Emerald is the most famous member of the beryl family. Other beryl members are Red beryl, (Bixbite), Pink beryl, (Morganite), blue/green beryl, (Aquamarine), yellow beryl, (Heliodor) and Colorless beryl, (Goshenite). Emerald comes from the Greek word for green “smaragdus.”
The exotic Emerald in it's highest quality is the color of fresh green grass, sometimes with a faint hint of blue. The color green has always been a comforting color to look at, the color green has always been known to relieve stress and eye strain.
The first known Emerald mines were in Egypt, 330BC. Cleopatra had a passion for Emeralds, she used them in all her royal jewelry.
One of the largest producers of Emerald is Columbia, they are known to have excellent color. Other Emerald sources are Russia, India, Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zambia.
Availability of fine Emerald is very limited. Only 5% of natural Emeralds come from the mine, clean without any treatments done to them. Treatment is very commonly done with Emeralds, as they are a Type III gemstone, known to have natural inclusions such as wispy white veils. Surface fractures are filled with colored oils and resins, this improves color and clarity giving lighter Emeralds a richer green Emerald color. This dyeing practice goes way back to early Greek times.
Emeralds were given bad publicity in the 1990's, treatments that are used to improve their clarity and color got negative publicity. Emeralds that had been treated were not being disclosed as having the treatment done. A reputable jeweler or Gemologist should always disclose if treatments have been done to the gemstone.
If an Emerald were to accidentally be put in a ultrasonic cleaning machine and was damaged by fading, it could possibly be reconditioned by retreating it.
Emeralds are very wearable being 7 ½ - 8 on the Mohs scale for hardness.
Never, ever steam clean or use an ultrasonic machine to clean your Emeralds! Warm soapy water is usually safe but avoid scrubbing them.