Emeralds, known for their exquisite deep green color, are one of the four precious gemstones, which also include diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. They have been considered one of the most valuable stones on the planet for over four thousand years. The primary producer of emeralds worldwide is the South American country of Colombia. Colombia is responsible for 70% to 90% of the world’s emeralds. In recent years Zambia, located in Africa, has become another prominent producer of the green gem.
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Emeralds in Antiquity
Since antiquity, emeralds have been known and appreciated by mankind. Ancient Egypt is the first recorded source to mine emeralds. Queen Cleopatra, in particular, was rather fond of the jewel. Back then, emeralds were not just admired for their beauty but for the powers they were believed to possess. Ancient Egyptians believed emeralds could increase one’s intelligence, provide easy childbirth, protect marriages, and even allow its possessor to predict the future.
Unique Colombian Emerald Traits
Colombian emeralds are not unique just because they are found in great abundance within Colombia but because they possess certain qualities that are exclusive to emeralds found in Colombia. For instance, Colombian stones are considered the purest emeralds in the world because the variety mined in Colombia are found in sedimentary host rock and not Igneous rock where most emeralds are found. The conditions that are specific to Colombia have allowed the emeralds to display an unusual purity level and a superb color. With so many emeralds available, the chances of discovering a pure, high quality stone that is also large in size is more likely in Colombia than in other locations, though it still comes at quite a cost. While commercial quality stones are plentiful and are affordable, fine emeralds are hard to come by and will cost quite the pretty penny. The deep, dark green is the most sought after hue and can only be found in Colombia. This type of emerald can demand exorbitant prices.
2.37 carat, Emerald & Diamond Ring in Flower Motif
Famous Colombian Emeralds
Over the years, several exceptional emeralds have been discovered in Colombia. These include the Crown of Andes, the Ibis Crown Emerald, the Patricia Emerald, and the Devonshire Emerald. The Crown of Andes is a piece of emerald jewelry that consists of 453 stones that amount to 1,521 carats. The Ibis Crown Emerald is the largest known Colombian emerald in the world. At 234 carats, the enormous precious stone was hidden from the public until about a decade ago when it was graded in a tech lab and was later displayed in 2012 at a fair in Bangkok. The Patricia Emerald is named after the miner’s daughter, Patricia. It was discovered in 1920 and weighed 630 carats. Lastly, the Devonshire Emerald is a stone named after the sixth Duke of Devonshire and is showcased in London’s Natural History Museum.
It is safe to say that Colombian Emeralds are like the Rolls Royce of emeralds. Nevertheless, like with cars, there are other extremely high quality emeralds from additional locations that can most definitely compete with the quality and prestige that Colombian emeralds offer. It is wise and highly recommended to look through the various types of emeralds before purchasing an emerald or piece of emerald jewelry for yourself.
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