Last Updated on 03/03/2024 by DR.Travor

Emeralds is “canutillos” in English, derived from Persian “zumurud”, which later evolved into Latin “smaragdus”, and was rumored as “Esmeralda, Emeraude”, and then became the English spelling form “emerald”.

The Origin of Emeralds

Helping You Know the Gemstone Further

The Origin of Emeralds

Emeralds have been known for a long time. Before the 16th century, Egypt was famous all over the world as a country producing emeralds. There are also records of the emerald trade in ancient Colombia. At the beginning of the 16th century, Spanish colonists occupied Colombia and enslaved the local indigenous people to mine emeralds. After the emeralds were mined, the Spanish colonists sold them to Europe. Because of the special brilliance and eye-catching color of emerald, it has become the most fashionable jewelry in Europe. Especially during the 17th and 18th centuries, European royal families were popular to wear beautiful emerald jewelry.

Austria, India, and Central Asia

Resources in Austria, India, and Central Asia were exploited before 1000 AD. But the production is very small, accounting for a small part of the global production. Before the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the most famous source of emeralds was still Egypt. Deep in the desert, Egyptian emerald deposits have been mined intermittently since BC. It wasn’t until 51 BC to 21 BC that mining activities gradually became regulated. To date, the earliest known Egyptian emerald mine to have been mined is “Cleopatra”.


After the Spaniards conquered the Americas, they first controlled the gold and emerald mining activities in the Americas. Beginning in 1500, Spanish ships returned to Spain with vast wealth, making Colombia an important source of emeralds. The most famous emerald-producing region today is Colombia, where emerald mining began in the 11th century AD. High-quality emeralds from the most famous mining area, the “Muzo” mine, are a deep green with a bluish tinge. This grade of emerald is called “Muzo Green”. In addition, although emeralds have been found in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Australia, Brazil, and other regions, their quality cannot be compared with Colombian emeralds.

History of Emeralds

History of Emeralds

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Origin and Characteristics of Emerald

Emeralds are found in many countries. Among them, are the more famous producing areas of emeralds: the quality of emeralds produced by Colombia’s Muzo and Chivor mines is recognized as the best. The second is the emerald of Panjshir, Afghanistan, which is bright and bright in color and its output is scarce. In addition, emeralds are also produced in Zambia, Brazil, Africa, and Asia, but high-quality natural emeralds are very rare, and their value can be comparable to that of diamonds.

To examine an emerald for inclusions, the equipment measures its optical and physical properties, and it is viewed under ultraviolet (UV) lamps and Chelsea filters. Determining the origin of an emerald often requires expertise and experience, and one can determine an emerald’s origin based on observable characteristics using gemological laboratory equipment. The production of emeralds varies from place to place. Normaltan Jewelry simply summarizes them as follows:

Afghanistan emerald:

Emeralds are found in the Panjshir Valley of Afghanistan and adjacent valleys.

The refractive index (RI) of Panjshir emeralds overlaps with some emeralds from Brazil, Russia, and Zimbabwe. Their unique inclusions present multiphase inclusions containing liquid brine and multiple daughter crystals. Inclusions are limonite, beryl, pyrite, carbonate, and feldspar.

Austria emerald:

Historically, the Habachtal in Austria was once an important source of emeralds for the Roman Empire, but is now exhausted. These emeralds grow in biotite schist.

Brazil emerald:

In the 1970s, Brazil has been an important source of emeralds. Mainly concentrated in Minas Gerais, Bahia, Goias, and Rio Grande do Norte mining areas.

Among them, the emeralds in the “Bahia” mining area grow in serpentinite, which usually contains a large number of two-phase inclusions, biotite, talc, dolomite, and liquid film. In the “Goias” state, the “Santrezinha de Goias” deposit is the most productive. Emeralds from this deposit are usually small, less than 1 cm in length. The “Itabira” region of “Minas Gerais” has the largest emerald mine in Brazil: the “Belmonte” mine. The emerald-bearing rocks in this area are biotite talc-chlorite schists.

Emeralds from “Minas Gerais” contain three-phase inclusions. Emeralds from the region showed no response under the “Chelsea filter”, while those from Afghanistan and Colombia did. Emeralds from “Rio Grande do Norte” usually have small areas of transparency, typically between 2 and 5 mm. and usually contain two-phase inclusions

China emerald:

Gem-quality emeralds discovered in southern Yunnan province. These vanadium-dominated emeralds are low in iron and also contain substantial two-phase inclusions.

