Emeralds like Sapphires, Rubies and Diamonds have been highly prized since centuries and were used extensively to design precious jewelry due to it beauty and unique characteristics. Natural Emerald gemstones are very rare making them highly in demand. Emeralds have been used in jewelry designing even in 2000 B. C.The earliest stones were mined from the legendary Cleopatra's Mines in the Sikait-Zabara region of Egypt. Until the Europeans discovered the New World it was the only source of emeralds. Emeralds were Cleopatra`s favourite gemstone. She often wore lavish emerald jewelry and bestowed visiting dignitaries with large emeralds when they departed. Mention of Emeralds has also been made in the Bible. Top designers of today use emeralds to give their jewelry the extra elegance and color. Today demand of emeralds is so high that the industry has come up with synthetic emeralds and various methods of enhancing poor quality emeralds. Therefore before buying a piece of Emerald jewelry it becomes essential to know more about the emeralds that are used to design your jewelry, be it an emerald engagement ring, an emerald bracelet, pendant or emerald earrings. To help you understand your emeralds better we have compiled a comprehensive guide of where emeralds are mined across the world along with their quality as emeralds can highly differ in quality in different places.

Emeralds are formed in metamorphic rocks or in pegmatite deposits in metamorphic rocks deep inside the earth. They are made from the mineral beryl. Beryl includes trace elements of beryllium. Besides, beryl, emeralds contain trace elements vanadium and chromium. Depending on the amount of these elements, the emerald can appear light green to a very deep, dark green.
Properties of Emeralds
Emerald Chemical Composition
Be3Al2(SiO3)6 . Emeralds have oxygen, silicon, aluminum, and beryllium in it.
Crystal system
Hexagonal; 6/m2/m2/m
Crystal Habit
Small elongate first order prisms, often with vertical striations and irregular pinacoidal terminations
Can be found in many shades of green like, deep green or slightly yellowish or bluish tones
Specific gravity
2.67 - 2.78. It is an average weight stone. If you hold it, it would seem about the right weight for the size of the stone.
Poor. If you break this stone, it doesn’t split very evenly.
Refraction Index
1.566 - 1.602
Conchoidal producing smooth brilliant surfaces i.e if you shatter the stone, the edges are smooth.
0.005 - 0.008
7.5 - 8.0 . It is a very hard stone. It can scratch glass.
Vitreous . Emeralds shine like glass.
White i.e If you crushed this stone, the dust would be white.
Translucent to Opaque, Emeralds are very rarely transparent . You can see through some stones, but others are blurry or can’t be seen through at all. The most valuable ones can be seen through.
None. It is not attracted to and will not attract a magnet.
Emerald Mining and its Brief History – Learn about the Natural Emerald sources in the World
Emeralds deposits have been identified on every continent except Antarctica. Historical records state that Egyptians mined Gorgeous Green Emeralds centuries back. Ancient Egyptians dug mines of Sikeit during the reign of Tutankhamun (1336 to 1327 BC). The Cleopatra Mines or Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Mountains), were dug as early as 2000 B.C. Queen Cleopatra had so much love for emeralds that these mines were named after her name. Mining in the Egyptians Emerald mines was carried out for a long time until the Spaniards discovered emeralds in Colombia in 1545. While the Egypt may have been the first known miners of emeralds, Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia were the areas with the geological forces for perfecting the gem’s color and transparency. And emerald deposits in countries like Canada and Afghanistan were discovered as recently as the last decade.
The finest-quality emerald has the color of fresh young green grass an almost pure spectral green, possibly with a very faint tint of blue, as in the “drop of oil” emerald from Colombia, which is considered to be the world’s finest. Emerald mining today is a billion dollar industry with major sources of emeralds coming from Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Colombia, Pakistan, Russia, Zambia & Zimbabwe. Half of the emeralds come from Columbia, Zambia accounts for 20 percent of the market and Brazil 15 percent. The next largest producers are Zimbabwe and Pakistan, with smaller amounts from Russia, Afghanistan, Australia, Madagascar, and Tanzania. Until very recently each country played a fairly static role in terms of market preference. Colombia dominated the high end market, Zambia occupied its middle and Brazil was left with the bottom. Today however Zambian and Brazilian goods have won enough trade admiration to seriously challenge the status quo.
Emeralds in Columbia
Known for their vivid green color, Colombian emeralds are usually of exceptional quality. Colombia is the finest modern source for emeralds.The three historically significant areas of emerald mining in Colombia are Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor. Each of these areas comprises of many individual mines
Muzo mine
The famed Muzo mines of Columbia are located 100 miles north of Bogotá. These deposits were first mined by Native Americans but was eventually abandoned and then rediscovered in the 17th century.
 Emerald crystals from Muzo tend to have more saturated color than either Coscuez or Chivor. They are considered some of the finest emerald mines in the world with a gorgeous deep green color. Trapiche emeralds are an extremely rare and highly valued form of emerald only found in the Muzo mining district of Colombia. Star-shaped rays that emanate from its center in a hexagonal pattern characterize these emeralds. These rays appear much like asterism, but unlike asterism, they are not caused by light reflection from tiny parallel inclusions, but by black carbon impurities that happen to form in the same pattern.
Coscuez mine
The emerald crystals of Coscuez tend to exhibit a very wide range of colors but unfortunately also tend to be more included than those from Muzo.
Chivor mine
Another important deposit is the Chivor Mine, northeast of Bogota. Chivor emeralds are best known for their bluish cast and generally have fewer inclusions and a lighter color than either Coscuez or Muzo emeralds. The Chivor mining area is the smallest of the three and is separate from Muzo and Coscuez, which lay adjacent to each other.
Recently new deposits have been discovered which look promising for the future. The La Pita mine is one of the more recently discovered emerald deposits. This mine is thought to contain one of the largest emerald deposits in Colombia accounting for 60 to 70 percent of the annual Colombian emerald production. In recent years production has been intentionally slowed at La Pita to stabilize emerald price trends. The La Pita mine is mined by Santa Rosa LTDA and Prominas Dal Zulia LTDA. Over half of the Columbian emerald exports go to the USA, 24% go directly to Hong Kong and Bangkok. Many of the emeralds exported to the USA continue to Asia, especially Hong Kong.
Still, only a third of the emeralds mined in Colombia are worth cutting. Chromium and vanadium are the two coloring agents responsible, for giving emerald its beautiful green color. Colombian emeralds have a lot of chromium in them. Chromium is good for color but not so good for clarity. Chromium does not fit comfortably into the crystal lattice. This creates a garden of noticeable inclusions. While this jardin lowers the clarity of fine quality emeralds from the Columbia and other major emerald sources like Brazil, Zambia and Afghanistan. The transparency and their vivid color make them much better quality emeralds than those that are found in Egypt.

