Hip Hop-Bling Bling Jewelry
Emerald Jewelry, Bracelets,
Rings, Gemstones & more
Do you love the color and sparkle of great emerald
jewelry? Certain rings will never go
out of style like a timeless princess cut emerald ring
will look just as good in a generation as they do today,
this are luxurious and elegant princess cut emerald rings.
These colorful emerald
are made all the more beautiful by
diamond combinations. Emeralds originate from the beryl
mineral, and they are most often mined in South America
actually Columbia. They are not only known for their
exquisite beauty, but for various spiritual characteristics.
Some believe that wearing a
princess cut emerald ring will increase a person's
powers, while others believe that emeralds have healing
powers. This exquisite stone is as mysterious as it is
The emerald is the birthstone for the month of May.
That does not mean that only those with this birth month can
wear an emerald so don't limit yourself to a specific stone
based on a birth month. This stone is also becoming a quite
popular alternative to a diamond engagement ring so if you
are thinking of popping the question this makes a beautiful
Emerald jewelry is also the
traditionally selected gift for anniversary
celebrations for the 20th, 35th, and 55th years of
marriage. Emeralds are believed to have a strong
effect on the conscious and the subconscious mind,
causing strengthened memory and increased psychic
awareness. And now, add a piece of this eternal
goodness to your jewelry collection.
The symbolic idea of an
emerald is the promise of new life, growth, integrity,
flourishing, and of prosperity. Unlike other stones, the
color of an emerald cannot be precisely defined. Emeralds
may be a blue-green or just green color, but the most
valuable color for an emerald is typically a blue-green.
When searching for that perfect emerald, you want the color
to be uniform throughout the stone.
Emerald rings are
superior in every way and words alone cannot begin
to describe it. In the princess cut emerald rings
the top of the stone is cut in a square or
rectangular shape and the overall shape is similar
to that of an inverted pyramid with four beveled
sides. Most square or rectangular cuts just don't
live up to the round brilliant for sparkle, but the
Princess Cut was designed for getting maximum
brilliance from a square cut.
You can`t help but be attracted to this
stunning stone. You can be assured that you will get an
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Most online stores have the full money-back guarantee on
The great color of a princess
cut emerald ring, maybe surrounded by some beautiful
diamonds signifies freshness, calmness, constant love
and beauty. Surprise your loved one by treating her to
something beautiful. With elegance, femininity and
celebration in mind, share an expression of love. As divine
and romantic as it is sparkling, a princess cut emerald ring
is filled with magnificent beauty.
A princess cut emerald
ring is both sophisticated and elegant, and can still show
off sparkle and fire with more dramatic prisms of light.
Modern brides are embracing emerald rings with diamonds in
designs that highlight richly hued emeralds with diamonds
and an emerald bracelet with diamonds express a woman's unique
personality. Make sure you go for a rich green color emerald
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Archaeological geology of the world's first emerald mine
Emerald, a green transparent variety of beryl, was one of
the most highly prized gemstones for jewelry in antiquity. The earliest
known emerald mine
is located in the mountain valley of Wadi
Sikait in Egypt's Eastern Desert, where mining probably
began toward the end of the Ptolemaic period in the first
century BC. Most of the mining activity for emeralds for
jewelry , however, dates to
the Roman and Byzantine periods, from the late first century
BC through the sixth century AD.
The Romans referred to
emerald as smaragdus
and named the Sikait region Mons
Smaragdus or Emerald Mountain. An archaeological geology
survey of Wadi Sikait was undertaken for the purpose of
mapping the distribution of ancient mine workings, deducing
the ancient mining methods, and describing the geological
occurrence of emerald. It was found that emerald and other
green beryls occur within the contact zone between
phlogopite schist and intrusive quartz and pegmatite veins.
The workings, which were excavated in the softer phlogopite
schist with flat-edged chisels and pointed picks, are mostly
shallow, open-cut trenches that follow the quartz/ pegmatite
veins. Some workings continue as much as 100 m underground
and are still largely unexplored. It is noteworthy that the
geological occurrence of beryl in Wadi Sikait, the world's
oldest emerald mine, is essentially the same as for the
world's newest emerald discovery at Regal Ridge in Canada's
The study of ancient quarries
and mines lies at the interface of geology and archaeology.
