"No colour is more delightful in appearance,
For although we enjoy looking at plants and leaves, we regard Emeralds with all the more pleasure, because compared to them there is nothing that is more intensely green"

~ Pliny the Elder 1st Century A.D.

The word "Emerald" is derived from the Ancient Greek: σμάραγδος smaragdos which means "green gem."

Emeralds have been mined since ancient times all over the world: Egypt, Africa, Mananjary Madagascar, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Rome, Colombia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, United States and Canada, and so forth.

The Egyptians were obsessed with emeralds. Cleopatra was passionate about emeralds and often adorned herself with the lush green stones.

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl that is colored green.

The value of an emerald is determined by its color and clarity. Fine emeralds possess a pure verdant green color with vivid colour saturation and must be highly transparent.

Its primary color is grass green but it can also come in yellow-green to blue-green. However, if its hue is too yellowish or too bluish, then its value drops accordingly.

One interesting fact about emeralds is its inclusions. Unlike other gemstones where inclusions (imperfections) take away its beauty, with emeralds, this is not the case. Inclusions add to the unique characteristics of emeralds. In fact, in most cases, an emerald with inclusions coupled with strong saturation will actually cost more than a flawless emerald with weak saturation. Eye clean emeralds are very rare.

These inclusions which are called "jardin" in French (means garden) can be replicated or grown "flawlessly" in lab created emeralds. Therefore, it is very hard to discern a genuine natural emerald stone from one created in a laboratory.

The first synthetic emerald created was that of Carroll Chatham. Another large producer of the synthetic stones was Pierre Gilson Sr. whose products have been on the market since 1964. Typically, it takes 7 months to grow a 7mm thick emerald crystal.

There are other patents by different producers that use different formulae and methods to synthetize emeralds. One such satisfactory commercial product was that of Lechleitner of Austria which appeared on the market in the 1960s. These were sold under the names of "Amerita" and "Symeralds."

Today, the largest producer of synthetic emeralds with very close chemical composition to natural emeralds is Tairus whose products are known as "Colombian created emeralds" or "Tairus created emeralds."

Emeralds are known as the May Stone, for the astrological sign of Cancer. They are often associated with renewal and rebirth. Some cultures even believed that by placing emeralds under your tongue, you could see into the future. Ancient civilisation also believed that emeralds could cure some diseases or acted as a truth serum.

Emerald gems belong to planet Mercury. It is known as a crystal of wisdom and communication.

[Note: the goddess Meenakshi, at the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, is traditionally thought to be made of emerald.]