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Beryl var: Emerald
Posted by Harjo Neutkens
Harjo Neutkens December 09, 2009 11:39PMThis article has been prepared for the Mindat Best Minerals project. The aim of this project is to present information on important localities and specimens for each mineral specie. As new finds are made and new knowledge is made available the individual articles will be revised to include this information. Readers are encouraged to contribute by posting a response in this thread. All revisions will be stored, thus ensuring traceability and availability of previously included information. A complete list of articles can be found in the list of finished Best Minerals articles. To cite this version: Neutkens H. (2011) Emerald, a variety of Beryl. revision 1.1. Mindat Best Minerals Project, article "mesg-67-163098". Please be advised that the photos cannot be used without the consent of the copyright holder
One of the most sought after gemstones, together with Diamond and Ruby. The use of Emeralds as a gemstone can be dated back as far as to Pre-Columbian civilisations in central America and to the times of the Faraos in ancient Egypt. In Egypt Emeralds where regarded as the most valuable gemstones. Some historians say the Egyptians started using Emeralds as early as 1900 b.c. whereas others reason that they started using them around 100 b.c. (Cleopatra's era). Egyptian Emeralds from the mines of Sikait have been found in the ruins of Pompei. Plinius (23-79) wrote about 12 different kinds (read: localities) of Emeralds in his Historia Naturalis, the ones from Sikait being the most valuable. Theophrastos (371-287), a pupil of Aristotoles, also wrote about Emeralds in his Peri Lithon. He writes that when one looks at an Emerald intensively it would benefit ones sight. This thought is believed to have been the origin of the Germanic name for glasses, Brille, coming from Beryll. A popular story tells us that Nero used glasses made from Emerald. In the Bible Emerald is also mentioned several times, for instance in Exodus (28) where the ceremonial dress of a priest is being described as having 12 precious stones, amongst them an Emerald. In the Middle Ages gemstone symbolism played an important role in society, Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), the famous Benedictine abbess, wrote about several illnesses that could be treated with Emerald.
In the Islamic world the Emerald was also of great value. One of the largest Emeralds gemstones is the Mogul Emerald. It's a 217,80 carat flawless Emerald in 1695 decorated on one side with calligraphies and on the other side with floral patterns. Most likely it's a Columbian Emerald sold to the Moguls by Spanish traders. In Renaissance Europe Emerald remained a highly prized and sought after gemstone. Emperor Rudolf II presented king August von Sachsen with a Emerald specimen in the year 1581. The 4th Earl of Marlborough had several large Emeralds in his famous gemstone collection. The Renaissance artist Dionysio Miseroni crafted a beautiful 10cm high salt cup out of a large Emerald in 1641.
Today Emeralds remain one of the most valuable gemstones. In Europe around the year 2000 one had to pay 500-1000 Euro per carat for standard quality, 2000-4000 Euro for good quality and 5000-10.000 Euro per carat for the best quality Emeralds. The highest price an Emerald gem demanded was $2.879.800 for the Harcourt Emerald in London, 1989. Nowadays a lot of synthetic Emerald is being used for gem rough, usually the sellers correctly state the synthetic origin of the stones but often synthetic stones are being sold as natural Emeralds. Normally a connoisseur won't have a hard time proving his stones are natural because natural Emeralds normally have inclusions that will tell their provenance. This might become more difficult though in the future because man made Emeralds are already being grown with a variety of inclusions. Most fine Emerald gem stone are sold with certificates from gem identification laboratories attesting to their natural origin.
Arguably the best gem rough, as well as the best Emerald matrix specimens, still come from the mines of Colombia although the last decades saw several very good new localities in Africa and Asia. If one would like to buy a small Columbian matrix specimen or loose crystal of average to good quality one will have to pay 500-2000 Euro, better and larger specimens will sell for anything between 2000 and 500.000 Euro depending on size and quality. The very best specimens will go for 500.000 up to over 1.000.000! Other Emerald specimens that sometimes demand rather high prices are the old classics from Russia, Austria and Norway, but only exceptional and classic specimens from these localities demand these high prices.
A considerable amount of debate has been going on since quite a long time about when to call a green Beryl an Emerald. In the beginning Emeralds were defined exclusively by colour, many centuries before chemical analyses began. Later, the insistence by some parties that Emerald had to contain Chromium was a commercial ploy by those connected to the Colombian Emerald industry to try to diminish competition from other sources. Nowadays Beryls coloured green by either Chromium or Vanadium are regarded as Emeralds. Green Emeralds coloured by for instance Iron are not regarded as Emeralds but are plainly called green Beryl. Other colour varieties of Beryl apart from the (green) Emerald include: Morganite (pink), Vorobyevite or Rosterite (rose), Goshenite (colourless), Aquamarine (blue), Heliodor (golden yellow to greenish yellow), Red Beryl (red). Pezzottaite (raspberry red to pink), Bazzite (deep blue) and the rare Stoppaniite (light blue) are not Beryls but are isostructural with Beryl. In the article below we have tried to concentrate on the various Emerald localities that have produced the best specimens and have been fairly prolific producers.