Colombia emerald:

The world’s most prestigious source of emeralds. The two most prolific and most famous are “Chivor and Muzo”. Chivor material tends towards blue-green, while Muzo emerald is yellow-green and highly saturated. The other mines in Colombia are: “Coscuez, Borbur, and Gachalá”. Triple-phase inclusions in Colombian emeralds are often irregular and jagged.

Nigerian emerald:

Nigerian  emeralds may also have similar characteristics to Colombian emeralds. Its value is lower than that of Colombian emeralds.

Egypt emerald:

Emeralds from mica schists contain chromium but are usually light in color. Partially healed fractures with two-phase inclusions in these emeralds with limonite flecks and inclusions of mica and amphibole.

Ethiopia emerald:

Emeralds have massive multiphase inclusions and biotite inclusions.

India emerald:

Mainly concentrated in “Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha”. The emeralds produced are generally of low quality and have high gold content.

Kazakhstan emerald:

The “Delbegetey” emerald deposit produces gem-quality emeralds with a blue color. Usually contains small mica inclusions at one end, accompanied by other fluid inclusions, and mica inclusions.

Madagascar emerald:

Mainly focused on “Mananjary and Ianapera”. The emeralds in the Mananjary deposit form in mica schist, with quartz being one of the most common inclusions, and many of its crystals exhibit a color gamut with edges darker than the center of the gem.

Ianapera emerald:

Emeralds from the ‘Ianapera’ region have a colorless core with dark green rims. And contains two-phase inclusions of carbonate minerals.

Mozambique emerald:

An emerald deposit in the biotite-phlogopite-talc schist near the village of “Gité” in the east. These emeralds are usually blue-green in color and contain many cracks and inclusions. Quartz is also a common inclusion.

Nigeria emerald:

The central part has emerald and green beryl deposits. Emeralds from this deposit show strong growth zoning. Crystal inclusions are rare, but fluorite and albite are the most common. These inclusions are usually black in transmitted light.

Norway emerald:

A gemstone deposit in “Eidvoll” produced emeralds. Although most materials are lighter in color, fluid inclusions and multiphase inclusions are more common, and multiphase inclusions are mostly liquid, with large bubbles and multiple solid phases.


Emeralds are mainly concentrated in Swat Valley, Malakand/Mohmand, Bajaur Agency, and Khaltaro regions. The color is medium to dark, and crystal inclusions are rare, but calcite and dolomite have been observed.


Emeralds from the Ural Mountains usually show growth parallel to the prismatic faces, often confined to light-colored areas.

South Africa:

Emeralds from the “Leydsdorp mine” typically range in color from a colorless or light green core to a darker, more saturated rim.

United States:

Emeralds are produced in three different counties in North Carolina. Rough crystals typically have a light to colorless core with darker rims.


Mostly in the Kafubu region, the largest emerald deposit is Musakashi. Kafubu emeralds may contain skeletal inclusions of magnetite or hematite. Musakashi emeralds may contain three-phase inclusions.


The “Sandawana” mine produced a large number of small but high-quality emeralds. These gemstones have high chromium content, high refractive index, and specific gravity.

Origin and characteristics of emeralds

Origin and characteristics of emeralds

Why are emeralds multi-cracked and impurity?

The evaluation standard for the clarity of emeralds is relatively loose among colored gemstones. There must be more or fewer cracks and inclusions in emerald gemstones; the types of crack inclusions are complex. Among them, the inclusions present a triple structure of gas, liquid, and solid, which is also one of the important features to identify Colombian emeralds.

The main component of emerald is beryllium aluminosilicate while containing the trace element “chromium” because a part of “aluminum” is replaced by “chromium” to form emerald. At the same time, in the process of emerald generation, many other elements such as mica, pyrite, calcite, etc. are mixed into it, so there are many impurities.

Why are emeralds multi-cracked and impure

Why are emeralds multi-cracked and impure

The above is the emerald knowledge introduced to you by Normaltan Jewelry, hoping to give you a better understanding of emeralds and their origins.