabwe; 2.70-Afghanistan/Pakistan/India; 2.68-Australia; 2.71-Ural; 2.68-MadagascarMore from other references
TenacityBrittle
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Cleavage QualityIndistinct
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
More from other references
FractureUneven,Conchoidal
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Optical Properties of Emerald
Refractive Index1.565 to 1.602
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) 1.568-Colombia; 1.565-Brazil; 1.580-Zambia/Zimbabwe; 1.578-Afghanistan/Pakistan/India; 1.565-Australia; 1.577-Ural; 1.580-MadagascarMore from other references
Optical CharacterUniaxial/-
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
Birefringence0.004 to 0.010
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) 0.005-Colombia; 0.005-Brazil; 1.580-Zambia/Zimbabwe; 0.007-Afghanistan/Pakistan/India; 0.005-Australia; 0.006-Ural; 0.006-MadagascarMore from other references
PleochroismStrong dichroism: yellow green - blue green
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
More from other references
Dispersion0.014
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Colour
Colour (General)Emerald green, green, slightly yellowish-green
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
More from other references
Colour (Chelsea Filter)Pinkish to "wine red", depending on chromium content (may remain greenish).
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010) Colombia: wine red (chromium rich); Brazil: green to dark red; Zambia: green to red; Zimbabwe: weak reddish common; Afghanistan/Pakistan: commonly pinkish to "wine red"; India: usually dark green; Australia: brownish, greenish or pinkish; Ural: dark red common
Causes of ColourGreen, Cr3+ and/or V3+ in octahedral coordination.
W. William Hanneman, Pragmatic Spectroscopy For Gemologists (2011)
TransparencyTransparent,Translucent,Opaque
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Fluorescence & other light emissions
Fluorescence (General)Usually inert
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
Crystallography of Emerald
Crystal SystemHexagonal
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
HabitHexagonal prisms
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Geological Environment
Where found:Emeralds are formed by hydrothermal processes associated with magma and also by metamorphism. Deposits are found in biotite schists, clay shales, in limestones, with pegmatites. Mining is nearly from host rock, where the emerald has grown into small veins or on walls of cavities. Alluvial placers are very unlikely to come about as the density of emerald is near that of quartz. Therefore, rare secondary deposits are mostly formed by weathering.
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Spectrographic Data
Calculated Spectra:
Click spectra for more information
Emerald - Locality: Synthetic
Emerald - Locality: Synthetic (manufactured in China)
Emerald - Locality: Muzo, Colombia
Inclusions in Emerald
Emeralds without inclusions are rare and should be considered as highly suspicious. Colombia: 3 phase inclusions (sometimes jagged), pyrite (Chivor), calcite (Muzo), albite crystals. Brazil: tube-like 2 phase inclusions, black chromite and dolomite crystals, mica platelets. Zambia: rectangular shaped multi-phase inclusions, dot-like whitish to brown biotite platelets. Zimbabwe: long, straight and curved amphibole (tremolite) needles. Afghanistan/Pakistan: 2-3 phase inclusions, black chromite inclusions. India: rectangular 2 phase inclusions with "comma" shaped corner. Australia: 2-(3) phase tube-like inclusions parallel to optical axis. 2-(3)-phase secondary healed fractures, tremolite rods, colorless to brown biotite, cassiterite and other guest crystals. Ural: actinolite (tremolite) crystals in "bamboo cane" pattern. Thin liquid films (reflected light). Mica flakes. Madagascar: thin elongated growth tubes, elongated quartz crystals, isometric 2 phase negative crystals, thin films of liquid inclusions - Blue Chart Gem Identification, Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, 2010, p 6
Pyrite inclusion in emerald
Inclusions:Pyrite
Large pyrite inclusion, 3 mm, in a emerald beryl from Boyacá, Colombia. Octahedron dominant form. Private collection in Zaragoza (Spain).
Pyrite inclusion in emerald
Inclusions:Pyrite
Large pyrite inclusion, 3 mm, in a emerald beryl from Boyacá, Colombia. Octahedron dominant form. Private collection in Zaragoza (Spain).
Pyrite inclusion in emerald
Inclusions:Pyrite
Large pyrite inclusion, 3 mm, in a faceted emerald beryl, mounted in a platinum and diamonds ring. Octahedron dominant form. Private collection in Zaragoza (Spain).
Further Information
Mineral information:Emerald information at mindat.org
Significant Gem Localities
Afghanistan
 
