Emerald (Be3Al2(SiO3)6) is a variety of the mineral beryl, colored green by trace amounts of
chromium and sometimes iron. It is highly prized as a gemstone and by weight is the most valuable gemstone in the world, although it is often made less
so by inclusions, which all emeralds have to some degree. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5 on the 10 point Mohs scale of hardness. However, this Mohs rating
can decrease, depending on the number and severity of inclusions in a particular stone.
Most emeralds are oiled as part of the post lapidary process. The amount of oil entering an emerald micro fissure is roughly
equivalent to the size of a period in print. Emeralds come in many shades of green and bluish green. There is a wide spectrum of clarity, along with various
numbers of inclusions. Most emeralds are highly included, so it is quite rare to find an emerald with only minor inclusions. Because of the usual inclusions,
the toughness (resistance to breakage) is classified as generally poor.
Emeralds in antiquity were mined by the Egyptians and in Austria, as well as Swat in northern Pakistan.
Uncut emerald showing hexagonal structure.