Badakhshan Province (Badakshan Province; Badahsan Province), Jurm District, Khaash
Konar Province (Kunar Province; Konarh Province; Konarha Province; Nuristan), Narang District, Badel Mine (Budel Mine)
A small emerald mine in a pegmatite vein that is 20 m long and up to 0.5 m thick. The deposit is largely mined out.
Laghman (Lagman; Nuristan) Province
Beryl is especially abundant in the Kunar area, but the gem varieties, aquamarine and morganite, are found mainly in the Laghman district, where they occur with the basal pinacoid characteristically well developed. Loose crystals and crystals on matrix have been recovered. The tint varies from pink to brownish pink. Gem aquamarine crystals of a beautiful, intense blue have shown up, but it is possible that this discovery was made at Gur-Salak in Kunar.
On the Peshawar gem market when asking about Afghan emeralds you may also encounter green Beryl from the Laghman province, which is also an Afghan province. Laghman is located between Kabul and the Pakistani border. Typically green Beryl from Laghman are not green enough to be called Emerald. But attractive large size and clean light green stones are produced in that area.
Pansjir (Pansjeer) Province, Hessa-e-Say District, Pansjir (Pansjeer) Valley
Maybe Plinius referred to the Emeralds from the Pansjir valley when he wrote about the "Smaragdus from Bactria".
The Emeralds occur in Metasediments and Metagabbros through which Quartz-Ankerite veins run. The best material comes from the Mikeni and Khenj mines, usually in gem quality crystals up to 5 carat. Crystals up to 10 carat or more are rare. The modern discovery of these stones was 30 years ago near Bismal. Currently the Emeralds are mined in 3 main areas: The Bismal-Riwat area, the Ringe and the Mukeni-Zara Kel areas. The production in Panjshir seemed to be still strong especially in small sizes Emeralds but the number of miners seems to have dropped compared to the 1980's. Currently around 1000 miners are possibly working the Panjshir mountain large deposit. The prospective for the future looks good as new mines open regularly and seems to produce fine stones.
New South Wales, Clive Co., Torrington
Torrington is a small village in County Clive and is about 13 miles north west of Deepwater and about 18 km NNE of Emmaville.
Numerous mines and deposits are located in and around Torrington.
The mines listed as being near Torrington are located in County Clive.
Note: Other mines listed as being in the "Torrington district" are located in County Gough.
Some specimens from here can be described as "emerald banded beryls". These are generally only up to 2cms.
Western Australia, Cue Shire, Cue, Poona
The Emeralds occur as porphyroblasts in Biotite-Phlogopite Schist. The crystals show a nice intense green colour although gem quality crystals are rare. The Emeralds get up to 4 cm long although crystals up to 15 cm long have been found.
Almost all Western Australian commercial emerald production has come from the Poona district, 500 km NE of Perth. Here emeralds were first discovered by the prospector A.P. Ryan in 1912. At Poona green beryl and emerald occur in both the intruding quartz-beryl pegmatite and biotite-phlogopite schists that border the intruded greenstones. At Poona emeralds occur in association with beryl, quartz, albite, oligoclase, topaz, tourmaline, fluorite, biotite, phlogopite, lepidolite, zinnwaldite, margarite, talc, tremolite, muscovite, scheelite, chromite, apatite, manganotantalite, and monazite.
The principal mine in the region, the Aga Khan Deep mine, has a colourful history. It has been intermittently worked both as an open cut and more recently (1977-1981) as an underground operation. In over seventy years the Aga Khan mine has yielded an estimated 10 kg of mostly low value emerald. Inevitably difficulties associated with economic mining and recovery of mostly low grade emeralds from their tenacious enclosing mica schist once again forced the temporary closure of the Aga Khan mine. Many small-sized open cut mines are located to the east of the Aga Khan Deep Mine. These include the Quartz blow, Mid section, Solomon, Reward, and Lee’s trench open cuts.Other emerald mining areas around the Poona District include the Emerald Pool mine, 16 km south-west of Poona, and the Poona East Emerald mine about 10 km east of Poona.
Salzburg, Hohe Tauern Mts., Habach Valley, Nasenkopf Mt., Leckbachgraben (Leckbachrinne), Emerald deposit
Layer of talc-actinolite schists with inclusions of blastomylonitic rocks (serpentinites and talc schists) and Emerald-bearing Biotite-Chlorite schists, intercalated between Scheelite-bearing banded gneisses (including Cu, Fe and Bi sulphides) and amphibolites of the Habach formation. This association of rocks trends from the Hollersbach valley in the east to the Untersulzbach valley in the west, and meanwhile Emeralds were also found in its outcrops in these neighbouring valleys.
