About Emerald

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Keep reading to discover more about emerald

  • Mineralogy and geology*
  • Metaphysical, Spiritual and Healing** Properties***
  • Common Associations

 

Mineralogy and Geology of Emerald

Mineral formula: Be3Al2(Si6O18)

Grouping: member of Beryl group

Crystal system: hexagonal

Crystal habit: columnar six-sided crystals

Cleavage: imperfect on {0001}

Fracture: conchoidal

Color: green

Luster: Vitreous, Sub-Vitreous, Waxy, Greasy

Diaphaneity: translucent to transparent

Moh’s scale hardness: 7 ½ to 8

Streak: white (no streak, harder than plate)

Specific gravity: 2.63 – 2.92

Geological occurrence: Igneous rocks (pegmatites)

Named after: “Emerald” derives from Latin esmalalda/esmaraldus, from the ancient Greek word smáragdos meaning “green gem.” Since 1500 BC emeralds were obtained from Mount Smaragdos in Egypt – probably named after the mineral. In ancient times, any green gemstone may have been called by this name, not just green beryl. The technical use of “emerald” for green beryl emerged in the 1830s.

Emerald is the green variety of the mineral beryl. Other colors of this gemstone are known as aquamarine (light blue), morganite (pale pink), heliodor (yellow) and goshenite (clear). The color of emerald is caused by trace amounts of trivalent chromium or vanadium. Beryl is a cyclosilicate, meaning the silica tetrahedra are arranged in 6-membered rings. Typically natural beryl crystals are columnar with six-sides.

Emerald is one of the “big four” of jewelry, along with diamond, ruby, and sapphire. The quality of emerald is determined by color (depth of color and blue or yellow tones), and clarity (the fewer visual defects the more valuable the gemstone). Most emeralds used in jewelry are polished into cabochons or faceted and polished into gemstones. Because of numerous tiny cracks in emeralds, most have been treated with oil to fill in the cracks and provide more visual clarity.

All forms of beryl are rare because the major cation, beryllium, is not abundant in Earth’s crust. Beryl occurs where beryllium has been sufficiently concentrated to bond with silicon, aluminum and oxygen. As rare as this might seem to be, emerald has been found in three very different types of deposit (click HERE to read more):

  • Igneous deposits: Pegmatite veins associated with intrusive silicic igneous activity, where the igneous rocks intruded Cr and/or V-rich mafic to ultramafic rocks (for example, North Carolina)
  • Metamorphic deposits: Shales, carbonates and ultramafic rocks rich in Be, V and Cr were metamorphosed (for example, Ethiopia)
  • Sedimentary deposits: where upper level crustal brines enriched in Be through evaporation interact with shales and other sedimentary rocks containing Cr and/or V (for example, Colombia)

Colombian emeralds were introduced to Europe in the 1500s. The Incas had worked with emerald for jewelry and ceremony for at least 500 years when the Spanish invaded South America. The Spanish considered the Colombian emeralds as even more valuable than the gold and silver they also plundered.

Today, most of the world’s emeralds come from Namibia, Columbia, and Brazil, although significant production now occurs in Ethiopia. Significant emerald deposits also occur in Madagascar, India, Russia and Pakistan.

In the United States, the only commercial production of emerald is from two mines in North Carolina. The Crabtree Emerald Mine, operated from the late 1800s, is a pegmatite-type emerald deposit. The Emerald Hollow Mine near the small town of Hiddenite produced over 20,000 carats of emerald from 1995-2010 (and is still open for collecting). One 1,869-carat stone is now in the Houston Museum of Natural Science and valued at $3.5 million.

Good quality synthetic emeralds were first produced in the 1930s with a new process developed by Carroll Chatham. Many synthetic emerald gemstones are on the market today as they have greater clarity and fewer fractures. Low-priced emerald jewelry may be green glass.

New Mexico Emerald

Beryl is reported from many New Mexico mining districts; most occurrences are colorless to white and pink in color. However, emeralds and have been reported from sediments near Santa Fe.

