Emerald is a gemstone that belongs to the beryl mineral family. It is known for its rich green color, which is caused by the presence of small amounts of chromium or vanadium. For over 5000 years, emerald has been one of the most valuable crystals. It is quite a rare stone and is found in Colombia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe.
Have you ever wondered if Emerald can go in the water? In this article, we are going to deal with just that. We will begin with the properties of emerald, and then about its interaction with salt and sun. We will discuss its value in comparison to diamonds and finally talk about its care.
Table of Contents
Is Emerald Water Safe?
Yes, emerald is safe to go in the water. It has a value of 7.5-8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is well above the minimum value required for minerals to go underwater. However, like all gemstones, emeralds should not be immersed in water for long because it can dull the crystal’s appearance and damage its structure.
Mohs Hardness Scale is a measure of a mineral’s relative resistance to scratching. Besides that, it also indicates a mineral’s relationship to water. Usually, a value above 5.0 means that the mineral is safe to go underwater.
With a value of 7.5-8 on the Mohs Scale, Emerald has a pretty good hardness, which is considered ideal for jewelry. However, the crystal should still not be immersed in water for long.
Water enters the crevices of the stones and widens them. These fissures may not be visible at first but can slowly grow larger over time. They can make the stone brittle, making it more prone to breaking upon impact.
Water also hurts the appearance of gemstones. It strips off their polish, causing their colors to fade. This could be especially bad for something like emerald, which is almost always treated with oils and waxes to make up for the inclusions and surface-reaching fissures.
The fissures encouraged by water can also change the way light bounces inside the stone. This can damage the optical properties of the gem, ruining its value. Finally, water can also interact adversely with the components of the gemstone. For example, it can react with iron particles to create rust.
As such, it is never recommended to soak crystals in water for long.
Properties of Emerald
These are the properties of Emerald:
- Colour: Emerald has a distinctively green colour that ranges from slightly yellowish green to bluish green. Only gems that are medium to dark in tone are called emerald; light ones are instead known by the mineral name “green beryl”. If we consider a tone scale in which 0% is colourless and 100% is opaque black, the best emeralds have a tone of 75%—they have a bright/vivid hue.
- Clarity: Emeralds usually have several inclusions and surface-reaching fissures that are visible to the naked eye. If an emerald has no such inclusions, then it is considered flawless. However, these are extremely rare, which is why almost all emeralds are treated with oils and waxes to fill in their fractures and improve their appearance.
- Hardness: Emerald has a value of 7.5-8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, meaning that it is quite a hard mineral. This is why it works as a good stone in jewelry. However, most emeralds have inclusions and surface-reaching fissures, which can weaken the stone. This is why emerald is usually used in jewelry that is occasionally worn and is less prone to damage, such as in a ring.
- Structure: Emerald has a hexagonal crystal system, and it often occurs as prismatic crystals. It has one direction of imperfect cleavage and a conchoidal fracture. Because of the inclusions and surface-reaching fissures in its structure, emerald usually has poor toughness, that is, its resistance to breakage is low.
- Composition: Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl, having a chemical formula of
Be3Al2(SiO3)6. The gemstone gets its characteristic green colour due to the presence of small amounts of chromium and vanadium. Emerald is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks in very few locations around the world.
Besides their natural occurrence, emeralds can also be created in the lab. These synthetic emeralds have the same chemical composition and structure as the natural ones. Synthetic emeralds usually have a better appearance and come at a significantly lower price.
Can Emerald go in Salt Water?
No, emeralds should never be put into salt water. Emerald has a value of 7.5-8 on the Mohs Scale, meaning that it is quite a hard mineral, but it should still not be immersed in water for long. When we introduce salt into this mix, it only aggravates the corrosive effect.
When dissolved in water, salt can enter the crevices of crystals. Here, these particles can remain even after the water evaporates, and they cause these cracks to widen. The fissures slowly damage the structure of the stone, making it more brittle.
Saltwater can also react adversely with the elements of the crystal, especially when they contain iron. For example, saltwater hastens the rusting process by making the metal lose its electrons more easily.
Emerald may have a good level of hardness (resistance to scratching) but it still is poor in toughness (resistance to breaking/impact). This is because it goes through oil treatments to make up for the inclusions and surface-reaching fissures.
Therefore, one must be very careful in its usage and cleaning. Salt water should never be used.
Can Emerald go in the Sun?
It is not recommended to put emeralds out in the sun. Even though emerald has a decent level of hardness, it is still a fragile stone because of the oil treatments which are done to improve its appearance. These oils can dry when repeatedly exposed to sunlight, which is why it is not a good idea to keep the stone out.
Almost all emeralds have inclusions and surface-reaching fissures. All of them go through treatments with oils and waxes to fill these fractures and improve their appearance. When exposed to sunlight for a long time, these oils can dry out.
In general, excessive sunlight can fade the color of a crystal. It can also make crystals brittle, making them more prone to damage.
However, you can still place the emerald out in sunlight for a short time, say an hour. Use the early morning hours when the sunlight is gentle, and place the stone on a windowsill, so that the glass works as a protective layer.
You can also try other ways of recharging the stone, such as keeping it out in the moonlight, placing it in the presence of geodes, or smudging. Keep reading to find out how to clean the stone using warm water and soap.
Is Emerald More Expensive Than Diamond?
Yes, emeralds are typically much more expensive than diamonds due to their rarity. However, they are less dense and therefore appear larger than a diamond of the same carat size. This makes them the perfect gemstone for those looking to get a large stone within budget.
Emerald is one of the “big four” gems, along with rubies, sapphires and diamonds. But emerald commands a higher price than diamond because it is almost 20 times rarer. This is because its main component beryllium exists only in small amounts on Earth.
Plus the conditions in which beryllium is present are quite different from the conditions in which chromium and vanadium are found. Their presence is necessary for the distinctive green colour, otherwise, the stone is simply considered “green beryl”, not emerald.
A top-quality emerald will have both a vivid green hue and a high degree of transparency.
How to Cleanse Emerald?
Follow these steps to clean your emerald stone:
- Mix lukewarm water with a mild detergent/soap.
- Place the emerald stone in this solution for a few minutes and use a soft brush to scrub it clean.
- Rinse the stone under running water and remove any excess soap.
- Let the stone air dry. Turn it around a few times to remove all water from the crevices.
The above method is safe but should only be done when needed. It is not recommended to use steam or ultrasonic cleaning methods for emeralds because they can remove the fracture-filling treatments and oils, thereby damaging the stone.
Besides cleaning, emerald also has to be used carefully in everyday life. Despite its hardness, emerald is not very tough, meaning that it is prone to breaking upon impact. This is why it should be used mainly in jewelry that is worn on special occasions and doesn’t go through much abrasion, for example, a special ring.
In this article, we have looked at emerald’s relationship with water. Emerald has a value of 7.5-8 on the Mohs Scale, meaning that it is safe to go underwater. However, it should still not be immersed for long. We looked at the properties of emerald and why it is more expensive than diamond. We talked about its interaction with various elements and finally discussed its care.