Some of the main variations of the emerald include:
Brazilian Emeralds: named after their place of origin, Brazilian emeralds are known for being a slightly lighter shade of green compared to those mined in different locations. The name "Brazilian emeralds" can also sometimes refer to green tourmaline.
Columbian Emeralds: perhaps the most highly coveted emerald variation, these emeralds are mined in Columbia. Columbian emerald rings are eagerly sought after.
Star Emeralds: these emeralds get this title when the rare shape of a rayed star can be seen moving inside of the gemstone.
Cat's Eye Emeralds: this variation of emeralds is known for their chatoyancy, otherwise known as the 'cat-eye effect', hence their title. This optical phenomenon occurs in the form of a cat's eye-like slit appearing within the emerald. This can normally only be seen on pale green varieties of the gemstone.
Trapiche Emeralds: this rare emerald variation can only be found in the Muzo area of Columbia. The Trapiche emerald contains black impurities that form a six-rayed star.
History of the emerald
Throughout the centuries, this gemstone has been revered. The emerald has gone by many names throughout its rich history. In ancient India, the emerald was referred to as "marakata" which translates as "the green growth." The word "emerald" that we use to describe the stone today, most likely derives from the Latin word, "smaragdus."
The history of the emerald can be traced back to the Ancient markets of Europe and Asia where this breath-taking stone was traded around 6000 years ago. The emerald was prized by many ancient cultures, both for its beauty and its rich symbolism. Legends even said that wearing a piece of emerald jewellery would allow you to see into the future – some cultures believed that placing the emerald under the tongue was the best way to achieve clairvoyant powers.
Emeralds were treasured by the Incas, and later, it was the Spanish conquistadors who introduced the spectacular South American emerald variety to Europe. From this point onwards, the gemstone was favoured by European royal families, featuring in many sets of royal jewels. Even Queen Victoria's snake-shaped engagement ring, given to her by Prince Albert, featured a striking emerald.
In addition to royalty, 20th-century Hollywood film stars were often known for their love of emeralds. Among others, Elizabeth Taylor was famed for her impressive collection of emerald jewellery, worth nearly $100 million.
The symbolism of the emerald
Emeralds are most often associated with vitality and the powers of rejuvenation. This makes them a wonderful fit if you're looking for a May birthstone gift, as they embody the ideas of spring and new beginnings. In relation to this, many societies throughout history have shared the belief that emeralds have the power to cure diseases.
As well as these restorative powers, emeralds are believed to bring the wearer protection, wellness, and good fortune in all walks of life. They have also been thought to hold calming qualities and believed to encourage trust and protection for the wearer.
Because of the emerald's calming and encouraging symbolism, a piece of emerald jewellery would be a fantastic gift for anyone who is setting off on a new adventure, perhaps starting a new job or moving to a new home.
At AC Silver, we have a wide range of exquisite emerald jewellery pieces, including emerald rings, emerald necklaces, emerald earrings, and much more. We are particularly proud to present some large antique Columbian emeralds within our collection. Whether you're looking for a gift to celebrate a loved one's birthstone or a beautiful new addition to your own jewellery collection, browse our online shop today.