It is one aspect of the broader discipline of
'archaeological geology' or, as it is also known, 'geoarchaeology'
(Herz and Garrison, 1998; Rapp and Hill, 1998). Simply
defined, archaeological geology is the application of
geological principles and methods to archaeological objects
and sites. In ancient Egypt, as with most other early
civilizations, much of what remains consists of stone.
are building stones for temples and pyramids; ornamental
stones for vessels, stelae, sarcophagi, statues and other
sculptures; and precious stones for jewelry. The
archaeological geologist may investigate not only the
petrology and uses of these stones, but also the quarries
and mines that supplied them, including their layout and
operation, extraction and transport technologies, and
geologic setting. For Egypt, the study of archaeological
stones is well advanced (e.g., Aston et al., 2000; for
further information on the quarries and mines see the
author's web site at http:// www.eeescience.utoledo.edu/egypt/).
As an example of the application of archaeological
emerald geology, the present paper looks at emerald
mining in ancient Egypt. This review also serves to provide
a historical perspective on Canada's own emerald deposit on
Regal Ridge in the Pelly Mountain range (near Finlayson
Lake) of southeast Yukon Territory. Emeralds were discovered
here in 1998 on land owned by Expatriate Resources Ltd. of
Vancouver, the property is now being developed by True North
Emerald Exploration In Canada
Emerald jewelry, bracelet and ring
Columbia Emerald Mine
Gems Inc., also of Vancouver (Groat
et al., 2002). Regal Ridge is the world's youngest emerald
discovery, but the world's first emerald mine was in Egypt's
Wadi Sikait (Fig. 1, 2). The word 'wadi' means 'valley' in
Arabic and 'Sikait' is a Bedouin corruption of the ancient
name for the site, 'Senskete' or 'Senskis.'
Egypt was probably the only source of emerald and other
green beryl for the ancient civilizations of Europe and the
Mediterranean region. Although it has been suggested that
the emerald deposit at Habachtal near Salzburg, Austria was
worked as early as the Roman period, there is no conclusive
evidence that it was known prior to the Middle Ages (Sinkankas,
1981, p. 371-77). However, Giuliani et al. (1998, 2000) have
shown that the green beryls from Egypt and Austria are
distinguishable by their oxygen-isotopic composition, and
such testing, if applied to Roman jewelry, may yet reveal
Habachtal's true historical significance.
Egyptian emerald mining
occurred not only in Wadi Sikait but also at several other
sites within 15 km of this valley, including Gebel Zabara to
the northwest, Wadi Nugrus and Wadi Abu Rusheid to the west,
Wadi Umm Kabu and Wadi Umm Debaa to the southeast, and Wadi
Gimal to the southwest. Mining
began first in Wadi Sikait
sometime during the Ptolemaic period (late 4th through
mid-1st centuries BC) with most of the activity occurring in
the subsequent Roman (late 1st century BC through 4th
century AD) and Early Byzantine (5th through early 6th
centuries AD) periods. All the other mining sites are
strictly Roman-Byzantine or Islamic (mid-6th century AD
onward) in date. Beryl mining ceased in Egypt with Spain's
discovery of superior-quality Colombian emeralds in the 16th
century AD. It is commonly reported in the literature (e.g.,
Giuliani et al., 2000, p. 631) that emeralds were used in
Egypt as early as the 18th dynasty (16th through 14th
centuries BC) of the New Kingdom. This claim, however, is
based on the misidentification by archaeologists of
amazonite (a green variety of microcline) as emerald (Lucas
and Harris, 1962, p. 389-390). The earliest unequivocal
evidence for emerald mining in Egypt dates to Ptolemaic
times, and even for this period the evidence is scant. It
was the Romans who were primarily responsible for developing
the mines, and it was they who gave the mining district its
ancient name, Mons Smaragdus or 'Emerald Mountain'.