  • Badakhshan Province (Badakshan Province; Badahsan Province)
    • Jurm District
Schwarz and Giuliani (2002c); Kalukiewicz (2005)
  • Konar Province (Kunar Province; Konarh Province; Konarha Province; Nuristan)
    • Narang District
  • Laghman Province (Lagman Province; Nuristan)
    • Dawlat Shah District
Laurs (2001)
  • Nuristan Province (Nurestan Province; Nooristan Province; Nuristan)
    • Nurgaram District
Laurs (2001)
Laurs (2001)
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 96
    • Bazarak District
Bowersox et al. (1991), Bowersox and Chamberlin (1995)
Bowersox et al. (1991), Bowersox and Chamberlin (1995)
Sachanbinski et al. (2003), Fijal et al. (2004), Pardieu and Soubiraa (2006a)
Orris, G.J., and Bliss, J.D. (2002): Mines and Mineral Occurrences of Afghanistan. United States Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-110
Orris, G.J., and Bliss, J.D. (2002): Mines and Mineral Occurrences of Afghanistan. United States Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-110
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 96
    • Khinj District
Bowersox et al. (1991), Bowersox and Chamberlin (1995)
Australia
 
  • New South Wales
    • Clive Co.
      • Torrington
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 26
    • Gough Co.
      • Emmaville (Vegetable Creek)
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 96
  • Western Australia
    • Cue Shire
      • Poona
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 26
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 94
      • Riverina Station
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 26
    • Port Hedland Shire
      • Abydos Station
        • Wodgina
Wilson (1995), Henry (2005), Sutherland (2006)
Austria
 
  • Salzburg
    • Hohe Tauern
      • Felben valley
      • Habach Valley
        • Nasenkopf
          • Leckbachgraben (Leckbachrinne)
A. Strasser: Die Minerale Salzburgs (1989)
      • Untersulzbach valley
Brazil
 
  • Bahia
Couto (2000)
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 95
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 90
    • Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras)
      • Serra das Éguas
Rob Lavinsky.
Schwarz et al. (1990), Couto (2000)
    • Campo Formoso ultramafic complex
      • Campo Formoso
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp24-35
      • Pindobaçu
Couto (2000)
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 91
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 91
    • Pilão Arcado
Couto (2000)
  • Ceará
    • Tauá
Schwarz et al. (1990), Couto (2000)
  • Goiás
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 90
    • Pirenópolis
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp24-35
    • Porangatu
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 92
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 91
      • Campos Verdes
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp24-35
  • Minas Gerais
    • Antônio Dias
      • Hematita
Kanis (2001, 2002); Levinson et al. (2001)
    • Iron Quadrangle
      • Itabira
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 35
Kanis (2001, 2002); Levinson et al. (2001); Mossman (2001); Preinfalk et al. (2002); Rondeau et al. (2003)
      • Nova Era
Kanis (2001, 2002); Levinson et al. (2001); Mossman (2001); Preinfalk et al. (2002); Rondeau et al. (2003)
Kanis (2001, 2002); Levinson et al. (2001); Mossman (2001); Preinfalk et al. (2002); Rondeau et al. (2003)
  • Rio Grande do Norte
    • Borborema mineral province
Miisenda (2007)
  • Tocantins
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 35
Bulgaria
 