Emeralds in Brazil
Emeralds were first discovered in Brazil about 500 years ago after the arrival of the Portuguese. However, it was only in 1963 when the first samples with commercial value were found in Bahia, in northern Brazil that brazil came to be recognized worldwide for its emerald resources. Brazil has been known to produce large rough emeralds up to 200 carats in size. In brazil emerald deposits are found concentrated mainly in Bahia, Goias and Minas Gerais.
The Goias is located in the Central Western Brazil with mines at Santa Terezinha District, Campo Verdes and Emerald Locality, Pirenopolis. The Bahia is located in the North Eastern Brazil with mines like Carnaiba mine, Salininha mine, Serra das Eguas, Socoto Emerald Deposit, Anage Township. The north eastern region has more emerald mining areas like The Ceara and the Rio Grande do Norte. The Minas Gerais is located in the South Eastern Brazil and has famous mines Capoeirana Mine, Itabira; Piteiras Mine, Itabira and Itatiaia Mine, Itatiaia, Nova era near Itabera is also famous emerald mining desination in Brazil. In the Northen Brazil lies the Monte Santo Tocantins in the Tocantins district. Brazil's gemstone mine Nova Era produces very good quality emeralds having a deep green color. Brazil also supplies rare emerald cat's eyes and these are extremely rare emeralds with a six-spoked star. The mines at Nova Era are operated by a large number of independent miners with little technology unlike the mines at Belmont and Piteiras.
The color of the Brazilian emeralds is lighter than the Colombian emerald, they tend to a yellow-green. But the Brazilian emerald is often relatively free of inclusions. New deposits have been found since 1980 and Brazil is now one of the most important suppliers of emeralds in the world. While Colombian emeralds are known for their vivid green color, Brazilian emeralds are known for their variety of color, ranging from light green to medium dark blue green.
Brazil is one of the most significant gem-producing nations in the world, with numerous varieties of gems mined in almost every state, many in significant quantities.
New Emerald deposits in Brazil continue being discovered and developed. The quality of Brazilian emeralds also continues to improve with the depths of the mines, with more and more dealers comparing the best material to that of Colombia. Currently, overall gem production in Brazil is down, due in part to strict environmental protection regulations and a recent, universally applied minimum wage.

