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Article: How are emeralds formed?


How are emeralds formed?

Emeralds are one of the most beautiful and unique gems in the world. It is for this reason that even its formation is an event worthy of admiration and a process for which many feel great concern.  

Emeralds , like most precious stones, were formed millions of years ago during a process in which magma from the depths of the planet cooled and solidified, forming different crystals of what we know today as emeralds  .

The formation of emeralds depends on many factors, the subsoil, the climate, the altitude, etc. Therefore, here we will talk about the most important ones and we will answer the big question about their deposit. 

What is an emerald?

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl, specifically, it is a green variety that gets its color from impurities of chromium, vanadium, or both. Other varieties of beryl are aquamarine, morganite, heliodor, and the very rare red beryl.

Beryl grows in hexagonal crystals, and in fact, some beryl crystals can be quite developed. With beryl, aluminum, silicon, oxygen at the right temperature and pressure, and with the necessary space, an emerald crystal will most likely form.

Thanks to its chemical composition that makes it acquire an intense green color and due to its most notable impurities, emeralds have become the most popular variety of beryl among lovers of precious gems, high jewelry and gemological beauty.

It may interest you: the family of emeralds 

How are emeralds formed?

The formation of Colombian emeralds occurs as a result of the contact of saline fluids that are released by tectonic movements and then move along geological faults that came into contact with evaporites (salts formed by the evaporation of seawater).

Said formation occurred under ideal physical-chemical conditions and in the presence of high pressures and temperatures. 

The hydrothermal sedimentary origin of Colombian emeralds is unique in the world, their extraction is carried out in the eastern and western emerald belts of the Andes Mountains and includes the mining municipalities of Chivor, Gachalá and Macanal in the eastern belt, and Muzo, Coscuez, Peñas Blancas, La Palma, Yacopí and La Pita in the western belt. 

extraction of emeralds

The extraction of emeralds is not an easy task, since the emerald has grown in small veins within what is considered a stone or host rock, which gives it peculiar characteristics. 

It is a very hard stone, but with surprising fragility, since certain inclusions or small fissures can be found inside, which makes the work of a professional essential, since its carving is very delicate.

The largest producer of emeralds is Colombia, as they are characterized by bluish-green stones that are not found anywhere else in the world. However, emerald deposits can also be found in South Africa, India, Pakistan, Brazil and even Europe.

The land of the best emeralds 

Colombian emeralds are one of the most coveted gemstones in the world due to their particular characteristics that differentiate them from others.

In Colombia, the subsoils have unique geological formation conditions that give them greater depth in their color and a higher degree of purity.

The emeralds of Colombia come from two mining departments where all the stones of the country are produced, Boyacá and Cundinamarca:

  • Boyacá: Muzo, Coscuez and Peñas Blancas. These deposits produce emeralds that are deep grass green in color and others that are green in color with yellow undertones.

Cundinamarca: Chivor, Gachalá, Gachetá, Macanal and Ubalá. These deposits produce dark green stones with blue tones and others that are pale green. In the same way, the high degree of purity and crystallinity stands out, unlike the mining district of the West.

Paula A. Bonilla

Social communicator and journalist from Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. She is also a jeweler and is passionate about constantly learning about precious gems and national high jewelry.

Currently, she is working for one of Bogotá's most important jewelry stores, Emerald by Love. This jewelry store has over 40 years of experience and has 2 physical branches in the capital city of Colombia, located in the city center.

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