Everything You Need to Know About the Emerald 

Mariana is a writer living in Waterloo, Ontario. She loves using jewelry to add the perfect…

Emeralds are one of many gorgeous gemstones to adorn jewelry. The green gemstone is the birthstone of the month of May and has been used by royalty and Hollywood stars, like Elizabeth Taylor. 

Are you looking for an engagement ring stone that isn’t diamonds? Or are you interested in any other piece of jewelry featuring the coveted emerald? If so, there are some things to look out for when browsing online. 

Due to its high demand, many emerald imitations have surfaced in the market. You’ll need to know how to recognize fakes. Also, after acquiring a piece featuring the gemstone, you will need to take good care of it to keep it looking as beautiful as before. 

In this article, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about emeralds – how to style them, what they’re worth, how to identify genuine emeralds, and how to care for them.

What is an emerald?

The emerald is a green-colored precious stone of the beryl family. The green color of the emerald is due to trace amounts of chromium or vanadium found in the stone. The beryl family also includes aquamarine, goshenite, morganite, and other gemstones.

How are emeralds formed?

As mentioned before, the emerald comes from the beryl, which is composed of beryllium aluminum silicate. This mineral also creates other colorful hexagonal crystals that can be up to several feet tall. 

💡 Did You Know? The coloring of the gemstones comes from impurities. Pure beryl is colorless. But when there are traces of chromium or vanadium, the crystal becomes a deep green color, creating emerald.

Emeralds are naturally hexagonal. The largest deposits of emeralds are located in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia. The two latter regions get their green coloring due to vanadium in the beryl crystal. Colombian emeralds get their green color from chromium.

What do emeralds symbolize?

When it comes to birthstones, emeralds represent the month of May and are affiliated with the Cancer sign. Many couples celebrate their 20th and 35th wedding anniversary with emerald jewelry.

The emerald has been a symbol of royalty, wit, eloquence, and foresight throughout history. In ancient Greece and Rome, it was the stone of the goddess Venus, who represented love and hope. On the other hand, Egyptians and Incas believed the precious stone to be a source of eternal life. 

What is emerald in the Bible?

In Christian tradition, the emerald is a symbol of resurrection, or birth into a new and purer life. Additionally, the gem is also included in the twelve apocalyptic gems described by Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mainz. 

In the Middle Ages, members of the Christian clergy wore rings adorned with emeralds as a sign of their office. Furthermore, the rings were said to signify the resurrection and virtue of hope.

Famous Emeralds in History

Emeralds have been cherished by many people throughout history. Here are some famous emeralds:


Elizabeth Taylor bought a beautiful emerald and diamond pendant brooch when filming Cleopatra. She also wore the 23.46-karat brooch at her wedding in 1964. 

It was later sold in 2011 for $6.6 million and holds the record for the most expensive piece of emerald jewelry sold at an auction.


Queen Elizabeth II also wore emerald jewelry. The Vladimir tiara was featured at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding in 2018. 

The piece was first commissioned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir from the Romanov court and was hidden in the palace in Saint Petersburg. After the Russian revolution, the tiara was secretly smuggled out of Russia and sold to Queen Mary.


Another beautiful piece of jewelry featuring emeralds was Catherine the Great’s necklace. 

The necklace was part of the Russian imperial collection for more than 100 years before Tsar Alexander II gifted it to the Grand Duchess Vladimir in 1874. 

After she died in 1920, the necklace that features a 75.61-karat emerald was inherited by her son and then owned by famous collectors. 

In 2019, the necklace was sold to Christie’s for $4.5 million. 

How much is an emerald stone worth?

Much like any other gemstone, the worth of an emerald is based on its color, clarity, cut, and karat. 

Emeralds come in varying shades of green. 

Interestingly, the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color. So, the color and hue of an emerald are one of the most important characteristics. The most coveted coloring for an emerald is the bluish-green or the yellowish-green.

While diamonds have a scale that measures their clarity, emeralds do not. 

