Cherished by the cultures of Ancient Egypt, pre-Columbian Mexico and Peru, emeralds are the most valued and sought-after gemstones today. Their rich, green color sets them apart from their clear, diamond cousins. While another variety of gemstone may be relatively easy to procure, the possession of a quality emerald will often spawn the envious question "Where did you get that?"

Emeralds are from the beryl family of minerals, close relatives to both aquamarine and morganite. The deep green hue of the emerald is caused when the mineral beryl reacts with either chromium or vanadium.

These luscious stones are native to many countries, though the Columbian varieties exhibit an unparalleled blue-tinged green that demands the greatest prices in the marketplace. Other emerald varieties come from India, South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and Zimbabwe. Most recently miners have discovered Emerald deposits in South Carolina.

Exquisite alternatives to diamond jewelry, emeralds reflect history, inspiring both a sense of tradition and fantasy in the lucky wearer.

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