  • Sofiya Oblast (Sofia Oblast)
Canada
 
  • Northwest Territories
    • Tungsten
Marshall et al. (2004), Groat et al. (2008)
  • Ontario
    • Kenora District
      • Brownridge Township
Groat, L.A., Giuliani, G., Marshall, D.D., and Turner, D. (2008): Ore Geology Reviews 34, 87-112.
Marshall et al. (2004), Groat et al. (2008)
  • Yukon
    • Watson Lake Mining District
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 33
China
 
  • Xinjiang Autonomous Region
    • Kashi Prefecture (Kashgar Prefecture; Qeshqer Prefecture)
      • Tashiku'ergan Co. (Taxkorgan Co.; Tashqurqan Co.)
Blauwet et al. (2006), Michelou and Pardieu (2009), Schwarz and Pardieu (2009)
  • Yunnan Province
    • Wenshan Autonomous Prefecture
      • Malipo Co.
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 26
Colombia
 
    • Guavió-Guatéque Mining District
      • Mun. de Chivor
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp36-45
    • Vasquez-Yacopí Mining District
      • Mun. de Maripí
        • La Pita
Johnson et al. (2000), Michelou (2001, 2005, 2006), Boehm (2002), Fritsch et al. (2002), Vuillet et al. (2002), Campos-Alvarez and Roser (2007)
Johnson et al. (2000), Michelou (2001, 2005, 2006), Boehm (2002), Fritsch et al. (2002), Vuillet et al. (2002), Campos-Alvarez and Roser (2007)
      • Mun. de Muzo
Banks, D.A., Giuliani, G., Yardley, B.W.D., and Cheilletz, A. (2000): Mineralium Deposita 35, 699-713.
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp36-45
Min.Rec.:20(5):394.
Banks, D.A., Giuliani, G., Yardley, B.W.D., and Cheilletz, A. (2000): Mineralium Deposita 35, 699-713.
Banks, D.A., Giuliani, G., Yardley, B.W.D., and Cheilletz, A. (2000): Mineralium Deposita 35, 699-713.
      • Mun. de Otanche
        • La Glorieta
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 33
      • Mun. de San Pablo de Borbur
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 33
  • Cundinamarca Department
    • Guavió-Guatéque Mining District
Giuliani et al. (1990,1995,2000), Bosshart (1991), Schwarz (1991,1992) Branquet et al. (1999)
      • Mun. de Ubalá
Giuliani et al. (1990,1995,2000), Bosshart (1991), Schwarz (1991,1992) Branquet et al. (1999)
Egypt
 
  • Red Sea Governorate
    • Eastern Desert
      • Sikait-Zabara region
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp24-35
India
 
  • Rajasthan (Rajputana)
    • Ajmer Division
      • Ajmer District
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p.25
  • Tamil Nadu
    • Salem District
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 26
Italy
 
  • Piedmont
    • Verbano-Cusio-Ossola Province
      • Ossola Valley
        • Vigezzo Valley
          • Trontano
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 29
Kazakhstan
 
  • Eastern Kazakhstan Province (Shyghys Qazaqstan Oblysy; Vostochno-Kazakhstanskaya Oblast')
  • Kostanay Province (Qostanay Oblysy; Kostanai Oblast')
Madagascar
 
  • Fianarantsoa Province
    • Vatovavy-Fitovinany Region
      • Mananjary District
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp24-35
          • North Zone
Henn and Milisenda (2001)
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 28
          • South Zone
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp24-35
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 28
Vapnik et al. (2006)
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp24-35
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 89
  • Tuléar Province (Toliara)
    • Southwestern Region
      • Benenitra District
        • Ianapera Commune
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp 52-59
Mozambique
 
  • Zambezia Province
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 28
Bettencourt-Dias and Wilson (2000)
    • Gilé District
      • Gilé
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 28
    • Uape
Schappmann (2005)
Namibia
 
  • Hardap Region
    • Maltahöhe District
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 28
Nigeria
 
