Symbol of fertility, rebirth and youth and believed by the ancients to empower the owner with foresight into the future, emerald is regarded as an amulet for good fortune.
The emerald was among the dearest treasures of the gem markets of Babylon, and today -nearly 6,000 years later – this lovely stone remains one of the most valuable objects in the world.
Sixteenth century Spanish explorers who found large emeralds in the possession of the Aztecs and Incas discovered South America’s rich bounty of emeralds.
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, wore wonderful emeralds that came from her own emerald mine in Upper Egypt. Nero, too, had a famous emerald through which he was said to have watched the gladiators. In the days of the Russian Czars, emeralds were the most prized possession of the Russian Crown Jewels.
Emerald is a variety of the mineral Beryl and is distinguished from other Beryls by its color. Unlike many other precious stones, it appears the same color in artificial light as in sunlight.
Value is determined by color, by the lack of natural inclusions and by size. Flawless emeralds (to the unaided eye) are so rare and valuable as to be seldom seen even in a jewelry store. However, those of moderate size with slight inclusions still possess all the beauty of color that is the emerald’s principal lure.
A knowledgeable jeweler/ gemologist should always be used when any attention is needed for cleaning and repairs.
Cos Altobelli is a third generation jeweler and president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, previously located in North Hollywood for 60 years. His specialty is appraising for all functions and acting as an expert witness. He holds a graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America and the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is the author of three appraisal books and has appeared on ABC-TV’s “Prime Time Live.” Reach him at (818) 763-5151.