Emerald Trivia

  • What are the ten most famous emeralds in the world? Click HEREfor one site's take on this, their photographs are spectacular! 
  • The single most famous piece of emerald jewelry is supposedly the Chalk Emerald, now in the Smithsonian.
  • The most recently newsworthy piece of emerald jewelry is the Vladimir tiara, once the property of Russian royalty, after the Russian revolution sold to Great Britain's Queen Mary. Rumor had it that Meghan Markle wished to wear this at her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

 

Metaphysical, Spiritual, and Healing** Properties***

Called the “Stone of Successful Love,” emerald supports the heart chakra, healing at the physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual levels. In ancient times, emerald was associated with the goddess Venus, and was invoked to support security in love. It is a stone of truth, so working with emerald helps bring clarity with its cleansing and purifying energy. It has long been associated with intuition, foresight and prophecy. It encourages compassion and unconditional love.

Wearing Emerald

Emerald’s association with the heart and the third eye makes it perfect worn close to these areas of the body. Emerald pendants, in particular, will support the heart chakra, and emerald earrings support the third eye chakra.  Of course, if you happen to have an emerald tiara, that would support the crown chakra.

Emerald in Your Environment

Placing emerald in your office or home environment can help to balance the energy, or to activate energy in particular areas. The ancient system of Feng Shui provides guidelines about working with stones in the environment. Here’s a few suggestions; for more information, click HERE for a good introduction to the subject.

Zhen (the family/new beginnings area of the bagua) is the area of your room or house located in middle of the left third of the house, when standing in the front door. Zhen relates to green and the energy of springtime. Placing emerald (or any green stone) in this area promotes family harmony or starting a new project. Add your focused intention and a quartz crystal for an extra energy boost.

Kun (the relationships area of the bagua) is located in the far right corner of your room or house. Many who want to support the energy of love and relationships in their lives (with others, or self-love) work with the Kun corner of their bedroom. Again, placing the stone with focused intention on your desired result helps.

Emerald’s association with wealth makes it a great addition to the Wealth corner of the house or office. Xun is found in the far left corner of your house, office, or business.

Feng shui encourages the balancing of the elements for a harmonious environment. The elements in this system include Wood (green), Metal (white, metallic), Water (black), Fire (red), and Earth (yellow). In areas where it’s difficult to add green plants or wood to your space, the addition of a green stone, like emerald, can help achieve elemental balance.

Crystal Grids and Altars

Books on crystal grids and altars rarely include emerald because of its rarity and cost. Don't let that stop you! If you have a small emerald crystal, emerald in matrix, or a piece of emerald jewelry, they all work just as well as a big piece!

According to Kiera Fogg in her book Crystal Gridwork, emerald, a form of beryl, is considered to be a seeker crystal, assisting with manifesting goals and desires. It points the way to achieving your goals. She gives examples of beryl in grids in her Friendship Grid (pp 80-81),  Finding Direction grid (pp 82-83), and Broken Heart Grid (pp 120-121. 

 

Common Associations for Emerald

  Color: Green   

  Chakra: Heart

  Numerology: vibrates to 4

  Planets: Venus

  Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Ram

  Bagua areas: Zhen (Family / New Beginnings), Kun (Relationships)

  Elements: Wood

  Birthstone: May

  Wedding Anniversary: 55th

  Other: The Emerald Tablet, a text worked with by medieval alchemists and early 20th century occultists such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

 

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* Mineralogical information is from mindat.org

** Always consult with your medical professional for any physical or long-term healing issues.

*** Metaphysical properties come from: 

Love Is in the Earth (1995) Melody, Earth-Love Publishing House, 726 pp.

 

The Crystal Bible, A Definitive Guide to Crystals (2003) Judy Hall, Walking Stick Press, 399 pp.

Crystal Muse (2017) Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro, Hay House, 285 pp.

Crystal Gridwork (2018) Kiera Fogg, Weiser Books, 128 pp.