An Emerald mine was first mentioned in 1797, but the deposit was probably worked much earlier. The present mine with its four adits (named A, B , C and D adit) was started in 1860, by the jeweller Samuel Goldschmiedt of Vienna. In 1896 the lease was taken over by the "Emerald Mines Ltd." of London., who worked the deposit until 1913. During the following years, the mine was intermittently worked by different owners until 1949, when it was abandoned. Since 1964, it is privately owned, but worked only sporadically. Presently (2009), it is owned by the strahler Andreas Steiner of Bramberg. In general, the Emeralds are of rather low quality; specimens suited for cutting are rarely found. Occasionally however good to excellent specimens have been found, both matrix specimens as well as gem rough. The biggest gem quality Emerald crystal was found in the 1970s in the sedimentary deposits of the Sedl below the Emerald mine. It weighed 128 carats and was of outstanding quality. In 2004 excellent gem quality Emeralds on Matrix have been found in a spot just below the mine, apparently it was one of the few spots in the Leckbachrinne that had not been extensively searched. Fantastic matrix specimens up to 50cm large littered with Emerald crystals come from the collection of Aloïs and Andy Steiner, they can be seen at their private museum as well as in the museum Wilhelmsgut, both in Bramberg, Austria. The Emeralds usually contain inclusions of a wide variety of minerals.
Bahia, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Serra das Éguas
The Serra das Éguas district is also known in the literature as the Brumado district (Cassedanne & Cassedanne 1978). It is a large hilly area (approx. 5 x 15 km2) with several magnesite (& talc) pits around Brumado. One of the world largest magnesite deposit is located in this district. Very fine Emerald specimens have been found in the deposit during the heyday of its production in the 1920s. After that the locality only saw sporadic activity.
Bahia, Campo Formoso ultramafic complex, Campo Formoso, Socotó emerald deposit
Bahia, Campo Formoso ultramafic complex, Pindobaçu, Carnaiba Mine
The mica schists of Carnaiba, discovered in the 1963, may contain the most extensive Emerald deposits in the world. The largest cut emerald (86,136 carats) was found in Carnaiba in August 1974. The mining region is situated 30 km south of Campo Formoso on the western edge of the Serra de Jacobina Mts. The quality of the Emeralds was rather poor so they didn't achieve a prominent position on the world market. Until the early 1980s Carnaiba was the prominent Emerald producer but after the discovery of the Goias deposit Carnaiba lost it's prominence. In the 1990s the production took of again.
Rila Mts, Urdini lakes
Emerald occurrence, associated with a desilicified pegmatite vein that follows the contact between biotite gneiss and talc schist. Emeralds are concentrated in plagioclase-rich parts of the pegmatite and in contacts with phlogopite-rich zones.
The occurrence is situated in the area of Urdini lakes in Rila Mts (mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria and the highest mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkans, with its highest peak being Musala at 2,925 m).
This locality is in a National Park and collecting is forbidden.
Yunnan Province, Wenshan Autonomous Prefecture, Malipo Co.
The Emeralds occur in either Metapegmatites or in Fluorite bearing sulphide rich Biotitegneises. Arguably the best Emerald locality in China, the crystals can get up to 15 cm in length. Many specimens are oil treated. Good to excellent quality specimens are quite rare on the market and therefore demand high prises.
The Colombian Cordillera Real boasts almost 200 Emerald localities, they occur in a roughly 100 km wide belt that can be divided into two separate districts: the western area also named Vasquez-Yacopi mining district (with mines such as Yacopi, Coscuez and Penas Blancas) and the eastern district, also named Guavio-Guateque mining district (with mines such as Chivor, Gachala and Macanal). Practically all the above mentioned mines were already known by the pre-Colombian inhabitants before the Conquista. Long before the Spanish armies came to Colombia the local inhabitants mined Emeralds which they used in ceremonies as well as for trade. Through trade Colombian Emeralds found their way to the Mayas, Incas and Aztecs. On the 12th of march 1537 Capitan Valenzuela hold the first Somondoco (today Chivor) Emeralds in Spanish hands. It took another 22 years before the Spanish also owned the Muzo mine, it took so long because the Muzo and Colimas tribes maintained a strong resistance to the Spanish.
Two more recent mining areas are La Pita and Polveros. They are situated between the Muzo and Cosquez mines.
The geology in both regions is the same: Calcite, Dolomite and Feldspar dike, cleft and fissure fillings in schistose breccias contain hydrothermally formed crystals up to 10 cm
Today the large mines are operated by large conglomerate companies such as Tecminas, Coexminas, Esmeracol and Sociedad Esmeraldy. Recently some cooperatives have been formed by miners who have leases on mines and mine Emeralds. Apart from that the classic Guacueiros (independent adventurers, fortune seeking prospectors and sometimes outlaws) still prospect for their lucky find that could change their poor living standards. This comes with a rather harsh "Wild-West" atmosphere.....
Boyacá Department, Guavió-Guatéque Mining District, Chivor Mine
Chivor (or Somondoco) has delivered some of the most outstanding Emerald crystals and specimens in the world. In 1911 the German prospector Fritz Klein started organising the mining in Chivor and in 1920 he found one of the largest flawless Columbian Emeralds, the "Patrizius", weighing 630 carats. The "Patrizius" was named after St Patrick, the patron Saint of the green Isle of Ireland.