Emerald and other Beryls
Beryl is a beryllium alumino-silicate
mineral with the chemical formula. Ordinary beryl is
colorless but the presence of various trace impurities gives
the gemstone varieties of this mineral their distinctive
colors: green emerald, blue to bluish-green aquamarine, pink
morganite, red bixbite, and yellow to yellowish-orange
Emerald jewelry, emerald bracelet and emeral
(Sinkankas, 1981, p.
206-235). Beryl almost always occurs as elongated crystals
with a hexagonal cross-section. It has a Mohs scratch
hardness of 7.5-8, which is exceeded by only a few other
gemstones such as chrysoberyl at 8.5, ruby and sapphire
corundum at 9, and diamond at 10. Although
highly resistant to grinding and cutting,
beryl does have a weakly developed basal
cleavage. Ancient stonecutters could thus
cleave it perpendicular to the crystal axis
to produce hexagonal prisms of any desired
The name 'beryl' comes from the Roman naturalist Pliny the
Elder who, writing in the 1st century AD, used beryllus to
refer to a variety of minerals having long, prismatic
crystals with hexagonal cross-sections. His smaragdus
included the Egyptian beryl among other green stones, but he
also recognized its relationship with beryllus: "many people
consider the nature of berulli to be similar to, if not
identical with, that of smaragdi" (Pliny's Natural History
37.16-20 in Eichholz, 1962, p. 212-227; Healy, 1999, p.
202-203, 241-245). The modern name 'emerald' is derived from
the ancient smaragdus, a word that can be traced back at
least as far as the late 4th or early 3rd century BC when it
was used by the Greek writer Theophrastus as a catchall for
green gemstones (Theophrastus' On Stones 23-27 in Caley and
Richards, 1956, p. 50-51, 97-109). The Egyptian green beryl,
however, was almost certainly unknown to him. The first
mention of beryl (smaragdos) mining in Egypt was by the
Greek geographer Strabo about 24 BC (Strabo's Geography
17.1.45 in Jones, 1959, p. 120-121). When mining began in
Wadi Sikait is not known precisely but, given the almost
total absence of green beryl in Ptolemaic jewelry, it must
have been late in the Ptolemaic period and probably not much
before Strabo wrote about it.
True emerald has a bright, uniform, medium to dark green
color and is transparent, but the best is a emeralds and
diamonds composition. Beryls of this quality are very
rare not only in Wadi Sikait but throughout the surrounding
beryl-mining region. The Egyptian green beryl almost always
has a pale color and a cloudy translucency (due to abundant
fluid inclusions), and it also commonly contains minute
mineral inclusions (usually phlogopite or actinolite, or
their weathered clay-mineral equivalents). It is ironic,
therefore, that Egypt's famous 'emerald mines' produced very
few true emeralds.
Emerald jewelry with diamonds
The poor quality of Egyptian green emerald has been attested
to repeatedly in both the ancient and modern literature (for
a partial summary see Sinkankas, 1981, p. 542-548). For
example, Pliny the Elder complained that the "Ethiopian
[i.e., Egyptian] smaragdus is ... rarely flawless or uniform
in tint" (Pliny's Natural History 37.18.69 in Eichholz,
1962. Although Egypt's ordinary green beryl may not have
been highly esteemed by the Romans, it was still clearly
much valued by them for jewelry. It was the hardest green
gemstone available to them and it also had the added mystic
of coming from fabled Egypt. Perhaps another appeal of beryl
was its naturally faceted hexagonal prisms that mimicked the
more costly cut gemstones. Unlike in recent centuries, when
beryl has been ground into faceted stones, the Romans used
the natural hexagonal prisms cleaved from crystals. These
were either fixed into metal settings or drilled along the
prism axis and strung as bead..
of Wadi Sikat emerald mines
Much has been written about the geology of the Wadi Sikait
region (e.g., MacAlister, 1900; Hume, 1934, p. 109-125;
EGSMA, 1951, p. 82-94; Basta and Zaki, 1961; El Shazly and
Hassan, 1972; Hassan and El Shatoury, 1976; EGSMA, 1992, p.
31-83; and Abdalla and Mohamed, 1999). The map in Figure 2
is based on both this literature and fieldwork by the
author. This is the first map of Wadi Sikait to combine
topographic and geologic information, and also to show the
distribution of ancient mine workings. The rock units in the
map legend are listed chronologically downward from youngest
to oldest. Not shown on the map are numerous diabase dikes
that postdate the granite and intrude all other rock units.
