The name Emerald is derived from the French "esmeraude” and the Greek root "smaragdos” which means 'green gemstone'. Top quality emeralds are a deep grass green with a slightly bluish cast, but many lesser quality stones are lighter shades of green and can have a more yellowish tone.
Emeralds are found in many countries, but Columbia and Brazil are the major producers and Columbia is recognized as the source for the finest stones. They are also found in Pakistan, Russia, Australia, South Africa, India, Norway, and the United States.
Because emeralds usually contain many cracks, fissures, and inclusions, the majority of these stones are "oiled". This means that they are immersed in oil which reduces the visibility of the inclusions, and also improves the clarity. Oiling is almost universal and because it is so common today, it is not considered necessary to disclose this fact.
Emeralds are brittle stones and care should be taken when wearing or cleaning them. They should never be immersed in an ultrasonic or subjected to steam cleaning.
Emeralds were used as amulets to ward off epilepsy in children and thought to cure diseases of the eye. Folklore suggests that these stones will improve memory, intelligence, and enhance clairvoyance thus helping to predict future events. They are also worn to enhance love and contentment. Cleopatra prized emeralds above all other gems.