Boyacá Department, Guavió-Guatéque Mining District, Gachalá
Interesting locality for Gastropod fossils completely replaced by micro Emerald crystals.
Boyacá Department, Guavió-Guatéque Mining District, Buenavista Mines
The Buenavista group of mines is located in the municipality of Ubala. The geology and mineralogy are similar to that of Chivor, and indeed the areas are adjacent to each other. Mina Buenavista Jaja, including claims La Perla, La Cueva, La Laguna, Buenos Aires is separated from Chivor by the Rio Rucio. Workings are underground in slate, with Emerald mineralization more of less in hard argillites.
Boyacá Department, Vasquez-Yacopí Mining District, Maripi, La Pita, La Pita Mine
Excellent Emeralds have come out of la Pita mine over the last years. Loose crystals are on the market as well as fantastic matrix specimens of clear Emeralds with a good colour on Calcite crystals. Outstanding specimens demand very high prices.
Boyacá Department, Vasquez-Yacopí Mining District, Muzo, Coscuez Mine (Cosquez Mine)
In the year 2000 the Esmeracol company operated 5 shafts and 25 adits in Coscuez. Apart from 3000 miners around 10.000 Guacueiros were active. Around a quarter of the annual Colombian Emerald production is believed to come from Coscuez. Many outstanding Emerald specimens have left the Coscuez mine along with many carats of choice gem rough. Both demand very high prices on the market.
Boyacá Department, Vasquez-Yacopí Mining District, Muzo, Muzo Mine
The Emeralds are usually found in pockets, or embedded, in Calcite veins traversing the Emerald formation; rarely embedded in that formation itself or in the Cenicero. Closely associated minerals forming the Emerald gangue are: Calcite, Dolomite, Parisite, Pyrite, Quartz, Barite, Fluorite, and Apatite, the last three very rare. The Emerald occurs as six-sided prisms with base, some with rarer forms also. Few crystals are larger than the thumb. Most crystals are clear when first taken from the matrix, but later develop cracks; some fall to pieces upon removal.
Choice specimens show a rich green colour surpassed by the product of no other locality. Some crystals display zones of colour; a few are dark to black with inclusions of carbonaceous matter. In some specimens recently found, the carbonaceous matter is arranged in a six-rayed figure centring about a tapering hexagonal core. One such specimen was examined optically in basal section and proved to be of the same orientation throughout; it therefore does not represent a twinned crystal as suggested by Lleras Codazzi. Its re-entrant angles are presumably the effect of solution and the disposition of the carbonaceous inclusions, the expression of crystallizing forces, as shown also, for example, in Chiastolite.
The most famous single Emerald crystal from Muzo is the "Giant of Muzo", standing 8,9 cm tall and weighing an incredible 1759 carats. The flawless superb gem quality crystals is kept in a safe in the National bank of Colombia in Bogota, its value must be incredible. Choice specimens from Muzo demand extremely high prices today.
Red Sea Governorate, Eastern Desert, Sikait-Zabara region, Emerald mines (Gebel Zabara; Wadi Abu Rusheid; Wadi Gimal; Wadi Sikait; Wadi Umm Debaa; Wadi Umm Kabu)
Ancient emerald mines (2000 B.C. - 1200 A.D.), said to be the famous mines of Cleopatra. Rediscovered 1818. Egypt was the source of almost all emerald in ancient times. Found in pegmatitic quartz veins traversing mica and talc schists. Thousands of open pits and underground workings.
Piedmont, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola Province, Ossola Valley, Vigezzo Valley, Trontano, Pizzo Marcio
Pegmatite locality known for its Emeralds, although it is of no economical interest.
Fianarantsoa Province, Vatovavy-Fitovinany Region, Mananjary emerald District, South Zone, Morafeno
One of the richest emerald mines in Madagascar. It is located 8 km south of Irondro in the Mananjary region in the Eastern part of Madagascar. Several tons of Emerald have been extracted from this area within the eighties. But as it is the case with most of the mines, a small quantity of them were usable as gem. Actually, many of them contain a white core visible in the centre of their axis of crystallization. If we want an untreated good coloured Emerald the stones will have to be sawn in small parts in order to keep the green material. The Emerald occurrence provided quality stones since 1975 until 1993. Their professional exploitation began in the middle of the eighties. The first listed discovery was reported in 1911 by the geologist Levat. Then, during the colony, a settler called Bourgeois discreetly exploited the green stones. At the time of their departure, the settlers who worked the Emerald mines in the area, warned the natives against the bad spirits which could be in the holes. As a result the gems slept for 15 years.
Zambezia Province, Gité, Rio Maria III Mine
Emeralds in biotite-phlogopite-talc schists which formed from alteration of Precambrian ultramafic rocks.
Located 1 km west of Mt.Uapé (678 m) and 20 km NE of Morrua.
Called Maria III emerald mine by Schappmann (2005)
Plateau State, Jos Plateau
Emeralds from miarolitic pockets. The Emeralds can be exceptionally large and very well formed. Debate has been going on for quite a while weather the Nigerian Emeralds could be named as such, or rather green Beryl.
