Thursday, April 05, 2012

E is for Emerald

Beryl is a family of minerals and emerald is one of the kids. So are Heliodore, Red Beryl (Red Emeralds only found in Utah), Goshenite, and Aquamarine. Each of these gemstones is a different color due to trace elements within the chemical structure of the crystals. Beryl can be green without being an emerald. To be an emerald, the stone must have chromium as the trace element. There is a huge price difference between green beryl and emeralds, so it pays to know the difference. This makes it sound like you must have each emerald tested. You do. But it is very easy and inexpensive. All you need is a little tool called a Chelsea filter. It is a little dark colored filter that you look through, like a hand lens. 

Emerald in Quartz From North Carolina - Fine Minerals for Every Collecter - Rockpick Legend Co.

You hold the suspected emerald up to a good strong light and then view the stone through the Chelsea filter. If the green stone turns red there is chromium and hence an emerald, and if it stays green there isn’t, and it isn't (an emerald). It is that simple. The red can be very faint as in Brazilian emeralds or very dark as in Colombian emeralds--either way they are emeralds.
Emeralds are inherently beautiful. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it is the color that attracts so many people. I know it is the color for me. I can’t resist that green. I find it warm and relaxing.
Emeralds are some of the oldest known gemstones. The first and oldest mine for emeralds is believed to be Cleopatra’s mine.  She demanded the finest of the emeralds (often just green beryl) to be fashioned into wearable’s for herself.  Some still exist today and are on display in museums.


  1. I'm no geologist, so there's plenty here I didn't know. But it's especially interesting that the sure fire way to see if a stone is an emerald is to test for chromium using a Chelsea filter. As a fiction writer, little tidbits of information like that are like gem stones! :) Thanks.

    1. We're glad we could teach you something new! Thanks for stopping by!