They are considered by many to be Earth’s most valuable and desirable precious stones. The stunning green color of Colombian emeralds is the result of the mineral beryl in combination with traces of chromium and vanadium. Unlike diamonds, sapphires and rubies, the hardness and durability of emeralds, while still quite substantial, is somewhat lower. While diamonds, rubies and sapphires rate high (diamonds - 10, rubies and sapphires - 9) on the one to ten Mohs scale, emeralds have an overall hardness of 7.5 - 8 out of 10. The most popular faceted cuts associated with emeralds are emerald, cushion and oval. Emeralds are graded using the same basic criteria as diamonds though, in the end, color reigns in determining the quality of an emerald. Natural emeralds have a wide variety of tones of color ranging from very light to deep green. In today’s world, emeralds are often treated to enhance their color and overall beauty and appeal without affecting the integrity of the stone. These rich green stones - the birthstone of those lucky enough to be born in May - continue to be the precious stone choice of millions! FYI: Jeweler, gemologist, businessman and noted philanthropist Harry Winston, purchased the most expensive brilliant green emerald ever sold at Christie’s in New York for $5.5 million.The emerald is the most expensive ever sold at auction - $305,000 per carat!
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