Akershus, Eudsvoll (Eidsvold), Minnesund, Byrud Emerald Mine
Classic European Emerald locality. For the first time mentioned by Websky in 1876. First mining commenced in 1880. The Emeralds are usually rather small but crystals up to several centimeters have been found. A 5 cm large crystal on Matrix is in the Museum of the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. There is a persisting rumour that one of the Emeralds in the crown of the English queen is from Byrud. Whether or not this is true might be hard to establish, while the records of the mining company so far remain lost.
The Emerald-bearing pegmatites are located at the north-western border of the Oslo Rift Valley. This rift valley of Permian age (280-230 m.Y.) is characterized by extensive alkalic igneous activity. Beryl is by far the most spectacular mineral. The colour varies from yellow, green to intensive blue. The majority of the Beryl is found as Emerald in all kind of shades of green. From pale to intensive green, from translucent to absolutely clear. Large Emerald crystals of true gem quality are nowadays extremely rare. But small Emerald crystals up to 5 mm of length and with a thickness of 1-2 mm of gem quality are not really hard to find. Especially nice are the even smaller, free-standing Emerald crystals in miarolitic cavities in the Feldspar. Important detail, is that the colouring agent in the beryl from Byrud is Vanadium, and not Chromium. The Vanadium is derived from the shales in which the pegmatites were injected, and which contain a significant amount of this element. Blue coloured beryl -aquamarine- is very rare at Byrud.
North-West Frontier Province, Malakand Region, Swat District (Swat Valley), Gujar Killi (Gujar Kili) Valley deposit
Pakistan's richest Emerald deposit. Emerald crystals are usually 1-2 cm although crystals up to 10 cm have been found. The Emeralds occur in a Talc-Carbonate Schist and are easily removed from their matrix. maybe that's the reason that good matrix specimens are rare on the market. Most of the Panjshir and all the Swat Emeralds on the local market are small stones and larger Emeralds often appear to be from Chinese origin. Most of the Swat material are the traditional small size stones with strong colour zoning and high saturation which are known to come from the area. The Panjshir stones are commonly larger than the Swat Emeralds, they had for the best quality an attractive lustre in a wide range of green, from yellowish green to blueish green. Finally the Chinese material is usually more saturated and more evenly coloured than the Panjshir stones with bluish green being the dominant colour but globally the Chinese Emeralds have a lower lustre and transparency compared to the gems from the Panjshir mines.
Northern Areas, Gilgit District, Haramosh Mts., Khaltaro (Rayiud; Kaltoro)
Village 6 km north of Sassi, with an emerald-bearing pegmatite field located at 4500 m elevation in the northwest Haramosh Mts.
Urals Region, Middle Urals, Ekaterinburgskaya (Sverdlovskaya) Oblast', Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk), Malyshevo, Tokovaya river (Tokovaia river), Emerald mines (Izumrudnye Kopi; Malyshevskoe deposit)
Biggest and oldest of the Russian Emerald localities, discovered near the Tokawaja river in 1830 by the farmer Maxim Koshewnikow. Until the end of the 19th century mined for collector specimens. In 1899 the export of gem rough commenced and in 1918 the locality became the world largest producer of Emerald. Between 1940 and 1950 the mining of Beryllium for Nuclear reactors started, Emerald being merely a by-product from then on. The Emeralds formed as porphyroblasts in Biotite Schist and are accompanied by Phenakite and Chrysoberyl (also as Alexandrite). The Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany, owns an Emerald measuring 13 cm that was a gift from Tzar Nicholas to Alexander von Humboldt in 1832. Classic specimens command high prices on the market today.
Limpopo Province, Murchison Range, Gravelotte, Gravelotte Emerald Mine
Emeralds crystallized where Beryllium-bearing, potassium-rich pegmatites intruded into ultramafic komatiitic schists of the Murchison Greenstone Belt. Emeralds are principally hosted within the biotitic alteration envelope that surrounds the pegmatite; these represent localized zones of intense potassic alteration. A minor amount of emeralds is hosted by the pegmatite. The occurrence was discovered in 1927, Mining from 1929-1937 produced 664,585 carats. From 100m deep Cobra pit and some underground workings. Most were small but some stones up to 10 carats have been facetted. Found in a biotite schist associated with schorl and molybdenite. Emerald crystals to at least 3cm were found.
Emerald production from 1929 to 1986 is estimated at 23,000 kilograms of varying grades. Current reserves are estimated at 17,000 kilograms of Emeralds hosted in 1,692,000 tonnes of ore. Emeralds produced at Gravelotte are small, but of good colour and quality. Out of the total production, 30 % of recovered emeralds are saleable, and 2-3 % of these are gem-quality stones. Rough stones sell for $100/carat; top quality cut stones fetch up to $8,000/carat.
Galicia, Pontevedra, A Cañiza, A Franqueira
It is not very well know but in the northwest of Spain, in the countryside, it is possible to find some reasonable Emeralds.
The locality is situated on private property.
