Q & A with Richard Greig

Q. The gemstone for the month of May is emerald – what family is this stone from?

A. Emeralds come from the Beryl family, which also includes the aquamarine.

Q. Where do most Emeralds come from?

A. Generally, Emeralds come from Columbia and are normally large and pale in colour.
In comparison, the Zambian emeralds are a darker and more intense green. Afganistan also have some fine quality emeralds.

Q. Tell us about the history of this beautiful stone?

A. Emeralds have been favoured by royals for centuries – besides their exquisite colour, they were considered extremely rare and valuable. To indicate wealth and status, Emeralds were often set in crowns and tiaras such as the coronation in Persia and those belonging to Queen Elizabeth II.

Emeralds were also given as gifts to royal families including as The Maharani of Baroda & Maharaj of Patiala.

More recently, the emerald was favoured by Hollywood stars such as Jacquie Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor. International jewellery brands like Bvgari & Cartier have focused many of their jewellery collections on this beautiful stone.

Q. What is the most popular cut of this gemstone?

A. The most common cut is the “Emerald Cut” – which is rectangular with long step facets andcut-off corners.

Q. What other green gemstones are there?

A. Alternatives to the Emerald are Green Tourmaline and Tsvaorite. Tourmaline is a darker, more olive green, whereas Tsavorites are a more lively lime green.

The best quality Green Tourmaline is referred to as “Chrome” Tourmaline – it is very sought after and comes from Namibia.

Tsavorites come from Kenya and are rarer than Emerald. They are more durable but only obtainable in small sizes, usually under 2.00cts.

Q. Which is the most valuable of these 3 green gems?

A. Although Emerald it is brittle and often included, it is the most valuable of the green gemstones.