For thousands of years, emeralds have been admired, coveted and even venerated by many civilizations. A legendary stone steeped in history, this green jewel is one of the world's most prized colored gems, alongside sapphire and ruby.

This stone is associated with the month of May for its distinctive green color, which is often compared to the most luminous of landscapes, the most beautiful of greens. There's no doubt that emerald is one of the greatest... Found in countless sovereign adornments and enjoying an unrivalled reputation, emerald is a must-have at Jewellery.

The artisan jeweler Philippe Tournaire likes to integrate this exceptional gem into harmonious creations in a variety of colors, or simply to create a water feature or a park in one of those dream villas that are Architecture rings.

Emerald identity card

Like aquamarine, emerald is a member of the beryl family. It is a beryllium-aluminum silicate with a hardness of between 7.5 and 8. Its hallmark is its crystallization: its irregularities come from the process of its formation, depending on the mines and continents of its origin. Emerald is one of the few gems to give us so many clues as to its exact provenance. Its characteristic, ubiquitous inclusions lend it a very special charm, so much so that it is sometimes referred to as a"garden"to identify it and define its birthplace. Emeralds without visible inclusions are rare. In its rough state, emerald generally appears as a hexagonal prism. The famous"emerald cut", with its rectangular shape and faceted corners, follows the shape of its elongated rough crystal. When the emerald contains too many inclusions, it is not uncommon to see it cut as a cabochon.Ring Marélie in yellow gold by the designer Philippe Tournaire.

Emerald processing and imitations

The vast majority of natural emeralds have micro-fractures and numerous inclusions, which can sometimes make the stone less transparent and therefore less attractive. To mitigate these effects, emeralds are often impregnated with a colorless oil or resin. Most emeralds are embellished in this way.

It's a gem that needs to be cleaned with care. As emeralds are particularly well known, many laboratories have sought to imitate them, using materials such as glass or, for example, assembling two synthetic spinels or two colorless beryls on either side of a layer of green glue,

giving the illusion of a single stone (these assemblies are commonly called doublets, triplets). Synthetic emeralds involve reproducing the stone from low-quality crystals, purifying and recrystallizing them.

This can be achieved by artificially recreating the formation conditions of a natural emerald. Imitations are usually detectable simply because the stone appears too perfect, with no visible inclusions, or because it contains inclusions not found in natural stones, such as gas bubbles. Synthesis requires greater experience.

Color, the emerald's greatest asset

Color is the determining factor in an emerald's overall value. A beryl is considered an emerald when its color ranges from yellow-green to blue-tinted green, with a rather pronounced tone and bright intensity. This prized color is due to the presence of chemical elements such as chromium, vanadium and iron. The more iron, the more blue. Of all the known green gemstones, emerald is king, as it is unrivalled in terms of color and history, although other gems are also highly prized for their different greens.

By way of comparison, we find peridot and tsavorite: just as emerald may be referred to as "garden" green , peridot is associated with the green of a meadow,

This stone is predominantly green, but is often tinged with a more or less pronounced yellow. This luminous stone was dubbed the "gem of the sun" by the Egyptians. Another stone, called tsavorite, is a particularly sparkling green garnet with a slight yellow or blue tinge, closer to emerald than to peridot. Recently discovered, tsavorite is the best-known of the green garnets. For the most part, peridot and tsavorite owe their color to iron and vanadium respectively...two elements also found in emerald, along with chromium! These three intense green gems each contribute to the creationof exceptional Tournaire jewels, with colors full of life. 

The emerald's origins

Through its clarity and color, emerald tells us its story. By letting ourselves be guided through the garden of its secrets, this sublime gem reveals its origins... Historians estimate that the first emeralds appeared in Egypt in 3500 BC. Egypt was the major source of emeralds until the 16th century. Then Spanish explorers discovered abundant mines in South America...where we find the world's largest source of quality emeralds: Colombia. Today, the majority of emeralds come from deposits in Colombia (Muzo, Coscuez, Chivor...), Brazil, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Minor sources include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia, the USA and Russia.

Unlike many gems, an emerald's provenance is easy to determine.

It is for this reason that these terms are commonly used:

- Colombian" emerald: This describes the most sought-after emerald, with its intense greenish-blue to green color. It is from Colombian emeralds that the others are judged. One of the typical inclusions in Colombian Chivor emeralds is iron pyrite.

- Brazilian emerald: an emerald that is lighter than the others, with inclusions of mica and other minerals.

- Zambian: slightly darker and bluer than "Colombian", generally with fewer inclusions

- Sandawana emerald : intense green, very luminous

- Afghan emeralds: they often reveal clouds of black flakes and white crystals.

In addition to these inclusions revealing their provenance, a reliable, in-depth scientific study has established a veritable identity card for each of the main emerald mines. Researchers have succeeded in defining the emeralds' origins by analyzing their surface, without altering them. This discovery has made it possible to retrace the history of these mythical stones.

Rich in history, fractures and color, emerald is a timeless gem in its own right that has never ceased to seduce the world. Artisan designer Philippe Tournaire loves gemstones sparkling with beauty, full of hidden treasures just waiting to be revealed in an original creation. At once singular because of its peculiarities and common because it's known to all, emerald has managed to set itself apart from the other green stones that nature offers us to contemplate.

A veritable garden in its own right, it deserves to be visited and revisited!

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