Clarity isn’t a highly valued feature of emeralds. Instead, impurities and imperfections on emeralds are sought after. Fractures or inclusions on the gem tell a story that is worth a lot of money.

The cut of a gemstone is the overall shape, width, depth, and faceting. Certain cuts, like the emerald cut, make the emerald look more beautiful, brilliant, and unique.

Many gemstones are valued based on their karat. However, this is not the case for emeralds. The green gemstone is most often priced based on the color, cut, and clarity. Still, large emeralds are difficult to find, which can make them more expensive. 

Where can I sell my emerald stone?

There are many options when you are trying to sell your emerald jewelry. 

  • Pawnshops: A quick and convenient option, pawnshops will buy your emerald jewelry. However, it is very unlikely that a pawnshop owner knows how to accurately price your emerald. So you might end up selling it for less than its true value. After selling it to the pawnshop, the owner will probably sell it to a specialist to make a profit.
  • Auction Houses: If you have a rare piece of jewelry, you can sell it to an auction house. However, the selling process can be lengthy. Additionally, auction houses are not likely to just take any piece. You might have to travel to go to one accepting submissions similar to what you have to offer.
  • Selling Online: Much like anything, selling jewelry online should be done with caution. Many online buyers will lowball prices, fail to return jewelry if you reject their offer, or not send a payment for your items. If you choose to sell to an online buyer, check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Selling In Person: Selling in person is a much better option since you can visit many buyers. You can go to coin shops, pawnshops, consignment stores, and jewelers. When selling your jewelry, try to get at least three estimates and choose the one of the highest value. 

How to Use and Style Emeralds

Wearing emerald jewelry is a statement. The green gemstone is classic yet colorful enough to be the center of attention in any outfit. Additionally, certain metals are better paired with emeralds. 

What is the emerald stone good for?

The emerald is considered to be the stone of prosperity. The green gemstone represents vitality and growth. It is believed that the wearer of a good-quality emerald gemstone will gain better income opportunities and grow financially.

In Hindu culture, it is believed that the emerald develops one’s reasoning abilities and arithmetic skills. Therefore, the wearer will have intellectual capacity enhanced, and further develop their reasoning and arithmetic skills. 

What energy do emeralds have?

Emeralds are believed to have soothing energy. The green gem generates freshness and vitality in the spirit of the wearer. Additionally, the emerald embodies patience and compassion, giving the wearer those same qualities and enhanced mental clarity and focus. 

Which metals go with emeralds?

Two factors can come into play when selecting the metal for your emerald jewelry: durability and color.


Each metal on the market has different durability and price points. Some of the most common metals are silver, gold, and platinum. Silver is the easier to work with among the three. Gold rarely tarnishes, and platinum is the most durable.

It depends on which quality matters most to you. For example, platinum prongs are a great option to hold the stone because they are less like to break than if they were made of gold. Still, platinum will scratch more easily than gold.


There is a wide variety of metal color options. The color of the metal occurs by mixing other metals with it. Metal colors can make your stone appear warmer or cooler-toned. 

For instance, yellow gold will tend to emphasize yellow colors in the emerald and bring a richer green. This marquise emerald ring from Blue Nile is a beautiful example.

Marquise emerald and diamond ring

Silver, white gold, and platinum will bring cool-toned hues, like the coveted blue tones. Since most people love these tones on emeralds, they also tend to be pricier. For example, this emerald ring from Blue Nile features five dazzling emeralds accented by diamonds.

emerald and diamond five - stone ring

What matters most is that you love the way your chosen metal complements the emerald on your jewelry.

Which cuts and settings are best for emeralds?