Emeralds in Africa ( Zambia,Tanzania and Zimbabwe)
In the last several decades, increasing quantities of emeralds have been found in a series of small deposits in East Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. The East African emeralds are quite strong in color, sometimes with the desirable blue-green hue. The most famous of these emeralds are the ones from Sandawana in the south of Zimbabwe. The Sandawana crystals tend to be small but are very high quality.also are mined in South Africa, in the northern Trasvaal. Modern mechanized mining is carried out at the Cobra and Somerset mines, but only about 5% of the product is of good quality. Most stones are light in color or heavily included and only suitable for cabochons. Zambian emeralds are of very high quality. Although Zambia has the world’s second largest emerald deposit, it is
substantially underdeveloped and primarily restricted to artisanal mines near Kagem, Kitwe, Miku and Mufulira in remote northern Zambia. As basic hand tools are mainly used to mine Zambian emerald, this limits supply, increasing its rarity and value. Zambian emerald is extracted from talc-magnetite schists Zambian miners call paidas (when it’s unaltered) and chikundula (when it’s weathered). They call small emerald crystals that may be indicative of bigger crystals ubulunga. Zambian emeralds from the Kagem emerald mine has consistently produced some of the finest Zambian emeralds since 1984. Zambian emeralds can be quite nice, typically a strong green to slightly bluish-green, and frequently less included than Colombian or Brazilian emeralds, therefore requiring less or no enhancement.

Emeralds in Russia - Ural Mountains
Russian emerald is long prized for its breathtaking crystal clarity, green fire and forest green hues. According to history, Russian emerald was discovered by a Russian peasant, Maxim Stefanovitch Koshevnikov, in
1830 in the roots of a tree that had been felled in a storm on the Tokovaya River near Ekaterinburg in Russia’s
Ural Mountains. Despite this, rumors persist that Russia actually supplied emeralds long before the Spaniards discovered the famous Colombian emerald in the late 16th century. These legends even go as far as to suggest that the Scythian emeralds mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Historia Naturalis came from the Urals.  Rising to fame in the 19th century, the largest and best known source of Russian emerald is the Mariinsky (St. Mary’s) Mine. This mine was discovered in 1833 near the village of Malysheva. The deposits were nationalized after World War I and emerald mining soon ceased when Malysheva became a military security zone. Russian emeralds almost entirely disappeared; thankfully, Russian emerald is now back. Russian emerald is mined from a large beryllium deposit and is one of the deepest colored gem mines in the world. Less than half a percent of the rough crystals mined are suitable for faceting. As a result, Russian emeralds are a “must have” for any true emerald connoisseur.
Emeralds in Pakistan
While an extremely harsh climate prevents the mining of emerald deposits at higher altitudes, at lower elevations in the Swat Valley of Pakistan lay the Gujar Kili mine, and the ancient and historically significant Mingora mine (e.g., ancient Roman earrings featuring Mingora emeralds have been discovered). Severe weather conditions restrict operations during winter, making the hand-dug output very limited. The Pakistani government tightly controls the mining of emeralds from relatively new deposits discovered in 1960 in the Himalayan mountains.

Emeralds in Afghanistan
The Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan is a very valuable source of good quality emeralds-
very beautiful and very transparent . They can be well compared to the emeralds in Columbia and Zambia. It is believed that Afghanistan will be the next emerald mining center of the world once the industry there is properly legitimized. At present almost all of the stones are smuggled out of the country uncut to Pakistan and
India, yielding virtually nothing in terms of tax revenue or extra jobs if they were cut and marketed in Afghanistan before export.
Other Sources Of Emeralds
Emeralds are also mined parts of China, South America, India, Australia, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, North Carolina in USA, Austria and Norway in Europe

Guide to The Emerald Mines and their Emerald Quality for buying Emerald Jewelry