Emeralds, Inclusions and Perfect Imperfection Explained


Emeralds, Inclusions and Perfect Imperfection Explained

Emeralds are among the most valuable gemstones on the planet, but what causes all of their inclusions?

All of the inclusions seen in emeralds are caused by trapped gas, liquid, or other solid components when the stone forms within a rock. This can cause ‘flaws’ in the gem classified as inclusions.

Continue reading to learn more about emeralds, their makeup, and what makes them so stunning.

Perfect Imperfection

Fine quality gemstones conjure up images of crystal-clear jewels gleaming in the spotlight. An imperfect gemstone, filled with cloudiness, fissures, and even cracks, isn’t something that comes to mind right away.

However, with emeralds, the contrary tends to be true, since some people consider that a flawed emerald is just as beautiful as a flawless diamond. Inclusions, or distinct cracks and defects, can pervade an emerald and it can still seem lovely, and still be worth a lot of money.

It all has to do with authenticity, with some of the unusual inclusions frequently resulting in extremely intriguing patterns. A ten-carat ‘trapiche’ emerald, for example, has a magnificent star pattern running across it due to inclusions.

During the millennia it takes for an emerald to develop, these inclusions develop right along with it. These fractures and defects may form if any materials become caught within the stone as it expands.

As previously stated, these inclusions are always one-of-a-kind and can take on many different forms and shapes. Tiny, jagged lines, air bubbles, interior cracks or fissures, or stress fractures can all be seen fairly regularly.

When cutting an emerald, or indeed any gemstone, inclusions can cause problems since they can represent a weak spot. Most of the time, this implies that the jeweler must leave the inclusions in the stone because he or she is afraid of fracturing it.

An emerald isn’t the most durable of the precious gemstones. They are more vulnerable to damage than their counterparts, diamonds, rubies, and sapphires.

That having been said they’ll last a lifetime and beyond with the right care, but they’re more easily scratched, split, or chipped. On the Mohs scale, which is used to determine the hardness of a material, they are roughly a 7.5 or 8 out of ten. As a comparison, on the Mohs scale, a diamond is a 10 on the scale.

Stunning emerald set
Stunning emerald set

Emerald Inclusions and Value

While an emerald with inclusions will sell nicely, it is the clear gems that are in highest demand. They have a very high monetary value and are among the most valuable emeralds in the world.

This is mostly due to the fact that they are extremely rare – there are far more ‘defective’ emeralds than flawless gems.

There have been some very spectacular emeralds sold at auction throughout history. Because of their rarity, beauty, and (often) size, they always cause quite a stir in the jewelry business.

However, as you might expect, the vast majority of these emeralds are flawed. When all the most precious examples in history have been flawed, that merely goes to highlight how rare flawless emeralds are.

The Rockefeller Emerald, an eighteen-carat stone placed atop a white gold ring, is one such specimen. It was sold for a world record sum of $305,516 per carat in 2017. While the ring’s clarity was ‘amazing,’ there were still inclusions, according to the jeweler who made it.

The Flagler Emerald, measuring a whopping 35 carats, was an even bigger emerald. It had a legendary past and was auctioned for nearly three million dollars in 2015. That, too, had flaws and was filled with inclusions.

The Bahia Emerald

There is one emerald in particular that deserves to be mentioned here. It is said to be the largest in the world’s history.

In fact, the Bahia Emerald is one of the most valuable and unusual gemstones in the world. It was discovered in Brazil in 2001 and is said to be cursed, ruining the lives of those who come into contact with it.

It’s a massive stone that weighs just over 800 pounds and is thought to be worth half a billion dollars. Several lawsuits have been filed over the huge gem, with several parties vying for ownership.

It has been stolen, nearly caused deaths, and supposedly been the reason for individuals going to prison in its brief lifetime. It was also caught up in and nearly lost in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

What’s more, guess what? There are a lot of inclusions in it!

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