The cut of an emerald depends on your taste. Throughout history, the most popular cut has been the emerald cut. However, there is a wide variety of other cuts. Here are some of them

emerald cuts infographic

How to Tell If a Green Stone Is an Emerald

Emeralds are gorgeous stones to add to any jewelry. However, its popularity has also led to imitations of the stone appearing on the market. Here is how to identify if an emerald is real:

Look for Inclusions

Interestingly, a natural has many flaws, most invisible to the naked eye. The flaws can be small tendrils or tiny gas bubbles. To verify these imperfections, you need to hold the stone at an oblique angle and check for the imperfections with a magnifying glass. If you cannot find bubbles or tendrils, the stone is most likely an imitation. 

Look at the Hue

Many gemstones’ authenticity is determined by their coloring. When you hold your green gem against the light, it should showcase a green or blue-green hue. If your stone displays yellow or brown undertones, it is a fake emerald.

Check the Fire

The fire of a gemstone refers to the flashes of color that appear when light hits it. This is not to be confused with the sparkle of a stone, which should also occur in conjunction. 

💡 Take Note: Emeralds sparkle quite a bit, but they have little to no fire. So, when you shine a light on the stone and it radiates a rainbow of colors, it probably is not real. 

Identify Wear & Tear

When looking at the stone through a microscope, you should focus on its edges. If the edges are worn down and resemble an orange peel, the stone is fake. 

Consider Pricing

An even simpler way to identify a real emerald from a fake one is by its pricing. If you find an emerald on the market that is affordable, it is likely a fake one. The jewel has been coveted throughout history; it is very unlikely that you will find an affordable emerald. Research the pricing of different jewelers to get an idea of how much they should be.

Ask a Professional

While you can try to check for any signs that the green gem is an imitation, it is helpful to get a second opinion. A professional can guarantee that your emerald is authentic. 

How to Care for Emerald Jewelry

Emerald jewelry is breathtaking to see, but you need to make sure you are taking the right precautions for your emerald jewelry to stay beautiful. 

Although the green gemstone is between a 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs scale, making it considerably durable, it still requires some care. Here are a few tips.

Store It Well

A good practice is to store your emerald jewelry separately in a velvet-lined jewelry box. You can also store your emerald jewelry in a soft cloth pouch. This will ensure that the stone does not get scratched by other jewelry.

Keep It Away from Chemicals

Another reason for storing your emerald jewelry in a closed pouch or box is chemical exposure. Many everyday products contain chemicals that can damage emeralds. Personal products like perfumes, hairsprays, and makeup can get on the stone and make it lose its shine. 

Wear It on Special Occasions

The emerald is a precious gemstone, along with ruby, diamond, and sapphire. Any piece that features it is a bold statement and it should mostly be worn for special occasions. 

If you wear a piece of jewelry that features the green gemstone daily, you should not shower with it. 

Also, avoid exposure to harsh temperatures as any extreme temperatures can lead to cracks in the stone. 

Finally, the stone can break when subjected to a hard blow. So, store your jewelry when working out or participating in any kind of rigorous activity.

Cleaning Emerald Jewelry at Home

The best method for cleaning most gemstones (including emeralds) is with warm, soapy water. Do not soak the jewelry and avoid using harsh detergent – use mild dish soap like Dawn. 

Also, do not soak emeralds in solvents, including alcohol, acetone, and paint thinner. 


  • Bowl
  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild soap
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Micro-fiber towel


  1. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and add mild soap to it. Place the jewelry onto the mixture for one minute.
  2. Using a soft toothbrush, gently scrub the jewelry to remove the oils and dirt accumulated.
  3. Fill another bowl with lukewarm water only and gently submerge the jewelry to remove the soapy residue.
  4. Dry your jewelry with a clean microfiber towel.

Cleaning by a Professional

If you do not want to risk damaging your emerald jewelry by cleaning it at home, you can resort to professionals. Many jewelers will clean your jewelry and keep it looking fresh and beautiful. 

Everybody Loves Green!

Emerald jewelry might be a little high maintenance, but the pieces are truly dazzling. There are so many options out there, from the daintiest necklaces to the jewelry that will make a statement. No matter what you are looking for, you are sure to find a piece of emerald jewelry to your taste. 

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