The schist melange also contains some small pockets of
metadiorite-metagabbro as, for example, around the Middle
Village. All the rock units date to the Late Proterozoic era
and belong to the Pan-African Series except for the granite-granodiorite
gneiss, which dates to an earlier part of the Proterozoic (Hassan
and Hashad, 1990).
The geologic occurrence of
emerald in Wadi Sikait has been
well described by Basta and Zaki (1961) and Abdalla and
Mohamed (1999), and their findings are consistent with what
is known generally about the origins of beryl deposits
elsewhere (Sinkankas, 1981, p. 339-356). For green beryl tn
form, two relatively rare elements need to be present:
beryllium and chromium. Beryllium-bearing minerals are most
commonly associated with hydrothermal veins that are
offshoots of silicic magma bodies. At Wadi Sikait, such a
magma body produced dae granite with its quartz and
pegmatite veins. These veins generally vary from a few
centimetres up to one metre in thickness, and have intruded
all older rock units in the area. The veins are now much
deformed and so commonly appear as discontinuous lenticular
bands and pods. The occurrence of beryl is intimately linked
with these Be-enriched veins, especially those of milky
quartz, which are the most plentiful (Fig. 4).
Only minute amounts of Cr substituting for A1 in the beryl
crystal structure are needed to give the mineral a green
emerald color, with darker shades produced by higher Cr
concentrations. Although V can also color beryl green,
chemical analyses have shown that Cr is the colorant for
Wadi Sikait beryl. Unpublished analyses of five beryl
specimens from Wadi Sikait reveal Cr concentrations ranging
from 150 to 1013 ppm, and averaging 552 ppm (EGSMA, 1992,
Table 3.4; A. El Dougdoug, Geology Dept., Cairo University,
Egypt, pers. comm.). Chromium is commonly found in rocks of
mafic composition, where it occurs as an impurity in mica
and amphibole minerals through substitution for the Al and
Fe in their crystal structures. In Wadi Sikait, these rocks
are represented by phlogopite and actinolite schists in the
schist melange. The actinolite schist occurs as thin sheets
and lenses within the much more abundant phlogopite schist.
Beryl or emeralds occurs mainly in the phlogopite schist and
quartz/pegmatite veins, and is restricted to within tens of
centimetres of their contact. It is found as individual
crystals and, more often, as small clusters of crystals.
Crystals can be up to 3 cm in length but most are much
shorter. The beryl in the quartz/ pegmatite veins varies
from colorless or white to light green but in the
phlogopite schist the color ranges from light to dark
green. Given that the schist is a source of Cr, it is not
surprising that this rock would have the greener beryl,
including true emerald. The geologic occurrence of green
beryl at Wadi Sikait is very similar to that at Canada's
Regal Ridge. Here the green beryl, which is colored by Cr,
occurs within mica schist close tn its contact with quartz
veins spawned by a nearby granite intrusion (Groat et al.,
2002, p. 1330). Contrary to what Giuliani et al. (1998, p.
513-514) claim, Wadi Sikait is not a Type II emerald
deposit, where Be-bearing hydrothermal fluids permeated Cr-
or V-bearing rocks along thrust faults or shear zones. Both
Wadi Sikait and Regal Ridge classify as Type I emerald
deposits, where Be-bearing quartz or pegmatite veins from a
granitic pluton intruded Cr- or V-bearing mafic or
Beryl and emerald mining
in Wadi Sikait with three ancient mining
settlements that date to the Roman and early Byzantine
periods (Foster et al., in press; Sidebotham et al., 2004).
The largest of these is the so-called South Village, and
this is the only one where archaeological excavations have
been undertaken. The buildings here, as in the other two
settlements, are constructed from slabs of quartz-muscovite
schist (Fig. 5, 6). The well-preserved late Roman structure
in Figure 6 is probably an administrative building, but
could also be a temple. The South Village is particularly
notable for its rock-cut temple, which is carved out of talc
schist (Fig. 7). From conservation work done on this
structure, it is known that it goes back at least as early
as the 1st century AD, and poorly preserved Greek and
hieroglyphic inscriptions hint at an earlier Ptolemaic date.