More info to come....
North Carolina, Alexander Co., Hiddenite
The first Emeralds were found in Hiddenite in 1875 by J.A. Stephenson. Emeralds up to 11 cm weighing 1686 carats have been found in Hiddenite. Recently an exceptional Emerald specimen was mined that was featured in the 2008 Tucson show. This exceptional Emerald specimen was mined in 2003 and is called the "NAEM Emerald" (NAEM stands for North American Emerald Mine). The crystal is 19,5 cm long and weighs 1869 carats, all this in excellent gem quality and dark green colour, the crystal has an etched surface typical to those from Hiddenite. G.F. Kunz writes about Alexander County Emeralds in his book "Gems of North Carolina": Some peculiar features pertaining to the emeralds and beryls from this region, are particularly noted by Mr. Hidden. "They appear," he says, "as though filed across the prismatic faces. The basal plane is also often pitted with minute depressed hexagonal pyramids, that lie with their edges parallel to one another, and to the edge of the di-hexagonal prism. Rarely though crystals are found with perfectly smooth and brilliant faces. The emerald colour is often focused on the surface and fades gradually to a colourless central core, which feature is of exceeding interest when the genesis of the mineral is considered. A similar etching or corrosion appears in beryls from Colorado, and those from Pala, California. A remarkable fact is that we have here a green beryl (emerald) and emerald green spodumene (hiddenite), and in the Pala, California, mine, we have lilac spodumene (kunzite) and pink beryls."
North Carolina, Mitchell Co., Spruce Pine District
Many mines are located in the Spruce Pine-Little Switzerland area pegmatites, quite a lot of them have yielded Emerald specimens and can be visited today for fee collecting, the most famous of them is the Crabtree Emerald mine.
Mining operations at the Crabtree Emerald Mine began in July of 1894 by J.L. Rorison and D.A. Bowman. The emeralds at the mine occur in a pegmatite vein approximately five feet wide with well defined walls. In addition to the emeralds, the vein of quartz, feldspar and mica carries several other minerals to include: garnet, schorl, yellow and green and white beryl, fluorite, etc. Mineral rights to the Crabtree were aquired by the American Gem and Pearl Company of New York in 1905. The company operated the mine several years and marketed the rock as "emerald matrix". The material was cut en cabochon. Although most of the gem material was sold as "emerald matrix", early mining operations did produce fine clear gems suitable for faceting. The deeper the shaft was sunk, the larger the emeralds that were found, many up to one inch in diameter and one inch long. The American Gem and Pearl Co. discontinued operations in 1908. The mineral rights to the property were then purchased by Edward Fortner and J.P. Grindstaff. In recent years the Crabtree was mined commercially from 1968 to 1974 during which time, fee collecting was allowed on the dumps. In the 1980's the mine was closed for some time. The mineral rights were purchased in 1984 by the partnership of Ted Ledford, Bert Roper and Dal Duppenthaler, the new owners actively mined the site. In 1985 the mine was called "Gem Haven" and public collecting was allowed on the dumps at the mine. As of 1994 the mine was closed and has set idle for many years with the occassional collector visiting the site. In 2003, Bert Roper and Dal Duppenthaler aquired sole ownership of the mine. Today, in an agreement with the Mountain Area Gem and Mineral Association, the mine has been reopened to the public under the management of the M.A.G.M.A. Club.
The geologic history of the Spruce Pine Mining District is as fascinating as it's mining history. About 380 million years ago, the African Continent was being forced toward the Ancestral Eastern North American Continent by plate tectonic force. The subduction, or forcing down of the Oceanic Crust underneath the North American Continent produced tremendous friction-generated heat from the two colliding continents. This friction-generated heat in excess of 2000 degrees melted the surrounding rock 9-15 miles below the surface. This igneous molten rock was generated under intense pressure that forced the molten rock into cracks and fissures of pre-existing rock. This molten rock under pressure is similar to hot hydraulic fluid being forced into a chamber. Due to the pressure exerted on the molten fluid, it hydraulically pushed its way through the cracks of the host rock. This opened the rock up, along with melting contact areas of the host rock and sucking up rich mineral forming fluids. As these cooled, they crystallized and became a mineral rich buried treasure. It then took an estimated 100 million years for this deeply buried (and insulated) mass to cool and crystallize. The slowly cooling mineral crystals grew within the Spruce Pine District to some of the largest feldspar and mica crystals in the world. After molten emplacement and cooling, it took millions of more years of Appalachain Mountain building and subsequent erosion to expose the deposits we see today.