  • Kaduna State
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 28
    • Nandu Village
Vapnik and Moroz (2000)
  • Nassarawa State (Nasarawa State)
Michelou (2007)
  • Plateau State
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 90
Norway
 
  • Akershus
    • Eidsvoll (Eidsvold)
      • Minnesund
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 30
Pakistan
 
  • Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
    • Bajaur Agency
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 97
    • Mohmand Agency
      • Warsak (Warzak)
        • Ganadao (Gandahab; Ghandahab valley)
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 97
  • Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas)
    • Baltistan
      • Skardu District
        • Basha Valley (Basha Nala; Basna)
Hammer (2004)
    • Gilgit District
      • Haramosh Mts.
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 24
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (North-West Frontier Province)
    • Swat District (Swat Valley)
Arif et al. (1996), Aboosally (1999)
Arif et al. (1996), Aboosally (1999)
Econ Geol (1986) 81:2022-2028
Econ Geol (1986) 81:2022-2028
Econ Geol (1986) 81:2022-2028
Econ Geol (1986) 81:2022-2028
Arif et al. (1996), Aboosally (1999)
Russia
 
  • Urals Region
    • Middle Urals
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 109
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 109
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 109
      • Sverdlovskaya Oblast'
        • Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk)
          • Malyshevo
http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/country/1994/9434094.pdf; Dan Weinrich
Dan Weinrich
        • Sarapulka District (Murzinka)
Somaliland
 
  • Awdal
    • Borama District
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 29
South Africa
 
  • Limpopo Province
    • Mopani District
E.Ya. Kievlenko (2003) Geology of gems, p. 89
    • Murchison Range
      • Gravelotte
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 28
Spain
 
  • Galicia
    • Pontevedra
      • A Cañiza
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 30
Sri Lanka
 
  • Sabaragamuwa Province
    • Ratnapura District
      • Ratnapura
Tanzania
 
  • Arusha Region
    • Dumbawanga District
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp52-59
Bank (1986) Emerald deposits in Africa, Goldschmiede und Uhrmacher Zeitung, Vol. 84, No. 9, pp. 161-163
  • Rukwa Region
    • Sumbawanga District
Dirlam et al. (1992)
Ukraine
 
  • Zaporozhskaya Oblast' (Zaporiz'ka; Zaporozh'e)
    • Priazovie
      • Middle Berda River
        • Rodionovskoe pegmatite field
USA
 
  • Maine
    • Sagadahoc Co.
  • North Carolina
    • Alexander Co.
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 77
      • Hiddenite
Rocks & Min.:60:84.
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 33
    • Cleveland Co.
      • Shelby
E.Ya. Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 78
    • Mitchell Co.
      • Spruce Pine District
        • Spruce Pine
Rocks & Min.:60:92.
Zambia
 
  • Copperbelt Province
    • Ndola District
      • Ndola
Emeralds of the World English extraLapis Vol. 2 2002 pp52-59
Milisenda C.C., Malango V., Taupitz K.C. (1999) Edelsteine aus Sambia - Teil 1: Smaragd. Gem: Z. Dt. Gemmol. Ges., Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 9-28
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 29
Zimbabwe
 
  • Mashonaland West
Kanis and Schwarz (2002)
  • Masvingo
    • Bikita Area
Zwaan and Touret (2000); Zwaan et al. (2004); Zwaan (2006)
    • Masvingo (Fort Victoria)
Zwaan and Touret (2000); Zwaan et al. (2004); Zwaan (2006)
Zwaan and Touret (2000); Zwaan et al. (2004); Zwaan (2006)
  • Matabeleland South
    • Gwanda - Filabusi District
      • Filabusi (Filibusi)
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 89
E.Ya.Kievlenko, Geology of gems, 2003, p. 89
    • Mweza Range (Wedja)
      • Sandawana-Belingwe District
Emeralds of the World - extraLapis English No.2 (2002) p. 29
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