Both the quartz-muscovite and talc schists are common
lithologies in the schist melange unit. The next largest
settlement is the Middle Village, which is perched midway up
the west side of the mountain known as Gebel Sikait (Fig.
8). Here there is also a well-preserved, ancient roadway
leading down to Wadi Sikait.
Modern prospecting and small-scale
emerald mining occurred in Wadi
Sikait during the first three decades of the last century.
Most traces of this activity are found around the Middle and
North villages, where modern workings occur amongst the
ancient ones. Past attempts at reopening the Wadi Sikait
mine were all unsuccessful because of the generally poor
quality and, hence, low market value of the beryl.
Prospecting and Extraction Methods
The ancient emerald mine workings are mostly open-cut trenches of up
to a few metres in depth. These follow the quartz/ pegmatite
veins within the phlogopite schist. Many adits, shafts and
tunnels, some extending over 100 m, pursue these veins deep
underground. Where less than a few tens of centimeters
thick, the vein together with 1-2 m of schist on both sides
was removed, but for the thicker veins the schist was
generally extracted along just one side. From the tool marks
preserved in the schist, it is clear that the Roman miners
used flat-edged chisels and, to a lesser extent, pointed
picks for their excavations (Fig. 4). None of these tools,
which were presumably cast from iron, have yet to be found
in Wadi Sikait. It is likely that the quartz and pegmatite
veins, which are too hard for such tools, were removed by
stopping with the actual digging occurring only in the much
softer phlogopite schist.
The underground portions of the Wadi Sikait emerald mine have not
yet been studied but anyway from time to time great emeralds
are discovered. There are instead only a few passing
comments from earlier visitors. For example, MacAlister
(1900, p.544) says "the mining is of a most primitive
character ... the ancients simply excavated ... a network of
long and very tortuous passages just large enough to allow
the body being dragged through, and only in a very few cases
was any attempt made at ... excavating the entire seam." An
unpublished report from the Egyptian Geological Survey and
Mining Authority (EGSMA, 1951, p. 86) provides additional
details: "some mines are very elementary, the galleries are
very narrow and tortuous, that one has to creep all the time
... [whereas] other mines are nearly perfect; [their] walls
were cleanly cut, shafts and levels were systematically dug,
tunnels are [so] wide and high that it is easy to walk
comfortably through ... [and] steps were carved in the floor
of some inclined tunnels... [and] in all cases, one can
notice the presence of big pillars of country rock being
left for roof support."
The ancient emerald miners knew that beryl was to be found along the
contact between the quartz/pegmatite veins and phlogopite
schist, and so probably rested every such association where
visible on the surface (Fig. 4). The fact that not all the
vein-schist contacts in Wadi Sikait have been mined is an
indication that either the beryl deposits are erratic in
their occurrence or they were never fully exploited.
Although emerald occurs in the quartz/pegmatite veins, it
could not have been extracted from these hard rocks without
great effort and large losses of crystals through breakage.
Given this as well as the generally inferior color of beryl
in the veins, the ancient miners were probably interested
only in the more easily worked phlogopite schist. The beryl
crystals were presumably cut out of this rock with a
sharp-pointed metal tool, perhaps an iron blade or burin.
From the great piles of fine-grained tailings around many of
the workings, it appears that the removal of beryl crystals
from the schist was done at the mine site.
In Egypt's Wadi Sikait, ancient miners extracted emerald and
other green beryl from the contact zone between phlogopite
schist and intrusive quartz and pegmatite veins. This is
essentially the same geologic occurrence as the beryl on
Canada's Regal Ridge. The world's oldest emerald mine (Wadi
Sikait) and youngest emerald discovery (Regal Ridge) are
separated by two millennia, yet are linked by not only their
similar geology but also their common purpose--to satisfy
people's desire for emerald jewelry. It is through the
practice of archaeological geology that such links are made.