Copperbelt Province, Ndola, Kafubu Emerald District, Kagem Emerald Mine
Emerald mine owned by the Brittish Gemfields PLC company and the Zambian government. The mine is operated by Gemfields PLC, the company produces around 20% of the global Emerald production. Kagem mine is a large open cast mine, about one square kilometre large and production in 2009 was a staggering 27,6 million carat. Equipment in the Kagem mine is tailored for retrieving Emerald crystals from the schist host rock. Occasionally wide Quartz veins are encountered that include Emerald crystals. It has proven to be difficult to get the crystals out of the massive Quartz, often only leaving shards and slivers. In 2009 Sean Gilberton and Cyrille Djankoff of Gemfields decided to save the large Quartz blocks to see if maybe good collectors specimens could come out of them. In 2009 they turned to Bryan Lees, owner of Collector's Edge Minerals, for advice on the preparation and marketing of collectors specimens. Collector's Edge took on the job and started to device a method to prepare the specimens. Because HF acid was out of the question (HF would not only attack the Quartz but also the Emeralds) they decided to remove the Quartz with air pressure powered abrasive tools and small chisels. This is a very laborious and time consuming preparation method, and each of the specimens took weeks to prepare. What came out where some of the best Emerald specimens ever seen, perfect deep green gem quality Emerald up to 15cm long on snow white Quartz matrix. Some purists however argue that preparation has gone to far.
Copperbelt Province, Miku Emerald Deposit
The deposit is named after the Miku River, a tributary of the Kufubu, the latter a tributary of the Kafue River. It was discovered in 1931 by G. J. Baker but no work was done until some time after 1962. Th deposit was examined by Hickman and by 1973 some Emeralds had been produced. These are mostly single prismatic crystals in biotite-phlogopite schist in which small crystals of Tourmaline also occur. Associated rocks include talc-magnetite schist, quartz-amphibole-chlorite schist with fine veinlets of quartz, and larger veins of quartz. Most crystals are small, but others reach 20 cm long. Colors range from milk-white beryl to the fine green of good quality Emeralds.
Matabeleland South, Mweza Range (Wedja), Sandawana-Belingwe District, Sandawana Mine (Zeus mine)
The Zeus Mine, nowadays called the Sandawana Mine, is a modern underground operation operating 4 shafts with about 152 meters maximum depth. It is located in the Mweza Greenstone Belt abou 360 km from the capital Harare. Apart from the Zeus mine other Emeralds deposits were discovered including Machingwe, Orpheus, Ares 3 and others. The average size of the Sandawana Emeralds is quite small (about 0,25 carat) but even the smallest crystals show a very deep green colour and excellent cutting quallity. Emeralds of up to 1,5 carat are rare although crystals up to 5 carats are found sporadically. As of today prospecting for Emerald occurrences continues in the area and new localities are being encountered ensuring many more years of Emerald mining in the area. The mine is currently owned by the Rio Tinto Zimbabwe company.
Literature about Emerald
- ExtraLapis No.21, "Smargde der Welt" 2001, ISSN 0945-8492
- ExtraLapis No.1, "Grünes Feuer unterm Eis" by Dr Günter Grundmann, 1991 ISBN 3-921656-22-2
- ExtraLapis (English) No.7, "Beryl and its colour varieties" 2005 ISBN 0-9715371-6-X
- Emerald and Other Beryls by John Sinkankas, Geoscience Press 1981
- Ural Emerald mines by V.I. Zhernakov, Mineralogical Almanac series 2009
Internet resources about Emerald
- http://www.fieldgemology.org Vincent Pardieu, about the Pansjir Emerald mines.
- http://www.fieldgemology.org Vincent Pardieu, about the Swat valley Emerald mines.
- http://www.strahlen.org/vp/au/habachtal/habachtal.htm Harjo Neutkens, about the Habach valley Emerald mine.
- http://www.sagen.at/doku/bergbau/Smaragd_Bergbau.html Josef Lahnsteiner, about the Habach valley Emerald mine.
- http://smaragd.granat.at/ Christian Hausen, about the Habach valley Emerald mine.
- http://econgeol.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/84/7/1835 G. Grundman, G. Morteani, about Emeralds from the Habach valley (A) and Leysdorp (RSA)
- http://www.palagems.com/emerald_colombia.htm about the Muzo mines.
- http://www.emeralds.com/specimens/specimens/mining.html about the Colombian Emerald mines.
- http://www.nags.net/nags/english/articles_werner/emerald_mines_byrud.htm Ronald Werner, about the Byrud Emerald mine.
- http://www.gem.org.au/emerald.htm Grahame Brown, about the Poona Emerald mine.
- http://www.gggems.com/emerald_area.htm about the Emerald mines of Morafeno.
- http://www.internetstones.com/naem-emerald-william-e-hidden-north-american-emerald-mine-james-k-hill-1869-carats.html about the mines of Hiddenite.
- http://www.mindat.org/article.php/235/Emeralds+of+the+Old+Plantation+Mine%2C+Shelby%2C+North+Carolina Daniel Russell, about the Old Plantation Emerald mine.
- http://www.mindat.org/article.php/109/The+Discovery+of+Hiddenite+in+North+Carolina Daniel Russell, about the mines of Hiddenite.
- http://www.sfu.ca/mdd/field_trips.html Dick Hutchinson, about the Gravelotte Emerald mines.
And......some Emerald trivia...
-On the 21st of June 1989 the Harcourt Emerald necklace was sold at Christie's London for $ 2.879.800,--. The necklace holds Emeralds with a total of 162,19 carat.
