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Article: I broke my Colombian emerald, what to do?

I broke my Colombian emerald, what to do?

Emeralds, with its dazzling green colour and aura of elegance, have been coveted for centuries as one of the most valuable and attractive gems. However, even the most precious gems are not exempt from the possibility of damage, and sometimes an emerald can break or damage.

The loss of a broken emerald can be heartbreaking, but in many cases, it is possible to restore it to its former beauty. In this article, we will explore the challenges and processes involved in the recovery of an emerald that has broken, providing a detailed look at the craftsmanship and science behind its restoration.

Structure of a Colombian emerald

Before exploring how to restore a broken emerald, it is important to understand its structure and the reasons behind its fragility. The emeralds are members of the berilos family and are known for their characteristic green tone, which is the result of the presence of chrome and vanadium in their composition.

However, this same composition can make emeralds more susceptible to fractures due to the presence of natural inclusions and weaknesses in their structure.

Inclusions are small imperfections within the gem that can weaken its integrity. These inclusions are often what gives the emerald its unique character, but they are also the reason why the stone can be prone to breaks and fractures if subjected to significant impact or pressure.

Restoration of the Emerald

Restoring a broken emerald is a task that requires exceptional skill and a deep knowledge of the gem's properties. Here is an overview of the steps involved in the restoration process:

  1. Cleaning and Preparation: The emerald is gently cleaned to remove any dirt or residue that may interfere with the restoration process.
  2. Cut and Polishing: If the broken pieces are big enough, they will be cut carefully so that they fit perfectly together. Then, the cut surfaces will be meticulously polished to get a smooth, bright finish.
  3. Adherence: In some cases, broken parts can be joined using high-quality resins specially designed for gems. These resins are transparent and adhere to the emerald without affecting its appearance. However, this step should be carried out with extreme caution, as the choice of resin and the process of union can influence the appearance and durability of the emerald.
  4. Treatments: In some cases, heat treatment or cedar oil can be used to improve the appearance of inclusions and improve emerald clarity. However, these treatments must be carried out by experienced professionals and with complete transparency so as not to deceive the future buyer.

Defy of restoring an emerald

Restoring a broken emerald is not without challenges. One of the most notable challenges is the coincidence of color and clarity between broken pieces and the original stone.

Emeralds are famous for their distinctive color, and achieving a perfect fit in terms of color can be a complicated process. Also, emeralds often have unique inclusions, and matching these inclusions can be a challenge.

Restoration can also influence the value of emerald. Some collectors and enthusiasts value natural gems more without alterations, so it is essential that any restoration be carried out in an ethical and transparent manner.

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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