The Gemological Institute of America defines emeralds as "the green to bluish green variety of beryl, a mineral species that also includes aquamarine as well as beryls in other colors." For the most part, the industry agrees that a deep, rich, velvety green is classified as a proper emerald, while lighter green beryls are often classified as "too light" to be a "true" emerald.
Emeralds rate a 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, largely due to inclusions that are more visually interesting and character building than are generally considered "flaws." For reference, a diamond is rated 10 as the hardest mineral on earth, so be aware that emeralds will need to be cleaned and cared for differently than diamonds.
Generally speaking, emeralds serve as a symbol of youth, spring, and rebirth. In ancient Egypt, the dead were often buried with emeralds due to their symbolizing eternal beauty and youth. Cleopatra, a fan of the green gemstone, often gifted visiting dignitaries with the gem as an indication of her royal standing, power, wealth, and authority.
Emeralds have long been prized as a jewel of royalty and symbol of immortality. But while Cleopatra may have been among the main reasons the emerald continues to be associated with royalty to this day, the gem has profound symbolism all over the world and in many different cultures.
Many believe that emerald talismans have the power to draw riches and eloquence as well as a sharp mind. In many ancient cultures, emeralds were even believed to hold the power of prophecy.
While the first known emerald mines dated from 330 BC in Egypt (and were, of course, largely utilized for Cleopatra's own use), the majority of in-demand modern emeralds are from Columbia, where there has been more mining in recent years than there has been in the four centuries since the deposits were initially discovered by the Spanish. This year, emerald gems (blue & green gems, in fact) and emerald cuts have been very popular in ring and engagement ring design.
Featured above are two of our signature READY TO SHIP designs: ALLIE was our first-ever engagement band, originally designed with seven emeralds and conflict-free accent diamonds set in yellow gold.
MIRA is a new ready to ship design that will also ship in 2-3 days as is (or +7 days for re-sizing).