-On the 21st of may the highest price ever was paid for a single cut Emerald (weighing 16,38 carat, set with diamonds) at Christie's Geneva. It went for $ 1.589.000,--.
-A Columbian Emerald weighing 10,11 carat, set in a ring, was sold on the 2nd of May 2000 at Christie's Hong Kong for $ 1.149.850,--. This gives a carat price for $ 113.734,-- per carat, to date the highest carat price paid for an Emerald.
Info and photographs needed from good Emerald specimens from the following localities: Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Somalia, Wolodarsk (Ukraine), Vietnam, Finlayson Lake (Canada) and others.....if any..
Click here to view Beryl, here for Beryl var: Aquamarine, here for Beryl var: Red Beryl, here for Beryl var: Morganite, here for Beryl var: Heliodor, here for Beryl var: Goshenite, here for Best Minerals B, here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.
Edited 73 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2015 05:38PM by Olav Revheim.
Anonymous User December 09, 2009 11:57PMHarjo, excellent work!
If I may point out, pezzotaite, bazzite, and stoppaniite are seperate species, rather than varieties of beryl.
Also, there is an emerald locality in Yukon
Harjo Neutkens December 10, 2009 09:35AMThanks Philippe!
Can you upload photos of Canadian Emeralds on Mindat?
It already says in the Emerald introduction that Bazzite, Stoppaniite and Pezzotaite are not varieties of Beryl but are isostructural with Beryl, I now added the same line to the Beryl main page.
As most of the books about Beryl take them along so I thought it a good idea to do the same here.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2009 09:40AM by Harjo Neutkens.
Karsten Eig December 10, 2009 01:47PMwww.smaragdgruvene.no is the homepage of the present owners of the Byrud mines. Collecting is allowed for a fee of approx $11/€9 from april to september. The best colored emeralds occur in the contact zone to the surrounding shale, because the shale is the source of vanadium. Emeralds are easiest found in early spring, because that is when the water in the lake Mjøsa is lowest after the winter - later, melting water from rivers will rise the level. Thus, the lowermost part of the dumps are tjose least sought over. I have found nice specimens both times I have been there, but the clearly best colored were found at the low lake level the first time. Searching is only allowed on the dumps, not inside the mines.
Allen Steinburg December 10, 2009 02:15PMPhilippe
For emeralds and other Canadian gems, go to www.truenorthgems.com. It is a Canadian gem exploration company which has found gems in the Canadian north and Greenland. I am sure that Brad knows of this company. I was in the field with him back in September.
Harjo Neutkens December 10, 2009 03:43PMThanks all!
Karsten, I'll add your Byrud info.
Cathe, I checked all the German and English ExtraLapis issues (Smaragd, Aquamarin&Co, Emerald, Beryl as well as the ExtraLapis about the Habach valley Emerald deposit and the ones on Madagascar, Pakistan etc)
The thing is, we can only add photos that are uploaded on Mindat.
Harjo Neutkens January 09, 2010 09:53PMAdam, is the stone analysed, i.e. are you sure it's an Emerald. Do you have a report from a certified gemmologist or mineralogist. 4300 carats is quite a weight for a gem Emerald.
I have to say, and please excuse me for that, I'm a bit reluctant to believe that it is an Emerald, basically because I just can't imagine anyone carving a 4300 gem Emerald into an ox-head shape (only if it came out of an Egyptian grave....but still not that big I suppose)
If it is a proper gem Emerald of that size and you can call it yours you've got a little fortune there.
To give you an indication of what the carat prise for gem Emeralds was back in 2000:
Standard quality: 500-1000 Euro per carat.
Good quality: 200-4000 Euro per carat.
Excellent quality: 5000-10.000 Euro per carat.
The few absolute top stones even command higher prices. I do not however know what the current carat price is.
So, if it's a standard gem quality stone it ads up to 2.150.000 Euros, if it's top quality you're looking at 43.000.000 Euros.
Hope this helps, if you'd like to send a photograph and an analysis report I can be more specific.
Rock Currier January 12, 2010 04:15PMHajo, if you have no objection, I am going to delete Emerald Adams post above. We don't want to facilitate these kinds of translations on the site. If he wished to peddle his wares off site or pay for a link like the other dealers do, he is free to do so. The fact that he hides behind a pseudonym make the whole thing even more objectionable. The entire thing reeks of scam. With a slight nudge from our venerable leader I followed my natural inclination and did delete the message. He can communicate with you off site if he wishes to.
Crystals not pistols.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2010 04:27PM by Rock Currier.
Olav Revheim August 19, 2011 11:32AMHarjo,
During literature research for the Pakistani pargasites I stumbles accross "Laurs B M, Dilles J H, Snee L W (1996) Emerald mineralization and metasomatism of amphibolite, Khaltaro granitic pegmatite – hydrothermal vein system, Haramosh Mountains, northern Pakistan, The Canadian Mineralogist 34, 1253-1286". This article can be found through the reference search at rruff.info and provides good information on the emeralds from this location.
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Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2017, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.