Emerald is the green gemstone variety of the mineral Beryl (the blue variety of the mineral Beryl is Aquamarine). Beryl is beryllium aluminum silicate, with the known chemical composition of Be3Al2Si6O18.
Emerald crystals are hexagonal in nature. Large Emerald deposits are currently mined in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia. Emeralds are mined throughout the world (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Australia, United States) but these are the three major sources. The Zambian and Brazilian Emeralds may be colored due to the presence of vanadium, whereas Colombian Emeralds usually achieve their coloration from the presence of chromium.
Emeralds have been treasured as adornments in the form of jewelry for centuries. Emeralds are at least twenty times more rare than diamonds, but in the finest grades sell for approximately the same per-carat price as diamonds. Emeralds are readily available in lesser grades and even very large sizes, but are exceedingly rare in fine grades in any size.
Widely recognized as the Birthstone for May and Astrological affiliation with Cancer (June 22 / July 22), Emerald is also the celebrated gemstone of choice for 20th and 35th Wedding Anniversary. The Emerald continues to be one of the most popular of precious gemstones, rivaling Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires.
Colombian emeralds will typically be the most expensive followed by Brazilian and Zambian stones. The reasoning is related to the color. Colombian emeralds get their color primarily from the trace amounts of the element chromium which is responsible for some of the purest greens in gemstones. Brazilian emeralds get their color primarily from trace amounts of the element vanadium and Zambian emeralds get their color from iron. Brazilian emeralds typically have a slight brown or gray cast and only sometimes match the pure green hue that many Colombian emeralds offer and Zambian emeralds often appear too blue due to their iron content. In reality though, emeralds from all three sources may be colored by more than one element.
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