The author wishes to thank Steven E. Sidebotham, Professor
of Roman Archaeology at the University of Delaware (USA) and
Director of the Wadi Sikait Project, for permission to
publish the present paper. This ongoing project, for which
the author is the site geologist, has been supported by
grants from the National Geographic Society. Thanks are also
due to A. P. Sabina and especially J.D. Greenough for their
comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
Aston, B.G., Harrell, J.A. and Shaw, I., 2000, Stones, in
Nicholson, P. T. and Shaw, I. (eds.), Ancient Egyptian
Materials and Technology: University of Cambridge Press,
Cambridge, UK, p. 5-77.
Abdalla, H.M. and Mohamed, F.H., 1999, Mineralogical and
geochemical investigation of emerald and beryl
mineralization, Pan-African Belt of Egypt--genetic and
exploration aspects: Journal of African Earth Sciences, v.
28, n. 3, p. 581-598.
Basta, E.Z. and Zaki, M., 1961, Geology and mineralisation
of Wadi Sikeit area, South-Eastern Desert: Journal of
Geology of the United Arab Republic (later Egyptian Journal
of Geology), v. 5, n. 1, p. 1-36.
Caley, E.R. and Richards, J.F.C., 1956, Theophrastus On
Stones: Ohio State University Press, Columbus, Ohio, 238 p.
EGSMA, 1951, Report on the Prospecting Expedition in Wadi El
Gemal Area, 1950-1951 (unpublished internal report):
Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority, Cairo,
Egypt, 95 p. Geoscience Canada by
James A. Harell
to figure out where the gem is coming from
Once someone buy an emerald
and the gemstone leaves its country of origin and circulates around
the world and becomes emerald jewelry, the gem's provenance
becomes murky. Scientists have now developed a nondestructive method
for determining the source of emerald jewelry, even
down to the mine from which it was extracted. That information can
affect the gem's price and make it easier for historians to
reconstruct ancient trade routes.
An emerald buying tracking procedure that measures
the ratio of two oxygen isotopes in a
microscopic sample from a gem has been available for a few years .
Unfortunately, that method is not foolproof, says Philippe de Donato
of the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Geologie in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy,
from Russia, Pakistan, and Madagascar often have the same ratio of oxygen
isotopes, making them indistinguishable from one another.
analysis technique focuses on water trapped in an emerald's
minute channels, de Donato and his
colleagues reported last week at the Materials Research Society
meeting in Boston. These channels, distributed throughout the stone,
are just wide enough to fit one or two water molecules. The
researchers homed in on a naturally occurring form of water in which
an atom of deuterium, a doubly heavy isotope of hydrogen, replaces
an atom of the more common hydrogen.
In the new technique, de
Donato's team shines infrared light on an emerald.
Oxygen-deuterium bonds in the gem's water molecules absorb
specific wavelengths of the light, yielding an absorption
spectrum that serves as an optical signature. The
investigators used this signature to link various emeralds
with their known sites of origin. "Because this method is
completely nondestructive, we can make all the measurements
we want," de Donato says.
only could the researchers distinguish between an emerald
jewelry from Russia and one from Madagascar,
they could pinpoint the specific mine in each country from
which the emerald jewelry came.
So far, the scientists have
distinguished among emeralds from 10 mines in seven
countries. They have also discriminated between natural
emeralds and synthetic ones.
Why water molecules in emeralds from different
parts of the world produce different optical signatures is
unclear. De Donato says it
may have to do with the presence of soil nutrients, such as
sodium and potassium, whose concentrations vary from region
to region and that seep into an emerald's crystal structure.
The proximity of these elements to water in the gem's
channels could influence the spectrum, he says.
"This could straighten out a
lot of the confusion surrounding where ancient emeralds
come from," says Fred Ward, a
gemologist and book author in Bethesda, Md. For instance,
when Spanish explorers brought emeralds from Colombia to the
Middle East in the 16th century, they kept the origins of
their gems a secret to protect their sources, Ward says.
The method could also be useful for documenting new
emerald jewelry, he says. For example, if gem dealers can confirm
that a stone is from Muzo, Colombia, the most famous emerald
mine, they can sell it at a premium.
Science News, by A. Goho
COPYRIGHT Science Service, Inc. & Gale Group.
place in Asia for precious and semi precious stones.